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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Boston Brings the Music Back by Boosting Arts Education

At a time when schools across the country are cutting arts education, this city is aiming to make it universal. Myran Parker-Brass, a classically trained mezzo-soprano who sang for the Boston Symphony, is working to provide weekly arts education to all middle and elementary Boston public school students. And she’s not stopping there. Special correspondent Lisa Stark of Education Week reports.

Banned Books Are Often Diverse Books. Check the Stats.

Emily Knox, an assistant professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and author of Book Banning in 21st Century America, was awarded the Illinois Library Association Intellectual Freedom Award and was named a WISE Instructor of the Year in 2015. In this article for School Library Journal, she writes, "This year's Banned Books Week theme, diverse books, has been on my mind for some time….My own research  focuses on intellectual freedom and censorship and, as I noted in an SLJ post last September, around half of the news alerts I receive about book challenges concern titles that center on diverse characters."

Ed. Dept.: Tribes, Districts Must Work Together on Behalf of Native Students

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, districts with tribal students must work with tribal leaders on issues affecting American Indian and Alaska Native students, new guidance from the U.S. Department of Education says. A "Dear Colleague Letter" dated Sept. 26 urges affected districts to team with tribes to foster the "collaboration that is a critical part of improving academic outcomes for Native students."

A Bold New Approach to English Proficiency for Kids: Lean On Their First Language

A federal grant will allow the Los Angeles Unified School District to try something new to help some of its youngest English language learners (ELLs) achieve better educational outcomes. Loyola Marymount University's school of education was awarded a $2.7 million dollar grant to collaborate with four LAUSD elementary schools with high ELL populations. LMU will train 84 transitional kindergarten through third grade teachers in a new method to get children proficient in English by utilizing the child's first language as a literacy tool.

School Program Helps New Teachers Get a Head Start

Snyder Independent School District is the first Big Country district to participate in the 2+1 program. The program is a partnership between SISD, Western Texas College, and Texas Tech University. Students attend WTC and interview for a spot in the program. If selected, they complete two years of course work in one year as well as shadow a teacher in the district during the year. They can apply for positions in the district where they did their training.

Diverse Children's Books Need More Visibility

Victoria Cepeda knows what she wants in children’s books. She looks for titles that reflect her 4-year-old son’s cultural roots as well as his potential aspirations. She seeks stories that promote education and achievement, with characters who mirror his Latino heritage. Pretty simple stipulations. Amazingly difficult to find. Although nearly one-fourth of students enrolled in U.S. public schools are Latino and more than 70 percent of Hispanic preschoolers are read to by relatives multiple times a week, only a small percentage of children’s and young adult books are written by or for Latinos.

At the Intersection of Libraries and Museums

Who could forget show-and-tell day in kindergarten? That simple exercise supports storytelling, presentation, listening, and questioning techniques. Field trips to museums and cultural arts presentations, though often cut from school budgets when funds get tight, are integral to personal development, empathy, and the appreciation of creative expression. For librarians promoting information literacy and evaluation of resources, these places are fertile grounds for incorporating primary sources in lessons and activities.

Hamline School of Education Receives Grant for English Learners in the Mainstream Project

A $1.5 million grant from the United States Department of Education will bolster Hamline School of Education’s already impressive work to train all teachers to work with English learners. During the next five years, the grant will fund the English Learners in the Mainstream (ELM) Project. This initiative will provide education for 225 teacher-trainers who will then bring best practices in teaching English as a second language (ESL) to thousands of in-service teachers in some of Minnesota's largest school districts, as well as area charter schools and schools in the Twin Cities Archdiocese. In addition, the grant will pay for the tuition and books of 500 Hamline University pre-service teachers to take a course to help them prepare to work with English learners.