For parents who speak languages other than English, Hall County schools will offer phone and in-person translation services this fall.
Culture Connect offers 66 languages. Hall County families speak 29 different languages at home.
“We were looking at ways to better meet the needs of those families,” said Sandra Perry, the county’s English-language learner coordinator. “I foresee us using it for situations if a French-speaking or Chinese-speaking family that needs assistance can use it during a conference.”
The system can provide an interpreter for the school or use the phone service for a three-way conference call. The county already provides parent liaisons for Spanish speakers, but the service is also for the other major categories of students who speak another language: 174 Vietnamese, 27 Russian, 20 Chinese, 18 Korean, 15 French and 7 Gujarati-speaking students.
The services, which cost between $45 to $50 per hour in person and $10 to $12.50 per 15 minutes by phone, will be paid through federal funding given to schools to “meet the needs of limited English speakers,” Perry said.
The county also offers interpretation and translation services through the International Center, which helps students to transfer into the school system.
“Right now we’re trying to reinvent the center because it was going to end for awhile there,” said Sylvia Murillo, a bilingual assistant.
“But this is important because it’s a community resource, and parents and students need to have a place where they feel welcome and can find information about the resources available in Hall County schools.”
The center also screens students for grade placement and helps with written translation and interpretation. Perry said the Culture Connect services will start in the fall, and more information will be available to parents and students this summer.