Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is the largest public school system in Washington State and the 44th largest in the United States. SPS also boasts an incredibly diverse network of 97 schools, serving 45,900 students from more than 70 countries representing over 89 languages. Some of the represented languages and dialects include Amharic, Chinese, Laotian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrigna, and Vietnamese.
The administration and teachers of Seattle Public Schools
believe that teaching and learning are truly enriched by the diversity of its students and staff. Their goal is to provide a range of services that assist bilingual students and their families to feel welcome at school and support students’ academic success.
One person charged with responsibilities for connecting the students and families of Seattle’s diverse population is Hung Pham, SPS District Community Liaison & Consulting Teacher. With over 32 years of experience, Mr. Pham is committed to ensuring that Seattle Public Schools families’ needs are being met. He also understands the importance of making a connection with students and their families in their native tongues.
Mr. Pham partners closely with the district’s bilingual program services department to offer English language programs, bilingual instructional assistants to support students with limited English proficiency, and assistance with referrals to health care, employment, and legal services. This multilingual team also supports students’ families by enrolling their children in an appropriate educational program and informing parents about school policies, enrollment, school transportation, transcripts, testing, and many other school activities.
“Effective education is about everyone taking part in the process—parents, school staff and community members—to create an effective experience for all students,” said Mr. Pham. To facilitate the community’s involvement he oversees 4-5 outreach meetings per month. These community outreach meetings are a reflection of the diversity of the student population and Mr. Pham’s team has been instrumental in providing language interpretation services to meeting attendees.
“I knew we had the resources to provide the translators, but needed a solution to make the interpretation easier to do,” noted Mr. Pham. Mr. Pham turned to Anne Renaldi, Deputy Director, of Conference Services for ASET International.
“We knew we could provide Seattle Public Schools with a solution for their meetings,” stated Ms. Renaldi. ASET International is a Listen Technologies dealer offering full-service rentals, sales and support. Ms. Renaldi suggested using Listen Technologies’ Portable FM products
for Seattle Public Schools’ language interpretation needs at their community meetings and state wide conferences.
“I recommended Listen Technologies because their products offer the best sound quality, a lifetime warranty and they are easy to use,” stated Ms. Renaldi.
Thanks to the generous partnership of the Seattle Council Parent Teacher Student Association, Seattle Public Schools was able to purchase a Listen system.
Mr. Pham, Ms. Renaldi and Listen worked to create a custom system to meet Seattle Public Schools needs. Multiple LT-700 Portable Transmitters
with 57-channels are used by the interpreters and allow for more than one language to be interpreted at every meeting. Attendees in need of language interpretation services use the LR-400 Portable Digital Display FM Receivers.
“Many of our clients have had trouble with the old style receivers that do not have digital tuning. This was a perfect product for their application,” noted Ms. Renaldi. Mr. Pham’s team can easily program the receivers to the applicable channel making it easy to use. “We really like the Charging/Carrying Cases, our equipment is organized and always ready to use, stated Mr. Pham.
“We have been very happy with the results of using Listen Technologies’ products for language interpretation, our meetings are more professional, efficient, and effective,” noted Mr. Pham. “We are really connecting to our Seattle Public Schools families.”