4218 Policy – Language Access Plan

Bellingham Public Schools is committed to meaningful, two-way communication and promoting access to district programs, services and activities for students and parents with limited English proficiency (LEP) free of charge. To that end, the district maintains a language access plan tailored to the district’s current LEP parent population.

The district’s language access plan is documented in the procedure that accompanies this policy and addresses:

Parent Identification 

The district will accurately and in a timely manner identify LEP parents and provide them information regarding the language service resources available within the district.

Oral Interpretation

The district will take reasonable steps to provide LEP parents competent oral interpretation of materials or information about any program, service, and activity provided to non- LEP parents and to facilitate any interaction with district staff significant to the student’s education. The district will provide such services upon request of the LEP parent(s) and/or when it may be reasonably anticipated by district staff that such services will be necessary.

Written Translation

The district will provide a written translation or oral interpretation of vital district-wide documents for each LEP group that constitutes at least 5 percent of the district’s total parent population or 1,000 persons, whichever is less. For purposes of this policy, “vital documents” include, but are not limited to, those related to:

  • school registration;
  • academic standards and student performance;
  • safety, discipline, and conduct expectations;
  • special education and related services, Section 504 information, and McKinney-Vento services;
  • policies and procedures related to school attendance;
  • requests for parent permission in activities or programs;
  • student/parent handbook;
  • the district’s Language Access Plan and related services or resources available;
  • nondiscrimination notices;
  • parent-teacher conferences;
  • Highly Capable Learners services;
  • school closure information; and
  • other documents notifying parents of their rights under applicable state laws and/or containing information or forms related to consent or filing complaints under federal law, state law, or district policy.

If the district is unable to translate a vital document due to resource limitations or if a small number of families require the information in a language other than English such that document translation is unreasonable, the district will still provide the information to parents in a language they can understand through competent oral interpretation.

Staff Guidance

All school administrators, particularly those who have the most interaction with the public such as registrars and enrollment staff, certificated staff and other appropriate staff as determined by the superintendent, will receive guidance on meaningful communication with LEP parents, best practices for working with an interpreter, how to access an interpreter or translation services in a timely manner, language services available within the district and other information deemed necessary by the superintendent to effectuate the language access plan.

Appropriate district staff, as determined by the superintendent, will also receive guidance on the interaction between this policy and the district’s policy on effective communication with students, families, and community members with disabilities.

The superintendent is authorized to establish procedures and practices for implementing this policy.

Approved By: Greg Baker, Superintendent
Adopted/Previous Revisions: 07/26/18
Updated: 07/26/18
Superintendent or Board Approved: Superintendent Approved
Cross References: Content

Policy 3210 – Nondiscrimination
Policy 4129 – Family Involvement
Policy 4217 – Effective Communication

Legal References: Content

Chapter 28A.642 RCW Discrimination prohibition
Chapter 49.60 RCW Discrimination – Human Rights Commission
Chapter 392-400 WAC Pupils
WAC 392-400-215 Student rights
Chapter 392-190 WAC Equal Educational Opportunity—Unlawful Discrimination Prohibited
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Management Resources: Content

2016 – July Issue
OSPI website: Interpretation and Translation Services