Stanford GSE program provides school interpreting in rural district

gse-wordmark-web-red-blackOctober 22, 2015
By Brooke Donald
To close a language gap between parents and teachers, a community initiative draws on the GSE’s bilingual talents.

María Guzmán nodded that she understood when her son’s social studies teacher asked about GPA and test scores during the spring parent-teacher conference at Pescadero Middle School. But her face wasn’t convincing: a nervous smile, eyes glancing down and away, cheeks slightly flushed.

Picking up the cues, Efraín Brito, a PhD student at Stanford Graduate School of Education who was seated just to Guzmán’s right, asked her again, this time in her native Spanish, adding in the same breath a reassuring explanation about where her son stood compared to other students in the district.

“Ah,” Guzmán smiled, looking relieved now that she knew her son was actually a high performer in reading. “I understood about 70 percent but I didn’t really follow how he compared. Now, it’s clear,” she told Brito in Spanish.

Brito, a school/community interpreter, was at the table thanks to the Stanford-Pescadero School Community Interpretation Project, a research and practice initiative started by GSE Professor Guadalupe Valdés in response to a request from Suzanne Abel, then Academic Director of the nonprofit Puente de la Costa Sur, and school Principal Pat Talbot of the La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District. Read more at