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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Churches Reaching out to Refugees

Several churches in Abilene, TX and their members are reaching out to people from war-torn countries seeking refuge in the area. Churches are helping refugees learn English, assisting with transportation and basic needs, and aiding them with transition into American culture. Some are even holding religious services in a different language so refugees can worship as they did back home. Refugees come to Abilene with the help of the International Rescue Committee. Since 2003, the nonprofit agency has placed about 600 refugees in Abilene from countries all over the world whose lives have been shattered by violence and oppression.

Spanish Club Works for Unity

The Hispanic Community Project at Wisconsin's Evansville High School is a Spanish Club with a twist. The club adviser, Diego Ojeda, said it was important to add social consciousness to the club. "We want to focus on diversity and tolerance," said Ojeda, Spanish teacher at the school. "When they (students) get out of Evansville, they are going to see a lot of diversity." The student group aims to use Spanish-speaking skills to further integrate the Hispanic and Anglo communities in Evansville.

Immigration Transforms Communities

Jim D. Rollins had been superintendent of the Springdale public schools in northwest Arkansas for almost a decade when the mostly white community began its dramatic transformation into a booming gateway for immigrant families and their non-English-speaking children. In 1990, the district, with just under 8,000 students, had virtually no English-language learners, or ELLs. By last fall, its English-learner population alone stood at 7,000 children — roughly 40 percent of the total enrollment of 17,400 students.

Alabama's Two-Year Colleges Ask for ID to Curb Admission of Undocumented Students

A new policy aimed at keeping undocumented students from enrolling in Alabama's two-year colleges has required extra paperwork and training for campus admission officials, and has given a little headache to at least a few prospective students. No major problems have been reported so far, although officials expect biggest deluge of applications to come just before classes start early this month.

Indigenous Education in the 21st Century

Last month, 3,000 descendants of numerous Indigenous nations came together to share their traditions and discuss the future education of their communities. The World Indigenous People's Conference on Education (WIPC:E) 2008, hosted on the traditional lands of the Kulin Nations of Victoria, Australia, welcomed participants from 23 countries and focused on "Indigenous Education in the 21st Century: Respecting Tradition, Shaping the Future."

Special Investigation: Iraqi Refugees

More than 2 million civilians have fled the kidnappings, car bombs, and killings of war-ravaged Iraq for the relative safety of Jordan, Syria, and other Arab neighbors. The greatest refugee exodus in the Middle East since the Palestinian flight of 1948 is impoverishing the Iraqi middle class — and straining relations in an already volatile region. <em>Baltimore Sun</em> reporter Matthew Hay Brown follows the refugee trail, from the Middle East to Maryland.

Texas Schools Getting in Tune with Mariachi

Jose Perez often butted heads with his grandfather, who emigrated from Mexico years ago and feared his American-born grandson didn't appreciate the sacrifices his family made. Then the teenager started playing the music of the elder's homeland. Perez, 14, took a mariachi music class at his Fort Worth high school, and gained a cultural connection to his grandfather. Mariachi education programs, long popular in parts of South Texas and California, are springing up in schools across the country to help keep the nation's largest and fastest-growing ethnic group academically engaged.

A Doctorate from the School of Life

Rueben Martinez is known for his many callings: Barber. Longtime bookstore owner. MacArthur award winner. Speaker at high schools, colleges and universities across the country. Holder of more honorary degrees than he can count. And now Martinez, 68, is a college professor. A presidential fellow, to be exact. Starting next month, Martinez will be responsible for Chapman University's efforts to recruit first-generation students, especially Latinos, into science and math programs.

A Portrait of a Population: National Report on English-Language Learners

<em>Quality Counts 2009</em>, entitled "Portrait of a Population: How English-Language Learners Are Putting Schools to the Test," was released yesterday. The report contains new data that can be used to inform policy debates, such as that states estimate that more than 56,000 new English-as-a-second-language teachers will be needed in the next five years and that only 11 states provide incentives for teachers to receive an endorsement in ESL.

ELL Students Get Help from Honors Students

For most people, asking for directions in a foreign language might prove near impossible. One can only imagine the difficulty of working through a full education while being taught in a second language, as so many students in America must. To address this issue at Oregon's South Salem High School, National Honor Society students are offering tutoring to students enrolled in English Language Learners courses.