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BVSD employees help families during Help Center.

A warm welcome for new, returning BVSD families
Boulder Valley School District Help Center open weekdays through August 17

BOULDER – Imagine moving to a new state and arriving with only a week before school starts. That was the scenario facing a family that just moved to the Boulder Valley School District and was assisted this week at the BVSD Help Center.

“They were in Boulder for the very first time ever,” explained Laura Martinez, a BVSD enrollment specialist who is serving in the Help Center. “They were moving from out of state and they came straight here. It was amazing. They got all of their questions answered and all of their needs met in one place. Afterwards, they were able to unpack. It was a great feeling that we were able to help them out with that.”

The Help Center was established three years ago when several systems moved online, making it more difficult for some families.

The Help Center, which is open August 6-17, assists new parents and guardians, as well as families that do not have the technology needed to complete back-to-school tasks. Knowledgeable staff are standing by to help them with a variety of issues from enrollment to setting up parent portal accounts in Infinite Campus to applying for the free and reduced-price lunch program.

“The online application [for Free and Reduced Price Lunch] can sometimes be difficult. We didn’t want that to be a barrier to having people get the services,” explained BVSD Chief Operating Officer Leslie Stafford. “Free and reduced-price Lunch applications not only give students free and reduced lunch, but also waives fees for athletics and school fees. We wanted to make sure that everyone is still getting the same opportunities.”

Over the course of the two-week period during the Help Center, Dolores Campos-Herzfeld of BVSD Nutrition Services (who goes by the name ‘Lola’) is always on hand to guide people through that application process.

“Lola is our absolute expert in free and reduced lunch and she can walk families through it,” Stafford said.

“When they come, they are scared. They do not know how to do it. We help them through step-by-step. When they go they say, ‘good! That was so easy,’” Campos-Herzfeld said.

BVSD staff work to welcome each and every parent and guardian and have an activity area ready so that children can relax as their parents go through the process.

“It can be confusing, it can be scary -- especially if you are new. We are trying to help them with a friendly face,” Martinez said.

“We have seen a lot of families that do not have experience with computers,” added Campos-Herzfeld. “We have helped them with things like access to Infinite Campus because a lot of times our elementary families have never used Infinite Campus. They can’t do anything unless they have a log on.”

“The people we have served have been very appreciative,” said Stafford.  

Last year, nearly 1,000 people came through the center, some who had moved to Boulder Valley from as far away as Spain, Costa Rica and Thailand.