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ELL News

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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.

Better Management Needed For Native American School Facilities, GAO Finds

Education Week

March 03, 2015

The Bureau of Indian Education can't effectively track and address school facility problems because of poor data collection and quality controls, a congressional watchdog agency has found. The Government Accountability Office released a 29-page report, detailing how staff cuts, limited institutional knowledge, lack of consistent oversight on construction projects, and poor communication also hinders the BIE's ability to maintain facilities and provide technical assistance to 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.

Baez: City Will Analyze Enrollment Data to Help English Learners

ChalkBeat (NY)

March 03, 2015

Newly minted deputy chancellor for English language learners Milady Baez said last week that the city's overhaul of school support would help schools better serve those students. Baez, whose promotion was announced moments before the meeting of the City Council education committee, told council members about a number of new initiatives that together offer a clearer picture of her department's work so far.

Deaf Students Signing Seuss on Read Across America

The Press Enterprise (CA)

March 03, 2015

Teenagers Jarita Bustamante, Kyra Ayala and Catalina "Cat" Romero didn't expect wild applause when they finished signing Scrambled Eggs Super! by Dr. Seuss for an audience of elementary school students at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside. And they didn't get any. But if the waving hands held aloft — the American Sign Language symbol for applause — smiles and squirming bodies signaled anything, it was overwhelming approval from the pint-sized spectators.

Can the Common Core Raise Graduation Rate for English Learners?

The Hechinger Report

March 02, 2015

Prompted by the new Common Core standards and an increase in English Language Learners in public schools, New York State education officials are moving aggressively to provide better support for bilingual teachers and improve student achievement. To help close those achievement gaps, the New York State Education Department in 2013 appointed veteran educator Angélica Infante-Green to a newly created post of associate commissioner for bilingual education.

As Teaching Methods Improve, Oregon Cuts Years Off English-Language Instruction

Oregon Live

March 02, 2015

Over the past six years, Oregon schools have become dramatically more successful at helping students from other language backgrounds master English within five or six years. As a result, English as a second language courses have become sparse in middle and high schools, with elementary students accounting for more than 75 percent of those who get daily help acquiring English. Michelle Thelander, a California-based expert who has helped schools in 10 states including Oregon improve their teaching of limited English students, said she finds Oregon's progress "reassuring" — and uncommon.

March 2 Is Seuss Day

School Library Journal

March 02, 2015

Each year, in celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday on March 2, School Library Journal offers reviews of Seuss apps published during the previous 12 months — and checks to see if they might have missed a few earlier titles.

Professor Fills Gaps in Children's Literature

St. Mary’s University News

February 27, 2015

When St. Mary's professor and writer-in-residence Diane Gonzales-Bertrand was raising her children, she realized she couldn't find many children's books her family could identify with. In the early 1990s when she started working at St. Mary's University, Bertrand was encouraged by her colleagues to write children's literature. "There are so many stories that are still not a part of children's literature and I'm trying to fill in the gaps," said Bertrand.

Pam Muñoz Ryan’s "Echo" Reverberates With Hope

School Library Journal

February 27, 2015

In her epic novel Echo (Scholastic, February 2015; Gr 5-8), Pam Muñoz Ryan weaves together three stories of young people living through a tumultuous period in the 20th century: 12-year-old Friedrich Schmidt in 1933 Germany, as the Nazi Party gains momentum; orphaned 11-year-old Mike Flannery in 1935 Philadelphia during the Depression; and Ivy Maria Lopez living in Southern California in 1942 as World War II rages. Their stories revolve around a single Hohner Marine Band harmonica and are framed by a tale of a lost boy, three sisters, and a witch's curse. In this interview with School Library Journal Ryan discusses the origins of the story, how it grew, and the unexpected twists it took.

American Graduate: Dual Language Students Celebrate Tet New Year

KLRU

February 27, 2015

The Austin ISD school board voted to expand its Spanish dual language program to two middle schools starting next school year. But Spanish isn't the only language in the district's dual language classrooms — Summitt Elementary is the district's only Vietnamese dual language program. On Saturday during PBS NewsHour Weekend our KLRU News Brief goes inside that program, as students celebrate Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, and the Year of the Goat.

Fariña Adds Deputy Chancellor Role for English Language Learners

ChalkBeat

February 26, 2015

Chancellor Carmen Fariña has promoted the head of the office of English language learners to a deputy chancellor role, she announced Wednesday, a move that underscores her focus on improving education for those students. Milady Baez, who has been serving as the chief of the division of English language learners since the newly independent office was created in August, has joined Fariña's small cabinet as deputy chancellor for English language learners, who account for one out of seven students in the school system.

