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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Best of 2020: Katherine Johnson, 'hidden figure' at NASA during 1960s space race, dies at 101

When Katherine Johnson began working at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 1953, she was classified as "subprofessional," not far outranking a secretary or janitor. Hers was a labor not of scheduling or cleaning but rather of mathematics: using a slide rule or mechanical calculator in complex calculations to check the work of her superiors — engineers who, unlike her, were white and male. Her title, poached by the technology that would soon make the services of many of her colleagues obsolete, was "computer." Mrs. Johnson, who died Feb. 24 at 101, went on to develop equations that helped the NACA and its successor, NASA, send astronauts into orbit and, later, to the moon. In 26 signed reports for the space agency, and in many more papers that bore others' signatures on her work, she codified mathematical principles that remain at the core of human space travel.

Best of 2020: They Work Full Time. They Attend School. They’re Only Teenagers.

The beginning of the pandemic hit Daniela, a junior in high school, with overwhelming force. At the same time her high school shut down, her mom, who was six months pregnant, lost her job, and as a person who entered the country without documentation, she was excluded from federal assistance. Her stepdad, a construction worker, had his hours sharply reduced. Daniela would hear her mom crying about not having enough money and reluctantly asking friends for loans. Daniela needed to help. Daniela is one of many teens caught in the double crisis of an economic downturn and an education system in upheaval. Teens are being forced to become breadwinners, helping to fill in the gaps in their families' income.

Best of 2020: Jason Reynolds Officially Becomes National Ambassador of Young People's Literature at Library of Congress Ceremony

The medal has officially been passed. At an inauguration ceremony at the Library of Congress on Thursday, author Jason Reynolds became the seventh National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. He will hold the post for two years. When it was Reynolds’s turn to speak, he vowed to uphold the responsibility and, he too, told a couple of stories. The first directly related to his platform as ambassador, "GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story." He was on an author visit at the middle school in Florida when he watched a girl stand with him in front of staff and students and gain the courage to speak into the microphone. She was visibly moved by hearing her voice reverberate around the room.

Best of 2020: Pura Belpré, the First Puerto Rican Librarian in NYC (And My Library Hero)

In this piece about Pura Belpré, library technician Rachel Rosenberg writes the following, "Since September, I’ve been working on my library Masters. Our prof gave us a list of historical library figures to create presentations about, and I immediately thought of Belpré. She wasn't listed, and I was disappointed. She was an iconic, innovative librarian who altered children's librarianship for the better and was inspirational enough to have an American Library Association award named after her (honoring children's books by Latino writers and illustrators)."

Best of 2020: Best moments from CNN and Sesame Street's town hall on racism for kids and parents

CNN partnered with "Sesame Street" for a special town hall about racism, giving both kids and parents an opportunity to explore the current moment the nation is living through and to understand how these issues affect people. "Coming Together: Standing Up To Racism" aired Saturday morning and left no stone unturned -- discussing everything from how to fight racism when you see it and who to call when police officers are being unsafe. The hour-long program featured "Sesame Street" characters like Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Rosita. Together, they -- along with experts -- answered questions submitted by families.

Best of 2020: We Need Diverse Books Names 2020 Walter Dean Myers Award Winners

The winners of the 2020 Walter Dean Myers Awards for Outstanding Children's Literature are Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell in the teen (age 13-18) category and The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman in the younger readers (age 9-13) category. In these fifth annual Walter Awards — which honor diverse authors whose work features "diverse main characters and address diversity in a meaningful way" — there were also two honor books in each category. For teens: Pet by Akwaeke Emezi and With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. For younger readers: A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée and Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga.

Millions of ELL Students Face Prospect of In-Person, Federal Testing During COVID-19

The disruption to in-school learning caused by the global pandemic this year has hit the nation’s 5 million English-language learners especially hard. Now, millions face yet another predicament: being asked to return to schools to take federally required English-language-proficiency exams amid the national surge in coronavirus cases.

Best of 2020: 12 Common Mistakes Made by Teachers of English-Language Learners

The new question-of-the-week is: "What are some of the most common mistakes teachers make when working with ELLs, and what should they do, instead?" In this post, this six-part series is "wrapped up" by Valentina Gonzalez, Joseph F. Johnson Jr., Ph.D., Maria L. González, Ed.D., and Consuelo Manriquez, Ed.D., and Karen Nemeth and Jane Hill.  I'm also including comments from readers.

Best of 2020: Santiago Potes Is 1st Latino DACA Recipient To Be Awarded Rhodes Scholarship

Santiago Potes is one of the hundreds of thousands of DACA-recipients currently living in the U.S. His parents fled Colombia when he was four years old, traveling with Potes to Miami. Now, Potes, 23, is a graduate of Columbia University and also the first Latino DACA recipient to be awarded a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. "I just couldn't believe it," he tells NPR's Morning Edition. "I just thought that they were going to call me, and say 'Oh, we made a mistake. Sorry about that, we actually didn't choose you.' " Santiago says his love for learning really took off when he was selected for Marina Esteva's gifted classroom at Sweetwater Elementary when he was in the second grade.