NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville Public Schools officials are looking for volunteers to help translate conversations during parent-teacher conferences in November.
MNPS currently has about 68 parent outreach translators for the district specializing in at least 24 languages including Spanish, Kurdish, Arabic, and Somali.
As Nashville becomes a more diverse city, Translation Specialist Ana Wogan says the need for more translators is critical. She says parent-teacher conferences are the biggest day of the school year for translators and also parents.
"It's a big relief for them to approach the school and know that there is somebody there that will help them. They feel really grateful because they're not scared anymore. There's someone there that's going to advocate for them and try to close that gap and try to communicate the information or the questions or the concerns that they might have," Wogan said.
Emily Chadwick manages the Family Resource Center at Fall-Hamilton Elementary school. About 20 percent of the students attending Fall-Hamilton come from families where Spanish is their first language. Chadwick hopes to have at least 5 translators in time for the November conferences.
"It can be really difficult especially if parents have low English levels so without the interpreters those conversations may not be able to happen. So there are parent outreach translators that are employed by the school district and they do a fantastic job connecting with families but on days like parent-teacher conferences when all the schools are having conferences at the same time there aren't just enough to go around," Chadwick said.
For volunteers looking to be a translator, Wogan said they can contact their child's school or the MNPS EL office.
Volunteers will have to go through a background check and fill-out confidential paperwork. More information can be found on the MNPS English-Learners website.