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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!

ELL News Updates

Note: These links may expire after a week or so, and some websites require you to register first before seeing an article. Colorín Colorado does not necessarily endorse these views or any others on these outside web sites.

Urban Districts Develop Common-Core Guide for Teaching ELLs

Education Week

September 15, 2014

What should instruction for a new learner of English look like in a common-core English/language arts classroom? And how can educators judge whether the instructional materials they use will both challenge and support English-learners to meet the more sophisticated language demands of the Common Core State Standards?

Note: This links to content from Education Week. You can register for free to access 10 Education Week stories a month, or subscribe for unlimited access.

Big-City Districts Delve Into Common-Core Teaching for English-Learners

Education Week

September 12, 2014

The common-core standards are dramatically reshaping teaching and learning, but some of the biggest changes are arguably happening for English-language learners and their teachers.

Note: This links to content from Education Week. You can register for free to access 10 Education Week stories a month, or subscribe for unlimited access.

Texas schools pressed to accommodate influx of young immigrants

Los Angeles Times

September 12, 2014

School districts from California to Georgia and Maryland have had to add bilingual programs and social services to help new migrants. But nowhere is the impact of the recent surge of immigration felt more strongly than in Texas.

Program helps Hispanic students stay in school

Richmond Times-Dispatch

September 10, 2014

There’s an effort underway in the Richmond area to bring together local professionals and students to curb the dropout rate and encourage higher education among young Hispanics.

Charter Schools Helping Tribes Revive Fading Native Languages

Education Week

September 09, 2014

Preserving indigenous languages and repairing decades of cultural loss is critical to most, if not all, of the nation's tribal communities, and charter schools seem to be playing a notable role in that endeavor.

Note: This links to content from Education Week. You can register for free to access 10 Education Week stories a month, or subscribe for unlimited access.

For unaccompanied minors, the school year begins with uncertainty

Chalkbeat New York

September 09, 2014

Of the flood of young migrants fleeing gang violence and extreme poverty in Central America — almost 40,000 came across the Mexican border between January and July, according to the Office of Refugee Settlement — more than 1,300 have ended up in New York City. The students, many with gaps in their formal education and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, are presenting a significant new challenge for city schools.

In Illinois , preschool access worst for Latinos

The Hechinger Report

September 08, 2014

How to break the vicious cycle of poverty and academic failure is one of the most troublesome questions of our time, but this much we know: High-quality preschool helps children from poor families prepare for kindergarten and beyond. Yet as the child poverty rate is climbing, those are the kids least likely to attend such programs. A new report by the research and advocacy group Voices for Illinois Children provides insight into the extent of the disparities in that state, along racial and economic lines. The findings are particularly stark for Latino children.

As Prekindergarten Expands in New York City, Guiding Guided Play

The New York Times

September 05, 2014

On Thursday, more than 50,000 public school children in New York embarked on their formal education as the city officially began its expanded prekindergarten program, the marquee undertaking of Bill de Blasio’s mayoralty. Under the stewardship of Carmen Fariña, the schools chancellor, who has spoken frequently about her commitment to joyful learning, more and more poor children will theoretically be taught as the city’s affluent children are, which is to say according to the principles of immersive, play-based, often self-directed and project-driven learning.

Latino Kids Not Catching Up Under Common Core Standards, Early Testing Suggests

Fox News Latino

September 05, 2014

As the new school year ramps up across the country, data from the only two states offering Common Core testing is beginning to come in, and the results indicate that Latinos still aren’t scoring highly. Latinos lag behind Asian and white students in New York, two years into the state’s rollout of the Common Core State Standards, according to test results released this month. Kentucky’s results for the 2013-2014 school year are expected in the fall, but for the last two years there has been a consistent gap between ethnicities.

What Teach for America can learn from its own work in Hawaii

The Hechinger Report

September 05, 2014

Teach for America recently released numbers showing that its 2014 class is the most diverse in its history. It should be lauded for this. Like many other TFA alumni of color, I saw that the organization didn’t always act to include members of the populations it serves. In recent years, though, I have seen TFA push toward recognizing a need for diversity among its teachers. TFA must continue to move in this direction  — hopefully faster. I believe that the organization can live up to its mission of developing "leaders who work to ensure that kids growing up in poverty get an excellent education."

Most Americans Favor Reuniting Young Migrants with Family in U.S., Poll Finds

Education Week

September 04, 2014

While the surge of nearly 60,000 unaccompanied Central American minors over the U.S.-Mexico border in the last 10 months has created a major political conundrum for the Obama administration, most Americans express some sympathy for the plight of the young migrants. In a new national survey from the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of Americans say they favor allowing the unaccompanied minors from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to join their families already living in the United States while their immigration cases are pending. A smaller majority—56 percent—said the minors should be allowed to attend public schools, while 51 percent said they support housing the children in government-run shelters. (Federal law requires that public schools enroll all children, regardless of their immigration status.)