Parents Upset Over Loss of District 308 Dual Language Program

Chicago Tribune

February 26, 2015

When Kelly Banks decided to put her two children in a dual language program at Community Unit School District 308 several years ago, she says it was a "leap of faith." Parents were "drilled" on the minimum six-year commitment to the program, Banks said, because students needed time to catch up with their peers on reading and writing in English. So when Banks, like many parents of students in the dual language program, heard the program was on the chopping block, she was stunned. She says she'd never have put her two children, Kyle, now in fifth grade, and Annie, now in first grade, in the program if she'd known it would come to a sudden halt.

In Minnesota, Somalis Don't Want Threats to Define Them

Minnesota Public Radio

February 26, 2015

When a video purportedly by a Somali terror group encouraged extremists to conduct lone-wolf attacks on shopping centers, including the Mall of America, Somali-Americans in Minnesota wrestled with how best to respond. Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame said he worries about a backlash from the broader community, a concern some Somalis expressed last week in Washington during a White House counter-terrorism summit aimed at stopping radicalization in the United States.

Leaders to Learn From: Mark Benigni's Use of Extended Time

Education Week

February 25, 2015

A s a city councilor, mayor, and now, a local schools chief, Mark D. Benigni has had one constant priority in his career: expanding educational opportunities for children in his hometown of Meriden, Conn. Most notably, Mr. Benigni has brought expanded learning time to three of the district's elementary schools, positioning Meriden — a majority-minority district — at the forefront of a national movement to increase student achievement and well-being through longer, more enriching school days.

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.

How Twitter Is Changing the National Common Core Debate

The Washington Post

February 25, 2015

Is Twitter affecting the national debate on the Common Core State Standards initiative? Three researchers working on a digital reporting project say "yes" — and they call this the first national policy conversation played out in social media.

Illinois District School Board Votes to End Dual Language Program

Chicago Tribune

February 25, 2015

School board members at the Oswego-based Community Unit School District voted 4-3 Monday night to end a popular dual language program aimed at helping English- and Spanish-speaking students fully master both languages. Board members voting to end the program said they believed expanding the program would be too costly and they saw starting a new program as a better approach for helping the district's Spanish-speaking students working to master English.

Leaders to Learn from: Richard A. Carranza's Success with ELLs

Education Week

February 24, 2015

Richard A. Carranza grew up in a Spanish-speaking home with parents who were also bilingual. It was an experience that has shaped his passion for language. It's also the driving force behind his commitment to ensuring that English-language learners in San Francisco's public schools, where he is the superintendent, not only become fluent in their new language, but also have the opportunity to become fully fluent and literate in their native one.

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.

In Los Angeles, Missing Kindergarten Is a Big Deal

NPR

February 24, 2015

In Los Angeles, the nation's second largest school district, kindergarten absence is a big problem, with some students missing 10, 20, 30 days or more. In 2012, district officials say that almost 10,000 students were chronically absent from kindergarten. Last year that number it improved, but only slightly. And so the Los Angeles Unified district has mounted a big push, putting educators in schools whose mission is to get these children to school every day.

Struggles of Minority Students in Montgomery Inspired by Harvard Video

The Washington Post

February 24, 2015

The words were piercing. Makdes Hailu had just won a coveted spot on an academic team at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School when she inadvertently overheard a classmate's put-down: "Oh, she only got in because she's black." "At that moment, I just remember feeling so hurt," Makdes said. So begins a six-minute YouTube video that reveals the pain and struggle of black and Hispanic students at a high-performing suburban high school in Montgomery County, Maryland's largest school system.

New York Compels 20 School Districts to Lower Barriers to Immigrants

Education Week

February 23, 2015

Twenty New York school districts found to be blocking access for undocumented immigrant children will be forced to modify their enrollment policies to break down illegal barriers to education, the state attorney general's office said last week. The resulting reforms, under agreements between Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and the 20 districts, would compel them to stop asking for documents such as Social Security cards that effectively exclude undocumented children from school.

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.

Hawaii Granted Federal Testing Waiver for Language-Immersion Students

Education Week

February 23, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education has granted Hawaii a one-year waiver that will allow the state's Hawaiian-language-immersion students to be tested in that language only. The state and the University of Hawaii-Manoa developed a field test for Hawaiian-language-immersion students that measures progress toward mastery of academic standards on par with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test.

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.