Our story began in 1978, with the inception of the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program. At that time, our district faced a great influx of immigrants and wanted to provide meaningful access to language support in order for all JCPS staff to communicate effectively with English learners and their families.
For many years, until 2016, facilitating interpretation and translation requests fell to one ESL staff member. However, due to the growth in demand, facilitating requests ultimately became the responsibility of four full-time staff members. Thus, the present-day Language Services Division was established.
We began tracking the number of language support requests in the 2005-06 school year. Our records indicate that, in that year, we facilitated more than 650 requests. By school year 2016-17, the number of requests had jumped to more than 3,875, representing a 485 percent increase.
In 2016-17, we implemented an automated scheduling system. In 2017-18, we upgraded to a professional online scheduling system.
In 2018-19, JCPS Language Services began providing services for all English learners and families, including Early Childhood students and families. In addition, we began providing schools and departments with access to immediate on-demand language support.
These are some of the JCPS Language Services milestones:
- Identified areas of concern for our schools and programs
- Devised and implemented a process to make language support more accessible to schools and programs
- Increased awareness of language support services in our district via written communication and by collaborating with other JCPS departments, schools, and local agencies
- Implemented an automated scheduling system
- Decreased the lead time needed to facilitate language support requests
- Established an ever-growing library of translated documents available to every JCPS employee
- Provided interpreters to assist international families at JCPS Community Forums and various events
- Provided professional training for JCPS employees on how to work effectively with an interpreter