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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Pueblo student recognized by Nike for her efforts in equality

Charleigh Romero-Rodriguez is being honored through the 2020 Hispanic Heritage Foundation Awards for her efforts in social justice, presented by Nike. In the award's program (p. 26), Rodriguez's passion for equity is highlighted, stating "she feels firmly that everyone should be appreciated for who they are and who they choose to be". She works on the YWCA Junior board, helping women who face abuse. Rodrigues has used her time during the pandemic to read to children over Zoom and form pen-pal relationships with those in nursing homes.

Senate confirms Miguel Cardona as education secretary

The Senate confirmed Miguel Cardona to serve as education secretary Monday, vaulting the little-known Connecticut educator into the center of the national debate over how to reopen schools for face-to-face classes. The Senate vote was a bipartisan 64 to 33 for Cardona, whose nomination moved through the chamber without any significant controversy. Cardona, 45, was born into poverty to Puerto Rican parents before becoming a public school teacher, principal, administrator and, in 2019, Connecticut’s education commissioner.

ELL Teacher Bonita Webb named Kent School District Teacher of the Year

Bonita Webb has been going above and beyond to support her students for more than 20 years, which is one of the many reasons why the Kent School District named her the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year in Kent. Webb, an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher, started teaching in the district in 1991 and has since played an important role in opening the ELL center at Cedar Heights. She also helps train new teachers as part of the Washington Education Association and University of Washington’s Culturally Responsive Teacher Series collaboration.

Students Respond to Adults’ Fixation on ‘Learning Loss'

The phrase "learning loss" is everywhere in articles and discussions about COVID’s impact on education. Many teachers, however, have concerns about how that phrase is being interpreted by policymakers now and what the responses to that interpretation could look like in the fall.

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.