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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Classic adventure stories inspire new Definitely Dominguita series

Dominguita Melendez is determined to be a knight in “Knight of the Cape,” the first book in the new chapter book series Definitely Dominguita by Terry Catasús Jennings. She yearns to perform brave deeds like the heroes she reads about in books. But does anyone need rescuing in her friendly American neighborhood? And what can a third-grader do? Jennings spent her early childhood in Cuba, where she and her best friend would act out the adventures. Jennings came to the U.S. after the Cuban Revolution at the age of 12.

Opinion: Preparing kids now for kindergarten

Geri Chaffee is the founder of Dreamers Academy, Sarasota’s new dual language immersion (Spanish/English) K-5 public charter school. It is scheduled to open in August. In this column about kindergarten, she writes, "This is a foundational time when tapping into (children's) immense potential with enriching activities, especially reading and writing, is essential to helping them manage increasingly complex academic content in the future."

Minnetonka Schools ESL teacher earns international award

Six years into her career teaching English as a second language, Minnetonka Public Schools educator Anna Bjork is being recognized with an international award. The 28-year-old teacher was recently named to the International Literacy Association’s biennial 30 Under 30 list, which shines a spotlight on the next generation of leaders working to create positive change in the global literacy landscape.

Sitting on the Roof at Night for Internet: Pandemic Learning in the Navajo Nation

Denise Jensen teaches New Mexico History and Navajo Culture at Navajo Preparatory School, in the northwest corner of New Mexico. The private, International Baccalaureate college-prep school established for Native American students serves about 265 teenagers from the Navajo Nation and other tribal nations. Most live at the school when it’s in session. But when Navajo Prep went all-remote last March, Jensen saw with painful clarity the struggles her students face daily to do their schoolwork from home. Jensen told her story to Catherine Gewertz, senior contributing writer.

Putnam Heights Elementary School ELL teacher wins Golden Apple Award

For the sixth year in a row, WEAU is partnering with the Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation to honor one outstanding educator or staff member in each of the twenty Eau Claire schools with a Golden Apple Award. Putnam Heights Elementary principal Diana Lesneski presented ELL teacher Sarah Stovern with the Golden Apple Award with her family and peers there to show their support.

Miguel Cardona Pressed by Lawmakers on Tests, Reopening Schools, and Transgender Students

Nominee for education secretary Miguel Cardona vowed at his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to help schools reopen safely and ensure educators and students have the support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Cardona did not take a firm position on the role of standardized tests during the pandemic, and in general tried to stake out positions on controversial issues such as the rights of transgender students without seeming combative.

New Alum Rock district bilingual program helps students learn Vietnamese

In East San Jose, Ben Painter Elementary is the first school in Alum Rock Union School District to launch a Vietnamese dual immersion program, allowing students to learn both English and Vietnamese as part of their daily curriculum. The program, still in its first year, has two classes and is serving 20 preschool students and 15 kindergartners.

Sitka artist becomes first Indigenous winner of the 'Oscars of kids books'

Sitka illustrator Michaela Goade was awarded one of the highest honors in children's literature this week for her work on "We are Water Protectors." Goade, who is Tlingit, is the first Indigenous person to win the Caldecott Medal. Earlier this week, Michaela Goade thought she was signing on to an ordinary Zoom call with her small publishing team. Instead, she was met with a group of new faces congratulating her on her win.

Education Pick Miguel Cardona Is New To Washington — But Not To Classrooms

On Wednesday, lawmakers will have some tough questions for Miguel Cardona, President Biden's nominee to be the next U.S. education secretary. The Connecticut educator will no doubt have to navigate the choppy policy waters of school choice, how to close opportunity gaps and, most critically, how he would help schools reopen as the pandemic rages. For now, though, members of the U.S. Senate's education committee won't have much to go on as they prepare for Cardona's hearing. That's because, along with most of the country, many of those lawmakers are just now getting to know him.

Florida Education Officials Make English-Proficiency Exam Optional

Florida is allowing students to opt out of taking an annual English proficiency exam that is administered in person. The state Department of Education also is expanding the window of time for K-12 public-school students to take the test, if they choose to do so.