|Updated: 8/16/2012 9:27 am
||Published: 8/15/2012 8:20 pm
Interpreting differences has become a bigger challenge.
Students from thousands of backgrounds fill classrooms across Tulsa Public Schools.
TPS Title III Administrator Laura Grisso said the district is immersing itself in the different cultures.
"We’re also working to increase our bilingual staffs that are fluent enough to provide interpretation," said Grisso.
It’s needed now more than ever. Among the 40,000 students enrolled in TPS, 10,000 speak a language other than English at home. 9,000 of them speak Spanish as a primary language.
Those numbers grow every year. Budget cuts especially hurt, in some cases it adds to class size.
"They spend their day with general education teachers and they're provided by the state department,” said Grisso.
Grisso said more federal dollars are on the way. That money will help support services TPS already provides. Language Line is one of those services. It provides someone on the other end of the phone to translate student information for parents. TPS also has parent outreach workers. They make home visits and encourage parental evolvement.
Success is measured through the State English Proficiency Exam.
"More of our students are making progress on it than last year," said Grisso.
Summer school and tutoring are also provided for bilingual students through federal funding.
A school improvement grant will give teacher’s access to Rosetta Stone to help them become bilingual.