ELL News Headlines

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West End YMCA in Willoughby, OH to Offer Scholarships for Safe Swim Classes

The West End YMCA in Willoughby, OH is providing scholarships for free water safety lessons for children. 50 scholarships are available and they are designated for school-age children of low-income households and underserved communities to participate in the swim classes offered at Houston-Fisher Pool at Jakse Park in Eastlake. A recent national study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis showed that 70 percent of African-American children and 60 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim.

Omaha Tribe Sees Cause for Hope in Effort to Preserve Fading Language

Dwight Howe motioned to a group of photographs on the wall — black-and-white portraits of Native Americans in traditional clothing. The kind of image you might see in a history book. When he was young, he said, this was how he saw Umónhon — something from the distant past. Something apart from him. Today, Howe, nearing 60, sees a similar attitude in many of his K-8 students at St. Augustine Indian Mission in Winnebago, where he teaches classes in Umónhon, the native language of the Omaha Tribe. It's his job, he said, to show his students that their language — their culture — is part of who they are. But these kids, he said, face a steeper challenge in learning to speak the language: Time, including decades of forced assimilation, has reduced the number of fluent speakers to just a couple dozen. Many are elderly. Howe's students and their peers, he said, have fewer and fewer adults around to teach them.

IPS Teacher of the Year Says Multicultural Literacy Is Key to Learning, Connecting with Students

Kathleen Rauth found out she was the Indianapolis Public Schools teacher of the year Monday when IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee and a members of the press rambled into the Center for Inquiry School 27’s media center. Rauth, an educator for 30 years, has been with IPS for the past three years. She’s made multicultural literacy and diversity the focus of her work. Rauth says throughout her careers, she's learned to ask questions and listen to students about their experiences and lives. "There is a lot of fear around what you don't know," she says about how other educators can feel. "I think I can be a model for (changing that feeling) and be that kind of resource to the whole district."

States' Pre-K Access, Funding Tick Upward, While Quality Varies

State preschool funding has returned to pre-Recession levels, and slightly more students are enrolling, but the quality of these programs continues to vary widely, concludes the latest analysis by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

Meet Riverhead's Next Schools Superintendent, Dr. Aurelia Henriquez

The Riverhead school district hired its new superintendent last night, Dr. Aurelia L. Henriquez. Henriquez, whose parents are from Puerto Rico, said she has devoted much of her career working with immigrants and children of immigrants. Brentwood is Long Island's largest school district, with nearly 20,000 students. More than 80 percent of its student body is Latino. Riverhead's Latino student population jumped from 15 percent of the student body in 2005-2006 to 41 percent in 2015-2016.

States' Special Education Work Offers a Jump on ESSA's Demands

The U.S. Education Department has long been responsible for evaluating how well states were meeting the mandates spelled out in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. But when it comes to standards connected to how well students are doing academically — test scores and graduation rates, to name two — the performance of students with disabilities has been stagnant.

Mother Language Dictates Reading Strategy

The way bilingual people read is conditioned by the languages they speak, according to researchers at Spain's Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language (BCBL), who found that the languages spoken by bilingual people (when they learned to read in two languages at the same time) affect their reading strategies and even the cognitive foundations that form the basis for the capacity to read.

United Through Reading Helps Connect Deployed Service Members to Families Back Home with Storytime

United Through Reading is a program that works with the military by giving service members the opportunity to record themselves reading books to loved ones. Samantha Hagan Lingad, Director of Operations and Programs for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard of the East Coast, says United Through Reading was founded 28 years ago by a military spouse who noticed her young child did not know who her father was when he came home from deployment. Hagan Lingad says service members go to a United Through Reading location, select a book to read, record themselves reading and then send the DVD and book home. She says they supply books to all branches of the military throughout the world and on carriers, like the USS George H.W. Bush, where thousands are on board are always in need of books.

English Learners: A Jumble of Strategies in Connecticut Produces Distressing Results

During a months-long trial last year in a lawsuit that explored whether Connecticut is spending enough to educate students in its most impoverished districts, several educators shared stories about the education being provided to their foreign-speaking students. One New London teacher testified she didn’t have textbooks. A teacher from Windham said students often were identified as special education students just to get them the extra supports federal law requires. In 2015, legislative researchers, noting a state requirement for an annual report on ELL programs, asked the education department for more analysis and evaluation of the quality and success of local programs. The education department finally produced an annual report in February of this year, but the five-page report lumped together students who were being taught using completely different methods – making it impossible to distinguish which was producing better results.

A New Marker of Success at Graduation: The Seal of Biliteracy

With graduation season in full swing, Maryland's largest school system, Montgomery County, is bestowing the Seal of Biliteracy honor on 770 students this year. As many as 1,000 others could also be eligible after graduation as a result of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) test scores that will come out this summer.