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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School District to Reshape Its Bilingual-Education Program

Community leaders, teachers, and parents agree that Rochester, NY's school district needs to re-evaluate its bilingual-education program to determine whether its teaching methods play a role in the low graduation rates and high drop-out rates plaguing Latino students. "We, as a community, need to come together and continue to push for equity for our kids," said Hilda Rosario Escher, president and chief executive officer of the Ibero-American Action League, at a forum held to discuss the issue.

Judge Orders Texas to Revamp Bilingual Programs

A federal judge has thrown out his own judgment last summer that the state of Texas was doing an adequate job of educating students with limited English skills. U.S. Senior District Judge William Wayne Justice's ruling issued Friday gives the state until the end of January to establish a language program that ensures equal education opportunities in all schools. Judge Justice said in his new ruling that the Texas Education Agency is violating the civil rights of Spanish-speaking students under the federal Equal Education Opportunity Act.

Camp Aims to Attract Hispanic Students to STEM Fields

George S. Alarid, Alexander M. Martinez, and two other students, all 15-year-old rising sophomores at Colorado high schools, are building a bridge. That is, they're trying to. The teams of students each are all a part of SciTech Summer Camp at the University of Colorado and three other Western universities. The program is part of a large effort specifically aimed at getting more Hispanic students into the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

NC Community Colleges Get Go-Ahead on Immigrant Restrictions

North Carolina's community college system said Friday it would continue to bar illegal immigrants from enrolling until officials can review a federal opinion that could allow it to drop the policy. The decision came shortly after the Attorney General's Office released a letter it received from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that said "individual states must decide for themselves whether or not to admit illegal aliens into their public post-secondary institutions."

Math, Reading, and a Little Improv for ESL Students

Maria Villarreal is giving us the news, Paris Hilton style. She and her classmates are playing an improv game where they're producing a television news cast as an unlikely crew of characters. The sportscaster is a textbook computer nerd, constantly wiping his nose and pushing up his glasses. The weatherman is a hillbilly, whose forecast is, "Looks like a good day for growing crops." Drama and improv is one of the electives at Summer Quest, a program run by Colorado's Vail Mountain School and designed for middle school students who are learning a second language and need a way to keep up their English and math skills over the summer.

Latino Youth Make Films with Message

In the small town of Carbondale, CO lies the Colorado Rocky Mountain School where Latino students from around the area attend three weeks of workshops to express their personal and cultural beliefs through filmmaking. Now in its sixth year, the Latino Youth Filmmaking Project not only allows student filmmakers to learn the basics in short film production (such as script writing and operation of filmmaking equipment), but also allows them to collaborate during the filmmaking process.

Canadian Host Families Welcome Japanese Students Through Exchange Program

Twenty-seven boys dressed in black dress pants and white button- up shirts scrambled onto the stage at the Wenjack Theatre at Canada's Trent University to have their picture taken last night. The boys, aged 13 to 15, arrived in Peterborough from the all-boys' Yokohama Junior High School, in Japan, through a program that aims to help visitors improve conversational English and learn about life in Canada.

Resource: Teaching ELLs About the Environment

In her "Learning the Language" blog for <em>Education Week</em>, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "While I'm physically back in the office, I have on my mind the memory from vacation of spotting a common loon, a bird that many consider to be the symbol of the wilderness, swimming close to her newborn chick &#133; In honor of that loon and her chick, and with a belief that environmental education helps to boost the chances that bird species like the common loon will thrive, I point you to Larry Ferlazzo's July 19 blog entry, 'The Best Sites to Introduce Environmental Issues into the Classroom.'"

Kids Show Off English Skills at Summer Program

Squirrels, nut trees, berry bushes, and even a snow-filled yard were on display at Columbus School in the City of Poughkeepsie, NY where nearly 100 students are taking part in the district's three-week summer English as a Second Language program. With the city's Hispanic population growing, the summer ESL program offers students a chance to improve their English while also taking traditional academic classes.

Soccer Camp Develops Skills, Leadership, Understanding

Ramon Aguillon wanted his players to learn about more than soccer in his first summer as Indiana's Zionsville High School girls coach. So he had them partner with a local church to host a soccer camp, emphasizing the need to work with Latino children in the community. "As a coach, one of the things I really wanted to emphasize this year was not only the soccer-playing aspect, but also the leadership aspect for the players. The girls are not only learning about soccer but about life skills and leadership to help other people in the community as well."