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EMPLOYMENT 

HIRING FOR THIS POSITION IS NOW CLOSED. PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES!

FAMILY/SCHOOL LIAISON

 

FORA's refugee empowerment center is located at 6431 N. California Ave. in the West Ridge neighborhood of Chicago. Among other things, FORA provides high-dosage tutoring to newly arrived refugee students to ensure that they have obtained the basic foundational skills needed to thrive through and beyond secondary school.

This position is a full-time exempt management position with a pay of $35,568 a year, non-negotiable. It is under the supervision and direction of the Curriculum Director or other assigned supervisor.

The deadline to apply is June 6 at 11:59pm.

The liaison will spend approximately half of work time serving as a regular FORA tutor, along with the rest of the staff. During this time, the liaison will engage in one-on-one interactions with students to help them work through individualized reading and math assignments, as well as some help with regular homework. The other half of the time, the liaison will work to facilitate communication and partnership among teachers, parents, and FORA tutors. This task will include, but will not be limited to, accompanying parents to teacher conferences, contacting teachers to discuss student needs, and meeting with parents and teachers to discuss ways in which they can successfully interact with each other and help their children succeed in school.  The liaison will be most successful when parents feel empowered to influence their children’s learning and school experience, and when teachers feel supported in their efforts with regards to teaching FORA students. Perceived or actual cultural barriers and perceived unwelcoming school environments can act as barriers for school-family joint efforts on behalf of the children we are all interested in empowering. We must work to strengthen such school-parent to help children grow academically, socially, and emotionally. This is not just about getting parents to understand what is needed for their children to thrive in schools. It is also about educating teachers (and, frankly, ourselves at FORA) about what the families need from the schools and FORA to help children thrive. After all, schools are meant to serve families, not vice versa. Schools (and FORA) must strive to joyously meet students where they are and not attempt to cram students into pre-formed 1950s American educational boxes.

 

Per published research, family-school liaisons have generally tried to: educate parents about what schools expect, provide parents with access to school resources and try to reduce conflict between parties. That is great. But we must now go further to ensure that communication is not just one way (from school to parents), to ensure that parents’ input about how schools can do better is heard and incorporated; and to advocate for comprehensive, systemic educational solutions instead of just continual one-one-one tweaking of agendas. As such, the conversation must not only include classroom teachers but also staff and administrators.

 

Candidates must be fluent in oral and written English and have a completed 2-year college degree. The ideal candidate will have a background in teaching, social work, international/intercultural understanding, intercultural communication, refugee or immigrant welcoming and resettlement or similarly translatable background. 

FORA is an equal opportunity employer and encourages individuals from all backgrounds to apply.  We value patience, kindness, wellness, intercultural connection, a passion for learning, and a determined resilience. The successful candidate will be at ease modeling these values for the students, parents, and school personnel whom we serve.

 

Representative duties:

  • Develop and implement effective family involvement strategies and activities to empower students and their families.

  • Visit schools to develop working relationships with teachers and staff; serving as a contact person to facilitate communication among school personnel, parents, and FORA tutors.

  • Provide tracking, outreach, liaison, and guidance services to assist in resolving student issues and problems in areas such as attendance, academics, grades, behavior, and health.

  • Serve as an informational resource to parents concerning school programs, policies, and services, including attendance issues and specific classroom practices.

  • Meet, confer with, and interview parents in the identification of family needs and issues; provide information and materials to parents to assist in the location and utilization of school and community services and resources.

  • When appropriate, accompany parents to meetings with school personnel and generally promote a sense of partnership between teachers and parents, as well as advocating for parent concerns.

  • Work with a volunteer or staff member to translate communications between teachers, staff, and parents; arrange for interpreters for conferences, telephone calls, assemblies, and meetings as needed; translate written correspondence as necessary.

  • Compose, distribute and respond to a variety of correspondence related to assigned liaison and support services; initiate and receive telephone calls; make home visits; schedule and arrange various student, parent, and other appointments as assigned.

