Tulsa Public Schools To Hold Language & Cultural Service Summit

Monday, July 26th 2021, 9:34 pm
By: Ashlyn Brothers

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Ahead of the fall semester, teachers with Tulsa Public Schools said they’re dedicated to serving the entire student body.

The district held its annual Language and Cultural Services Summit Monday, supporting Native American students and students learning English.

More than one in three TPS students speak English as a second language, and more than 75% of the entire Tulsa student body is a race other than white. Educators said the district's practices should reflect this.

Blanca Delgado wants desperately to be a part of her kids' lives, including their education. However, language is a barrier for Delgado. While her kids learned English at an early age, it's a work in progress for her.  

"It takes time, you know,” Delgado said  

Delgado's daughter graduated in the spring from Tulsa Public Schools and her two sons go to Felicitas Mendez International School.  

“I need support. I need someone to translate. We have to go and ask because kind of hard and I didn't understand anything what they say,” Delgado said.  

More than 40 educators are taking part in the TPS Language and Cultural Services Summit. The series of workshops is helping teachers grow their skillset to better support students of all races and ethnicities. The district's Executive Director of Language and Cultural Services said students in TPS speak 72 different languages.  

"They're here for the kids and they want to do their best for the kids, and they recognize that we're all lifelong learners,” Lauren Grisso said.  

These sessions cover a wide scope of topics like understanding different cultures, immigration, and embracing students' heritage.

Machelle Diemart, an English Language Development teacher, led a discussion Monday on collaboration and believes success starts with developing relationships.  

"Building a safe space where they know that teacher, and they know that they're going to do everything in their power to help them - that goes a long way,” Diemart said.  

Delgado said her hope is for more resources and more communication.  

“We want to parents be more comfortable to be participate in schools and their kids' education," Delgado said.  

 For more information, visit the Cultural Services Summit page here.