Volunteers and staff welcomed families at the registration table.

Bellingham Public Schools hosted the first annual Back-to-School Family Block Party and Resource Fair on Saturday, Aug. 21 at Bellingham High School. A committed group of community partners, volunteers and staff came together to support the hundreds of families in attendance, welcoming them to the new school year.

Dr. Kristi Dominguez, assistant superintendent in the Department of Teaching and Learning, was impressed by both the turnout and the larger Bellingham community coming together for this event.

“The vision of our strategic plan The Bellingham Promise states that we, as a community, make a collective commitment to Bellingham’s children,” Dr. Dominguez said, “and this was evident throughout the entire day. Organizations attended alongside one another in support of our students and families.”

Tables were attended by staff and volunteers alike, and included information about YMCA activities, college and career planning with Futures NW, bus ridership on the Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) and on our school buses, as well as a myriad of other clubs and district support.

Onsite services included free haircuts, childhood and COVID-19 immunizations and necessary sports physicals for student athletes. There were also tables giving out free backpacks and books, and signups for school clothes through Operation School Bell of the Assistance League of Bellingham.

“When we look to The Promise,” Dr. Dominguez continued, “this was an event symbolic of the One Schoolhouse Approach.”

For those unfamiliar with Bellingham Public Schools, the One Schoolhouse Approach is one of six key strategies in The Bellingham Promise which states that we “focus on taking care of each other” and that we “provide an equitable distribution of resources and services to ensure excellence for students.”

This back-to-school block party was an important piece in this approach, bringing the whole community together and sharing resources as we come back to full in-person instruction in our schools.  After what was an extraordinary 18 months of the pandemic with amended schedules and remote learning last school year, holding this family block party gave attendees a feeling for normal back-to-school activities.

“I am looking forward to this coming school year,” Dr. Dominguez added, “and can’t wait to see everyone.”

Funding from the Bellingham Public Schools Foundation and the Whatcom Community Foundation made this event possible.

 

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