  • Contact parents to discuss student needs, issues and progress and provide assistance in meeting student goals and objectives; follow up on student issues, progress, and problems with school and school employees to assure needs are being met.

  • Establish and maintain partnerships with community agencies to facilitate and enhance support services for students and parents.

  • Arrange, schedule, and request parent participation in conferences, meetings, and other activities; encourage parent participation in various school and community programs and services.

  • Regularly review student records in the identification and monitoring of student attendance and academic and grade issues.

  • Be present at all Fora tutoring hours; provide tutoring and academic assistance to students; resolve academic issues in various subject areas; assist students in understanding and completing assignments, homework and projects.

  • Lead and accompany parents and students through the process of applying to and then choosing schools, from pre-K through college.

  • Coordinating and arranging various programs and services to meet the needs of students, parents, and teachers. This includes, but is not limited to, SEL (social-emotional learning programming).

  • Coordinating and arranging internal FORA tests and external entrance exams as required; administer and score internal FORA tests.

  • Assist with collecting all data regarding indicators and track whether tactics, strategies, outcomes, and goals are being met.

  • Contact community agencies to provide information and follow up on referrals.

  • Maintain various records related to assigned activities.

  • Attend and participate in various meetings as assigned.

  • Perform related duties as assigned.

  • Endorse, embrace, and enact FORA’s vision, mission, and values (as described at www.refugeefora.org).

  • Help create, run and supervise a vibrant SEL program. 

 

Required:

  • A two-year college degree or international equivalent.

  • Fluency in oral and written English. (Although you will not always have to work in English. We at FORA speak in various languages at work).

  • Commitment to honoring the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds of our students and their parents.

  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the use of tact, patience, and courtesy.

  • Excellent communication skills.

  • Excellent organizational skills, including the ability to maintain detailed online and paper records/files.

  • Ability to understand statistics and keep indicator data.

  • Willingness to travel daily to and from schools and families unaccompanied.

  • Ability to visit schools each afternoon and attend afternoon and evening tutoring hours, until at least 9:00 pm, each weekday.

  • Once job is offered, successful completion of a state and federal background check.

  • Commitment to act in a culturally sensitive and respectful way that promotes understanding between schools and families. 

 

Highly preferred:

  • Four-year bachelor’s degree or international equivalent. 

  • Previous work experience, including excellent recommendations.

  • Full-time teaching, social work, refugee or immigrant, or intercultural experience

  • Demonstrated competency in and commitment to intercultural sensitivities and effective intercultural communication and empowerment. 

  • Experience that will enable them to quickly develop a thorough working knowledge of Chicago Public School and charter school resources, services, and programs related to the needs of identified families.

  • Familiarity with educational terminology, pedagogy, and strategies.

  • Understand, embrace, and embody general principles, practices, and techniques of providing educational assistance to families.

  • Demonstrated ability to problem-solve (preferably in an educational context).

  • Understand and implement basic public relations techniques.

  • Ability to speak Rohingya or Burmese is highly preferred (but not determinative, so still do apply if you do not speak such!) as an overwhelmingly large number of our families speak one or both fluently when they arrive. 

 

Preferred:

  • Four-year Bachelor’s degree in education or similar degree.

  • Master’s degree in education or similar degree.

  • 5 years of full-time classroom teaching experience.

  • If one does not speak Rohingya or Burmese, Urdu and Malay speakers are preferred as many of our families speak one or the other when they arrive (but, again, this is not determinative by itself so please still feel encouraged to apply if you do not speak Rohingya, Burmese, Urdu or Malay).


 

Contact:

To apply, please submit a cover letter, detailing your interest and qualifications, and a resume, to michael@refugeefora.org . We reserve the right not to consider applications that are incomplete, or that do not include a cover letter specific to FORA and the Family/School Liaison position. Your cover letter should demonstrate a clear understanding of this position and a robust awareness of our work through having thoroughly reviewed the information available on our website. As this position will entail working in-person at our empowerment center in Chicago, please also confirm in your cover letter that you either already live in Chicago or would be willing to relocate for this job.