As a continued effort to better connect with the “new Mainers” in Biddeford, the Biddeford School Department is hosting a fourth Biddeford Rising gathering on Wednesday, November 14th from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at Biddeford Middle School, 25 Tiger Way.  The event is open to the public and will include a free community meal.

“Parent engagement is a crucial cog in the wheel for student success, especially with ‘New Mainers’,” stated Superintendent Jeremy Ray.  “At this event, we will hold a community conversation, led by an independent facilitator, around parental experience in our schools and throughout the community for immigrants who have settled in Biddeford. We are proud of our schools, but we know there is always room to learn and improve. We hope the community will rally around this effort and join us to learn more about the 200 plus students from nearly twenty countries that call Biddeford home.”

Biddeford School Department believes that strengthened relationships with the EL community will reap positive benefits for all. Some of the goals of Biddeford Rising include: improved school-to-home communication; improved cultural understanding for administrators and staff; increased support for summer programs, with an eye towards full-year programming; connecting our refugee, migrant, and immigrant populations with much-needed community services to increase access to medical and dental care, legal support, financial help, housing and nutrition services, and more; and fostering a sense of trust between skeptical refugees, migrants, and immigrants (especially the large number of asylum-seekers in Maine).

Biddeford Rising is mirrored after Portland Empowered, a successful school-to-home program for non-native speakers. Meetings will continue to be held on a bi-annual basis with translators available and free transportation provided. The event is subsidized by a grant from Catholic Charities of Maine.  For more information, visit biddefordschools.me or contact Kerrie Edgerton at 207-282-8280.

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