ELL News Headlines

Throughout the week, Colorín Colorado gathers news headlines related to English language learners from around the country. The ELL Headlines are posted Monday through Friday and are available for free!

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In Chicago, Student 'Peace Warriors' Spread Message of Healing and Nonviolence

At his desk at North Lawndale College Prep High School, Gerald Smith keeps a small calendar that holds unimaginable grief. In its pages, the dean and student advocate writes the name of each student who's lost a family member, many of them to gun violence. And then he deploys the Peace Warriors—students who have dedicated themselves to easing the violence that pervades their world.

Survivor of Suicide Bombing in Iraq Graduates from College in Texas

Qusay Hussein was playing volleyball with friends in the Iraqi city of Mosul Aug. 3, 2006, when a car pulled up. The driver looked him in the eyes and smiled. Then he detonated. On Thursday, the 29-year-old graduated from Austin Community College in Texas with an associate's degree. And he shared his remarkable story as the keynote speaker.

Funeral Held for Santa Fe Victim Sabika Sheikh, a Pakistani Exchange Student with Dreams of Becoming a Diplomat

The funeral was about to begin, the first of 10 for the victims of the Santa Fe High School mass shooting, and the body of Sabika Sheikh was waiting at the mosque. Sabika, 17, dreamed of being a diplomat, of working to empower women. A Muslim exchange student from Karachi, Pakistan, she had come to the United States through a State Department-funded study program, excited to leave behind the dangers posed by extremists at home to experience a country that represented all that was possible.

Hamilton, Dearborn Students Connect During Tulip Time

During Tulip Time, the people of the Holland, MI area share Dutch culture with thousands of people from around the world. This year, a group of Hamilton High School students made that cultural exchange more personal, hosting a group of students from Fordson High School at their school and in their community. It's the second time the groups of students have met. Hamilton High teacher Lauren Robinson, a Dearborn native, took a group of students from her Culture in America class to Dearborn in February 2017, where they had small-group discussions with Dearborn students, visited the Arab American National Museum, had a Lebanese lunch and learned an Arab dance. The goal of these visits has been to promote cultural understanding between groups of students who come from very different environments. Hamilton Community schools is nearly 90 percent white and in a rural area, while Fordson High School is urban, mostly Arab-American and about half the student body is English language learners.

Teachers kept quitting this Indianapolis school. Here’s how the principal got them to stay

When Jeremy Baugh took the helm as principal of School 107 three years ago, a school where 38% of students are English language learners, staff turnover was so high that about half the teachers were also new to the struggling elementary campus, he said. For his first two years, the trend continued — with several teachers leaving each summer. But when he surveyed his staff this year, Baugh got some unexpected news: about 97 percent of teachers said they plan on returning. "I was thrilled," he said. Staff say the change is heavily driven by a new teacher leadership program Indianapolis Public Schools has rolled out at 15 schools. Known as opportunity culture, some teachers are paid as much as $18,300 extra per year to oversee and support several classrooms. Educators at School 107, which is also known as Lew Wallace, say opportunity culture helps retain staff in two ways: It gives new teachers, who can often feel overwhelmed, support. And, it allows experienced teachers to take on more responsibility without leaving the classroom.

More Hispanics Are Going to College and Graduating, But Disparity Persists

When Elycea Almodovar was searching for a college three years ago, she had just two criteria: It had to be diverse, and it had to have a record of actually graduating students like her — not just taking their money and letting them drop out. Salem State, the most diverse public university in her home state of Massachusetts, checked both boxes. Thanks to the efforts of schools like Salem State to recruit and support more Latino students, hire more diverse faculty and expand cultural programming, more Hispanics are going to college, and their graduation rates are rising. The bad news? This progress remains uneven. Nationwide, the proportion of Hispanics who graduate within six years is still 10 percentage points lower than the proportion of whites, according to the Education Department. The proportion who graduate in four is nearly 14 percentage points lower.

New York City is honoring 17 exceptional teachers. Here's who they are.

New York City has named 17 teachers winners of Big Apple Awards, a competitive prize that rewards 'exceptional success' in instruction, impact on student learning, and overall contributions to school communities. The winners were culled from a pool of more than 6,500 nominees. The winners include a special education teacher who had her students' artwork exhibited at MoMA, a dual language teacher who wrote her own Chinese literacy curriculum, and an early education teacher who uses an app to communicate with parents.

NYU's Storm Refugees Resisting Pressure to Return to Puerto Rico

In November 2017, nearly two months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria successively devastated the island of Puerto Rico, officials at New York University offered a small group of Puerto Rican students admittance to the world-renowned institution for one semester, granting each of the 57 evacuees escape from the unbearable trauma of devastated life back on the island. One semester later, students who say that their stay at NYU has opened up a world of opportunity both personally and professionally, face returning to a multitude of insecure and troubling circumstances in Puerto Rico. Appeals to NYU leadership for a temporary program extension have proven unsuccessful.