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Elena Key teaches Daniel, 8, how to multiply by nine.

Elena Key teaches Daniel, 8, how to multiply by nine.

Ellie Branson

Elena Key teaches Daniel, 8, how to multiply by nine.

Ellie Branson

Ellie Branson

Elena Key teaches Daniel, 8, how to multiply by nine.

Back to Basics

SBHS Hispanic students help tutor the next generation.

Ellie Branson
Kids run to hug Camila as she arrives.

Ellie Branson
Alex tries to make sense of Elena’s ID at recess.

Ellie Branson
Camila eating lunch along with her students.

Ellie Branson
Alex and Elena play Patty Cake after lunch.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday, SBHS students go back to their ABC’s. No, it’s not credit recovery. It’s the Latino In Actions (LIA) tutoring program. Once a week, students in Mr. Rodriguez’s class go to a local elementary school and tutor students in subjects such as math and reading.

Along with academics, they help the elementary students grow socially. This program creates connections with the mentors, LIA students, and the elementary students. They gradually become more open to other people as their confidence grows through the support from their mentors.

Dressed in grey polo shirt and ID present, SBHS students are ready to board the bus for their five minute journey to their local elementary school. Upon their arrival, they go into the cafeteria to eat lunch when they hear the screams of joy from the students.

“The big kids are here!” the Dania Elementary Students scream as the LIA students come into the cafeteria.

But, in order to be a mentor, there are two important aspects that must be fulfilled. Academically, the student must have high grades, good attendance, and be able to take advantage of opportunities. Morally, one must be able to be a good role model and able to connect with the students.

The LIA program uses two different methods when tutoring students: the push in and the push out. SBHS uses the push in method. The mentors go into the class of their students and work beside the teacher to a make a comfortable environment without disrupting the education taking place.

This school year, the administration of the program was passed completely into hands of Ms.Itzkowitz, class of 2021 Administrator and Head Coordinator for the LIA program at SBHS.

“Since I am a Latina, I thought I would be the perfect one for this,” she said.

In 2001, the Latinos in Action (LIA)  program was founded in Timpview High School in Provo, Utah. Founded by Dr.Jose Enrique. Seventeen years later, 164 schools partake in this program, including South Broward.

SBHS has two classes this year, the third period class goes to Oakridge Elementary and the 7th period to Dania Elementary. Meeting Mr.Rodriguez’s goal of adding a class each year. Fifty students enrolled and a list of many more eagerly waiting to be placed in the classes.

“I love the program, the kids love the program,” said Mr.Rodriguez, the teacher in charge of the LIA classes as SBHS.

Not only are the elementary students benefiting from the program, so are the LIA members. They consistently gain real life experience that can help them in the future. Experiences such as helping their community in a way that not many others can do, which gives them an advantage in life.

“[being a] successful Latino, it looks great on your college application,” said Ms. Itzkowitz. “I wish I had something like this in high school,  I wanted to be in something like that [LIA].”

Each year the program continues to grow nation wide, along with the opportunities and joy that comes with it.

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