For many years, the second most-commonly spoken language among HISD students who were learning English (after Spanish) was Vietnamese.
But a recent influx of families from the Middle East has resulted in a surge of youngsters whose first language is Arabic—and that shift has resulted in a number of changes in HISD.
In December of 2012, for instance, the district hired its first-ever Arabic translator, Assim Omran, to provide interpretative assistance during parent-teacher conferences, community events, and Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) meetings. It also began translating documents such as the Code of Student Conduct, HISD ReCONNECT (formerly “Welcome to HISD” or “Back-to-School”), and STAAR communications into Arabic.
“Right now, he’s doing lots of interpretations for families and students at Bonham ES, Revere MS, Lee HS, and Westside HS,” said Manager of Translation Services Liliana McKean. “He also translated the International Baccalaureate @home materials for Twain Elementary.” Continue reading