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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Chicago Schools Punching up Their Foreign Language Programs in the Name of Globalism

Chicago Public Schools will expand its foreign language curriculum next year, teaching more students Chinese and Arabic and launching Russian in several schools, officials announced Wednesday. The expansion, which will be paid for by cuts in other parts of the budget, will allow officials to hire about 15 new language teachers for 15 schools.

California Senate Approves Bonus Plan to Draw Experienced Teachers to Struggling Schools

Legislators on Thursday advanced proposals to help poor-performing schools attract experienced teachers despite opposition from teachers unions. The proposal, which will now go to the Assembly, addresses concerns that students at the worst-performing schools are more likely to have science and math teachers who are on emergency credentials or who lack the training, experience, and specialization to teach the subjects effectively, according to state Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), author of the measure. She said students at such schools are disproportionately Latino and African American.

English Language Learners Programs Grow Quickly in Kansas

Itzel Negrete and Rukiya Yusuf use a laptop to fine-tune the PowerPoint presentations they'll present for their parents at their elementary school in Kansas. The fourth-graders, students in the school's English Language Learners program, are working on the same kind of assignment that their mainstream peers get, but with an interesting wrinkle: Itzel, a native of Mexico, and Rukiya, a Somalian, will present their work in a new language.

Citizenship Lesson From the Top

They impressed him with their knowledge of President Bush's Cabinet and ability to give numerous examples illustrating the U.S. system of checks and balances. But it was their tough questions — "Why can't legal immigrants have the right to vote?" and "If immigrants are so important, why are some being sent back out of the country?" — that really got Alfonso Aguilar's attention. Aguilar, chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship, met with 30 teenage immigrants yesterday at Maryland's Gaithersburg High School for a 90-minute civics lesson and question-and-answer session in which the students took full advantage of their right to hold their government officials accountable.

ESOL Teacher Training Rules May Stay the Same

The Florida House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously passed a compromise that preserves much of the special training for reading teachers of students learning English — but the compromise so displeased the bill's Senate sponsor, who hopes to reduce the number of training hours required, that he promised to let it die without a vote in his chamber. The changes were prompted because some reading teachers have complained about the 300 hours of training needed to work with students learning English, but other teachers have said the special lessons are useful.

Nevada Grows More Diverse

The growth of Nevada's Hispanic population continues to outpace the growth of non-Hispanic whites, according to U.S. Census Bureau data being released today. Nevada is sixth overall in the nation in the percentage of its population that are minorities, Census figures show, and it has the fifth highest percentage of Hispanic children younger than 5. As a result, the growth is forcing school districts around the state to shift their focus to English language learners.

Schools Brace for Bhutanese Wave

Sharon Birnkrant, the principal of H.W. Smith School in Syracuse, N.Y., is accustomed to receiving refugees from countries she knows little about. So when she heard from a refugee worker that a group of refugees from Bhutan would be resettled in Syracuse this school year, she went into research mode. Ms. Birnkrant is among at least dozens of educators across the country getting ready for a wave of Bhutanese refugees expected to arrive in the United States over the next five years, as the U.S. Department of State prepares to interview 60,000 or more Bhutanese seeking resettlement.

El día de los niños: A Day Just for the Kids

Evangeline Skonning got decked out in Dora the Explorer gear Sunday and headed to Illinois' Warrenville Public Library with hundreds of other children and parents. Throughout the day they enjoyed music, chalk art, games, and a special appearance by a life-sized Dora the Explorer during the library's second annual celebration of Children's Day, or <em>El día de los niños</em>.

Parents Study How to Give Kids a Head Start

A new program in Washington state is working help parents become better teachers. North Central Washington Readiness for Kindergarten is a grant project that offers parents three group classes about literacy and follow-up home visits with literacy specialists. In one classroom, five parents learned how preschoolers identify letter and number shapes. The same meeting was going on for Spanish-speaking parents next door, only the classroom was standing-room-only.

Language Immersion to Become Trilingual

Come fall, third-graders at California's Riverview Elementary School are likely to greet visitors with <em>hello</em>, <em>hola</em>, and <em>ni hao</em>. By then, these native English speakers who have been speaking Spanish for two years will be studying Mandarin Chinese, the world's most-spoken language. Riverview will be among the few public schools in the county that teaches its students three languages.

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