Excellence in the EPS: Highlights from Around the District

The Everett Public Schools (EPS) congratulates Family Liaisons Larissa Silfa, Erika Green, Steeve Auguste, and Rixy Reyes-Oseguera for completing the Interpreter and Translator in Education Training Workshop Series at UMass-Amherst.

EPS Family Liaisons provide critical support throughout the district, from registering students and assisting families at the Parent Information Center, to outreach and engagement efforts, to ensuring the success of school- and district-based programs and events, to organizing and teaching language classes. On top of all that, EPS Family Liaisons perform nearly all the translation services for the district, including announcements, documents, website posts, and robocalls. EPS Family Liaisons speak English and Spanish, Portuguese, or Haitian Creole.

The Family Liaison positions were created by Superintendent Priya Tahiliani shortly after her tenure began in March of 2020. Since then, they have become an essential part of the fabric of the EPS, and an invaluable resource to building leaders.

“An enthusiastic and heartfelt congratulations to Larissa, Erika, Steeve, and Rixy for completing the Translator in Education Training Workshop Series,” said Superintendent Tahiliani. “It is a testament to their commitment to our students and families, and the seriousness with which they approach their work.”

This intense translator workshop series was created by the Translation Center at the University of Massachusetts for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The series provides an educational and professional setting in which participants learn about the standards and procedures of interpreting and translating in a school setting. The program offers them the opportunity to practice and develop their translation and interpreting skills, consider and reflect on specific situations, and build a network of colleagues.

The workshops raise the already impressive capacity of EPS Family Liaisons by giving them tools on topics and practices such as note-taking, sight translation, paraphrasing, fast reading, changing written text into oral speech, consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting, and dual-role Interpreting.

First Things First

Pictured above are some of the EPS staff members who participated in the Mental Health First Aid Training offered at Everett High School during the February vacation. The district graduated two cohorts totaling 34 employees who obtained a three-year certification to provide Mental Health First Aid to EPS students. When the district certifies 10 percent of its staff, the training can be extended to students between the ages of 16 and 18.

Mental Health First Aid is a nationally recognized certification program designed to train and certify non-mental health professionals with the concrete skills to recognize, respond, and refer people exhibiting mental health or substance-use difficulties to appropriate care.

The training stresses early detection and intervention by teaching participants about the signs and symptoms of specific illnesses like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and addictions. The National Council for Mental Wellbeing has certified more than one million people through a network of 12,000 Mental Health First Aid instructors. EPS Manager of Social/Emotional Learning and Wellness Patrick Quigley is a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor and the driving force behind bringing this important training to our community of teachers and school support staff.

“It was great to see such a diverse cross-section of EPS personnel taking part in this training opportunity, including Principals, Administrative Assistants, Family Liaisons, and Success Coaches,” said Superintendent Tahiliani. “The Mental Health First Aid program is an important step in embedding proven and sustainable social and emotional wellness strategies into our curriculum and our daily operations.”

Our Teachers, Our Heroes

The EPS would like to publicly recognize Whittier School teacher Crystal Connors for her heroic actions during last week’s Acceleration Academy. During lunch on Thursday, February 24th, Ms. Connors, after noticing a fifth-grade student choking, quickly and successfully performed the Heimlich Maneuver. We join the student’s family in extending our deepest gratitude to Ms. Connors.

Quick Reminders

• To Crimson Tide basketball fans who are planning on attending Everett High’s MIAA Division 1 State Tournament game at North High School on Friday night: Masking mandates remain in place in the Worcester Public Schools; tickets are $6 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens; and tickets do NOT need to be purchased online.

• The next regular meeting of the Everett School Committee will be held on Monday, March 7, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. inside the Everett High School Library.

• The City of Everett and Everett High School are hosting walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics every Tuesday in March from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. The clinics are free, and insurance and identification are not required. The Pfizer vaccine for all eligible individuals will be available.

• Thanks to a grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the work of EPS Community Engagement Manager Jeanette Velez, the district will host a Focus Group with Families and Caregivers from Everett on Wednesday, March 9 at 6:00 p.m. The Zoom event is built around the idea that students thrive when families, caregivers, and school staff value each other and work together. Details about this community event can be found on the homepage of the EPS website.

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