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By Quinton R. Arthur
LANSING, Ill. (February 18, 2022) – Karina Hernandez-Cazarez is now serving as Thornton Fractional District 215’s Spanish Language Interpreter and Family Outreach Specialist. In the new position, she will be translating in settings across the district and helping with communication goals.
Changing the narrative
Hernandez-Cazarez has a personal connection to her work. She grew up in the south suburbs, where her parents did not speak English as well as others. At the time, there were not any resources available for those dealing with language barriers.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Psychology, she went into higher education at Governors State University. Some of the roles she served in included advising and admissions. As an advisor, she worked with the Latino Student Club, various schools in the area, and with families.
When the opportunity to serve at District 215 opened, it was a full-circle moment for Hernandez-Cazarez.
“When this position opened up, I was very excited about it because it is a resource I wish my family had growing up and that all families can have access to,” Hernandez-Cazarez said.
In her role, Hernandez-Cazarez is now a liaison between the district and families by providing Spanish translations. Her work supports the district’s goals for family and community engagement. She will translate communications and documents for the district as well as holding office hours to support each campus’s Spanish translation and interpretation needs.
She knows that families are a contributing factor to student success, and helping families will help students.
“I think education is so important, both for the student’s professional and personal development. Families are so instrumental in being able to help their students through that,” Hernandez-Cazarez said.
In addition to translating, she will be helping make the website more accessible and creating a family outreach event calendar. Her role will provide families with knowledge of services and empower them with resources.
Assistant Superintendent of Student Services & Equity Dr. Rena Whitten is appreciative of having Hernandez-Cazarez join the team.
“Having a staff person dedicated to translation and family outreach is an important part of the district’s continued efforts to increase equity for our students and families. Karina is already contributing in vital ways and I am so glad she is a part of the team,” she said.
District 215 families can visit the family outreach page on the district website for more resources and information.
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