English Language Learner Distance Learning-1

One school district blends over-the-phone, video, and face-to-face interpreting, as well as translation, to drive new levels of understanding between students, parents, and educators.

Note: This case study originated pre-COVID and distance learning. Nonetheless, its lessons are valuable.

Middletown City School District (New York) places great value on diversity. Appreciating the eclectic nature of its student body is an active area of focus that sets the district apart nationally. As you’ll read in our case study, Middletown goes far beyond minimum compliance requirements in an effort to use language access to level the academic playing field for English language learners (ELLs).

The results speak for themselves. Linda Bradt, Middletown’s Director of Bilingual, English as a New Language, and World Language Education, says the district understands the importance of building an educator’s ability to teach in an environment that grows more diverse by the day. Each educator is empowered to access translation or interpretation services whenever they are needed.

READ MOREChecklist for Educators of English Language Learners

“We make sure we respect the diversity that our student population and their families bring to us,” Bradt said. “We see that diversity as a strength. We really do follow our motto, ‘Every student. Every day.’”

Middletown’s language access program was originally built to comply with New York State Regulation Part 154, which holds all school districts accountable for identifying and serving English language learners. The program has rocketed over the past few years, turning into one that incorporates over-the-phone, video, and face-to-face interpreting, as well as translation.

READ MORETwo Ways Educators Can Add an Interpreter to a Video Call

“We firmly believe in removing barriers,” Bradt said. “The goal is to erase the look and feel of poverty in the district. We think language access is a huge part of making all opportunities available to our students and their families. Having language access available for any potential interaction between student, teacher, and family creates a much stronger bond.” 

The Middletown program is fascinating and innovative. It includes nuances such as a 10-week grace period without grades for ELL students, translation of all assessment tests into all 23 languages spoken in the district, and language access training for all district employees, from administrators to bus drivers. They use tools commonly found in most schools and operate within typical budget constraints.

LanguageLine® Can Help

LanguageLine has been proud to partner with many of North America's most diverse school districts for over 40 years. We offer numerous solutions to assist educators in negotiating the remote-education landscape. We take great satisfaction in partnering in creating a learning experience that can change a life.

LanguageLine will connect you to our team of more than 20,000 professional, on-demand interpreters via audio or video in 30 seconds or less. We do this in more than 240 languages. LanguageLine can also translate and localize your written content. We provide these services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

It all starts with a conversation. Please contact us via our website or by calling 800-752-6096.

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