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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Superintendent Builds Bridges to New Immigrant Communities

During Jim Rollins' tenure as superintendent, the Springdale, Ark., district has undergone an incredible season of growth and demographic change. Once largely filled with white students, schools now educate thousands of Hispanic immigrants, many of them recent arrivals to the United States. Springdale has also become home to one of the largest populations of Marshallese people outside the Marshall Islands, a Micronesian country that was the site of U.S. nuclear tests during the Cold War.  After decades of growth and rapid school construction, the Springdale district has developed a reputation among state and national education leaders as a model for steering schools through change while meeting the needs of emerging student populations. And Rollins, who punctuates nearly every public address with his “teach them all” motto, has deftly helmed the ship.

'Girl Rising': How Education Helps Girls Overcome Poverty, Discrimination

You know the story of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who was almost assassinated for advocating for girls' education, and who later won a Nobel Peace Prize for efforts. But a new book by Vermont writer reminds us there are millions of Malalas in the world, and the barriers to their education are profound. Vermont Public Radio’s Vermont Edition features a conversation with Tanya Lee Stone about her book, Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl A Time, which explores the impact that girls' education in developing countries has on the health and economic outcomes of girls themselves and their communities. Stone's book is a companion to the 2013 film Girl Rising.

2017 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Winners

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi, has announced the winners of the 31st annual Ezra Jack Keats Book Award. Each year a writer and an illustrator are recognized early in their careers for their outstanding work.  The New Writer award goes to Jeri Watts for her book A Piece of Home, in which a young boy from Korea struggles to adjust to his new life in West Virginia. Francesca Sanna won an honor award for her book The Journey, which recounts a refugee boy’s story as he travels from his war-torn country to a new home.

CPS Latino Advisory Committee Members Quit Over Budget Cuts

Sixteen members of a Chicago Public Schools advisory committee for Latino students resigned to protest school budget cuts that have landed hard on schools with largely poor and minority populations, the committee's chairman said Wednesday. "We see this not just as an assault on Latino students, neighborhoods and families, but we see this as a continuation of cuts in the African-American community and now cuts in the Latino community," committee member Jose Rico said while backed by three City Council members and former school board member and interim CPS CEO Jesse Ruiz.

5 Million English Language Learners: A Vast Pool of Talent, At Risk

About 1 out of every 10 public school students in the United States right now is learning to speak English. They're called ELLs, for "English Language Learners." There are nearly 5 million of them, and educating them — in English and all the other subjects and skills they'll need — is one of the biggest challenges in U.S. public education today. As part of our reporting project, 5 Million Voices, we set out to gather up all the data and information we could find about who these students are and how they're being taught. Here's our snapshot.

César Morales: Superintendent Fosters Love of Reading

For a child isolated by poverty, reading can be a critical path to escape—a link both to worlds of better possibility and the foundational skills to get there. But in this coastal city where nearly every child in the 17,000-student Oxnard K-8 school district comes from a poor family, ready access to books and other reading materials is a huge barrier. That’s why Superintendent César Morales, 41, has used the Oxnard district’s 1-to-1 tablet initiative as a starting point for a massive bilingual-literacy program, to develop a deep love of reading in English and Spanish among his students and their families.

Federal Hiring Freeze Leads Some Army Bases to Suspend Pre-K and Other Child Programs

President Trump's federal hiring freeze is forcing at least two U.S. Army bases to indefinitely suspend prekindergarten and other programs for young children. Although the memorandum includes exemptions for the military as well as public safety and national security, the bases still said they did not have enough personnel to continue the programs.

Beyond 'Hidden Figures': Nurturing New Black and Latino Math Whizzes

As movie audiences celebrate "Hidden Figures," the story of black women who overcame legally sanctioned discrimination to perform critical calculations in the race to put a man on the moon, educators say that new, subtler obstacles to higher-level math education have arisen. These have had an outsize influence on racial prejudice, they contend, because math prowess factors so heavily in the popular conception of intelligence — a concern that recently provoked the creation of "Mathematically Gifted and Black" and "Latin@s and Hispanics in Mathematical Sciences," websites featuring math professionals from underrepresented backgrounds.

For Ed-Tech Company Newsela, 'Fake News' a Big Challenge - and Opportunity

With 12 million registered users and counting, ed-tech startup Newsela is a major vehicle for connecting K-12 students to the news. Each day, classrooms using the platform receive a curated selection of articles from outlets like the Washington Post and The Guardian, edited to multiple reading levels. So how is the New York City-based company experiencing the sudden proliferation of so-called "fake news?"

For Children of Bilingual Parents, West Hartford School Offers Parent Read-Aloud Program

Mung Thai read aloud in Cantonese as he sat next to his son Nick in Jennifer Burkey's second-grade class Friday morning. The idea to bring parents into the classroom and share their native language and culture started as a conversation between Melchor, fellow ESOL teacher Jeff Bette and Webster Hill principal Jeffrey Wallowitz. Webster Hill, this year, includes students who speak 22 different languages, Melchor said, and this program is a way to embrace that. "We send a clear message that we value [native languages] and we ask you to come in and share that with the school," Wallowitz said. "We want families to read to their children in their native languages as much as they can and it's just a way to celebrate that and say, 'Hey, it's important to still maintain your culture and maintain your language,' and by doing this we highlight it, we celebrate it and we value it."

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