119 languages spoken within Wichita Public Schools

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) - Have you ever wondered how many languages are spoken within Wichita Public Schools?

The district is home to students from 96 countries and there are 119 different languages and dialects spoken by children's families.

"It's a great challenges for us. We are working with Spanish families, Vietnamese families for many years ago, but the last probably 5 or 6 years, we are are having families from other countries so we need to try to help them," said Wichita Public Schools Language Department Coordinator Luis Vargas. 

The district has recently hired part-time translators in Swahali and Arabic. They also rely heavily on staff members who speak a second language.

"We have teachers for example Romanian, Italian, Portuguese, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, and different other languages so when we need to schedule a meeting with a parent with those language we can contact them," Vargas said.

Vargas said the language department also uses a translation service called Propio to talk with parents who speak a language or dialect the district does not have a translator for.

"If we communicate to the parents in their own language they are going to understand better the needs for the students, the child," he explained.

Gisel Lopez has three children in the Wichita school system. She said the translation services are pertinent to their education.

"It's helping me understand what's going on with my child. If there is anything going on or some new program or activities or field trips," explained Lopez. "If we don't know whats going on, it won't help them. If they need help with homework or any other extra activities, we won't know until they explain it to us in a form that we will understand it. Then, we will be there to support them in anyway."

Click here for information about the multilingual education services. 

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