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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.

Chicago Schools to Offer Biliteracy Seal, Latino Studies Curriculum

Education Week

March 05, 2015

The Chicago public schools will offer a special seal for the diplomas of bilingual high school graduates. Students from 20 Chicago high schools will be able to earn the "seal of biliteracy" this year. The program will expand to all the city's high schools for the 2015-16 school year.

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.

Tucson District Won't Lose Funds Over Ethnic Studies Courses

ABC-15 (AZ)

March 05, 2015

The Tucson Unified School District will not lose funding over its ethnic studies courses because they don't actually violate a state ban, Arizona schools chief Diane Douglas said Tuesday. The district risked losing $14.2 million in annual funding over a few courses that the former Arizona public schools Superintendent John Huppenthal said violated a 2010 ban on ethnic studies. Huppenthal used his last day in office in early January to issue the report, citing an introductory course on hip-hop from the African-American perspective and lyrics from the rock band Rage Against the Machine as violations.

New York City Adds 2 Muslim Holy Days to Public School Calendar

The New York Times

March 05, 2015

New York will become the nation's first major metropolis to close its public schools in observance of the two most sacred Muslim holy days, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday, a watershed moment for a group that has endured suspicion and hostility since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Push for Bilingual Pre-K Classrooms Gains Strength As NYC Expands Both Programs

ChalkBeat (NY)

March 04, 2015

For non-English-speaking families with preschoolers, bilingual programs remain few and far between, though the city is moving to rapidly expand both its pre-K offerings and dual-language programs over the next couple of years. Some parents and researchers are hoping the city combines those priorities to expand dual-language programs for its littlest learners. Until this happens, experts say, the city is missing an opportunity to teach bilingualism at an age when students' brains are most adaptable.

New Advocacy Group Pushes for Multilingualism in D.C. Schools

EdCentral

March 04, 2015

Washington, D.C.'s dynamism as a local community was on full display earlier this week at a panel event hosted by the DC Language Immersion Project. The discussion, titled "Economic and Workforce Development Impacts of Language Immersion," was the second in a series of local events designed to build a groundswell of support for multilingualism in D.C.'s public schools. National leaders, like Director of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) Libia Gil, joined state leaders, like Lynn Fulton-Archer, one of the specialists coordinating Delaware's statewide World Language Immersion program, to discuss promising policies for making American education more linguistically diverse.

Editorial: Teacher's Award a Win for Dual-Language Instruction

The Dallas Morning News

March 04, 2015

In many nations, the ability to speak more than one language is not only valued but is expected. Instruction starts at an early age when young minds are most able to absorb new concepts in their native tongue and a second language. It is a window of opportunity that shouldn't be missed. In part, this is what drives Irma De La Guardia, a third-grade dual-language teacher at Harry C. Withers Elementary School, who learned English in a dual-language program when she was a child in Mexico City. She became a believer in this approach, and her hard work on behalf of dual education in Dallas was rewarded this week when the National Association for Bilingual Education named her 2015 Teacher of the Year.

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.