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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Eighth-Grader Wins Citywide Spanish Spelling Bee

The showing at the city's Spanish spelling bee Friday was far from <i>raquítico</i> — a cognate for the English word rachitic, a medical term meaning sickly — as was the pride of winner Helena Cortina, 13. <i>Raquítico</i> was the winning word for the eighth-grade English-language-learner whose family recently arrived in Las Cruces from Spain's Canary Islands. Emma Galindo Armendáriz, director of bilingual programs for Las Cruces Public Schools, said the other contenders represented a range of students, from those learning Spanish as a second language to "our Chicanitos."

'Pushy' Parents Hit by School Rulings

England's state schools are being barred from choosing pupils from middle-class families by the government's education watchdog on admissions. The schools have been hit by a series of rulings which block them from doing anything that might be seen as giving preferential treatment to middle-class applicants. The policy is being forced through by the government in a drive to use admissions to tackle "segregation" in society. The judgments, which set a precedent extending throughout the state school system, include banning headteachers from asking parents why they want to come to the school, in case this puts non-English speakers at a disadvantage.

Tucson School Program Touts Interpreter Jobs

Arizona has problems keeping Latino students in high school. It also lacks Spanish-speaking interpreters for hospitals, courts, and businesses. A project in Tucson for both middle and high school students is addressing both issues in a creative and empowering way.

Reaching Out to Parents of ELLs

Schools should be taking steps to get parents of English-language learners involved in their children's education despite the significant challenges, says a new policy brief from the researchers at Arizona State University. Doing so will help ELL students overcome the isolation many feel and give non-English speaking parents tools to help their children succeed in school.

Getting a Read on Boosting Literacy

In the face of discourage literacy statistics for the state of Arizona, the annual Tucson Citizen-Sunnyside Unified School District Town Hall recently focused on the theme of "Strong Literacy/Strong Community." The town hall brought together about 300 educators, parents, and children to try to come up with solutions to the literacy problem, and their ideas covered one large wall the school's gymnasium by the end of the evening. The ideas voted most important included increasing reading materials for children in their homes, opening school libraries to children during the summer when school is out, and challenging the state's new English Language Learners law. Parents also talked about how to get children away from video games and into books.

State Report Identifies ELL Deficiencies

School administrators of a Massachusetts school district recently downplayed a new report released by state education officials that identified a series of deficiencies in the district's English Language Learner's (ELL) program. Amongst other findings, the report, the result of a 2006 visit to the school district, concludes that the city does not provide adequate materials, resources, and support to students enrolled in ELL offerings. The state also concluded that the district needs to prove that it has a proper system to allow ELL pupils to shift into the general education program, that students have equal access to all academic offerings, that annual assessments are conducted that measure student progress, and that parents are properly notified of their child's activities.

ACLU Urges Nevada County to Drop English-Only Rule

Nevada and national offices of the ACLU have jointly asked Esmeralda County to lift their English-only rule on school buses. The rule principally affects about a dozen Hispanic students. A staff attorney with the ACLU, says "the Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized that students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate."

Class Knocks Down Language Barriers

Every day more than 600 non-English speaking students attend public school in Ohio's Boone County, while their families try to adapt at jobs in a community where the language is foreign to them. The students go to English Language Learner (ELL) classes daily based on their needs, but learning at school is only half the battle, according to school coordinators. Developing English at the student's home is the department's biggest challenge, and so to extend a bridge of trust between families and schools, the district began offering free, adult English as a second language classes.

ASU Unites Districts with Native Educators

Seventeen members of the Navajo Nation have received degrees from Arizona State University's College of Teacher Education and Leadership and are returning to their communities in the Four Corners region of Arizona to teach in schools on the reservation.
The assistant dean and director of the college's Professional Development School (PDS) program says that the program embraces the diversity of the districts it serves, pointing to PDS student demographics that include 34 percent Hispanic students, 33 percent Native American, 32 percent White, and 1 percent "other." In addition, seventy percent of PDS students are first-generation students.

Opinion: Latino Students Are Getting Lost in the Education System

What has often been overlooked in our community's ongoing dialogue on graduation rates is the simple fact that Latino students have the lowest rates in the district. Why should this concern anyone? After all, Latinos are relatively new to Rochester. My value system leads me to the conviction that every child deserves equality. This holds true regardless of race, citizenship status, or learning ability — surely we can all agree that each is worthy of the best education.