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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University Hosting Native Languages Bilingual Conference

Bilingual educators and other participants will have a chance to develop multimedia material to teach Native languages during the sixth annual Regional Indigenous Bilingual Education Conference at the University of New Mexico-Gallup branch this week. With a focus on helping indigenous teachers develop Native alphabets with professional stories, scoreboards, and computer animation, the theme of the conference is "The ABCs of Learning Native Languages Using Technology."

It's No Secret: Progress Prized In Brownsville, TX

Here at Cromack Elementary School, near the border of the United States and Mexico, many children in the early grades are taught in Spanish. By 4th grade, those students have made the smooth transition to classes where practically all instruction is in English. Cromack's progress in helping such students illustrates the strengths of a school district where nearly half of the students are English-language learners, nearly all are from low-income families — and where students in all grades outperform those in similar districts statewide in reading and math.

Commentary: Educators Protest Scholarship's Policy

More than one hundred parents, teachers, and students gathered in front of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) National Headquarters to protest their policy barring undocumented students from applying for their scholarships. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is the largest national provider of scholarships for Hispanic students.

Number of ESL Students Growing Locally

Tucked away in the Parent Center room at Indiana's North View Elementary School, three young girls surround teacher Karen McKinney as they read <em>Stone Soup</em>, a book about making a great-tasting soup with a stone and vegetables. The girls are just a few of the students attending Muncie Community Schools who are learning to speak English. The number of students learning English in the Muncie schools has jumped from about 13 students four or five years ago to about 175 students of varying levels of proficiency, according to Ermalene Faulkner, MCS Director of Elementary Education and Title I.

For Two Pa. Teens, Two Paths To College

Emmanuel Garcia, 18, and Marlo Johnson, 17, both of Harrisburg, Pa., spent most of the summer wondering whether they could get the loans and grants they needed to pay for college. The money came through for Garcia, but things didn't work out so well for Johnson.

In Yemen, St. Paul Teachers Train Union Leaders

Amber Prentice, an English Language Learners teacher at Battle Creek Middle School and advisor to Colorín Colorado, wanted to understand the culture shock many of her students experience when they move to St. Paul from places like Somalia and Ethiopia. "For these kids who grew up in a Muslim society to come here, it's really difficult," Prentice said. "Suddenly, women don't have to be fully covered. Suddenly, they are thrust into classrooms with both boys and girls." In August, Prentice and St. Paul Federation of Teachers President Mary Cathryn Ricker traveled to Sana'a, Yemen, where they trained leaders from two different Yemeni teachers' unions in effective teaching techniques.

ELL Challenges Not Insurmountable

Davidson County is home to more than a quarter of all Tennessee's English language learners - a situation that poses challenges to Metro Schools in terms of funding. School district leaders say there are questions as to whether the state's funding formula for ELL students provides appropriate compensation for the resource-intense process of helping kids learn English. And school leaders say there are certain state rules that make it tough to ensure that ELL students are sufficiently proficient in time for the tests. But high percentages of ELL students do not automatically sentence the district to trouble with No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Children Who Live in Public Housing Suffer in School, Study Says

New York City children who live in public housing perform worse in school than students who live in other types of housing, according to a study by New York University researchers. The study, which was released this week, found that students living in public housing are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to graduate in four years than those who do not live in public housing.

Junot Diaz On 'Becoming American'

During this week of Thanksgiving, NPR is spending time thinking about what it means to become an American. The answers come from three noted authors, including Junot Diaz, an immigrant who arrived in this country from the Dominican Republic at the age of 6. His Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, <em>The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao</em>, centers on an outcast, science fiction-obsessed kid who comes from a family of Dominican immigrants.

ESL Students Speak in Future Tense

Juli Salatino's third-period class is a bit different from her others. Her portable classroom at Davis High School, generally filled with teenagers learning Spanish, is instead occupied by a variety of students working through English verbs and sentence structure. This is her English as a Second Language, or ESL, class. And, for these non-native English-speakers, it's extremely important. Unlike those who are only beginning to learn English words and phrases, students in this ESL class have mastered the language well enough to engage in conversations. They're in class to learn how to express more complex thoughts and ideas.