New Hanover County Schools


Engaging Students, Achieving Excellence


ESL Parent Liaisons


I am Maria Black, ESL Lead Parent Liaison for our district: New Hanover County Schools! It is with excitement and anticipation that my team and I come to work each day to partner with you and help you in supporting your child in order for him or her to achieve academic and social success. Throughout my years with the county, I’ve come to appreciate and value your diverse backgrounds and the fact that you have a valuable story to tell. My team and I are here to support your child’s educational needs while taking into account and understanding your frame of reference and background. We are here to guide you, understand you, and keep you motivated and empowered as the leader you are in your own child’s future. Below are the names and contact information for all ESL Parent Liaisons. Should you have any concerns, questions or suggestions about our program, feel free to contact me via phone or e-mail. Below are the names and contact information for all parent liaisons and also a link to access the list of schools each liaison serves. Give us a call anytime! Here to serve you and work alongside you!

Staff School Assignments for 2019 - 2020

REQUESTING MEETINGS – Plan ahead! At least two weeks in advance! Both the liaison and parent must be available! Send email with a few dates/options as well as parent’s name contact info, your school name, type of meeting (IEP, P/T Conference, other…) and approximate length of time needed for the meeting. 
If is urgent, and you are not able to reach your assigned liaison, please contact any of the other liaisons. For additional support or assistance with other languages via access to the interpretation services/language line, contact Maria Black- Lead Parent Liaison at (910)254-4202 (office) or via email at

Luisa Brown
Blair ES
Castle Hayne ES
Holly Shelter MS
Noble MS
Sunset Park ES
Williams ES
Laney HS
Pine Valley ES
Naomi Mendez

Forest Hills ES
Freeman ES
Gregory International
CRA at Mosley 
New Hanover HS
Snipes ES
Williston MS
Wrightsboro ES
Ashley HS
Anderson ES
Bellamy ES
Carolina Beach ES
College Park ES
Murray MS
Myrtle Grove MS
Parsley ES
Trask MS
Rosanna Fidalgo
Alderman ES
Codington ES
Eaton ES
Holly Tree ES
JC Roe Pre-K
Lake Forest
Lucy Blasee
Bradley Creek ES
Hoggard HS
Murrayville ES
Ogden ES
Roland-Grise MS
Wrightsville Beach ES
Winter Park ES

What is a Parent Liaison?

What is a Parent Liaison?

The ESL Parent Liaison for NHCS is a bilingual individual who focuses on bridging communication between school and home to ensure parents have adequate access to information, services and the support they need to make sure their child achieves academic and social success in school. 

* NHCS ESL Parent Liaisons also support and assist the families of non ESL services children whose parents/guardian may still be of limited or no English language skills.

Also a Parent Liaison:
  • Is a good listener
  • Is knowledgeable and familiar with both cultures 
  • Is trustworthy and demonstrates a genuine interest in helping the family and the student while seeking collaboration and guidance from the school and staff
  • Is knowledgeable about the subject/topic that is to be communicated (interpreted)
  • Is a great note taker
  • Communicates clearly with all parties involved –in both orally and written ways-
  • Have good vocabulary in both languages
  • Encourages parental involvement in the school
  • Maintain confidentiality
How can a Parent Liaison help a family?

Many times, parents feel uncomfortable about bring up concerns, questions or issues affecting their family, to teachers or other school staff. Given the importance of good communication between home and school, the Parent Liaison will listen to the concern and work with the family to make sure the concern or situation is properly expressed and understood. The Parent Liaison will strive to resolve the issue and further support the family to minimize or eliminate anything that may be hindering the child’s success in school. The Parent Liaison will also help the family understand how to get involved and participate of school programs and activities, explain grade expectations, academic reports, provide literature or pamphlets on specific academic or social topics, make referrals to community groups or agencies for additional support etc. At its best the Parent Liaison wants to help the family and student in being a part of a quality education where both can maximize the chances for a successful academic experience.

Examples of the assistance the Parent Liaison can provide:
  • Enrollments
  • forms completion
  • school tour
  • explanation of programs and resources available to the parent and child
  • parental involvement
  • answer questions about school rules/regulations
  • curriculum
  • grade expectations
  • help understanding EOG’s & EOC’s
  • explain graduation project
  • policies
  • help arrange meetings between school and family
  • assistance during school wide meetings
  •  parent/teacher conferences
  • Special Education programs/meetings
  • IEP meetings
  • PSM meetings
  • mental health evaluations and meetings
  • home visits, screenings
  • emergency communications (by phone or in person)
  • translations (written)
  • phone calls to parents
  • open-house nights
  • back to school orientation meetings
  • student lead conferences
  • explain safety issues
  • counselor/guidance meetings
  • schedule (classes) selection meetings
  • freshman orientation
  • college orientation meetings
  • senior student/parent meetings
  • assist with transportation issues
  • assist school nurse with communicating health or related student issues
  • clarify roles and provide names of administrators and other staff members
  • collaborate with community agencies
  • assist with school/community events
  • familiarize parents with school publications and website
  • explain and help access resources within the school
  • assistance to address discipline issues or suspensions
  • parent empowerment so they can become active participants in the education of their children
  • assistance with any other issues that may impact the child’s academic experience

Tips for Scheduling Meetings

Working with a Liaison
  • Even though parents may speak English, the academic language used in meetings is not necessarily part of their vocabulary
  • Parent liaisons do more than interpreting - they also provide guidance and support to the parents.
  • Plan ahead! Request meetings at least two weeks in advance.
    • It will increase the chances of your meeting happening on or around your desired date.
  • The parent liaison will call the parents and schedule the meeting for you.
    • Make sure to provide the parents’ names and phone numbers
    • Send more than one possible date and time.
      • It will help the liaison in checking against her schedule as well as when talking to the parent.
  • Let the liaison know what the meeting will be about and the approximate length of time needed.
    • This is important because it will allow the liaison to allocate the right amount of time for your meeting.
    • Plus, it will allow her to properly schedule meetings after yours, otherwise she may be late to the next meeting. Travel time is part of that whole deal.
  • It may be that parents’ best time is during the day and during your class.
    • For many families, being away from work represents a financial hardship.
    • Remember you can always approach your principal about getting coverage for a short period of time to hold the meeting.
      • Of course, this would not work for IEP, transition meetings or other complicated matters that go beyond 20-30 minutes.
  • If meeting on anything that is more complicated than a regular parent/teacher academic progress conference(such as IEP, transition, or behavioral plan review meeting) and you have notes, email them to the liaison to read so she may familiarize herself with the vocabulary prior to the meeting.
    • This will aid in making the meeting go easier and faster.
  • Make sure you don’t contact more than one liaison about the same meeting.
    • Yes, it happens more than you can imagine and two people show up! Let’s be considerate of everyone’s time and schedules.
  • If a meeting must be cancelled or re-scheduled, for whatever reason, the courtesy of a message via email or phone call is greatly appreciated.
    • Yes, this happens too! A liaison will show up for a meeting to learn that it was cancelled and the teacher or staff member forgot to communicate with the liaison. Again, let’s be mindful of one another’s schedule.

Meeting with Parents

  • Ask the parents to arrive 15 minutes early.
    • Everyone’s time is valuable. Let’s be ready early.
  • Greet the parents when you first come in the room.
  • Allow the liaison to start the meeting with introductions.
  • Take turns when speaking.◦
    • It is very hard to follow when more than one person speaks at a time.
    • Plus, it confuses the parent and may allow for misunderstandings.
  • If you laugh about something amongst yourselves, tell the group what was funny.
    • Yes - in the past, parents have felt offended that something said was about them and after the meeting they ask what was funny.
  • Avoid side-bar conversations while the liaison is speaking to co-workers and the parents.
  • Speak about one topic at a time.◦
    • Speak slowly and after a couple of sentences allow the liaison time to communicate what you have said.
  • If reading from a presentation or results from assessments please provide copies for the liaison and parents.
  • Avoid jargon and acronyms.
  • Stop talking if the bell rings, announcements come on, or there are other loud noises.
    • It can be hard to hear and understand what is being said.
    • You’ll probably have to repeat it anyway.
  • Thank the parents when you leave the room.
  • Invite the ESL teacher to attend.
    • She has valuable insight into second language acquisition.
    • She works with the student year after year; therefore, knows the student well.
    • She has progress to share about the student.
  • Look at the parents when you speak.
    • Even though a parent liaison is interpreting-look at the parents when you are talking.
    • They appreciate it although not necessarily understanding you.
    • It helps them to know what you are sharing is for them

Important Terms

Parent Liaison - The ESL Parent Liaison for NHCS is a bilingual individual who focuses on bridging communication between school and home to ensure parents have adequate access to information, services and the support they need to make sure their child achieves academic and social success in school.

Interpreter - works with the verbal language, communication happens right away ( a complex role that deals with language and people ). Relies on his own linguistic knowledge since dictionaries and or reference materials are not typically at hand.

Translator - works with written text material, language and words from paper to paper. Time, reference materials, dictionaries and other resources are appropriate and important tools to have readily available. The work is not simply to replace words of one language with words of another language, but rather to convey a message, therefore time and intellectual effort are essential.

NHCS ESL Parent Liaisons role is that of the definition given here, as well as to advocate and offer solutions that will aid parents in promoting their child's educational success. Because the liaison is bilingual, he/she assists parents communicating with the school by interpreting the information given/received, both ways. In addition, NHCS Parent Liaisons will assist schools in completing a variety of translations requests. 

Translation Requests


Maria Black
Lead ESL Parent Liaison


Luisa Brown

Luisa Brown


Naomi Mendez

Naomi Mendez


Rosanna Fidalgo-Dominguez

Rosanna Fidalgo-Dominguez