Note: This links to content from Education Week. You can register for free to access 10 Education Week stories a month, or subscribe for unlimited access.

Des Moines to focus on English language learners

Des Moines Register (IA)

September 04, 2014

Boosting the reading and math skills of students learning English will be emphasized more this year in the Des Moines school district, an effort officials hope will lift test scores district-wide. Two new positions were created to oversee the district's English Language Learner curriculum. Classroom teachers have been encouraged to alter their instruction to help English-language learners continue to expand their language skills in general education classrooms. In addition, the district will increase communication with the families of ELL students, officials said.

Students in dual language programs will face extra hurdles on Smarter Balanced

The Oregonian

September 04, 2014

The writing-heavy Smarter Balanced test will challenge students at every Oregon school this spring. But elementary students in dual language programs including the one at Hillsboro's Reedville Elementary will face an extra layer of difficulty in showing what they know and can do. Dual language learners work equally hard to gain and show mastery of reading, writing and listening in two languages, usually English and Spanish, as other students devote just to English.

Miami Struggles to Embrace Unaccompanied Immigrants

National Public Radio

September 03, 2014

As the school year gets underway across the country, many of the students are new — not just to the schools, but to the United States. The Obama administration says so far this year, it's processed nearly 40,000 unaccompanied children from Central America. Now school districts are scrambling to welcome the children and assess their educational needs.

Margarita Engle Wins PEN Literary Award

School Library Journal

September 03, 2014

Cuban-American Margarita Engle, the first Latino author to receive a Newbery Honor for The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom (Holt, 2008), was honored by the PEN Center USA with the top prize in Children’s/Young Adult Literature category for her The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist. Now in their 24th year, the PEN Literary Awards honors the best writing in the western United States. Engle’s novel in verse about the real life 19th-century Cuban abolitionist and feminist, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, has already garnered several accolades, including a 2014 Pura Belpré Author Honor and a 2013 SLJ Top Latino-themed Book.

Irving library grows into a teen-lit hub for writers, readers

Dallas Morning News

September 03, 2014

Here’s a story: A suburb with no bookstores has turned itself into a literature hub for North Texas, outdoing even Dallas as it pulls authors from across the country. Three years ago, in a city with some of the poorest students in North Texas, Irving librarians began inviting authors popular with the few kids who frequented their shelves. Now kids regularly flock to the central library, rubbing elbows with their favorite scribes over cupcakes and punch. Major publishers seek out Irving for their tours, and a young-adult fiction craze is spreading across the region.

Immigrants Keep Children Bilingual by Schooling Them at Home

National Public Radio

September 02, 2014

Many Spanish-speaking immigrants want their children to remain fluent in Spanish, even as they learn English. In fact, a Pew Research study recently found that 95 percent of Hispanic-Americans think it's important that their children speak Spanish. Now, that could mean bilingual public or private school, but bilingual home-schooling makes it happen on a personal level. Solvejg Wastvedt reports on parents teaching their children two languages and two cultures at home.

Summer school motivates college dreams for middle school students

PBS NewsHour

September 02, 2014

In St. Paul, Minnesota, students are dancing their way to class — literally — in the middle of the summer. This is Breakthrough, an innovative summer program with the sole focus of inspiring low-income, under-resourced middle school students to go to college, and showing them how to get there.

California Lawmakers Approve Measure to Repeal Limits on Bilingual Education

Education Week

September 02, 2014

A piece of legislation aimed at asking California voters to overturn a 16-year-old state law that restricts the use of bilingual education in California's public schools has made it out of the legislature and now awaits action from Gov. Jerry Brown. The California State Assembly this week voted in favor of the measure that seeks to repeal Proposition 227, the 1998 voter-approved ballot measure that severely limited the availability of bilingual education programs for the state's large share of students who are still learning English. If signed by Gov. Brown, voters would get a chance to reconsider whether English-only instruction ought to remain as the predominant approach to educating English-language learners in the state's public schools.

Note: This links to content from Education Week. You can register for free to access 10 Education Week stories a month, or subscribe for unlimited access.

Will ‘creative’ and ‘hands on’ summer school foster a love of learning?

The Hechinger Report

August 29, 2014

Students in the Santa Ana Unified school district in Orange Country, California tackled very different challenges during their summer school programs, but they shared a common experience. Their classes were individually crafted by teachers in a first-of-its kind program for the district, in which 90 percent of students come from low-income families and about half are learning English. Educators wanted to create classes where students chose their own activities, worked on projects with classmates and where presentations and performances, not tests, demonstrated achievement — all with an eye to inspiring those most at risk of falling behind during the summer to learn. The result: classes that engaged 4,000 elementary and middle school students in hands-on activities such as dissecting cow eyes; handling worms, snails and pill bugs; designing theater sets and costumes and holding performances for the community; researching global warming solutions; taking field trips to zoos and museums; and delivering PowerPoint presentations on their findings.