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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High School Students Seek to Improve Hispanics' Literacy Exam Scores

A week or two before a big game, Arkansas' Rogers High School hallways are often decorated with student-made signs exhorting the athletes to do their best. Next week, the signs will have a slightly different message. The signs, aimed at Hispanic students, will remind them to do their best on the upcoming 11th-grade literacy exam.

ESL Teachers Needed as Schools Fill with Non-English Speakers

New Jersey's School Report Cards, released last week by the state Department of Education, show that the percentage of LEP, or Limited-English Proficient, students in the state is spreading into suburban districts. The expansion into suburban schools has increased the need for specialized programs and the demand for teachers certified in bilingual education and English as a Second Language.

Chilean Hopes Learning Language Will Unlock Opportunities

Lorena Ellett is finding her way around this country with a little help from road maps like the Ozark Literacy Council and the Adult Education Center. Before she moved to the U.S. last year, Lorena worked as a health and safety engineer for the Ministry of Health for the government of Chile. In this country, her continued efforts to learn English are slowly yielding some results as she tries to find her way back to the work for which she was educated.

Addressing Student's Dialects Academically

For the 21 students in Berman's West Hills Nevada Elementary School class — four African-Americans and 17 Latinos — the lesson emphasizes the differences between "home language" and the classroom. It's at the heart of a growing urgency at Los Angeles Unified School District that after more than 15 years of quiet awareness, more now needs to be done to meet the challenges faced by students whose native language is English but who speak vernacular dialects at home.

Language Proficiency Decreases Among Latinos, Study Says

Speaking Spanish is a way for Hispanics to stay connected to their culture. However, the trend among Latino groups is a decrease in language proficiency as generations pass, according to a recent study. Those who do not speak Spanish have found other means to keep in touch with their roots.

Learning From a Native Speaker, Without Leaving Home

The best way to learn a foreign language may be to surround yourself with native speakers. But if you can't manage a trip abroad the Internet and a broadband computer connection may do the job, too, bringing native speakers within electronic reach for hours of practice.

District Warns of State Test's Impact

An Illinois school district can offer little help to juniors with limited English proficiency who in April will take the standard statewide achievement test, officials say. Such students formerly took a simplified test in English that attempted to measure academic progress in math and reading. However, state and federal education officials concluded last fall that the test didn't meet the testing requirements of federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

All Kids Part of This Bilingual Program

A second-grade science lesson on balance and motion at West View Elementary in Burlington attracts lots of eager volunteers. There's action and engagement, two hallmarks of good teaching. But there's something that, in some circles at least, is more controversial. The teacher, Miguel Rivas, conducts the entire class in Spanish.

Padres Unidos Is a Success Story

In 2003 parent Blanca Diaz created <i>Padres Unidos</i>, a Spanish-speaking parents group at California's Del Mar High School. Her hope was to connect parents to their children's education and close the learning gap through parental involvement. Five years later <i>Padres Unidos</i> has benefited parents, helped students get into universities, boosted the high school's academic performance, and has become a model program for other schools in its district.

Helping Los Estudiantes

Students at James Madison University are knocking down the barrier between the university and its community by mentoring sixth and seventh grade Latino students at a local middle school. Every other Wednesday JMU students who are members of the club "AMISTAD" go to the school to talk with Latino kids about their own culture, and diversity in the cultures and people around them. The name "AMISTAD" means "friendship" in Spanish, but speaking Spanish is not a requirement. Many of the Latino kids are bilingual and several don't speak Spanish at all.