Forming connections at school can be challenging when you are from a different culture. To help meet this challenge and to ensure all families feel welcome, Edina Public Schools has three cultural liaisons: pictured left to right, Blanca Diaz DeLeon, Abdikadir Ibrahim, Sayali Amarapurkar. They help engage and enrich the academic experience of students and families from the district’s largest bilingual/multi-lingual demographic student groups.
EPS parent, Catalina, credits Blanca Diaz De Leon, Spanish-speaking cultural liaison, for helping her get connected at EPS and making the transition less difficult. Catalina shared her experience to encourage current Pre-K parents to contact the cultural liaisons when they need assistance or have questions.
Q: How were you introduced to the Spanish-speaking cultural liaison, Blanca Diaz De Leon?
- I arrived in the U.S. two years ago and came to the Edina Public Schools Community Center to register my son for school in July. Blanca reached out to me because I made known that Spanish was my first language. She assisted me with completing the school registration because I was not comfortable doing it online and made sure my son was enrolled in kindergarten at Countryside
Q: In what ways has Blanca helped you since your children started attending EPS?
- Blanca is like an angel to me. She has helped me with everything. She helps me whenever I need something with the school and assists me with writing an email or making a phone call. She puts herself in my shoes and helps me in what I need with my kids. Blanca also organizes meetings with other parents and school staff to walk us through information.
Q: What misconception do you think people have about the cultural liaisons?
- People think that if they speak English, then they do not need a cultural liaison. Cultural liaisons do translate, but the most important thing they do is to show us opportunities that exist. Blanca has talked about what my kids can do in elementary school and how they can improve their abilities.