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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When the First ELLs Show Up in Your District...

In her "Learning the Language" blog for <em>Education Week</em>, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "In Appalachia, a lot of school districts have enrolled English-language learners in the past ten years that had no experience with such students, according to a report about ELLs in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia that was just released by the Institute of Education Sciences &#133; The report, 'Preparing to Serve English Language Learner Students: School Districts with Emerging English Language Learner Communities,' documents how some school districts have moved beyond an ad hoc approach to a more comprehensive, integrated approach."

Spanish Teacher Wins National Award

Sylvia Garza grew up in the barrios of a Texas border town helping her grandmother make and sell tortillas for 12 cents a dozen. It was only Garza's father, a taxi driver who dropped out in the sixth grade, who wanted more for his favorite daughter than a high school diploma, she said. Garza, a Spanish teacher at Texas City High School, has spent the past three decades encouraging children to pursue higher education and helping them find scholarships. For her efforts, Garza, 55, has been named the national teacher of the year by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

Students Work on English During the Summer

The Burlington School District's summer session for English as a Second Language students began last week. The district has 117 ESL elementary students enrolled in summer school, which focuses on literacy and math skills. Older students from the district volunteer to help the ESL students hailing from countries such as Bosnia, Somalia, and Vietnam.

Summer Program Boosts English Skills of Immigrant Students

Eyebrows rose in curiosity as a Puerto Rican tapas was distributed at Virginia's John Kerr Elementary School. The food was the last chapter of the students' lesson on the language and culture of Puerto Rico. Brenda Colon provided the tapas and information on her native island. She was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the United States when she was 7. She was one of the guest speakers assisting with the school's Around the World, an English for Speakers of Other Languages program.

Indiana Schools Should Reevaluate ESL, Educators Say

Schoolchildren with limited English skills need to be kept in traditional classrooms rather than pulled out and taught separately, two university educators said recently. Teachers in all subject areas need more training in working with those students, said Annela Teemant and Farida Pawan, who are education faculty members at IUPUI and Indiana University, respectively.

Opinion: Colorado's Future Depends on Educated Hispanic Work Force

In this column, Joe Garcia, president of Colorado State University-Pueblo, writes, "The youngest and fastest growing segment of our population is of Hispanic origin. If they are the work force of tomorrow they must be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow and those jobs increasingly will require at least some college. It is in our collective interest to properly prepare them for college, enroll them, and make sure they successfully graduate. This will require the collective efforts of families, the K-12 system, community and state colleges, universities, social service agencies, private business, and state and local governments."

Hmong Children's Book Aims to Bridge Gap

A new children's book by a Stevens Point author aims to educate people about the Hmong culture. Published by the Portage County Literacy Council, Maiker Vang's "Grandma's Hmong New Year Celebration" teaches people of all ages and nationalities why the Hmong celebrate the way they do. Filled with intricate colored-pencil drawings and written in three dialects, it tells the story of a Hmong woman from Laos who is teaching her American Hmong granddaughter about the Hmong New Year.

Opening the Conversation on Achievement Gap

Columnist Hector Becerra shares the responses he received to his column about ethnic achievement gaps: "Writing about anything dealing with race, ethnicity or cultural differences is like a big Rorshach test. Everyone sees something different."

Column: Forget About the Achievement Gap

The Washington Post's Education Columnist Jay Mathews writes, "I don't like talking about the achievement gap. The term has several meanings, none very useful to my mind. There is often a strained silence when I bring this up, since it sounds like I am on some crotchety rant against political correctness. But that is not what I mean. Thankfully, a new study is making my point for me, courtesy of Brookings Institution scholar Tom Loveless."

Summer Slide: Low-Income Students Can Lose Ground When School Is Out

They call it the "summer slide." As June slips into July and then the dog days of August, many of the math skills, history lessons and new vocabulary words that students acquired during the school year slip without the routine of daily classes. As a result, many high-income families around the country send their children into private academic summer programs, and that has educators increasingly worried that the achievement gap actually widens over the summer.