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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Richard DuFour, Advocate of Professional Learning Communities, Dies at 69

Richard DuFour, a renowned education consultant and author who advocated collaborative teaching environments, died Feb. 8, following a long battle with cancer. He was 69. DuFour was a leading voice in the movement to improve schools through professional learning communities, in which teachers come together to analyze and improve their classroom practice.

D.C. Elementary School Students Perform with Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell

The orchestra students at Bunker Hill Elementary School plucked and bowed their violins, violas and cellos one afternoon this week as they performed Duke Ellington's "C Jam Blues" for classmates at an assembly. But this was no ordinary concert. Two special guests joined in: violinist Joshua Bell and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Ma and Bell visited the Northeast D.C. school through a program known as Turnaround Arts, which aims to give underperforming schools more resources for arts and music.

English-Learners Study Language of Math

For young English-language learners, language skills can be a barrier not just to reading but math as well. Educators and researchers working in two school districts here hope that helping students "talk through" number problems will assist them in meeting the state's new math standards. It's part of Teaching English-Learners Early Mathematics, or TEEM, a pilot partnership between researchers at California State University, San Bernardino, and the Nuview Union and Romoland school districts, in California's Inland Empire region. In 2014, the project won a development grant from the federal Investing in Innovation program to use a combination of Japanese "lesson study" cycles and detailed student math notebooks to help teachers and students write and reflect on their math learning.

Colorado Educators Will Soon Be Required to Take Training for Teaching English Learners

Aspiring and existing Colorado educators soon will be required to get additional training in an effort to better teach the state’s growing English language learner population. The State Board of Education on Wednesday directed the education department to begin drafting new guidelines that will lay out what sort of new training will be required. The new requirements come in response to an eight-year U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights inquiry into whether Colorado was doing enough to ensure students learning English as a second language had teachers who could effectively communicate with them. The federal government raised concerns that the state was out of compliance with federal law that requires the Colorado Department of Education to ensure that districts have adequately trained and qualified teachers to teach English learners.

Commentary: Warm Words and Good Intentions Not Enough to Improve Immigrant Students' Education

ELL expert Cheri Micheau writes, "The School District of Philadelphia has gotten some positive press recently around the education of immigrant students.  In a series of articles in the Notebook last fall, people from the District's central office praised as successful a program for English Learners (ELs) at Northeast High School…But these same meetings and articles featured individuals who highlighted challenges that ELs in the Philadelphia schools continue to face---challenges in receiving effective instruction and appropriate language support, and challenges in being treated fairly according to the law."

Justin Minkel on Guided Reading: How to Make Kids Hate (or Love) to Read

Imagine yourself curled up in your favorite chair by the fireplace, a mug of cocoa spiked with Bailey's within reach. Open the book you've been waiting all day to read, a tale of adventure and intrigue that takes you out of yourself and your everyday world for a couple of precious hours.  Now go through your book and highlight all the words with the long "o" sound. Search for the answers to five "right there" questions that have nothing to do with the heart of the story, like "What color shoelaces was the villain wearing?" Get your significant other to sign off on your reading log as proof that you did your nightly reading, then provide a written response to a prompt about the novel, wrapping up with the inevitable conclusion, "As you can see…" School has a way of messing up even the inherently joyful act of reading a good book.

Program Steering Latinos to Ph.D.s Gets Underway

The University of Pennsylvania Center for Minority Serving Institutions has announced its first cohort of students from Hispanic-serving institutions who will take part in the center’s new program, "HSI Pathways to the Professoriate." The program, announced last year, seeks to increase the diversity of the college teaching profession by guiding Latino college students through graduate school and the acquisition of a Ph.D.

After Travel Ban, Schools and Libraries Reassure Students and Families

All are welcome here. That’s the name of a new campaign that recently got underway at the Hennepin County Library (HCL) in Minnesota. But it could also represent the message of several community and school libraries across the country in light of President Trump’s executive order that bars refugees and residents from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States.

In Nebraska, Syrian Refugees Find a Warm and Welcoming Community

The rice and chicken were steaming on the stove. The twins chased each other around the apartment and the 2-year-old watched Mickey Mouse on the donated television. Their mother, Fatema Aljasem, 29, sat at the kitchen table with two women from the local synagogue. Since the Syrian was granted asylum in September, the women had been helping her learn English. She pulled at her hijab and pointed at the words, mouthing ways of conjugating the verb "to go." Here in deeply conservative Nebraska, President Donald Trump's executive order banning refugees and people from seven majority-Muslim nations elicited complicated feelings about the state's relationship with refugees. Many Nebraskans had supported attempts to keep the country safe but still wanted to show their heart for people fleeing terrorism and war. Their state has taken in more refugees per capita than any other.