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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A Conversation With U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, an Award-Winning Teacher

The 116th U.S. Congress is more diverse than ever before, with a historic wave of women of color taking office. While much of the national spotlight has been on the youngest woman to serve in Congress, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, there is also a former history teacher who has made history with her election: Rep. Jahana Hayes. Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, taught high school for over a decade. A Democrat, she is the first black woman from Connecticut to serve in Congress. 

How Harry Potter Has Brought Magic To Classrooms For More Than 20 Years

September marked the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’s U.S. release. NPR asked teachers then to tell us how the book has changed the way they teach. More than 1,000 educators, from elementary teachers to university professors, responded to NPR’s callout with stories about how they incorporate the Harry Potter series into their curriculum and classrooms. Deborah Stack teaches English as a second language at a middle school in the Bronx, N.Y., and says her classroom is mainly divided between Spanish speakers and Arabic speakers. Finding engaging material in those two languages has been hard, Stack says, especially because her students vary in their reading levels in both their native languages and English. But this year, she decided to try reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with them after she found the digital editions in both Spanish and Arabic.

Justin Minkel: How to Be a Better Mentor to Your Students

Award-winning ELL teacher Justin Minkel writes in this column, "In every strong teacher-prep program I have seen, the role of mentor teachers is crucial. But being a skilled teacher of children doesn’t automatically make you a skilled mentor of new teachers. So how do you teach someone to teach?"

To Save Their Endangered Language, 2 Cherokee Brothers Learn As They Teach

The Eastern Band Cherokee have been speaking their native language in the mountains of what is now North Carolina for more than 1,000 years. But today, most of the remaining speakers are over 50 years old. And many of those who teach the language — including Micah and his younger brother, Jakeli Swimmer — aren't fluent. Like many other Native Americans, the Swimmers have been struggling to save their language from extinction. According to UNESCO, their Eastern Band Cherokee dialect is "severely endangered."

In Newark, bilingual students gain an edge in the enrollment process

For the first time, Newark students who are still learning English will gain an edge when they apply to schools this year — part of the district’s ongoing effort to ensure that all schools serve their fair share of high-needs students. The city’s computerized enrollment system, which allows families to apply to most traditional and charter schools using an online portal, has for years given a preference to low-income students and those with disabilities. But it has not previously done that for English learners, even though they are more segregated than those other groups.

10 years later, dual-language immersion program thriving and evolving in Park City

The students who kicked off the Spanish dual-language immersion program 10 school years ago at Parley's Park Elementary School in Utah are now sophomores at Park City High School. Last year, many proved their skills by passing the Advanced Placement test in Spanish with flying colors. Traci Evans, interim associate superintendent of teaching and learning, said 84 percent of the students scored a 3, 4 or 5, which are passing grades for the test. A total of 32 students took the exam.

Opinion: Embrace multilingualism as a goal for all Minnesota students

Kendall A. King is professor of second language education, University of Minnesota. In this editorial, he writes, "We need to embrace multilingualism as a goal for all state students, both recent arrivals and longtime residents, by leveraging all of our communities’ resources. In policy and practice, this means creating more opportunities for world language learning and stronger English-as-a-second-language programming that builds on students’ first languages through multilingual instruction."

New course offers St. Louis University law students hands-on immigration-law experience

A new St. Louis University course is aiming to give law students hands-on experience with immigration law. The course, Removal Defense Project: Sheltering Vulnerable Immigrant Families and Children, will begin spring semester 2019. It centers on providing aspiring attorneys with the skills necessary to defend those in jeopardy of facing removal proceedings.

Meet Tony Thurmond, the New Head of CA Education and a Bilingual Advocate

Democratic Assemblyman Tony Thurmond managed to come from behind to emerge as California’s new superintendent of public instruction, beating out Marshall Tuck, a fellow Democrat and former Los Angeles executive of charter schools and educational nonprofits. Thurmond sponsored California Assembly Bill 2514 which was passed in September, allocating $300,000 in grant funding to eligible schools, county offices of education and consortia to expand or initiate new dual language immersion or developmental bilingual programs. Thurmond lived in San Jose, where he was raised by a single mother, a teacher from Panama, who died of cancer in 1974, when he was 6. He then moved to Philadelphia, where he was adopted and raised by his cousin and stepfather.

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