WACO, Texas (FOX 44/KWKT) — South Waco Elementary holds a large population of students with culturally diverse backgrounds.

According to Emergent Bilingual Coordinator Cathleen Rooney, embracing different cultures is a big part of what they do.

“We have over 30 languages that are spoken in our district, and a lot of people don’t realize that here at South Waco alone, we have French, Arabic and Spanish, among many others that are spoken. So, we also have in our district, we have hired many multilingual teachers that we have that help these students out,” shares Rooney.

Rooney also says in the event that worldly matters like the Gaza-Israel War affect a student’s education, they won’t shy away from addressing their concerns.

“We’re just ensuring that all children and all students in all cultures are feeling valued at this. At this campus, and in all campuses that we have. I’m encouraging the students and the teachers to have an open mind with students at all times,” shares Rooney.

And the way educators ensure their students are looked after on the day-to-day, according to South Waco Elementary Councilor Vanessa Cleere, “Any time anything goes on at home or in school, [students] know that they can come to us. They can let their teacher know, or just come to us and have a moment. We have safe places in our classrooms, and in our Council offices, so they can just come and have a minute. We have different types of tactics that we use.”

Cleere adds that they just want their students to feel safe and happy when they walk through the doors every day.