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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Teaching Indigenous Languages

Utah's state board of education is asking for funding to strengthen the teaching of indigenous languages in schools serving Native American children, according to this Deseret News article. Proponents of the plan say that helping students become proficient in their native languages would help to improve their English reading achievement as well.

SJSU, Districts Help Latinos Prepare for College

At 14 years old, a confident Rosanna Castillo already knows she wants to be an attorney. To achieve her goal, the eighth-grader at Monroe Middle School has focused on getting great grades — anything short of an "A" is unacceptable. Saturday she learned the additional steps (from taking college preparatory classes to advanced study techniques) that will help insure her path to college. Castillo was among about 2,800 Latino students from across Santa Clara County who took part in the first Advancing Latina/o Achievement and Success conference at San Jose State University.

Cell Phones Tackle Reading, Language Barriers

New technologies that enable cell phones to translate speech on the fly and read documents for the visually impaired could have important implications for both educators and students. Late last year, NEC Corp. announced the development of an automatic Japanese-to-English speech translation tool for mobile phones sold in Japan. The software is aimed at Japanese travelers abroad, but versions for other languages could one day prove useful for educators and administrators in schools with large populations of English-language learners.

Push for Early Bilingual Education

Young public school students in Whatcom County, Washington, don't get class time to learn a foreign language, but two people from Western Washington University think they should. Marsha Riddle Buly, associate professor of Elementary Education, and Trisha Skillman, director of the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program, are spreading the word about bilingual education and its benefits to students, schools and the community.

District to Give English Learners Two Options on State Tests

Students new to English will have two options when taking state tests next year in Illinois' District 214. Students with fewer English skills will be told to attempt each section "until the point of frustration," said Norm Kane, District 214's director of the English Language Learner program. When they no longer understand test questions, they will be told to put down their pencils, Kane said.

District Readies Programs for English Learners

As the Mountain View, CA, Whisman School District continues to see a steady increase in English language learners — and a consistent achievement gap among these students — teachers in the district have begun efforts to combat the trend.

Opinion: State's Mandate Missing Key Ingredient: Funding

[No Child Left Behind] was an ambitious program to improve education without the necessary funding to see it through. But no need to go to Washington for an example. We have one right here in Arizona: the 2006 law that requires school districts to boost services for English language learners (ELL).

Reviving a Dying Language

Seven boys and girls attend the Arapaho Immersion Preschool in Casper, WY. They're developing a broad Arapaho vocabulary and learning the basics of the language. Once they graduate from preschool, however, and go off to attend public school, they're going to quickly lose everything they've learned, says Jerry Redman, chairman of the Northern Arapaho Council of Elders. As a matter of cold arithmetic, the Arapaho language will be dead in less than three decades if children don't start learning it and using it fluently.

Change Looms for English Learners

Change is on the horizon for students who are enrolled in the English Language Learners' Program in Malden, MA, Public Schools. In two years' time, Superintendent of Schools Sidney Smith, hopes to have English as a Second Language and Sheltered English Instruction programs concentrated in two Malden K-8 schools.

College Eligibility Within Reach of Many in L.A.

Tens of thousands of Los Angeles students could be on the brink of being qualified to apply to the state's four-year universities, according to a report made public Monday. The report's authors asserted that huge numbers of students could, with the right advice and academic assistance, become bound for the University of California and Cal State University systems. The bad news is that, in too many cases, they aren't getting this help. In fact, a new software system that would, with a push of a button, provide a status report on a student's college preparation is apparently languishing largely unused, said one of the co-authors of the report.