DeKalb County Schools announces a dramatic breakthrough in communication with parents, guardians, and families of nearly 22,000 students whose Primary Home Language is Other Than English (PHLOTE).

The District recently purchased 200 cutting edge ELSA™ (Enabling Language Service Anywhere) devices to be used by DeKalb County teachers, counselors, administrators, and staff. These devices will allow nearly instantaneous live conversations with translators fluent in each of the District’s 144 native languages.

“One of the strengths of the DeKalb County School District is its rich diversity as embodied in the thousands of students who speak a language other than English,” said Superintendent Michael Thurmond. “The use of this new technology will allow us to communicate more clearly and effectively with parents and guardians who are the key to a student academic growth and success.”

“The DeKalb International Welcome Center processes more than 2,000 students annually for registration in the DeKalb County School District,” said Ms. Sandra Nunez, Center Director. “These devices will allow us to improve our customer service and support the academic success, safety, and well-being of our 22,000 PHLOTE students in schools throughout the District.”

Manufactured by Minnesota-based RTT Mobile Interpretation, ELSA™ devices employ cellular technology to directly connect District employees to highly skilled interpreters specifically trained to facilitate discussions between individuals of differing languages. Lightweight and completely hands-free, these devices enable nearly “word-for-word” conversations between participants. Further, their 3-way calling capabilities extend communication beyond classrooms and administrative offices – even to individuals who cannot be physically present at the location of the discussion.