Biddeford Rising

As a continued effort to better connect with multilingual learners and New Mainers in our community, the Biddeford and Saco School Departments are hosting a Biddeford & Saco Rising gathering on Tuesday, May 14th, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Biddeford Middle School, 25 Tiger Way, Biddeford.  The event is focused on families of PreK-12 students but is open to the public with translation services and free transportation provided. 

“Active parent engagement is a cornerstone of academic success, particularly for students from immigrant backgrounds,” emphasized Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Ray.  “By fostering robust partnerships between families and our schools, we create a supportive environment that celebrates cultural diversity and enhances educational outcomes. This event is an opportunity for us to share information on local resources and learn more about how our schools can support their educational experience. We invite the community to join us and learn more about the 200-plus students from nearly twenty countries that now call Biddeford and Saco home.”

The event aims to achieve several key goals, including enhancing school-to-home communication, fostering cultural understanding among administrators and staff, increasing support for summer programs, improving access to essential community services such as medical and dental care, legal support, financial assistance, housing, and nutrition services, and building trust among skeptical refugees, migrants, and immigrants. Families are invited to bring a dessert or snack that celebrates the culinary traditions of their native culture.

Biddeford and Saco School Departments believe that a diverse student body enlivens and enriches our schools’ corridors and curriculum, and we are committed to fostering a community that celebrates its student body’s rich cultural heritage. In addition to this public event, several schools have already held multicultural fairs for their students to learn about their peers' cultures, and a tri-district Welcome Center has been established to assist families.  

The Welcome Center, located at John F. Kennedy (JFK) School in Biddeford, with an additional office at Young School in Saco, is a “hub” for student services for the most vulnerable and transient in our community.  It is not only intended to provide a thoughtful and deliberate welcome and orientation to our schools as a one-off but as a gathering place and “home base” for families who experience housing instability and families new to Maine/new to the United States who need to register children in schools and connect with medical, dental, and other community services.  The services of The Welcome Center are made possible by several grants, including grants from Catholic Charities, Governor Mills’ Office, and the McKinney-Vento office at the Maine Department of Education

For transportation or more information, contact Director of the Welcome Center April Szafranski, at 207-282-4134 or email