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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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.

Canada’s Launches First Indigenous-Language TV Channel

A new, all-Inuit Inuktut language channel has been launched in Canada, serving as the country’s first channel broadcast entirely in an Indigenous language. Devised by the team at Nunavut Independent Television (NITV), Uvagut TV (Inuktut for "Our TV") began broadcasting Inuktut language shows, movies and live programming on January 18.

Spanish-language resources help support distance learning

The Delaware Campaign for Achievement Now has released a new tool to help Spanish-speaking families navigate distance learning. Aprende Más, meaning “learn more,” is an initiative started with the support of Barclay Bank and help from the Delaware Department of Education.

Tae Keller Wins Newbery Medal for ‘When You Trap a Tiger’

The American Library Association announced two of the country's most prestigious prizes for children’s books on Monday: the Newbery Medal, which went to Tae Keller for "When You Trap a Tiger," and the Caldecott Medal, an award for picture books, for "We Are Water Protectors," illustrated by Michaela Goade. "When You Trap a Tiger," published by Random House Children's Books, follows a biracial girl named Lily whose family moves in with her ailing grandmother. A magical tiger appears, a figure from her grandmother's Korean folk tales, and offers Lily a deal in exchange for restoring her grandmother to health.

He Saved 669 Children From Nazis — A New Book Tells His Story To Kids

How old should kids be when they start learning about the Holocaust? While many educators believe the appropriate age is 10, a new book by Caldecott Honoree and MacArthur Fellow Peter Sís is recommended for children ages 6 to 9. Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued tells the true story of the Englishman, Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 children from the Nazis including Vera Gissing. Told with simple, direct language, readers get to know what Vera's life was like in her small town near Prague before the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia. They learn about Nicky's hobbies before he grew up to be a banker ("mathematics, stamp collecting, photography, and fencing"). Sís' illustrations blend the details of everyday life with imaginative, whimsical flourishes. On the cover, little Vera stands alone on the platform of an enormous train station holding a small suitcase and a kitty cat stuffed animal.

English language teachers continue work during pandemic

Students learning English as a second language continue to be taught in Hardin County Schools and Elizabethtown Independent Schools despite challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Elizabeth Clark is an English language learner teacher for E’town, working primarily at Helmwood Elementary School and Panther Academy. She speaks English and Spanish, her first language. She began working in the district in 2019 as an ELL assistant, but recently moved up to an instructor.

Meet the Winners of the 2021 Pura Belpré Awards!

Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros, winner of the Pura Belpré Author Award, brings us the story of twelve-year-old Efrén, whose world flips when his mother is deported to Mexico, but whose determination to reunite his family never wavers. Ernesto Cisneros’s debut novel adeptly balances hope and heart break in this timely story of undocumented individuals working to build a better life. ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat winner of the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award, follows Little Lobo and his pet sidekick Bernabé on a savory adventure, fetching lunch for Toro y sus amigos ahead of the Lucha Libre 5000. Each food truck stop highlights diverse and delectable cuisine, and is flavored with cultural references and a vibrant community of food vendors.