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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Libraries to Celebrate El día de los niños

Illinois' Gail Borden Public Library will join hundreds of libraries across the nation in celebrating El día de los niños/El día de los libros, which honors the child and reading and emphasizes literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

School to Expand Dual Language Program

A dual-language program will be introduced at Illinois' Ellis Middle School next August, district officials said this week. The program, which now exists solely at an elementary school, was established seven years ago, splitting a select group of school days and subjects between Spanish and English. Parents have long urged the district to expand the program, citing test score improvements, confident kids and a multicultural atmosphere. High test scores from dual language students helped bump the elementary school off the state's academic warning list in 2005, and it has not returned.

Shakira Lobbies Congress on Education for Poor

The hip-shaking Colombian pop star Shakira was in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for an unlikely reason. She wasn't here to put on a concert, but rather to lobby Congress to endorse bipartisan legislation that would help pay for education for the 72 million children worldwide who are too poor to go to school. "I grew up in a country where unfortunately education is sometimes seen as a luxury, as a privilege, and not as a human right," she says. "This always bothered me. So this is personal to me. In the developing world, people who are born poor will die poor, and that is because of the lack of opportunities, opportunities that come from education. Education can actually save lives."

California Students Log Improvement in English Fluency

One-third of California's 1.4 million non-native students demonstrated enough English fluency this year to gain access to higher-level and college-prep course work, a modest improvement over last year, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Education. Increasing limited-English-speaking students' access to more rigorous classes and decreasing the achievement gap between these students and their native classmates are "moral" and "economic" imperatives, said Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell.

Report Spurs Oregon District to Work on English Learners

Oregon's West Linn-Wilsonville School District got a few dings from the state in March after a review of its federally funded program for students learning to speak English. The three findings for the Title III program included improving some teachers' understanding of the criteria for students to enter and exit the program, adding teacher training to better instruct students who struggle with English, and ensuring use of district-adopted curriculum to teach the students.

Virginia Elementary School Leading the ESL Way with Increased Numbers of Refugees

The number of limited English proficiency students enrolled in Charlottesville's school divsion has risen 16.8 percent over the past year. The school greatest affected by that jump has been Greenbrier Elementary, which received 17 new LEP students this year to bump that population to 58. The fact that around two-thirds of Greenbrier's LEP students are refugees — some of whom had never been in a formal school environment before — made the task for teachers even tougher.

English Language Learners Make Great Strides

Greeley-Evans School District 6 officials last week got some news they hope will increase graduate rates. English Language Learning students showed improvement or significant improvement in nearly every category and grade level in the Colorado English Language Assessment test. CELA is given to students who entered the district having no proficiency or limited proficiency in English. The assessment, given to 3,600 District 6 students in January, measures how well these students have progressed in learning to read, write, speak and listen in English.

Colleges Look to Ease Hispanics Through Obstacles

Blanca Paccha wasn't exactly met with an outpouring of encouragement when she first told her family she was thinking about going to college. Concerns about drinking and dating were foremost in their minds. Born and raised in Ecuador, Paccha is the youngest of five children and the first ever to express an interest in higher education. Paccha ended up at the College of New Rochelle because she and her family felt more comfortable with a Catholic college for women. She now is set to graduate, with a job already lined up with the National Institutes of Health. In many ways, Paccha's story reflects the larger picture of Hispanics in higher education nationwide — an issue that has attracted increased interest as the Hispanic population booms and as more students set off on a path previously untraveled by their parents.

"I Felt I Was An Adult Before I Was A Kid"

Some immigrant children have to grow up fast when they come to the United States. Dorina Arapi, who moved to the United States from Albania as a child, writes how the two hours she cared for her younger brother each day while her mother worked seemed like 200 hours. Also, she says in a student essay featured by an Eduwonk post yesterday that she was looking up words in a dictionary and otherwise perfecting her English while other 8-year-olds rode their bikes and went to the park. "I felt I was an adult before I was a kid," she writes.

Arizona Districts Struggle to Make Do Even with Increased Language Funds

A $40.6 million funding boost to help schools educate students who are learning English isn't adding up for Patricia Marsh, a school superintendent in southern Arizona. The legislation approved this month means Marsh will get more money. But she says it's not enough to implement the state mandates that go with the funding, particularly a requirement that so-called English Language Learners should be separated from other students for daily four-hour immersion periods.