ELL News Headlines

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Using the Power of Language to Serve Students and Families

For millions of parents who don’t speak English, navigating their child’s school system can be a behemoth undertaking. It’s a reality that Marifer Sager is working to change in the Portland, Ore., school district as the senior manager of the language-access-services and multicultural affairs department. Sager oversees translation services for the 47,000-student district, which is home to families that speak more than 130 languages.

What to say to kids when the news is scary

We spoke with a handful of child development experts about what parents, teachers and other caregivers can do to help prepare and protect kids from all the scary news out there, whether it's fighting overseas, a school shooting, devastating wildfire or a global pandemic. Here's what those experts had to say:

How can we support young people in a time of isolation? Experts say: Listen

For school-aged children and teens, their formative years changed all but overnight in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The jobs of social workers who work with youth and the roles of school counselors also changed in a flash as the professionals grappled with how to safely help those coming of age in a time of global crisis.

A high school spoken-word club changed students' lives. Now, you can read their poems

When Peter Kahn became an English teacher at the Chicago-area Oak Park and River Forest High School, he was terrified of teaching poetry. "Poetry was my least favorite subject as a student, and my least favorite subject to teach as a teacher," he says. "I was terrible at it." So he asked a former student of his for help, who suggested the idea of a poetry slam — a competition in which poets perform spoken word poetry before a live audience. "The student with the lowest grade in my class ended up winning it," says Kahn. "And I realized this is something powerful."

Why kindness and emotional literacy matter in raising kids

America is facing a “crisis of kindness,” according to science journalist Melinda Wenner Moyer, citing some of the harsh messages kids are exposed to, whether parents like it or not. In order to help children have the tools to navigate a sometimes unkind world, Moyer went in search of ways to counteract the forces that drag us down. 

Parent need for language translation soars in Charlotte schools

With close to one-third of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students living in households where the primary language is not English, the district’s need for translation services is growing. CMS is four months into using a Massachusetts-based company’s call center to provide 24/7 language translation service to families. The district says it’s an expansion to language and document interpretation services.

New ‘Sesame Street’ Theme Park To Be Sensory Friendly

A new theme park designed to bring the iconic show “Sesame Street” to life will have a host of accommodations in place to welcome children with disabilities when it opens soon. Sesame Place San Diego will be designated a Certified Autism Center when it opens to the public next month, officials said.

How supportive state policies can help kids' mental health

There's a growing consensus that the pandemic has taken a big emotional toll on young people. Among other troubling signs, children's hospitals across the country have seen more kids showing up in their emergency rooms for mental health reasons, seeking care for everything from severe anxiety and eating disorders to suicide attempts. The vast majority of Americans – 87% – are concerned about the wellbeing of the next generation, according to a new poll. In response to the crisis, a group of 17 national mental health organizations are calling for a new investment in school-based mental health support for kids. The group published a new report this week rating states based on how well they are addressing the crisis through programs and services in schools.

Homeless youth and children are wildly undercounted, advocates say.

Dominique Marshall moved a lot in her youth. She called many different places "home" over short periods of time when she was 17. She learned at a young age that the public school staff and liaisons she grew up around weren't adequately trained to recognize homeless students.

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