ELL News Headlines

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Students Compete in First-Ever International High School Robotics Competition

Nearly a thousand high school kids from all over the world are in Washington, D.C., this week for what is being billed as the first-ever international robotics competition. And it's truly international. Some teams are coming from remote islands, others from areas without reliable Internet or places of conflict. NPR's Kat Lonsdorf went to check it out.

Framing Global Education: A Wisconsin Perspective Via Germany

The Wisconsin Global Education Achievement Certificate (GEAC) was created with help students be "responsible citizens in a global society." Gerhard Fischer, a dual German and US Citizen who has worked for forty years in the global and world education language field, writes, "Students who complete this certificate, known as Wisconsin Global Scholars, learn languages, enroll in coursework that emphasizes global inquiry, and write reflections on world literature or film. Finally, they document their participation in global school activities such as student exchange programs and interaction with students and families in their communities with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Students who graduate with this set of experiences are expected to see the world from different points of view as described in Educating for Global Competence….The overall goal is to educate our students to be responsible citizens in the global society Howard Gardner refers to. Some of them may end up shaping the course of world history the way Europe's and US political leaders did after World War II."

This Camp at a Northern Virginia University Shows Girls a Future in STEM

Jhalak Singh slipped her boat, created out of aluminum foil, into a plastic container filled with water. Then she watched as Amber Smith-St. Louis began to fill it with blue marbles, counting aloud each time one dropped in. The foil boat test was part of a summer camp for girls called FOCUS, held last week at George Mason University. The camp for middle-school students, in its fourth year, centers on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as STEM, disciplines in which women have traditionally been underrepresented. It aims to show girls that these fields can be cool and fun — and open to them.

As California Bilingual Education Grows, Teacher Training Is Key

Zyanya Cazares, a sixth grade teacher who is starting a new assignment this fall teaching in a bilingual education program in Los Angeles, grew up speaking Spanish. But she was recently reminded that the casual, conversational Spanish she spoke at home is not the same as the formal form of the language she's now being asked to teach.  Cazares was one of a dozen current and aspiring bilingual education teachers who gathered at Cal State Dominguez Hills to learn about the latest teaching methods and also, for many teachers like Cazares, to fill in gaps in their language skills.

The Schools Transforming Immigrant Education

Schools like International Academy at Cardozo Education Campus in Washington, DC have been growing in popularity across the country in recent years as an alternative to educating newly arrived immigrant students in traditional public schools, where students who are learning English often trail their native-English-speaking peers academically and are at high risk of dropping out. The approach has taken off in the D.C. area, with the opening of five international high schools and one middle school since 2012 to meet the needs of a growing population.

Afghan Girls Robotics Team Allowed to Enter U.S. for Competition

It has been an odyssey, but finally, a team of six Afghan girls will be able to travel to the United States to compete in a robotics tournament. Two previous attempts to secure visas, which involved traveling 500 miles to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, had failed. The journey has been a long one. The girls spent six months building their robot, the AP reports, often working six days a week — and then they had to persuade their parents to let them go, in a country that often discourages girls in science and math. Then to apply for visas, they traveled twice to Kabul — site of a bombing on May 31 that killed 150 people — and their applications were rejected. The team's robot can sort balls, recognize blue and orange, and move objects to their proper places, according to the AP. If the girls had not been able to attend, they would have watched their robot, which was cleared for entry to the United States, compete over Skype.

José González on Growing Latino Outdoors

José González, the founder of the conservation group Latino Outdoors, was born in a rural village in Mexico and came to California's Central Valley when he was nine.  At first, "I was the only one in my family who had an interest in nature," he says; he learned about U.S. conservation and the systems supporting it, in school. While was working on his master's degree in natural resources and the environment at the University of Michigan in 2009, he began searching for American Latino organizations focused on conservation. "I found nothing," he recalls. But four years later, González had an opportunity to create what he'd discovered was missing. Working with Tuolumne River Trust, he began talking to Latino communities about the outdoors, asking what they needed to get out and enjoy it, and chronicling their stories online. With that information he was able to help connect the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin with local community groups to bring a group of Latinos to Drakes Bay.

RI School Districts Taking a 'Brutal' Hit in State Budget Standoff

School districts are scrambling to trim their budgets following Monday's announcement that $45 million in education aid to cities and towns is on hold because of a budget standoff between the leaders of the Rhode Island House and Senate. Also in jeopardy is the $5 million set aside to assist English-language learners, which most affects Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls.

Idyllwild Summer Camp Helps Build a Better Future for Hispanic Students

A summer camp in Idyllwild has helped high school students pursue college degrees and become community leaders, organizers say. The Inland Empire Future Leaders Program – which aims to lower the high school dropout rate of Hispanic students in the Inland Empire — on June 18 invited 142 Hispanic high school students for a weeklong camp in which the students were put into "familias" — groups of about 12 peers and three staff members. Included in each familia was a business professional from the community.

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