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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Spanish Reading Club Helps Youngsters, Builds Bonds

Elementary-age Spanish speaking students spend much of their school day trying to build their English vocabulary and follow along in class. But for one afternoon each week, about 40 of those students in Washington state's Nooksack Valley School District are encouraged to speak and read in nothing but Spanish. In October, the district launched Club de Lectura, an after-school Spanish reading club for students who are part of the English Language Learners programs at two elementary schools.

Opinion: Retesting Ex-ELLs Is Wasteful

Arizona is facing a billion-dollar shortfall in the state budget. Consequently, lawmakers are diligently seeking ways to trim extra expenses. One provision within the newly adopted English-language-learner law that is wasting state funds is the reassessment of students for two years after they have tested out of the English-learner program.

Northern Virginia Schools Hit With Cost Of School Migration

Hundreds of foreign-born families have pulled their children from Virginia's Prince William County public schools and enrolled them in nearby Fairfax County, Arlington County, and Alexandria since the start of the school year, imposing a new financial burden on those inner suburbs in a time of lean budgets. The school-to-school migration within Northern Virginia started just as Prince William began implementing rules to deny some services to illegal immigrants and require police to check the immigration status of crime suspects thought to be in the country illegally.

Where Pell Falls Short

In the last year, Republicans and Democrats embraced budget plans to provide more funds for Pell Grants, and elite colleges captured considerable attention with a flurry of plans to expand aid to students. But a report being released today has a sober message: For the students at the bottom of the income ladder, all of these well meaning changes have failed to make a dent in underlying problems. The report, "Window of Opportunity: Targeting Federal Grant Aid to Students With the Lowest Incomes," that the way grants are awarded needs to change in ways that would favor the students from the poorest families.

New ELL Kindergarten Class Pays Off in Illinois District

The first year of full-day kindergarten is winding down at an Illinois school district. But an even more audacious program is winding down right along with it: The first year of a full-day English language learner kindergarten class. For the first time, kindergartners who need additional help speaking English are with others facing the same hurdles. Not everyone was confident that the results of the program would be this beneficial, officials admit. But they're sure confident now, and they say that the results could be seen quickly.

Libraries to Celebrate El día de los niños

Illinois' Gail Borden Public Library will join hundreds of libraries across the nation in celebrating El día de los niños/El día de los libros, which honors the child and reading and emphasizes literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

School to Expand Dual Language Program

A dual-language program will be introduced at Illinois' Ellis Middle School next August, district officials said this week. The program, which now exists solely at an elementary school, was established seven years ago, splitting a select group of school days and subjects between Spanish and English. Parents have long urged the district to expand the program, citing test score improvements, confident kids and a multicultural atmosphere. High test scores from dual language students helped bump the elementary school off the state's academic warning list in 2005, and it has not returned.

Shakira Lobbies Congress on Education for Poor

The hip-shaking Colombian pop star Shakira was in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for an unlikely reason. She wasn't here to put on a concert, but rather to lobby Congress to endorse bipartisan legislation that would help pay for education for the 72 million children worldwide who are too poor to go to school. "I grew up in a country where unfortunately education is sometimes seen as a luxury, as a privilege, and not as a human right," she says. "This always bothered me. So this is personal to me. In the developing world, people who are born poor will die poor, and that is because of the lack of opportunities, opportunities that come from education. Education can actually save lives."

California Students Log Improvement in English Fluency

One-third of California's 1.4 million non-native students demonstrated enough English fluency this year to gain access to higher-level and college-prep course work, a modest improvement over last year, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Education. Increasing limited-English-speaking students' access to more rigorous classes and decreasing the achievement gap between these students and their native classmates are "moral" and "economic" imperatives, said Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell.

Report Spurs Oregon District to Work on English Learners

Oregon's West Linn-Wilsonville School District got a few dings from the state in March after a review of its federally funded program for students learning to speak English. The three findings for the Title III program included improving some teachers' understanding of the criteria for students to enter and exit the program, adding teacher training to better instruct students who struggle with English, and ensuring use of district-adopted curriculum to teach the students.