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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Course Breaks Barriers to Language for Non-English Speakers

Since 2002, the number of non-English speakers in the Mississippi's DeSoto County School system has multiplied 10-fold, from 70 to more than 800. And the trend is likely to continue. As a result, the district, which shares a border with Tennessee and is part of the greater Memphis metropolitan area, is embarking on a bold pilot program to integrate English language learners, about 5 percent of the student body of 30,616, into the educational and social mainstream through its Sheltered English Immersion program.

Record 3.1 Million California Kids Getting School Meals

More than 3.1 million California public school students are now enrolled in a school meal program because of their family's poverty status, the state Department of Education said Tuesday. The number of meals served jumped a record 4.5 percent in the last school year, more than four times the average yearly increase. The rate is expected to climb even more steeply this year as families cope with the economic crisis. School districts are feeling the brunt of it, too, as they struggle to feed more kids nutritious meals without more money from the state.

Hispanic Scholars Program Helps Rogers Students

Hispanic students at an Arkansas school district who performed well on standardized tests, but whose families do not speak English at home, can now learn more about the American college and scholarship system. Mark Sparks, Rogers School District deputy superintendent, has started a Hispanic Scholars program to inform students about credits needed for high school graduation, how to apply to colleges, and how to get college scholarships.

Meet Arizona's ELL Teacher of the Year

For Granville Elementary School first- and second-grade English Language Development teacher Susan Jimenez, it's all about the students. So it was fitting that her students were with her Tuesday afternoon when Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne announced Jimenez is the Arizona ELL (English Language Learner) Teacher of the Year.

Advocate of Immigrants Tapped for White House

In her "Learning the Language" blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "Cecilia Munoz has been selected to be the director of intergovernmental affairs for Barack Obama's administration, according to <em>The Washington Post</em>. She's now the senior vice president at the National Council of La Raza and was a 2000 MacArthur Foundation 'genius grant' winner. In her new job, she will be in charge of the White House office responsible for relations between the Obama administration and state and local governments."

Squeezed Out: California State University Cuts 10,000

When California State University officials announced the steps it would take to deal with a bleak economic forecast, it didn't take into account the impact those measures will have on students like Horacio Viveros of Sacramento or Lourdes Montes de Oca of Davis. The CSU decided to cut enrollment by 10,000 students next year by using measures that educators believe will harm many of the state's Latino students' chances of attending a four-year university.

University Hosting Native Languages Bilingual Conference

Bilingual educators and other participants will have a chance to develop multimedia material to teach Native languages during the sixth annual Regional Indigenous Bilingual Education Conference at the University of New Mexico-Gallup branch this week. With a focus on helping indigenous teachers develop Native alphabets with professional stories, scoreboards, and computer animation, the theme of the conference is "The ABCs of Learning Native Languages Using Technology."

It's No Secret: Progress Prized In Brownsville, TX

Here at Cromack Elementary School, near the border of the United States and Mexico, many children in the early grades are taught in Spanish. By 4th grade, those students have made the smooth transition to classes where practically all instruction is in English. Cromack's progress in helping such students illustrates the strengths of a school district where nearly half of the students are English-language learners, nearly all are from low-income families — and where students in all grades outperform those in similar districts statewide in reading and math.

Commentary: Educators Protest Scholarship's Policy

More than one hundred parents, teachers, and students gathered in front of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) National Headquarters to protest their policy barring undocumented students from applying for their scholarships. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is the largest national provider of scholarships for Hispanic students.

Number of ESL Students Growing Locally

Tucked away in the Parent Center room at Indiana's North View Elementary School, three young girls surround teacher Karen McKinney as they read <em>Stone Soup</em>, a book about making a great-tasting soup with a stone and vegetables. The girls are just a few of the students attending Muncie Community Schools who are learning to speak English. The number of students learning English in the Muncie schools has jumped from about 13 students four or five years ago to about 175 students of varying levels of proficiency, according to Ermalene Faulkner, MCS Director of Elementary Education and Title I.

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