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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Rhode Island to Offer Its First Public Pre-K Program

For the first time, the Rhode Island Department of Education is venturing into early childhood education by launching a small, high-quality pre-kindergarten program designed to level the playing field for low-income children who now start school at a significant disadvantage compared with middle- and upper-income students. In September, the state will open four to six pilot pre-kindergarten classrooms that will serve between 72 and 108 four-year-olds in urban communities.

Part I: Latino Students in Utah Apply Grit, Determination to Graduate

He was moody. He gave one-word answers. James Hernandez didn't like to read or ask for help. But Suzie Broughton saw something in then 11-year-old James, a boy who was small for his age but strong willed. Looking back now, James can't believe she stuck by him. He's amazed she continued throughout his high school years to mentor him, to prepare him for college, to make sure his counselors put him in the right classes, to attend his basketball games — a sport he eventually gave up to focus on his worsening grades.

Part II: Pressure Mounts as Ceremony Nears for Abby and James

Abby Gonzalez, 18, sat with five friends in the East High School cafeteria about a month before graduation. The six girls, all Latinas, picked at their lunches, alternating between Spanish and English as they chatted. Abby kept quiet. One of her friends took a paper from her backpack to show the group. Another girl pulled the same paper from her bag. "Your student is not on track to graduate on June 10, 2009 for the following reasons," the papers said.

Remembering L.A. Unified's First Latino Superintendent

William R. "Bill" Anton, who rose through the ranks to become the first Latino superintendent of schools in Los Angeles, died Tuesday morning, according to friends and the Los Angeles Unified School District. Associates remembered him as a genial and strategic fighter who looked out for minority children in a school system that did not always have high expectations for them.

New Vermont Arrivals Learn English

English-as a-second-language isn't really the right term for the curriculum Harun Yussuf is immersed in this summer at Burlington's St. Michael's College, considering that English is his fourth language. English is, however, the language he expects to use when he attends college in the United States — an aspiration he holds even though he only arrived from Somalia eight months ago.

Proposed Bilingual Charter School Wins Appeal

A proposed bilingual school in Gettysburg, PA will be granted a charter after a successful appeal to the state Department of Education's appeals board. Vida Charter School proposes to teach a standard curriculum, but half in English and half in Spanish, and will also educate students on peaceful living and wellness. The action comes after the Gettysburg Area School Board and Hanover Public School Board twice rejected the charter application.

Boston Teacher Pushes English-Language Learners

Since 1995, the number of students in U.S. schools who are not native English speakers has shot up 60 percent. In 20 states, the number has doubled. But these so-called "English language learners," or ELLs, drop out in huge numbers — and the ones who stay don't always catch up. Although large urban school districts seem to be having the most trouble with these kids, one teacher in Boston refuses to give up on them.

Obama Chides California for Not Using Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers

President Obama singled out California on Friday for failing to use education data to distinguish poor teachers from good ones, a situation that his administration said must change for the state to receive competitive, federal school dollars. Obama's comments echo recent criticisms by his Education secretary, Arne Duncan, who warned that states that bar the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers, as California does, are risking those funds.

The Story I Won't Write About Clark County Schools

In her Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "In the beginning of the summer I pitched to my editors a story that I'd like to write this coming school year about how the Clark County school district in Las Vegas, Nev., met its adequate yearly progress goals overall for two school years in a row. This is a very unusual feat for a large urban school district. Even school districts in New York City and Brownsville, Texas, which have won the Broad Prize for Urban Education, have failed to make AYP as a district overall some school years."

N.Y. Students Manage Emotions for Better Test Scores

A new trend in public schools is helping students focus not just on math and science, but also on their feelings. John Tulenko of Learning Matters reports for the NewsHour on how social and emotional learning is improving test scores.