A group of students standing in line and smiling

In Southern Indiana, where the charm of rural landscapes meets the aspirations of a vibrant community, South Harrison Community School Corporation is making waves in its commitment to inclusive education. At the heart of this initiative is the English-Language Learner (ELL) program, spearheaded by the dynamic duo of Dane Carter and Liliana Retama.

Dane, with his strong background in Spanish, and Liliana, hailing from the local Spanish community herself, bring a unique blend of cultural understanding and linguistic expertise to the program. Their roles are as diverse as the students they serve, and each day presents new challenges and triumphs.

In the elementary schools, Dane and Liliana are on the front lines, focusing on the foundational pillars of literacy and reading. Whether engaging in one-on-one sessions tailored to individual needs or orchestrating group activities, their dedication is unwavering. Some students, navigating the complexities of college and job applications, find invaluable support in these two. Beyond the school walls, Dane and Liliana extend their reach, making home visits to build strong relationships with families, building the bridge between home and school and supporting student success.

As students progress through the upper-grade levels, the learning gap created by language barriers becomes more pronounced. Dane and Liliana collaborate closely with teachers, carving out a middle ground and establishing mini goals for students to achieve. For example, math is extremely difficult for most ELL students. While teachers may want students to be at a certain level, Dane, Liliana and the teacher come together to see what benchmarks can be put in place to track a student’s progress and show their improvement. It's a collaborative effort to bridge the divide and empower these students to overcome linguistic obstacles.

With over 50 students enrolled in the ELL program at SHCSC, the numbers may seem modest, but the commitment is immense. Each student in this program represents a unique story, a journey of perseverance, and a testament to the school's dedication to ensuring success for all. It's about breaking down barriers, building bridges, and fostering a community where every student can thrive. Dane and Liliana's tireless efforts embody the spirit of inclusivity that defines SHCSC, making it a shining example for schools across Indiana and beyond.