GHS invests in translating program

GHS has invested in a translating program that will help communication with parents who speak different languages.

Before now, teachers and faculty have had no way to communicate easily with parents who did not speak English or Spanish.

“In general, if we have parents who speak another language, we don’t have a way to communicate with them. We have Spanish teachers, but we don’t have anyone who speaks Mandarin or Swahili or anything,” Mrs. Meghan Ferguson El teacher said.

The program is easy to work.

“We just have an access code and a school pin number. So I call the number and tell them everything I need to, and then I can either give them the phone number to call to translate my message, or I can have that person on a three way call,” Mrs. Ferguson said.

Senior Yael Lugo has experienced challenges helping his mother with PowerSchool because of the language barrier.

“Signing up for school and the PowerSchool stuff is difficult. My mom doesn’t understand it because it is in English, and technology makes it a little harder,” Lugo said.

Because it is difficult to understand, phone calls from school can come with a negative connotation.

“I think it is going to be very helpful for parents who don’t understand English. Instead of thinking every call is a bad call, they’ll be able to understand the good calls, too,” senior Bryan Gonzalez said.

Lugo said that school messages will be more effective because they will not have to go through his translation process.

“It will be easier for my mom to understand what’s going on. It also won’t be my own words; it’ll be the schools words,” he said.

Instead of putting all the pressure on the students to deliver messages, the program will help make sure all details are understood, especially the important ones.

“If they receive a letter about vaccinations or a letter about graduation we can actually explain that now rather than hope the student understands enough to go home and explain it,” Mrs. Ferguson said.

One time when a message was not clearly communicated, students were left outside in the cold during a two-hour delay.

“We had some students who after I had been gone on a two- hour delay,  the next two hour delay I had students come in, and it was in first period  they were talking about how they were so cold. So I asked them why they were so cold, and they said they had been standing outside forever because they never got the message of a two-hour delay,” Mrs. Ferguson said.

The program will give students equal opportunities.

“Put yourself in the shoes of those kids and those parents. You want to know, and your parents want to know what’s happening at school. So do their parents. They just don’t have the means to understand those phone calls. They want to know how their student is performing and if they’re skipping school. They want to have the means to ask those questions. This gives them something other than me copying something down from Google Translate, I actually get to communicate with the parent,” Mrs. Ferguson said.

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