Brookfield school administrators want to create a new position of school community liaison. While the school board supports the creation of the central office position, some members are not sure they can support the minimum education requirement proposed by Supt. Toby Gibson: a high school diploma.
The liaison would reach out to families to try to help them resolve school issues, fill out paperwork – most critically the free- and reduced-lunch applications – and find resources that could address needs they have.
“It’s not necessarily a social worker or providing social services,” Gibson said. “We’re looking for somebody who can communicate well, enthusiasm, can find resources, articulate, help break down some barriers that families may have between the family and the school. We do have families that haven’t had good experiences in life with school.”
The more education a person has, the better able he or she would be to do the job, Gibson said, but, “Like anything, the more education, people with degrees or master’s degrees are gonna want more money than we can afford to pay for that position.”
The position would be funded from the district’s annual allocation of federal Title 1-A funding, but Gibson said it was too early to publicly comment on a salary range.
“Wouldn’t you want somebody that has a bachelor’s, at least a bachelor’s?” said board member Jerry Necastro.
Warren, Youngstown and Labrae school districts have school community liaisons, and it’s pretty typical for a person with a high school diploma to be able to get the job, Gibson said.
“I definitely am for the position,” said board member Melissa Sydlowski. “I’m just struggling with that one piece (education). I just want to make sure that we get the right person in the role.”
Having seen the list of requirements proposed for the job, Sydlowski said, “I have a master’s degree – I don’t know if I could do some of that stuff.”
“I think a level of experience is going to be important here,” said board member Sarah Kurpe.
The position will be “very much in the public eye,” and “It’s gonna come with its challenges,” she said. The person hired will need to be empathetic and good at “communicating why they’re there.”
“I think it has a lot of impact, and I think that’s exciting and interesting and something we need,” she said.
Necastro asked how the success of the position would be determined.
“A liaison position, it’s difficult to gauge,” Gibson said. “Obviously, you’re looking at how many families have submitted all their forms … attendance increase, emergency contact information, grades, discipline, all those metrics would lead into whether or not it’s beneficial to the district.”
The board approved creating the position at its Aug. 16 meeting.
“We have to establish the position before we decide what we need and what we want,” Gibson said, noting he hopes to hire someone this fall.
The person hired will not be an administrator but will answer to the principals and superintendent and attend administrative meetings, Gibson said.