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NYC Department of Education Pilot Program Translates Students’ IEPs Into Parents’ Native Languages

NYC Department of Education Pilot Program Translates Students’ IEPs Into Parents’ Native Languages

The program is designed to decrease pressure on schools while ensuring that parents understand their student’s evaluations, educational challenges, and goals for the school year.

The New York City Department of Education recently launched a pilot program that translates students’ Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) into their parents’ native languages. The program provides support for parents in District 9, in the Bronx, District 24, in Queens, and District 75, which is a citywide district for students with disabilities. The initiative will help families better understand their students’ education plans and also relieve schools of translating duties, since they can now turn to DOE translators for assistance. The DOE plans to review the program’s effectiveness at the end of the year to determine whether it will be extended into future school years. News 12 Brooklyn reported on the issue.

IEPs can be intimidating because of how much work goes into creating the document–medical professionals, social workers and psychologists, among others, all work together to evaluate a child and create a plan so the school can help the student overcome barriers to his or her education. It is imperative that parents fully understand the document and know what their child is meant to accomplish in the classroom, but translation is a huge barrier of its own. The pilot program attempts to mitigate that and help parents stay informed and involved.

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Evelyn Martinez, whose son Eli is a second-grader at P.S. 88 in Queens, says having her son’s IEP translated into Spanish has been vital in helping her understand his goals and how his IEP carries over into home life.

“I have every bit of information detailed from what the therapists and the workers, to the teachers are doing with my son, so for me as a mother that helps me to look and see what he's doing at home to make sure he's doing what he needs to be doing for school,” says Martinez.

To participate in the program, families must have a school-aged child with an IEP for the 2018-2019 school year, who attends a District 9, 24, or 75 public school, or who is turning five years old in 2019 and lives in District 9 or 24, or who has their turning-5 IEP meeting at a District 75 school. The program is free of cost for parents.

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Main Image: Credit to News 12 Brooklyn