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English Learners

Latino student smiling with a thumbs up

ECS English Learner Program

Elkhart's English Learner (EL) Program serves as an advocate for all language minority students. We are committed to fostering the acquisition of the English language skills necessary for full transition into a regular academic program and participation in the total school community. We are dedicated to providing programs, practices, and services which reflect the changing educational and cultural needs of our students.

Elkhart Community Schools values ALL students and families. 

  • What is the goal for English Learners? 
    • English Learners acquire English and academic skills within content-area classes ultimately leading to graduation and success while maintaining their first language and recognizing the value of multiple cultures.
  • What is the Identification and Instructional Process for English Learners?
    1. Complete registration with the district
    2. Home Language Survey
    3. WIDA screener
    4. Scores: Parent/Guardian notification of result & Individual Learning Plan (ILP) are created
    5. WIDA ACCESS annual testing
    6. Monitored for two years after reaching English Proficiency Level 5.

Detailed EL Identification and Instructional Process

In Elkhart...

29 Countries - 32 Languages - 2,281 English Learners - 3,485 Multilingual Students

Visual graph representing the number of multilingual learners at ECS by school year.

In the Classroom...

Visual representation of the following statistic: 5 out of 25 students are EL Students
Over 99% of our teachers in the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model.
We also employ 28 English Language teachers,  and have an additional 27 classroom teachers who have added an EL license to su


Headshot of Rhiannon Harrison, Director of English Learners

Rhiannon Harrison,
Director of English Learners


Rhiannon Harrison was raised in Elkhart and graduated from Elkhart Central High School. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education & TESOL and a Master's in Educational Administration. She taught ESL (English as a Second Language) at her alma mater, Elkhart Central, for 12 years before beginning her career in administration. She was Academic Dean at Riverview Elementary School and Assistant Principal at Elkhart Central High School. Then, she became a District EL Coach. Currently, she serves our community as the Director of English Learners. She has dedicated her career to serving English Learners and their families because she feels that supporting ALL learners strengthens our community. Rhiannon is married to Dr. Jason Harrison who is an independent consultant, and they have three children: Mariella, Ellie, and Micah.

Headshot of Ana Palacios, Bilingual EL Secretary

Anaruth Palacios,
Bilingual Secretary to the Director of English Learners


Headshot of Laura Ebbens, District EL Coach

Laura Christophel,
District EL Coach