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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New To U.S., Iraqi Refugee Helps Others Resettle

Since the war in Iraq began in 2003, an estimated 4.7 million Iraqis have fled their homes, scattering within the country and beyond. Atlanta is a prime destination for them. Among those displaced is Alaa Naji, a single mother of two small children who lost her husband in a terrorist attack. A United Nations employee, he was fatally injured when a car bomb exploded at the Jordanian Embassy in Iraq in August 2003. To support their two small children, Naji — who has an English degree — found work with the U.N. and the U.S. Army in Baghdad. But within a couple of months, she started getting notes that threatened her family.

7 Staten Island Schools Get Grants to Help 'English Language Learners'

Seven Staten Island schools have been awarded grants to help non-native English speaking students overcome the hurdles of assimilation. The six elementary schools and one high school were among 110 public schools citywide to receive a total of $7 million in grants for so-called "English Language Learners," Department of Education officials said. There are about 150,000 ELL students across city, or about 14 percent of the student population, officials said.

Arne Duncan to tackle 'No Child' Policy as Obama's Education Secretary

When Arne Duncan heads to Washington, his driving task will be to rethink No Child Left Behind, the all-or-nothing law that has shaped how every child and every classroom in the country is judged. As President-elect Barack Obama's pick for U.S. education secretary, Duncan, the fast-rising South Sider tapped to head Chicago Public Schools in 2001, is expected to be more flexible with a reform criticized for its rigidity.

Empty Shelves, Filled With Imagination

With minimal resources available, a school librarian gets creative. Geri Ellner did what she could to improve her 6-12 grade library with a limited book budget of $3,244 for the school year. First, she spaced out the books so that the library shelves looked fuller. She created a "Memory Lane" section for young children's books and a magazine section using donations from her doctor and dentist.

'More Time Used Well Has Been Our Mantra'

In her Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "The Center for American Progress is promoting expanded learning time for English-language learners with a report that features several case studies of schools that have extended the school day or year. 'It's common sense' that extra learning time can be particularly beneficial for ELLs because they 'have more to learn in less time, ' Melissa Lazarin, the associate director of education policy for the Center, said at a forum to release the report, <em>A Race Against the Clock: The Value of Expanded Learning Time for English Language Learners</em>."

School Wins Md. Honors for Turning English-Learners Into Top Achievers

Highland Elementary School in Maryland's Montgomery County, which won a coveted Blue Ribbon yesterday from the Maryland State Department of Education, stands out among public schools in the Maryland suburbs for two reasons. It ranks first among those schools in the number of economically disadvantaged students who perform at advanced levels on statewide tests, a measure of its accomplishments. And it ranks second in percentage of students who have limited English proficiency, a measure of its challenges.

'The Latino Education Crisis'

Generalities about "minority students" can easily hide specific issues related to various ethnic and racial groups — and the ways they do and do not advance in the American educational systems. <em>The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policies</em>, just published by Harvard University Press, is a scholarly attempt to focus on one fast-growing ethnic group. In this interview, the authors discuss their findings on Latino students and college-going rates and success.

Missouri Schools Work To Meet Needs Of Immigrant, Refugee Students

Bosnian, Chinese, Vietnamese — these are just a few of the native languages spoken by children attending classes in Missouri's Affton and Bayless school districts. The immigrant and refugee make-up of the metropolitan St. Louis area has exploded seemingly overnight, increasing by over 65 percent since 1990. In the trenches integrating these different cultures are the faculty, staff, and administrators at St. Louis County schools.

Teens See Themselves in Photos of Immigrants

A group of teens in Los Angeles took cameras to tell stories of immigrants in America. For some students of first-generation immigrant families, this meant looking inward. The project, funded by the non-profit group Facing History and Ourselves, is now hanging in the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Host Scott Simon talks with the high school photographers about the exhibit, titled "The Way We See It: L.A. Teens on Immigration."

Area Schools Challenged by Increase in ELLs

Twelve-year-old Edwin is known as "feet" to his sixth-grade class. But it's not because his feet are big or particularly smelly. It's because they carried him from Guatemala to the United States. Edwin's family settled in Ohio and has made its home in Canton. Immigrants from Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Romania, Ukraine, Vietnam, Thailand and China, are among those who have settled in Ohio's Stark County, and local educators are trying to keep up with the greater demand for ESL instruction in their schools.