TPS expands translation services for parents, guardians with limited English proficiency
BY ANDREA EGER World Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
1/23/13 at 8:07 AM
Tulsa Public Schools is continuing to ramp up its services to assist parents and guardians with limited English proficiency.
Since the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights began identifying deficiencies as part of a random compliance review in early 2010, the Tulsa school district has been investing in interpretation and translation services.
Laura Grisso, an administrator in the district's federal programs office, said the feedback from educators for local translators, as well as a company that provides translators by telephone and one that offers an online library of translated school documents, has been universally positive.
"As of this fall, we had 72 languages spoken in our district. We can now make calls to parents with an interpreter on the line, and for face-to-face meetings, a contractor can provide interpreters by speaker phone," Grisso said. "Mostly we are more proactive about requesting translation services or having documents translated."
On Tuesday, the school board formalized a resolution agreement with the Office for Civil Rights that ensures the continued expansion of the district's language-assistance services.
Grisso estimates that in all, the services will cost Tulsa Public Schools $200,000 annually.
"I think there's a need for this, so I'm behind it 100 percent," District 3 board member Lana Turner-Addison said.
Board member Lois Jacobs, who represents Memorial High School and its feeder pattern schools, cast the lone "no" vote on the agreement.
Outside of the meeting, Grisso explained that the Office for Civil Rights has stepped up its compliance reviews nationwide.
In this case, it was checking for compliance with Title VI's prohibition against national origin discrimination affecting people with limited English proficiency.
Next, the district will be training all employees who have not already received training about the resources available to them and the legal requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Grisso said the district must also ensure that the translation services offered to its patrons are of a "competent" level and that district personnel are documenting all translation needs and services.
Original Print Headline: TPS expands language-translation services for parents
Andrea Eger 918-581-8470