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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From the Pueblo to College: The Journey of Two Rural Students

For students who choose to go to college, where they come from can be a big predictor of their ability to succeed in higher education. Rural students don’t go to college in the same numbers that their urban or suburban peers do. And for rural students of color whose families or communities are of limited means, the numbers are even lower. But there are many success stories — and Education Week wanted to tell one.

Review: Farah Rocks Fifth Grade

Darraj introduces smart, courageous, and sensitive Farah Hajjar, a fifth-grader whose biggest concern should be deciding on a topic for her application essay at the Magnet Academy. Farah Rocks, as everyone calls her, and her Official Best Friend Allie Liu, are both in the gifted class at Harbortown Public School. Both are hoping to get into the super exclusive academy where they will be partners on every science fair project. However, when the new girl starts bullying Farah’s little brother, Farah starts failing her classes on purpose so she won’t leave him unprotected. When Farah tries getting adults to help, she isn’t taken seriously and when she tries talking to Allie about it, they end up getting in a fight. Can Farah figure this out on her own? Darraj shines a light on sibling relationships, and the malicious, repetitive behaviors of bullies that often go unchecked.

U.S. Schools See Surge in Number of Arabic- and Chinese-Speaking English-Learners

Spanish remains the language most frequently spoken by English-learners in U.S. schools by a wide margin, with roughly 76 percent of the nation's 5 million English-learners speaking Spanish, but the numbers for several other languages are surging. Overall, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Somali were the top five languages spoken by English-language learners in the nation's K-12 public schools during the 2016-17 school year, according to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Education.

At a Northern Virginia school, parents of different backgrounds speak the same language

The women walked into the cafeteria to heap the table with food: brownies brushing pupusas, glazed doughnuts grazing platanos fritos. Putting down the spoon, Landeros, a parent liaison at the elementary school in Northern Virginia, smiled as she surveyed the merry, multicultural scene. The late-December gathering marked the second Christmas celebration hosted by From Neighbors to Friends, a parent group — among the first of its kind in Alexandria City Public Schools — that provides language lessons and fosters friendships between English- and Spanish-speaking mothers.

New Leadership Announced at School Library Journal, Library Journal

Today, MSI Information Services announced the appointment of new leadership for the company’s flagship media brands. Rebecca T. Miller has been named Group Publisher of Library Journal, School Library Journal, and The Horn Book. Kathy Ishizuka has been named Editor-in-Chief of School Library Journal.

Three Kings Day is big in these Latino households, despite Santa's pull

Can The Three Kings compete with Santa Claus? They definitely do in Ishel Vidal's household in Houston, Texas. The 36-year-old photographer and her husband have opted to give their children, ages 14 and 7, most of their holiday presents on Three Kings Day, celebrated on Jan. 6. instead of on Christmas Day. While it's been a rich holiday tradition in Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean, Chia Santiago, 91, can attest to how the celebration has taken a back seat to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day — unlike her childhood days.

A Sandy Hook Parent's Letter to Teachers

Nelba Marquez-Greene's 6-year-old daughter Ana was killed in the Sandy Hook shootings. In this letter to teachers, written a year after the attack, she writes, "As another school year begins and old routines settle back into place, I wanted to share my story in honor of the teachers everywhere who care for our children."

ELLs’ Success Translates Into a $25,000 Milken Educator Award for Teacher Julie Rowell

The Milken Educator Awards, hailed by Teacher magazine as the "Oscars of Teaching" has been opening minds and shaping futures for over 30 years. ELL Teacher Julie Rowell was named a 2019-20 recipient of the national recognition, which comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. Rowell's ELL classes engage students who typically have only two to three years of English, propelling them via group learning projects and individualized strategies that have them swiftly engaged in conversations. Her students regularly advance more than a year per grade, and Rowell helps put them on a pathway to higher education by deploying the student-centric AVID system (Advancement Via Individual Determination).

School Librarian Cicely Lewis Wins 2019 National Teacher Award for Lifelong Readers

Cicely Lewis, a Georgia high school librarian who challenges students to "Read Woke," has been awarded the 2019 National Teacher Award for Lifelong Readers. Lewis created the Read Woke challenge in 2017 in response to growing concern among students about the shootings of unarmed Black boys, the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and the lack of diversity in young adult literature.