Communicating with parents is key to building successful relationships between school and families. The information to a ‘parent shall be provided in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent practical, in a language the parents can understand’ (NCLB, section3302.c).
Thus, it is the school’s responsibility to find interpreters and have translations when appropriate.
We recommend finding bilingual personnel who are proficient in English, as well as the language in which they are translating/interpreting. To find local interpreters, check in your community,hospitals/medical organizations, neighboring school districts, with your culturally diverse families, or local community colleges or universities.
Links to assist with Translation:
TransACT– The Iowa Department of Education currently provides a subscription to TransACT to public, accredited nonpublic districts and area education agencies within the state. This is valuable to assist districts in communicating with parents who speak languages other than English. You will find forms that your district uses on this website such as forms for special education, health, classroom use (such as parent teacher conferences and field trip notes), required LIEP program documents and so much more! You have the option to translate these forms into other languages with the click of a button. (At this site, you are able to access pre-made forms, not translate your own English documents.)
Casa Notes – where you can assemble notes to send home to parents. (Switch to Spanish versions in the top right.)
There are many online translation sites. These sites can be used for basic communications with families. However, we caution that items are not always translated accurately and we recommend that you include a statement such as “Please note, this was translated using an online translation service. Items may not always be translated correctly. However, I want to be able to communicate with you and send information home, so I am going to use this to help me!”