February Team Spotlight

Judy Pickens & Rosa Ramirez

Interpreters & Community Liaisons for Redmond School District

February’s Redmond School District Team Spotlight is a feature on two very special individuals who serve as a critical link with Latino students and families. Judy Pickens and Rosa Ramirez serve as Interpreters & Community Liaisons, serving all of the district’s schools.

Judy and Rosa work to ensure that all RSD staff are supported in their communications needs with Spanish speaking families in the district.  Once a staff member has identified a need for communication and developed their message, they contact Judy and Rosa, who then work to interpret the message to parents and families.

From phone calls about attendance to parent-teacher conferences, they play crucial roles in bridging the cultural and communication gap for Spanish speaking households.  Their work revolves around building relationships with families by helping them understand what is going on in their student’s classroom and school.

“We can prevent a lot of issues just with communication,” Judy shares.  “If a teacher contacts us early about a student whose homework assignments have been missing, we can immediately begin that conversation and awareness with parents.”

Both Judy and Rosa work to meet a large array of needs for the district.  In partnership with staff, they relay important messages about upcoming events such as conferences, field trips and assemblies.  They also serve as interpreters during important parent meetings, expulsion hearings and other emotionally intense situations for families.

Examples of scenarios when staff will request interpreter services:

  • Attendance issues
  • Missing homework assignments
  • Upcoming field trips
  • Upcoming conferences
  • Project or assignment due dates
  • Communicating rules or guidelines
  • IEP meetings with parents

“The district has made efforts in the past few years to ensure that the voices of the language minority parents are being heard,” shares Judy.  “RSD is responding to the needs of all parents and in turn we’re seeing greater parent involvement in their student’s education.  Walk into any of the elementary schools and you’ll see language minority parent volunteers, parents are coming to parent events and meetings because they know the district cares enough to have interpreters.  This is so good for our students!”

It is important that our Spanish speaking families feel welcomed in the district. Most Latino cultures value verbal communication and for many, trust is developed by the spoken word.  By using Rosa and Judy’s talents, we can help close the achievement gap that may be caused by language barriers.  Both Rosa and Judy claim that when teachers or staff are proactive about communicating with parents about a student’s performance, the results are more positive in helping the student succeed in the long term.

“Judy and Rosa are invaluable ambassadors for the district,” shared Mike McIntosh, Superintendent. “The comfort and relationships they develop with families is key to breaking down the barriers that exist around language differences.  We are so incredibly proud of the work they do!”

Thank you, Judy & Rosa, for your dedication to the district, to our students and their families!  We are honored to have you on our team!