“Schools must communicate information to limited English proficient parents in a language they can understand about any program, service, or activity that is called to the attention of parents who are proficient in English.”

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

Do we have to provide translation and interpretation for parents of non-English Learners?
Yes, you do! Remember, parents may not speak English proficiently even if their child speaks it proficiently.
What do we have to do to provide effective language assistance to parents that are limited in their English proficiency?
  • School districts must provide effective language assistance to parents who have limited English proficiency such as by offering translated materials or a language interpreter. Language assistance must be free and provided by appropriate and competent staff, or through appropriate and competent outside resources.
  • School districts should ensure that interpreters and translators have knowledge in both languages of any specialized terms or concepts to be used in the communication at issue, and are trained on the role of an interpreter and translator, the ethics of interpreting and translating, and the need to maintain confidentiality.
  • It is not sufficient for the staff merely to be bilingual. For example, a staff member who is bilingual may be able to communicate directly with limited English proficient parents in a different language, but may not be competent to interpret in and out of that language or to translate documents.
What are some examples of things that need to be provided in a language the parent can understand?
  • registration and enrollment in school and school programs
  • requests for parent permission for student participation in school activities
  • information on the English Language Development program
  • parent handbooks
  • report cards
  • parent-teacher conferences
  • gifted and talented programs
  • student discipline policies and procedures
  • information and meetings relating to special education and related services
  • grievance procedures and notices of nondiscrimination
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Hidden Box
TransACT provides Pennsylvania schools access to required parent notification letters in English and multiple other languages.

  • All ESSA documents are currently available in Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, Burmese, Cambodian (Khmer), Chinese, French, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Karen, Korean, Marshallese, Nepali, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Swahili, Urdu, and Vietnamese.
  • General Education documents are currently available in Spanish, Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Cambodian/Khmer, Chinese, French, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Lao, Marshallese, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

Click here to login.

YouTube Videos
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Translator allows parents and teachers to communicate, in-person or virtually, in their preferred languages. Pairing Teams with Microsoft Translator allows teachers to call parents, caption what they are saying, and have it translated for parents. In turn, parents can talk or write back in their preferred language. Multiple parents can join a conference, and each can communicate in their own language.  For more information, click here.

Teachers use a web browser or mobile app to communicate with families who use text messages or a mobile app.  This assists in supporting family engagement and teacher-family connections.  Click here to learn more.

i Translate
Easily translate text in over 100 languages. The translation through this program is generally more accurate than Google Translate. To try it out, click here.
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Translation Resources:

Translation refers to written language

Interpretation Resources:

Interpretation refers to spoken language

Over-the-Phone Interpretation (OPI)
School districts within Montgomery County, PA have contracts with companies to provide OPI services.  Most districts either use TransPerfect or Language Line.  Please reach out to your ELD Coordinator to determine how these services are utilized within your district.
Users that would like to include interpreters in their meetings or webinars now have the ability to enable language interpretation. This allows the host to designate participants as interpreters on the web portal or during a Zoom session.  For more information, click here.
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Sarah Misner is a Project Consultant in the Office of Professional Development at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit. As a Project Consultant, she works in the areas of literacy and English language development and has served in this role since 2012. Sarah provides professional learning opportunities, technical support, and coaching. Some of her areas of focus include:
*Program mentor and instructor for the English as a Second Language Teacher Certification Graduate Program through the MCIU
*Certified trainer of Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS)
*IU point of contact for the Montgomery County ESL Council and Title III Consortium

Prior to serving in this role, Sarah works with students in kindergarten through eighth grade as a reading specialist and as an elementary emotional support teacher. She believes that through looking at the educational research and translating it into practice, we an better meet the needs of ALL learners.

Sarah has a Bachelors in Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of Education form Arcadia University. She holds Pennsylvania Certifications in Special Educations PK-12, Reading Specialist PK-12, Elementary Education K-6, and Program Specialist English as a Second Language PK-12.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahmisner23