Education
6:33 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Austin Schools Respond to Asian Influx

Asians and Asian-Americans will outnumber African-Americans in Austin over next several years, according to city estimates based on new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. The Austin Independent School District, where students speak 86 languages, is working to accommodate changing demographics.

Overall, AISD reaches out to non-English-speaking parents and students by providing translators and handouts printed in multiple languages. Individual schools provide additional services. Many Vietnamese are moving to North Austin, where Summitt Elementary School has a dual-language Vietnamese program.

Principal Deirdre Standish says the school provides English classes to parents, Vietnamese cultural days and more.

“They start creating a buddy system so our kids who don’t speak English have a way to start making friends, and that flows over to our parents,” Standish said.

The school has at least one teacher in each grade who speaks Vietnamese fluently. It also posts every sign in English, Vietnamese and Spanish.

At Davis Elementary, the number of Asian students has increased 10 percent over the past decade. Most of them are Korean. Principal Jenny Daniels says they hired a Korean translator to work with those students.

“She’s able to provide support to students in classroom and pull them out of the classroom for small-group instruction and just help them assimilate to the culture of the school and the region,” Daniels said.