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Criteria raised for school translators, new ways to teach foreign languages rolled out

Parents with limited English skills will now have a specific translator to help them during IEP meetings, or commonly known as Individualized Education Programs.

It can be hard to understand because there is extensive testing for students to even fall into IEP criteria. The process can be confusing, even for English-speaking parents.

“If you have a different language that you’re trying to work through it makes it even more difficult,” Lora Haas, director at Special Education Association of Peoria County (SEAPCO) said. “What I imagine this will do is hopefully give a little training to those people on some of the vocabulary or some of the processes so they know what they are getting into.”

“There is a lot of legal information, a lot of things that are discussed about the learning environment and the type of goals set for children for learning,” ELL coordinator for Peoria Public Schools, Anna Rose, said. “And if the parent doesn’t understand what the child is going to be placed in, it might not be the best decision for them.”

But there are also new changes coming to the curriculum for bilingual literacy.

Now, students who are monolingual will also be taught to speak a second language in a new way to promote fluency in both. This is due to new methods from the Illinois Board of Education. The Illinois Learning Standards for world languages promote cultural understanding, as well as language proficiency.

“Research shows that students that are learning two languages really use their brain to the captivity that they become critical thinkers, problem solvers improved memory skills,” Rose explained.

Both plans working to help students get the best education possible.

For more information on the board’s new learning standards, visit

Stephanie Rodriguez

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