The International Welcome Center is dedicated to the following:

    • Welcome all language-minority parents and provide them with basic information about services available to meet their students' needs.

    • Assist parents in completing documents required for compliance with OCR and Title III regulations. Key district documents are available in seven (7) languages.

    • Assess language proficiency of all newcomers using the WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT).

    • Assign students to schools based on W-APT results. Use grade placement procedures as required by state mandates.

    • Send information about tested students to schools for their permanent records and to inform planning and instruction. This process assists schools in officially documenting services provided to English language learners (ELLs) in the event of a state or federal audit.

    • Provide emergency Spanish/English or English/Spanish interpretation. In the event school personnel need to communicate orally with Spanish-speaking parents, school staff may call the International Welcome Center at (803) 212-1475 and request assistance.

    • Translate simple, non-official communications from English into Spanish (notes about field trips, school events, etc).

    • Coordinate official interpretation and translation services for school staff in most languages represented by the district ESOL families.

    • Coordinate workshops for parents on various topics. 




    Ernesto Bernal, Coordinator

    Phone: (803) 212-1475

    Email: ernesto.bernal@richlandone.org


    Alicia Arias, Bilingual Administrative Assistant

    Phone: (803) 212-1475

    Email: maria.arias@richlandone.org


    Jonathan White, ESOL Consultant

    Phone: (803) 212-1475

    Email:  jonathan.white@richlandone.org


    Xenia Nation, Data Specialist and Bilingual School Liaison

    Phone: (803) 212-1475

    Email: xenia.nation@richlandone.org 

    International Welcome Center

    2612 Covenant Road

    Columbia, SC  29204

    Phone: (803) 212-1475

    Fax: (803) 252-2951

    Operating Hours:  Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM 



    WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT)


    The WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test, or W-APT, is a state approved language proficiency test. The test has four sections: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

    Who takes the W-APT Test?


    Students who have indicated any language other than English on the Primary / Home Language Survey form and who are not bilingual, must take the W-APT within ten days of initial enrollment. 


    Documents required for taking the W-APT/WIDA test at the International Welcome Center



    If you live with another family, need to establish guardianship of a student, or cannot provide these documents for other reasons, please contact the Registrar's Office.


    1310 Lyon Street

    Columbia, SC  29204

    Phone: (803) 231-6944


    Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions section for very important information about our center, school programs, and other community resources.