EL Liaisons Cani Adan and Aveen Ibrahim

Moorhead Area Public Schools understands that when district staff attempt to communicate with families for whom English is not their first language, the language barrier might lead to communication issues. MAPS English Liaisons help bridge the gap to ensure effective communication to everyone. EL Liaisons Cani Adan and Aveen Ibrahim work diligently to build relationships and provide student and family support.

“Liaisons partner with families who have been historically disenfranchised to empower those families to be able to impact our systems and policies that ultimately impact them,” explained Adan. “We aim to dismantle the barriers that minority communities face by facilitating access to comprehensive education, leading to success within the school system.”

This team provides socioemotional support, community support, access support to basic needs —such as housing, electrical bills, food banks and parent-teacher panels—and school support.

Adan is in his fourth school year as an English Liaison with the district, and offers services in Somali, Kurdish, Swahili, Spanish and French; Ibrahim is in her second school year with MAPS and provides support in Kurdish and Arabic. Support for indigenous students is also provided by the district’s Indian Education team made up of six liaisons. 

“Liaisons strive to create a sense of belonging and equality among our diverse community and do our best to meet the needs of the students and families we are assisting,” added Ibrahim. “For instance, families find more comfort and courage in attending conferences or reaching out to school staff, knowing that the language barrier is no longer an issue.”

Throughout a given school year, the English Liaisons will assist over 1,000 students and their families. They are able to connect with so many families because they are already active members of the community, making them an instantly familiar face to those who might need their services.

“The community members that our liaisons serve already know them,” noted Matuor Alier, MAPS Director of Equity and Inclusion, “and know them outside of the school setting so there’s that trust factor that’s in place already.”

The English Liaison team supports all MAPS buildings and visits each building throughout a five-day school week.