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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Music Used to Teach Language

Four young pairs of eyes are trained quietly on instructor Patti Tryhus. She tells her eager pupils to align their noses, elbows and toes with the strings of their violins. She reminds them to have good posture and distribute weight evenly across both feet. Nearby, a small handful of music educators and academicians are holding their breath, anxious to see how well these four English-language learning students can play.

Sotomayor: Tough Kid Turns Unintimidated Judge

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds confirmation hearings next week on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, she would be the 111th justice to serve, the third woman and the first Hispanic. Sotomayor grew up in a tough New York neighborhood but demonstrated that with hard work, she could change her circumstances.

What Do You Think an Ideal Teacher of ELLs Knows and Can Do?

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is inviting the public to comment on standards it has developed for what the organization calls "teachers of English as a new language." I call them teachers of English-language learners. The standards will be used as a basis for requirements for teachers who become nationally certified as teachers of English as a new language by the organization, a process that is open to content teachers as well as English-as-a-second-language teachers.

Ireland: Parents Agree to Compromise in Irish Language Row

A dispute over language that divided a school community in the Kerry Gaeltacht has been resolved -- and all sides say they are happy. The row centered on whether pupils were entitled to an education through both English and Irish at a school with an all-Irish policy.

For 51 Years, Dodger Announcer Calls Games in Spanish

Most fans of baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers are familiar with legendary broadcaster Vin Scully. But the Dodger's organization includes another Hall of Fame broadcaster. Jaime Jarrin has been calling games in Spanish for 51 years. Renee Montagne went to Dodger Stadium, and talked with Jarrin, who has become a major figure in Hispanic broadcasting.

Latino Authors and Illustrators Honored for Outstanding Works in Children's Literature

The most influential Latino authors and illustrators of children's literature will be honored over the weekend during the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Chicago. The Pura Belpré Celebración will serve as a national backdrop for the presentation of the coveted Pura Belpré Medal, an award that recognizes Latino authors and illustrators of children's literature.

Council on Foreign Relations' Task Force Backs 'DREAM' Act

In her Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "A task force of the Council on Foreign Relations just released recommendations for comprehensive immigration reform that endorse the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, or 'DREAM' Act."

WIDA Tally: Hawaii Joins Testing Consortium

In her Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "Hawaii has joined 18 states and the District of Columbia in deciding to use the English-language-proficiency test most commonly used by states: ACCESS for ELLs. That test and the English-language-proficiency standards it is based on were created by the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment, or WIDA, consortium."

Latino Liaisons Hit Hard by School Cuts

For two years, Benjamin Santamaria helped Spanish-speaking parents and students at University Park Elementary in Hyattsville, MD navigate the public school system. This school year, those parents and students will be without him. Santamaria is among the 275 employees being laid off to help the Prince George's County school system balance its $1.7 billion budget. The school system is laying off administrators, instructional specialists, support staff, and teachers. But the biggest chunk of those let go, about 120, are paid parent liaisons, including Santamaria.

Effort Begins to Ease Hispanics' Fear of Census

With eight months left until the start of the 2010 census, a broad effort to get an accurate count of the growing number of Hispanics in Hampton Roads, VA is under way. Patricia Knight, a regional representative from the U.S. Census Bureau, is enlisting the help of organizations to tap into their networks and spread the word to Hispanics about the importance of the upcoming census. Her task, she said, is a daunting one.