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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US Fish and Wildlife Service Creates Urban Internships

In an effort to diversify both the staff and visitors to national wildlife refuges, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has partnered with the Hispanic Access Foundation to fund seven internship positions this summer. The positions will be based at wildlife refuges in the northeast region close to urban populations, where visitation is lower than the service would like.

Book Review: Thunderboy Jr. by Sherman Alexie, Illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Readers are drawn into the story narrated by Little Thunder, who is named after his father, Big Thunder. He works through his angst at the indignity of the name, presenting his case like a seasoned lawyer as he goes in search of a better, cooler moniker like Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth or Touch the Clouds. The dialogue is humorous yet profound in the simple truths it imparts. His dad eventually helps him find the perfect name. Morales uses vibrant colors and textures to bring this joyful American Indian father and son to life.

E.L.L. Practice + Prompt | Looking Forward to Valentine's Day

From a hugging marathon in Thailand to naked bungee jumping in Latvia, different cultures celebrate Valentine's Day in their own way. Larry Ferlazzo has put together an engaging Valentine's Day activity for ELLs 13 years or older for The Learning Network.

CCSSO Offers Counseling on 'Complex' K-12 English-Language Learner Policy

The Council of Chief State School Officers has compiled a compendium of guidance for states looking for ways to better identify, classify, and educate English-language-learner students. Developed by the CCSSO English Language Learner Assessment Task Force, the 124-page guidance offers a four-stage framework to help states in "analyzing issues and strengthening policies and practices for defining ELs."

How One California City Saved Its Schools

What are the school colors? Is the whole school free? What happens if you miss a class? Is there detention? How many books are there in the library? These were just some of the questions eager Long Beach Unified School District 9- and 10-year-olds tossed during their Long Beach City College tour last spring. Long Beach City College, Long Beach State, and the Long Beach Unified School District have cooperated for about two decades on initiatives like early college tours, targeted professional development for teachers, increased participation in AP programs, and college-admissions standards that favor local students.

Diversity in STEM: Obama Announces $4 Billion 'Computer Science for All' Initiative

President Obama announced he was pledging $4 billion in funding to boost computer science education in the nation's schools as part of the Computer Science for All Initiative. The initiative proposes that the Department of Education divides the $4 billion in federal funds over the next three years to states that produce solid five-year plans to increase the amount of access kids have to computer science classes.

Does the Term 'English-Language Learner' Carry a Negative Connotation?

Students at a charter school in Worcester, Mass., want to change the label given to students learning English as a second language, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports. Students at Seven Hills Charter Public School filed a petition last week at whitehouse.gov seeking to drop the phrase "English-language learner" and replace it with "multilingual students." About 23 percent of students at the school are English-learners.

Learning How to Teach in an Increasingly Diverse Classroom

Some days, his students can't sit still. This is when Brandon Nattress, a sixth-grade global-studies teacher at Weeks Middle School in Des Moines, stops and remembers to keep perspective. As a kid growing up in northwestern Iowa, he wasn't allowed to mess around in class like that. But some of the children in his classroom didn't come from a sleepy heartland town—they grew up in refugee camps after fleeing strife-torn countries such as Myanmar, Nepal, and Sudan. After years living in camps, they weren't accustomed to the structure of the classroom, and a quick punishment wasn't going to change their mentality.

Son of Immigrants Gets Perfect Score on AP Calculus Exam -- 1 of 12 in the World To Do So

The call from Lincoln High School's principal’s office came unexpectedly, as they often do. Cedrick Argueta's friends joked that he might be in trouble. Cedrick didn't think so. He was right.  It turned out that Cedrick, the son of a Salvadoran maintenance worker and a Filipina nurse, had scored perfectly on his Advanced Placement Calculus exam. Of the 302,531 students to take the notoriously mind-crushing test, he was one of only 12 to earn every single point.

New Palo Alto School District Equity Coordinator Has Deep Background in Bilingual Ed

Palo Alto's first-ever equity coordinator was raised in a small agricultural town in California's Central Valley by an immigrant mother and first-generation Mexican-American father, neither of whom hold college degrees. But she credits her parents and a supportive community -- teachers who took an active interest in her, a swim coach who mentored her, members of her church who checked in with her about her college applications -- with helping her to get where she is today. Most recently, Martha Castellon was head of Stanford's Understanding Language initiative and is now Palo Alto's new equity coordinator.