ELL News Headlines

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OPINION: This High-Poverty District Learned to Think Differently About Teaching and Learning

St. Mary Parish knew change was needed. By the mid-2000s, the state of Louisiana had placed several of its schools in “academic assistance,” a designation for schools that fail to improve sufficiently. Some had remained there for nearly 10 years. Meanwhile, the rural district’s test scores lagged behind the state average. By 2016, the high-poverty school district had turned around. The key to St. Mary’s success was to place students at the forefront of all decision-making. Often that involved thinking differently about how, when and where teaching and learning actually occur.

Battle for English Learner Equity Heats Up in Delaware

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Delaware filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing that it underfunds education services for its disadvantaged student populations. Backed by Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and the Delaware NAACP, the ACLU claims that the state's financing policies violate the state constitution, which charges Delaware to provide a "general and efficient system of free public schools" for all children. The case has important implications, in particular, for the state's fast-growing population of K-12 English learner (EL) students. Over the past twenty years, the number of Delaware ELs has surged, increasing by 428 percent.

School Districts Confront Bilingual Teaching Shortage

With districts facing a shortage of bilingual teachers, paraprofessionals present a rich source of candidates. They often have strong ties to the community and already know students and parents, says Santiago Wood, executive director of the National Association for Bilingual Education.

A Sneak Peek At What’s New in Spanish-Language Publishing

The Northeast chapter of REFORMA (National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking) had their second annual Spanish-language Book Buzz on Friday, January 12, at the Penguin Random House offices in New York City. A group of approximately 50 librarians from the tri-state area were treated to a preview of upcoming and recently released Spanish-language, bilingual, and Latinx-focused books for the library market.

A Syrian Teen, Forced To Flee 'A Land Of Permanent Goodbyes'

Atia Abawi is used to looking at war through the eyes of a journalist. She's made a career in news covering Iraq and Afghanistan — the latter being the country her own family fled in the early 1980s. Increasingly though, Abawi has turned to fiction. The people struggling in her novels are young — she writes for teens. And the story behind her latest book, A Land Of Permanent Goodbyes, is drawn from a global crisis that's been dominating headlines the last few years: Refugees fleeing the war in Syria. Abawi researches her fiction like a journalist, interviewing real people, traveling to refugee camps and poring over shocking photographs.

School District Sees Influx of ELL Students, Straining Resources

Norwalk Public Schools has seen its enrollment of English Language Learners rise by nearly 200 students over the past two years, making it the district of choice for immigrants in Fairfield County. Superintendent Steven Adamowski said Norwalk's ELL students consistently outperform other districts and the state. The district plans to ask the school board for an increase in ELL funding for the coming year.

With Thousands Of Homeless Students, This District Put Help Right In Its Schools

Mike Moran, the principal at Bryan Adams High School in Dallas, says oftentimes when students are homeless, they're too embarrassed to tell anyone. "A lot of times it is revealed that there's a temporary living situation, they're in a motel, they're now staying with an aunt and uncle," he says. Principal Moran has heard similar stories about 50, or so, kids at his school, just one of dozens of high schools in the district. That's why Dallas schools have put something called a drop-in center at nearly every high school in the district.

Why Teachers Are Training Themselves to Be ‘Dreamer’ Allies

In California, home to the largest number of undocumented students enrolled in public school, many are scared they may not reach graduation amid political uncertainty over DACA protections. But an increasing number of educators are getting training to become Dreamer advocates. Fernando Cienfuegos of Northview High School and NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs reports.

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