The Lee County School District is negotiating a contract with a company that will help translate and interpret 240 languages and dialects, further helping the district communicate with families.
Director of Student Registration Soretta Ralph said she has bilingual staff in the Student Registration Department who are available to help families.
“Often, there are parents who come and need help. Often we don’t know what language they are going to speak,” she says, adding that this often includes different dialects. “This dialect is sometimes another language.”
In order to communicate, Ralph said they often rely on Google Translate, as well as several staff members, to help the family. Even when FOCUS is operational for student registration, it will still take a village to help families.
Google Translate is again used when families contact them through the student registration email, so they can respond in the appropriate language.
ESOL director Dr Evelyn Rivera said they have a plan in place as they sign a contract with Language Line Solutions, which provides translations and interpretations for spoken and written language.
“The contract comes and goes, fixing things on their side and on our side,” she says.
When the contract is finalized, school and district staff will have support for 240 languages and dialects.
“It will be a tremendous support for everyone here,” said Rivera.
There will be a special code to call on the phone and within 20 seconds someone will be there to speak the parent’s language, or dialect, she explained.
Ralph said the district is still growing, as in January alone they enrolled 1,200 new students. She said 160 of those students came to the district with IEPs.
The 2022-2023 application period began on January 17 for registration. Ralph said 12,000 students have applied for the next school year.
“They have already been treated and it is last week”, Ralph said last Tuesday afternoon. “We welcome 1,200 students in a month at the start of the school year. We have the same number of employees and we continue to grow. The school district continues to grow. We really fight as a district everywhere. »
The school board has approved the English learning plan for the 2022-2025 school years.