Who Can Enroll in School: 

  • Children between the ages of 5 and 21 have the right to attend a public school. 
  • They can stay in school until they graduate or until the year, they turn 21, whichever occurs first. 
  • 6 to 17 years is mandatory. 
  • Your child has the right to go to school regardless of his or her immigration status, or your family’s status. 
  • Federal agents, including Immigration and Customs enforcement (ICE) are not allowed to enter schools, except if required by law. 
  • DOE and school staff cannot share information about you or your child, except if required by law. 

Language Access Rights: 

  • You have the right to receive translation and interpretation services. 
  • In New York City public schools, parents who do not speak English have a right to free translation and interpretation services in order to communicate with their children’s schools and other Department of Education (DOE) offices and participate in their children’s education. Parents have the right to have their children’s school records and other important documents translated into their native language and to have interpreters available at meetings with school and DOE staff. 
  • DOE language access complaints: (718) 935-2013 or Hello@schools.nyc.gov 

In which languages are services available? 

  • Translation and interpretation must be available in the nine most common languages other than English– Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Urdu. 
  • However, all parents, including those who speak other languages, may request translation and interpretation services in their native language. 


  • Letters 
  • Forms 
  • Meeting notices 
  • Report cards 
  • Special education 
  • Documents 


  • Parent-teacher 
  • conferences 
  • IEP meetings 
  • Suspension hearings 
  • Special education 
  • hearings 
  • At any DOE office 

How do I get these services? 

  • You should request translation and interpretation services directly from the your child’s school or the DOE office that you are talking to about your child’s education. For interpretation, the DOE may provide interpretation in-person or over-the-phone. Over-the-phone interpretation is available 8am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday. 

What should I do if I am not provided translation and interpretation services? 

  • If you are not provided translation or interpretation or receive poor quality services, please call 311 or 
  • the DOE’s complaint line at (718) 935-2013. 

Parent-Teacher Conferences: 

You have the right to attend Parent-Teacher conferences with interpretation/translation provided by the DOE. 

 If you need an interpreter, let your child’s teacher know before the day of the conference. 

There are 4 conferences per school year:

  • September 
  • November 
  • March 
  • May 

Prepare questions ahead of time.

Rights of English Language Learners (ELLs) 

  • Students who speak a language other than English at home and who need support in school to learn English are called English Language Learners (ELLs). 
  • You have the right to participate in the process of identifying your child as an ELL. 
  • This process starts as soon as you enroll your child in school. 
  • Students who are ELLs must receive support until they can read, write, and speak in English. 

Your Child is an ELL. What next? 

  • If your child is an ELL, schools must offer you information about next steps.  
  • You will watch an orientation video. The video talks about the different programs available for ELLs. 
  • You have 5 days after the orientation session to fill out and return the Parent Survey and Program Selection Form. The Survey asks a series of questions. On the second page of the form, you make your ELL program selection. 

ELL Programs 

English as a New Language (ENL) 

• English Only 

• Goal is to learn English 

• Teacher does not have to speak native language 

Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) 

• Classes taught in English and native language 

• Goal is to learn English 

• At first, use native language to learn English 

• Then eventually no longer use native language 

Dual Language (DL) 

• Bilingual 

• Classes taught in both English and native language 

• Goal is for student to be bilingual 

Meeting for Parents of ELLs: 

  • School staff familiar with your child’s work must meet with you at least once a year. 
  •  Parents can request interpretation/translation services for this meeting. 
  •  School will address student’s English language progress and needs. 
  • This meeting is in addition to parent-teacher conferences and other scheduled meetings at the child’s school! 

ELLs with Disabilities: 

  • IDEA: law that protects students with disabilities 
  • Schools must give students with disabilities a free education that 
  • is appropriate 
  • ELL Students with disabilities have the right an appropriate education and to ELL academic services 
  • ELL students with disabilities have the right to receive bilingual special education 

What is bilingual special education? 

  • Services provided to students who are ELLs and also have disabilities 
  • Bilingual evaluations 
  • Bilingual special education classrooms 
  • Bilingual related services 

Resolving Problems At School 

  1. Parent Coordinator 
  1. Language Access Coordinator 
  1. Teacher 

Resolving Problems – Outside of School 

  1. Superintendent’s Office 
  1. Family Support Coordinator or District Family Advocate 
  1. Borough Offices 
  1. Director of English Language Learners 
  1. Translation and Interpretation 
  1. (718) 935-2013 or Hello@schools.nyc.gov 

Language Access Resources:

• Hello page :


• Language Access Policy:


• Parents Bill of Rights: