2018-03-01 / Community News

School department to host second Biddeford Rising

As a continued effort to better connect with the new Mainers in Biddeford, the Biddeford School Department will host a second Biddeford Rising gathering 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 7 at Biddeford Middle School, 25 Tiger Way, Biddeford. The event is open to the public and will include a community meal in which participants will bring a dish to share.

“Based on our first gathering last November with over 100 participants, we heard from families that they lack access to certain resources,” said Superintendent Jeremy Ray. “To address their concerns, we have representatives from twelve organizations attending for one-on-one access following the community meal. We understand our students’ success is directly tied to supporting their parents’ basic needs and want to ensure they feel heard. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the culinary art of families’ native country and interact with local resources in an informal manner. We hope the community will rally around this effort and join us to learn more about the 200-plus students from nearly 20 countries that call Biddeford home.”

Biddeford School Department believes that strengthened relationships with the English learners community will reap positive benefits for all. Some of the goals include: improved school-to-home communication; improved cultural understanding for administrators and staff; increased support for summer programs, with an eye toward full-year programming; connecting refugee, migrant and immigrant populations with community services to increase access to medical and dental care, legal support, financial help, housing and nutrition services; 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 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 in partnership with Spurwink Services, Inc.

For more information, visit biddefordschools.me or contact Christopher Indorf at 282-8280.

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