Not too long ago, I picked up my 3-year-old at day care and received a free DVD of a show I'd never heard of, called <em>Super WHY</em>. My son loved it. The animated characters on <em>Super WHY</em> all have special powers. They spell, sound out words, read simple sentences and jump inside books and look for answers to questions they have. It turns out the free DVD was part of a major initiative by the Department of Education and PBS.
From the "Learning the Language" blog: Don't miss <em>The New York Times</em> story about Henry Cejudo, who won the 121-pound freestyle wrestling final yesterday in the Olympics. His mom entered the United States illegally from Mexico and struggled over the years to put food on the table for her seven children.
New Jersey's Red Bank Public School District will offer preschool teachers training to become ESL certified to meet the needs of students in its expanded preschool program. At the preschool level, about 40 percent of students in the district are eligible for bilingual and ESL services, according to Laura Morana, superintendent of schools.
Before your child is even fully potty trained, he or she could be learning a second language. That's the central idea behind Su Escuela, the Spanish language immersion center in Cohasset, MA, where children as young as two years old can begin to absorb and learn another language. Sandra Baldeón, founder and director of Su Escuela, speaks passionately about the importance of being bilingual — or even multi-lingual — in today's increasingly global society.
The ability to speak multiple languages often helps to distinguish a job applicant over other candidates. To highlight the importance of language skills in a competitive work force, a new program at California's Ventura Unified School District will recognize high school students who have mastered two or more languages. Seniors will receive a "multilingual recognition" seal on their diplomas next June if they have demonstrated they are show proficiency in English and another language. Educators said the multilingual seal not only will recognize English speakers who have mastered another language, but also English-as-a-second language students who have maintained their native language while mastering English.
According to the Curriculum Director of Arizona's Casa Grande Elementary School District, Barbara Wright, only 21 percent of the district's kindergarteners arrived in August 2007 with the skills they needed to do well, as measured by the Dynamic Indicators of Basic English Language Skills. By May, however, 92 percent of them were ready to move into first grade with the skills they needed to be successful. Wright attributes the students' success to their participation in an all-day kindergarten program.
Earlier this month, two-year-old Cosette Milla participated in a 12-week language Spanish-language immersion preschool camp near her home in Lake Oswego, OR. It's been a learning experience for both Cosette, who cried frequently her first week, and her monolingual mother, Shannon, who had to find ways to communicate with the Spanish-speaking teacher. Everyone seems to have adjusted, however. "Now when we drop her off she is so excited and happy to be there. She loves her teacher, the helpers and her friends," said Shannon.
In a city where more than 170 languages are spoken and over a third of residents are foreign-born, scores of New York public school students struggle to learn English. They are known as English-language learners (ELLs). At a press conference in early August, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in a celebratory tone that the city's four-year high school graduation has risen to 55.8 percent, while the dropout rate has decreased to 14.7 percent. The number for the ELLs, however, did not come close to that.
A one-of-a-kind enrichment program for a group of first-generation English language learners from Central and South America, Africa, and Asia is underway this week at Berkshire Community College in Massachusetts. During their week at BCC, the students are participating in various academic and social activities designed to enhance their language and math skills, and to foster team spirit and a sense of community. Central to the week's activities and training is a technological literacy component.
When students in Illinois' Elgin Area School District U-46 go back to class on Aug. 27, they will meet a new superintendent — José Torres, the district's first Latino superintendent and one of only two in Illinois, according to current State Board of Education records. In a conversation with <em>Reflejos</em>, the <em>Daily Herald</em>'s Spanish-language publication, Torres answered questions about Latino students' poor performance on standardized tests, how long students should stay in bilingual education, and the strengths of Latino students and families.