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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Celebration Highlights ELL Achievements

An Oregon elementary school held an English Language Learners celebration last week for hundreds of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and children from such nations as Mexico, Vietnam, and Russia. About 45 percent of the students in Harold Oliver Primary and Intermediate come from families whose first language is not English. One mother from Vietnam said about her daughter's participation, "I very like seeing her in school here."

California's Economy Needs More College-Educated Latinos

California faces a major economic crisis: a shortage of four-year college graduates. The state stands to produce too few graduates to fuel its cutting-edge service economy, mainly because not enough Latinos attend and complete college. As the student population of California becomes increasingly Latino, these numbers bode badly for the state's economy.

Opinion: Republicans Prefer Top Court Fight to Fair ELL Law

State schools Superintendent Tom Horne would rather appeal a 16-year-old lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court than do right by Arizona kids who are trying to learn English. That's the stubborn response to a federal appeals court ruling Friday that deemed our English-language learning, or ELL, law to be flawed but easily reparable with just two changes.

Leading by Example

After the last bell has rung and most students have left school for the day, nearly 30 students crowd a classroom at Washington's Walla Walla High School, where the walls are decorated with colorful paper flags and announcements written in Spanish.
Each Tuesday, the teens in the school's Latino Club meet and cover a range of topics, like hearing from a guest speaker on how to get into college; doing hands-on work on their senior culminating projects; or preparing to attend a youth leadership convention in Olympia and Tacoma geared for Latino students. The club's current officers describe the club's purpose as getting Latinos thinking about and preparing for higher education.

Immigration Laws Send Hispanics Elsewhere

Thousands of illegal immigrants have fled the two states that have enacted tough new immigration laws similar to the one before the Indiana General Assembly. Since passing their laws, Oklahoma and Arizona have seen declines in school enrollments, a scarcity of construction workers, and the sudden emptying of rental homes and apartments. The same, some people say, would happen in Indiana, though advocates of stronger immigration laws say they would welcome the change.

For Years, Her Instruction Has Helped Immigrants Assimilate

A sign at the Bedford library stopped Mary Griffitts in her tracks in 1989. It read "Sign-up: Training for ESL classes." For Griffitts, it was a challenge. "I had always felt that if you lived in this country, that you should learn English," Griffitts said. "At that time I thought, 'Well it's now time for me to put up or shut up.'" With no teaching background, Griffitts took the training class and has now been a volunteer ESL teacher for 18 years.

At Mall, Multilingual Outreach

A kiosk at a Maryland shopping mall offers a multilingual assortment of pamphlets addressing everything from how to help your child with homework to how to sign up for news alert e-mails in Spanish or French. This is the face of today's parent outreach. School systems trying to adapt to increasingly diverse student populations are starting GED classes in Spanish for parents, holding workshops to explain concepts such as physical education and PTAs, and translating their handouts into an assortment of languages including Vietnamese and Urdu.

Commentary: Why After-School Programs Are a Powerful Resource for ELLs

In this commentary piece, Claudia Weisburd, executive director of the Center for Afterschool Education at Foundations Inc., discusses the learning opportunities that after-school programs provide ELLs. She writes, "After-school programs are well placed to partner with schools to address these challenges…With its informal environment, learner-centered and project-based approaches, homework time, lower student-to-staff ratios, and greater interaction with parents, after-school offers richly different language-learning opportunities that complement ELL teaching and learning during the school day."

Teacher Swims With the Fishes for Her Students

Abbe Harman dangled her purple flippers just above the sea-foam water as dozens of string rays, a three-flippered turtle, and a blind zebra shark glided beneath her. After some adjusting, she pulled down her white-rimmed face mask and plopped in to the 260,000 gallon tank at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, kicking gently toward a concrete observation deck where four classes of third graders were waiting. On deck above some of the ELL students didn't realize the diver tucked into the black and blue wet suit was one of their teachers. By the time they've made it to the basement of the aquarium, however, each pupil had excitedly figured it out.

Money Shortages Doom Service for Latino Students

Oregon's first organization dedicated to helping Latino students graduate from high school, learn English, and become community leaders decided this week to close its doors because it didn't have enough money to support its programs. The Oregon Council for Hispanic Advancement conducted some of the first research about the presence and needs of the fast-growing Latino population in Oregon. The council served more than 1,000 Latino students throughout the state last year.

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