Language Access - 4218
The Board of Directors is committed to improving meaningful, two-way communication and promoting access to District programs, services, and activities for students and their families. The Board recognizes that students whose family members have limited English proficiency might also speak or be learning multiple languages and are assets to the community. It is crucial that the District seek to address language barriers and do so free of charge. To that end and as required by law the District will develop and adopt a plan for implementing and maintaining a language access program that is culturally responsive, provides for systematic family engagement developed through meaningful stakeholder engagement, and is tailored to the District's current population of students and families who have limited English proficiency.
At a minimum, the District's plan for a language access program will adhere to the principles of an effective language access program for culturally responsive, systematic family engagement, which are:
- Accessibility and equity. This means that schools provide access to all; two-way communication is a priority and is woven into the design of all programs and services.
- Accountability and transparency. This means that the language access program and decision-making processes at all levels are: Open, accessible, and usable to families; readily available; continuously improved based on ongoing feedback from families and staff; and regulated by a clear and just complaint process.
- Responsive culture. This means that schools are safe, compassionate places where each family's opinions are heard, needs are met, and contributions are valued. School staff are humble and empathetic towards families.
- Focus on relationships. This means that schools seek to understand families without judgment on an individual level, building trust through respectful relationships that recognize the unique strengths that each family and student possesses.
The District will implement its Language Access Program by the 2023-24 school year.
Identification of Families Needing Language Access Services
The District will accurately and in a timely manner identify parents/guardians of students with limited English proficiency and provide them information in a language they can understand regarding the language service resources available within the District.
The District will take reasonable steps to provide parents/guardians with limited English proficiency with competent oral interpretation of materials or information about any program, service, and activity provided to families who do not have limited English proficiency and to facilitate any interaction with District staff significant to the student's education. The District will provide such services upon request and/or when it may be reasonably anticipated by District staff that such services will be necessary.
The District will provide a written translation of vital documents for each limited English proficient group that constitutes at least five percent of the District's total parent/guardian population or 1,000 persons, whichever is less. For purposes of this policy, "vital documents" include, but are not limited to, those related to:
- registration, application, and selection;
- academic standards and student performance;
- safety, discipline, and conduct expectations;
- special education and related services, Section 504 information, and McKinney-Vento services;
- policies and procedures related to school attendance;
- requests for parent/guardian permission in activities or programs;
- opportunities for students or families to access school activities, programs, and services;
- student/family handbook;
- the District's Language Access Plan and Program and related services or resources available;
- school closure information; and
- any other documents notifying parents/guardians of their rights under applicable state laws and/or containing information or forms related to consent or filing complaints under federal law, state law, or Board policy.
If the District is unable to translate a vital document due to resource limitations or if a small number of families require the information in a language other than English such that document translation is unreasonable, the District will still provide the information to families in a language they can understand through competent oral interpretation.
The Superintendent will designate a staff member to serve as the Language Access Liaison/Coordinator, who will monitor and facilitate compliance with state and federal laws related to language access and family engagement. The Language Access Coordinator's name and contact information will be widely shared so parents/guardians, school staff, and community members may contact them to inquire about language access services.
All school administrators, particularly those who have the most interaction with the public, such as registrars and enrollment staff, certificated staff, and other appropriate staff as determined by the Language Access Coordinator/Liaison, will receive guidance on meaningful communication with parents/guardians and family members with limited English proficiency, best practices for working with an interpreter, how to access an interpreter or translation services in a timely manner, language services available within the District and other information deemed necessary by the Language Access Coordinator/Liaison to effectuate the language access plan and program.
Appropriate District staff, as determined by the Language Access Coordinator/Liaison, will also receive guidance on the interaction between this policy and the District's policy on effective communication with students, families, and community members with disabilities.
Review and Update
The Board will periodically review, evaluate, and further update this policy and its associated procedure based on pertinent data, including the data collected according to the accompanying procedure. This review will also include community feedback collected according to this policy and procedure and with opportunity for participation from the school community, including school personnel, students, families, and community members.
The Board will annually review the District's spending on language access services and consider whether budget adjustments are needed to effectively engage with families who would benefit from Language Access services.
The District will provide effective communication for students' families who are deaf, deaf and blind, blind, hard of hearing, or need other communication assistance according to Board Policy 4317 - Effective Communication.
Board Policy 2162 Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program
Board Policy 3210 Nondiscrimination
Board Policy 4130 Title I Schools - Parent and Family Engagement
Board Policy 4317 Effective Communication
Board Policy 7110 Budget and Program Planning
OSPI website: Interpretation and Translation Services
Adoption Date: December 12, 2022