Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.
“Yes. It’s that time of year again. While some families might be thrilled to pick up where they left off, others might be apprehensive. Perhaps you are wondering what this school year will bring, especially in light of the additional challenges brought on by the new coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Nonetheless, we march forward. With years of experience partnering in education, Vocalink Global is honored to support parents, students, teachers, and educational institutions with the highest caliber of language solutions. Yes. It’s that time of year again, but we’ll be with you all the way. Let’s land among the stars together.”
– Amelia Rodriguez, CEO, Vocalink Global
Language Solutions for EL Students
Investing in Effective Language Solutions for US Schools
Linguistic Diversity in the United States
From its very inception to present day, the United States has always been rich in its linguistic and cultural diversity. Today, there are roughly 66 million residents who speak a language other than English (LOTE) at home, 25 million of whom speak English “less than very well.” For these limited-English proficient (LEP) individuals, effective communication in a language they understand provides them equal access to healthcare, social services, and education – and let us not forget, it’s the law.
Language Access Rights for English Learners (ELs)
Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, schools nationwide have the responsibility to ensure all English Learners (ELs) have equal access to education, leveling the playing field and allowing every student to pursue academic success. Today, approximately 10 percent of all public school enrollees are ELs and speak one or more of an estimated 300 languages. In fact, EL student enrollment in some states can run as high as 21 percent as is the case in the state of California.
*Data represents percentage averages of enrolled EL students per state ranging from under 5% to over 20%.
Under federal law, schools are required to take necessary steps to ensure all students have equal access to meaningful instruction. They must also ensure that parents receive school notices and other pertinent information in a language they understand and must further provide effective communication with school personnel so that they have the opportunity to take an active role in their children’s educational progress. Incorporating linguistic services into your overall strategic planning is a surefire way to remain legally compliant and promote success for all.
Language Solutions Lead to Increased Graduation Rates
According to the United States Department of Education, only 67 percent of ELs graduated from high school compared to 85 percent of their non-EL counterparts. However, there are viable pathways forward to narrow this gap. In fact, by investing in experienced and professionally trained educational interpreters as well as in professional translators with a discipline in education, school systems throughout the country help to strengthen their cultural and linguistic competence. This in turn, strengthens a mutual understanding among school personnel and the students they serve while increasing family engagement.
Research published by the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health points to 50 studies in which “parental involvement was positively associated with achievement… Involvement that reflected academic socialization had the strongest positive association with achievement.”1 For families with limited English proficiency, LSPs provide the much needed linguistic and cultural communication bridge that eventually leads to increased graduation rates, increased enrollment into higher education, and eventually, a stronger, more internationally competitive workforce. In other words, when school districts invest in language services, everyone wins.
*Predictions made by the Alliance for Excellent Education
And, in an increasingly more globalized world, these successes only strengthen our standing in the global marketplace. Indeed, everyone wins.
Spotlight on Ohio’s Department of Education
In order to increase the academic success for EL students, authorities at the federal, state, and local levels are committed to a shared vision of excellence in education for all students. Whether you work within the United States Department of Education, at the state level charged with your state’s educational budget, or at the local level overseeing your school district operations, discussions surrounding the need for language support likely take center stage more often than not. Each school district has a unique community of learners and has worked hard to develop a strong bond with their families. LSPs help to strengthen that bond, creating the most appropriate language solutions to meet your EL students’ unique needs. To delve a little deeper into these unique relationships, we decided to take a look at Ohio’s Department of Education.
Although just over 5 percent of residents in the state of Ohio speak an LOTE at home, EL enrollment in Ohio’s public elementary and secondary schools continues to increase. In fact, in the 2010-11 school year, the state’s Department of Education reported a 38 percent increase in EL student enrollment over the number reported just five years prior, and an impressive 199 percent increase since the 2000 school year. In the 2018-19 school year, we again saw an increase with more than 55,000 EL students currently enrolled in Ohio’s public schools.
In order to rise to the occasion and meet the needs of their growing LEP population, the Ohio Department of Education has partnered with trusted language solutions companies in order to implement a number of valuable cultural and linguistic support services. The below list reflects just a few of the support services the state offers.
Vocalink Global’s Language Solutions Strengthen Student Outcomes
Vocalink Global, a language innovation firm based in Ohio, is honored to be one such trusted language solutions company partnering with the Ohio Department of Education as well as with a growing number of other state educational departments. Through our years of experience offering language solutions for the educational sector, our entire team employs a culturally responsive and customized approach to our translation and interpreting services, providing meaningful communication for staff, students, and the parental community.
From the translation of enrollment documents, school policies, and academic standards to individualized education program documents (IEPs), parental correspondence, emergency evacuation procedures, and more, Vocalink Global helps facilitate the learning process and strengthen community engagement. Our professional translators intimately understand that the translation of documents is much more than a simple mechanical reproduction of the written word. It is a creative process that often involves cultural sensitivity as well as industry knowledge. Depending on the context, the vocabulary might have to be adjusted and localized in order to meet the cultural and linguistic needs of the EL students and their families.
Vocalink Global offers onsite, over-the-phone, and remote interpreting services for our educational partners for pre-planned, scheduled meetings and for on-demand requests. For remote interpreting, our customized approach allows us to utilize whichever online platform our clients prefer from Zoom and Google Meets to Webex, Teams, and more.During onsite meetings, should you need assistance with untranslated documents, Vocalink has your language solution. Our on-site interpreters will interpret our client representative’s spoken word in order to facilitate communication. Our interpreters provide linguistic support for a great many events including IEP meetings, parent-teacher conferences, class lectures, testing and more. Whatever the need, we have the experience, expertise, and resources to support your educational goals. At Vocalink Global, we always place our clients’ best interest first.
Be heard. Be understood. Reach out to Vocalink Global today.
1 Hill, N., & Tyson, D. (2009, May). Parental involvement in middle school: A meta-analytic assessment of the strategies that promote achievement. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782391/
In addition to:
The Provision of an Equal Education Opportunity to Limited-English Proficient Students. (2020, January 16). Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/eeolep/index.html
Bialik, K., Scheller, A., & Walker, K. (2020, May 30). 6 facts about English language learners in U.S. public schools. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/25/6-facts-about-english-language-learners-in-u-s-public-schools/
Academic Performance and Outcomes for English Learners. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/datastory/el-outcomes/index.html
Wise, B. (n.d.). High School Graduation Rates and Their Effect on the American Economy. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://all4ed.org/high-school-graduation-rates-and-their-effect-on-the-american-economy/
Profile of Ohio’s English Learners (EL). (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2020, from http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Student-Supports/English-Learners/Research/Profile-of-Ohio-s-English-Learners-EL
Facts and Figures. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://education.ohio.gov/Media/Facts-and-Figures
Resources for Parents of English Learners. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Student-Supports/English-Learners/Research