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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Miami Seeks Graduation-Test Waiver for Hurricane-Displaced Students

The superintendent of the Miami-Dade schools plans to ask Florida officials to let students who fled Hurricane Maria skip the state exams that are required for graduation. Alberto M. Carvalho told board members at a meeting last month that he would request a testing waiver from the state of Florida. If granted, that waiver would allow about 90 11th and 12th grade students to skip the Florida Standards Assessments, which students must pass to earn diplomas.

DACA Student Receives National Honors Award

Omar Salinas Chacón, senior political science and Spanish major and DACA student, was named Student of the Year by the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) at its national conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference lasted from Nov. 8 to 12 and was Salinas Chacón's fourth in a row in which he gave a presentation as part of a panel within the diversity thread.

EL Paraprofessionals a First for District

With one-time funding through the emergency levy passed at the start of the school year, district officials hired two English Language paraprofessionals at Teton High School to support close to 50 ESL students. ESL or English as a Second Language students at the high school is a focused need for teachers, said Lisie Smith, head of the teacher's association and these two paraprofessionals were important educational gap to fill this year.

Here's What the Senate Tax Bill Means For Schools, Parents and Students

The Senate tax bill that passed in the wee hours of Saturday morning could have massive implications for schools and universities, students and parents. Public education advocates warned that certain provisions could put pressure on state and local spending for public schools while giving parents incentives to send children to private schools.

'Escape from Syria' by Samya Kullab | SLJ Review

"Amina is one of millions of people affected by the ongoing Syrian conflict. Following a vicious attack in their home neighborhood, the teen and her family struggle to find normalcy amid the political chaos. They join the ranks of refugees fleeing for survival, traveling through Syria, Lebanon, and ultimately Canada. This is a collaborative masterpiece: Kullab, a reporter who has an extensive background covering conflicts in Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq, has teamed up with cartoonist Roche to deliver this emotional narrative… this is a must-purchase for any teen or adult graphic novel collection."

Teaching Parents the Right 'Questions to Ask' in Schools

It's been a long work day, but two dozen parents have come straight from their jobs in the orchards and packing plants to this classroom in their children's high school. They want their questions answered. In Spanish, they're firing off queries at the associate principal. Three months ago, these parents understood little about their school. Nearly all are from Mexico, many with little formal education. They come from countries where the schools work differently. But after a nine-week training program, they're brimming with information and new power. And their questions keep coming.

Volunteer Spotlight: John Bachmann teaches English to Syrian refugees

John Bachmann, 55, of Montclair, volunteers two hours every Wednesday evening, teaching English as a Second Language to Syrian refugees at NJ Rebuild's Program (gera-ngo.org/esl), a nonprofit organization based in Wayne. Bachmann has been volunteering since September. The program is sponsored by GERA (Global Emergency Response and Assistance) located in Paterson, (also at gera-ngo.org). The word “gera” means neighbor in Arabic. Bachmann said he is among approximately a half dozen Montclair residents who also give of their time at the program, and that he was inspired to volunteer by his parents' story; they came from West Berlin, Germany and were sponsored by strangers. They spoke very little English. "By the help of people here, they found their way," he says.

Enriching Academic Vocabulary: Strategies for Teaching Tier Two Words to E.L.L. Students

Yes, the vocabulary in New York Times articles can be challenging, and teachers of English language learners may assume it’s too hard for their students. But Larry Ferlazzo, who writes regularly about how he uses The Times in his E.L.L. classroom, has taught with articles on everything from climate change to Valentine’s Day, and he has a few tips to share.

Baltimore Library Project Renovates 14th School Library

Fourteen libraries in the Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) have now been renovated with new designs and furniture, expanded collections, and updated technology as part of a partnership with the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

Massachusetts Law Paves the Way for More Bilingual Education

New legislation has paved the way to allow Massachusetts schools to teach English-language learners in their native language while they learn English. Gov. Charlie Baker signed the legislation that effectively overturns the state's 15-year-old law that eliminated bilingual education from most public schools. With the passage of the Massachusetts law, Arizona is now the only state with English-only immersion education mandates written into law, but the state offers schools more choices.