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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U.S. Border Schools Get Tough on Mexican Students

The school district in Calexico, CA, has hired a photographer to stand at the border crossing to take pictures of children as they enter the U.S. It is also requiring that parents provide proof of U.S. residency in order for their kids to attend its overcrowded schools.

South Dakota Adopts ACCESS for ELLs

South Dakota has become the 17th state to decide to adopt ACCESS for ELLs, which is being used by more states than any other English-language-proficiency test to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act's requirement that schools test ELLs every year in their progress in English. The test is designed to assess ELLs in reading, writing, speaking, and listening, and was created by the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment, or WIDA, consortium. WIDA was formed for the purpose of developing English-language-development standards and a test aligned with them.

Foreign-Born Students to Get Extra English

Raleigh school leaders want to launch three high school academies this fall aimed at providing more intense training for foreign-born students who struggle with English. These pilot programs would go beyond courses that have been deemed insufficient. The academies, for which three teachers will be hired, are billed as a recognition of the needs of the district's burgeoning Hispanic population and an attempt to combat the tendency of students who enter the ninth grade speaking little or no English to lag academically or drop out.

Parents Scrambling for Bilingual Classes

Sometime this month, a handful of parents from Illinois' Naperville School District 203 will discover that their children have secured a coveted spot in the district's pilot elementary foreign language classes. Demand has been so high that the district is using a lottery to determine who will participate in the rejuvenated elementary Spanish program this fall. It replaces the one the district abandoned in 2002 because of budget cuts. The schools join a growing number of suburban districts that are embracing a different approach to teaching foreign language to their youngest students.

Hispanic Students Plan Alternative Prom

Hispanic students at an Arkansas high school will again have the option to trade the traditional corsage and slow-dance prom for one with reggaeton beats and Spanish lyrics. Less than 1,000 students attended the school's prom last year as Hispanic students planned an alternative prom for the same day, without the school's sponsorship or help.

State Panel Rejects Latino Call for Input on Curriculum

There is neither time nor a reason to slow down a plan to update the English language arts and reading curriculum for public schools, State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy said Wednesday after a Texas lawmaker pleaded for input from Hispanic experts since Hispanic children now make up a large plurality of the 4.7 million students attending Texas public schools.

Opinion: Time to Fund Our Efforts to Teach English

What is the true cost of educating English-language learners? That's the ultimate question. It doesn't really matter that superintendents collectively say the true cost is $304 million and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne says it's $40.6 million. The Legislature has to fund an immersion program for more than 130,000 students beginning next school year.

Hmong Students Drawn to Minnesota's Hopkins School District

The word is out in north Minneapolis' Hmong community: the Hopkins School District is the place to go. Last fall, 39 Hmong students transferred to the district, making it the largest single migration of Hmong students under the state's Choice is Yours program, a voluntary desegregation program for Minneapolis students. This year, more than 40 students applied to join them. But Hopkins has admitted only 10 students so far. It's a change from last year, when almost every student who applied by the deadline was accepted, said Minneapolis neighborhood organizer Jay Clark.

Beyond Price, Other Barriers to College Loom

Only about a third of Chicago Public School students with aspirations to attain four-year degrees enroll in colleges matching their qualifications, with 62 percent of students attending colleges with selectivity levels "below the kinds of colleges they would have most likely been accepted to, given their level of qualifications," according to a new study from the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago.

Easing Language Barriers

Vilma Serpas moved from El Salvador to Maryland four years ago and still is learning English. So last week when she stopped by her son's school, she immediately sought out the school's bilingual family liaison, Monica Lopez. Ms. Serpas is one of a growing number of Spanish-speaking parents whose children are enrolled in the public schools. They are parents who would be lost without help from liaisons like Ms. Lopez. Like the county's 11 other bilingual liaisons, Ms. Lopez is their link to the tools they need to build a life here and to help their children excel in school.