It’s no secret that New York City is a pretty diverse place.
And naturally, City schools reflect this diversity. Consider this: City families with children registered to our public schools collectively speak over 180 different languages at home.
180 languages. That’s a lot of different ways to say “Comfort Dogs.” 🙂
Given the variety of languages represented in City schools, we understand that many of our students have parents or guardians who are not native English speakers. This is why it is our belief that language should never get in the way of a child’s education.
For years, the DOE’s Translation and Interpretation Unit has helped thousands of City families to communicate with teachers and other school staff members and to develop better partnerships with their children’s schools. The unit offers over-the-phone interpretation services in over 200 languages, including Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu. They also provide in-person interpretation services at DOE events across the City, and translate hundreds of important school documents every year.
In 2016, the DOE considerably expanded the Translation unit’s service capabilities by hiring nine Field Language Access Coordinators to train school staff members across the City regarding the resources available to non-native English speakers. Since January 2016, these new hires have trained over 2,500 educators. Additionally, they have also worked with principals to ensure that every City school has a Language Access Coordinator to provide language access services to families. Thanks to these personnel moves, the amount of interpretation services provided by the Translation and Interpretation Unit has tripled to 52,850 during the 2016–17 school year, compared to 16,722 in 2015–16.
“Families must be partners to our schools, and the language someone speaks should never be a barrier to engagement in a child’s education,” said Chancellor Carmen Fariña during an event held at Brooklyn’s P.S. 186. “These services are a game changer – we are reaching families beyond the traditional school day and in their native language, and we’ll continue to increase accessibility and awareness of these services to ensure we’re delivering for students and families.”
To learn more about the DOE’s interpretation services, visit our webpage or speak with an administrator or parent coordinator at any City school.
Now, check out the following video and slideshow from the Chancellor’s language access event at P.S. 186 on October 25!