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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Spokane Area High Schooler Killed as He Tried to Save Others from School Gunman

The second-floor hallway of Freeman High School near Spokane, Wash., was at once a scene of chilling violence and pure bravery Wednesday morning. There, at around 10 a.m., one student brandished the guns he had stashed in a duffel bag, determined to begin his rampage. Another student, identified by local media as Sam Strahan, tried to stop him. "That type of courage," Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said, cost Strahan his life.

Bilingual Education Advocates Celebrate First New Policy for English Language Learners in 20 Years

After years of reform and advocacy efforts, bilingual education activists across California celebrated the adoption of California's first new language policy in more than two decades — the English Learner Roadmap. The roadmap, unanimously adopted by the State Board of Education in July, is an online resource for school districts that will help guide curriculum, instruction and standards for the 1.4 million English learners in the state's public schools. The roadmap does not replace the English language development standards or state standards; it is intended to supplement them and inform policy about English learners.

A Quick-Start Guide for Teaching English-Language Learners

In this guide for teachers new to working with ELLs, veteran teacher Wendi Pillars writes, "You have language learners in your classes? Congratulations! Imagine all the new angles and perspectives you can include in your teaching this year, the different ways you can tap into students' critical thinking abilities, and how you can design impactful learning experiences for all the children in your classroom. For teachers who have ELLs in their classrooms for the first time, or for the first time in a while, I've created a quick guide to help jump-start your instruction."

The DACA Hero (and Victim) of Hurricane Harvey

During Hurricane Harvey, one DACA recipient and his friend braved rising flood waters to try and rescue survivors. Alonso Guillén and Tomas Carreon joined up with a group of other rescuers, borrowed a boat, and headed out to Spring, Texas to help with recovery efforts. The rescue attempt turned tragic, however, when their boat got caught in a heavy current and crashed into a bridge. One man on the boat survived, but Guillén and Carreon went missing. Several days later, their bodies were found in a river. BuzzFeed reporter Salvador Hernandez initially reported this from Texas, and he spoke with Latino USA to share this story. His original article is available here.

For Teachers Working Through DACA, a Bittersweet Start to the School Year

Jaime Ballesteros tried to contain his tears on Tuesday while teaching Brooklyn sixth graders about liquids, gases and solids. In between science classes at a charter school in East New York, he broke down at his desk. The government had just canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which had granted temporary protection from deportation to immigrants brought to the country at a young age.  He was just one of the estimated 30,000 DACA recipients in New York who now face uncertain futures, according to statistics kept by the city.  "The last three years that I have been teaching was like a world of possibility for me and my students," said Mr. Ballesteros, 25, who is from the Philippines. "Today, I just didn't feel that same level of hope."

Column: Why Educators Still Need to Talk About 9/11 — and Islamophobia

Rusul Alrubail is the executive director of The Writing Project. In this column, she writes, "I was in 10th grade living in Toronto when 9/11 happened. We were in art class and an office announcement came on that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. Students around me were shocked and some concerned for their families in New York. Later that day on the bus going home, a student looked at my friend, my sister and me, who all wear a hijab (a head cover that some Muslim women wear), and said, 'Do you guys know what happened? I heard your people did it.'"

Will Your State's ESSA Plan Work for English-Language Learners?

The Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy has put together a framework to evaluate states' Every Student Succeeds Act plans to determine if they meet the law's requirements for English-language-learner students. Outlining 33 key questions, the brief guides readers through sections in state plans that should address English-learner accountability and offers guidance on how to evaluate the effectiveness of policies that states plan to adopt.

School Year Opens in Maryland with Enrollment Surge in Montgomery County

More than 160,000 students headed back to school Tuesday in Montgomery County as the sprawling suburban district outside Washington projected another year of record enrollment and deepened its focus on foreign languages and career education. Montgomery is increasingly diverse — roughly 30 percent Hispanic, 29 percent white, 22 percent black and 14 percent Asian — with more English-language learners and economically disadvantaged students in recent years.

As Hurricane Irma Lashes Florida, Educators and Schools Offer Refuge

School districts across a wide swath of the southeastern U.S. remained shuttered on Monday as Hurricane Irma pounded Florida with ferocious winds and heavy rains and continued its march north. As of late Sunday, more than 2.3 million people in Florida remained without power. And with the effects from the storm — downgraded late Sunday to a Category 2 hurricane — expected to linger into the coming week, school officials from various Florida districts said it will take some time to decide when to reopen.