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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The Dual Immersion Solution

Driven by rapidly increasing linguistic diversity in public schools, districts throughout the country are scrambling for ways to meet the needs of ELLs, who now total nearly 5 million U.S. students—an increase of over 1 million since 2000. But instead of seeing ELLs as a costly challenge — requiring remedial support or additional staffing, for example — many districts are acknowledging the assets these students bring to school, and in response have created dual-language immersion programs where English learners and native English speakers learn together.

Why Manchester Students Wrote a Book for the Mayor

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig got an early holiday present on Monday from a group of Webster Elementary School English language learners. The students presented a book they've been preparing for the last few months in their immersive all-day ESL class. The book opens with the words "We are Manchester Proud" and a photo of the students, who moved here within the last year from countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. After that, there are pages of photos of their new city, Manchester, that the students took themselves on walking tours.

Carthage Engages Immigrant Families

It's a Monday night at Fairview Elementary, and a small group of Hispanic parents sit around a table joined by teachers from Carthage's dual language and English Language Learners programs. It's the first of many meetings to come in an effort to increase engagement with immigrant families, one component of a larger grant project that seeks to bolster English Language Learners programs in four Missouri school districts, including Carthage. The $2.6 million five-year grant, dubbed Strengthening Equity and Effectiveness for Teachers of English Learners, will provide ELL training to teachers in the Carthage, Kansas City Public, Bayless and Columbia public school districts.

Lego Foundation and Sesame Street Team Up to Help Refugee Children

Can play help refugee children heal from trauma? That's the belief behind a new partnership formed by the Lego Foundation, Sesame Workshop and organizations working with Syrian and Rohingya refugees. In its first major humanitarian project, announced on Wednesday, the foundation will provide $100 million over five years to the makers of "Sesame Street" to deepen their work with the International Rescue Committee in the countries around Syria, and also to partner with the Bangladeshi relief organization BRAC.

Moms Start Companies to Fill Demand for Spanish-Language Children's Books

You might have heard of the three blind mice or the itsy-bitsy spider who went up the waterspout. But have you ever heard of the little cold and hungry chicks? If you grew up speaking Spanish, the answer is probably yes. But Susie Jaramillo wants everyone to know "Los Pollitos," a bedtime song about a hen taking care of her hatchlings that’s as familiar in the Spanish-speaking world as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is to English speakers. The song is the heart of Canticos, a series of bilingual books, companion apps and singalong videos that the Venezuelan-American mother of two dreamed up after she couldn't find enough Spanish-language books to read to her children. The brand, which debuted in 2016, had its biggest breakthrough this year when Nickelodeon adapted it to develop a series for toddlers on its digital platforms.

Carranza Names New Leader — and New Department Name — for English Language Learners

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza has named a veteran New York City educator as the new head of its department that oversees students learning English as a new language. Mirza G. Sánchez-Medina, the founding principal of Manhattan Bridges High School, will be the new deputy chief academic officer of what will now be the Division of Multilingual Learners, the city education department announced in a news release. It was previously called the Division of English Language Learners and Student Support.

From Collecting Firewood for Sale to Forging a Path in College

Nuam San, 20, recalled last month how much her life had changed since she moved to the United States five years ago. At the time, she spoke no English and came from a country where women are expected to stay at home. Now she is a freshman at Agnes Scott, a small, private women’s liberal arts college outside Atlanta.

How the Loss of Native American Languages Affects Our Understanding of the Natural World

Alaska has a "linguistic emergency," according to the Alaskan Gov. Bill Walker. A report warned earlier this year that all of the state's 20 Native American languages might cease to exist by the end of this century, if the state did not act. American policies, particularly in the six decades between the 1870s and 1930s, suppressed Native American languages and culture. It was only after years of activism by indigenous leaders that the Native American Languages Act was passed in 1990, which allowed for the preservation and protection of indigenous languages. Nonetheless, many Native American languages have been on the verge of extinction for the past many years. Languages carry deep cultural knowledge and insights. So, what does the loss of these languages mean in terms of our understanding of the natural world?

The Mountain West Brings Native Lessons to the Classroom

The United States has a grim history when it comes to our indigenous people. For the most part, this history isn't taught in our public schools; neither is indigenous culture. But that's changing, and the Mountain West is on board. At a Colorado library recently, its Department of Education unveiled a brand new set of lessons for 4th graders. The optional curriculum was written and approved by the the state's two federally recognized tribes – the Southern Ute and the Ute Mountain Ute. It covers the gamut from the history of Indian Boarding Schools to arts, language and tribal governance.