Omaha district hires high school students as interpreters

Posted at 5:40 PM, Oct 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-30 18:40:27-04

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Public schools in Nebraska's largest city are facing staff shortages and have turned to bilingual high school students to interpret when families talk with teachers during report card conferences.

The Omaha school district has some full-time bilingual liaisons, but students and their families speak more than 100 different languages, and more than 18,000 students have received services for limited English speakers at some time while in the district.

Lisa Utterback, the district’s chief student and community services officer, told the Omaha World-Herald that the district has about 20 students contracted as interpreters. The students are paid $18 an hour to help with middle and elementary school conferences.