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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Schools in South Carolina Expect More Diversity

South Carlolina's Taylors Elementary School holds an Immigration Day in November to help students appreciate differences among their peers. The students are also taught the life stories of heroes from various races to help them better understand other cultures. These are just some of the methods Principal Vaughan Overman uses to reach students of varying racial and ethnic backgrounds. Because of the continuing growth of the Hispanic population, the look of schools across the country is changing, according to a report released by the Southern Regional Education Board.

Extended Time, Bilingual Dictionaries, and Test Items Read Aloud

In her "Learning the Language" blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "Those are the three accommodations that states most frequently permit English-language learners to use while taking their state's regular math and reading tests, new research shows … Researchers at George Washington University's Center for Equity and Excellence in Education report this information and much more about states' policies on testing accommodations for ELLs in a descriptive study, a 'best practices' study, and a guide they expect to release on Thursday."

Its Native Tongue Facing Extinction, Arapaho Tribe Teaches the Young

At 69, her eyes soft and creased with age, Alvena Oldman remembers how the teachers at St. Stephens boarding school on the Wind River Reservation would strike students with rulers if they dared to talk in their native Arapaho language. More than a half-century later, only about 200 Arapaho speakers are still alive, and tribal leaders at Wind River, Wyoming's only Indian reservation, fear their language will not survive. As part of an intensifying effort to save that language, this tribe of 8,791, known as the Northern Arapaho, recently opened a new school where students will be taught in Arapaho. Elders and educators say they hope it will create a new generation of native speakers.

Colombian 'Biblioburro' Has 4,800 Books and 10 Legs

In a ritual repeated nearly every weekend for the past decade here in Colombia's war-weary Caribbean hinterlands, Luis Soriano gathered his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, in front of his home on a recent Saturday afternoon. Sweating already under the unforgiving sun, he strapped pouches with the word "Biblioburro" painted in blue letters to the donkeys' backs and loaded them with an eclectic cargo of books destined for people living in the small villages beyond.

Education Officials Back Down on Some Proposed ELL Mandates

Bowing to complaints from state officials and advocates for English-language learners, the federal government has published a final — and more flexible — "interpretation" of how states should carry out the section of the No Child Left Behind Act that applies to such students.

Cost-Conscious Students Flock to Community Colleges

Community colleges are reporting skyrocketing enrollment, as students make tough choices in a sputtering economy. Some students are giving up on more expensive four-year schools and doing two years in a community college.

Colorado High School to Get Spanish-Language Culture Course

Next year, Centaurus High School in Boulder, CO is testing a pilot class that will immerse students in both the Spanish language and Hispanic culture. The course will cater to students who come from elementary and middle school dual-immersion programs. The inaugural Boulder Valley course, called "Cumbres de la civilizacion hispanica," is billed as an introduction to the "roots of Hispanic culture through the study of key figures of Spain and Latin America."

Evaluating Teachers in New York City

Educators have long argued that standardized testing is a poor way to evaluate student knowledge. They also disagree over whether test scores are the best way to evaluate teachers. In New York City schools, a surprising compromise allows some of that data to be used.

Opinion: Latinos Need a Seat at the Table

Edna Salcedo Talboy, a member of the Kansas City Human Rights Commission, writes in this opinion column, "For over 100 years Latinos have been part of the fabric of the Kansas City area. Twenty percent of the children in the Kansas City School district today are Latino, yet Latino parents and their children do not see one of their own on the Kansas City school board."

Sesame Street Targets English-Language Learners

<em>Sesame Street English</em>, a new series from Sesame Workshop, features anime-style versions of the show's signature Muppets introducing preschoolers to the English language. <em>Sesame Street English</em>, which can be adapted for classrooms, uses research-based methods to provide introductory language skills necessary to build a basic English vocabulary. Each all-English episode introduces one letter, sound and word, using visuals and rhythms. <em>Sesame Street</em> Muppet characters, including Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, and Grover, are featured in a new anime style.