News

Longer School Day Provides Additional Support for ELLs

The National Center on Time and Learning released a report profiling two expanded-time schools in Massachusetts and one school in Colorado. By exploring how these schools are using expanded schools days to provide additional support for English-language learners, this study identified four best practices. Learn more about the benefits of expanded school days and these best practices by reading the full article below. Access to the full report is also available.

Report Recommends Longer School Day for English-Language Learners

Every Student Succeeds Act Signed by President

Thursday, December 10, 2015, President Barack Obama signed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This legislation puts states and districts back in control of teacher evaluation, standards, school turnarounds, and accountability. ESSA will help ensure success for students and schools. Read our previous news article on ESSA here. Learn more from EdWeek.org’s article below.

President Signs ESEA Rewrite, Giving States, Districts Bigger Say on Policy
Source: EdWeek.org, December 10, 2015

 

New Draft of ESEA Released and Provides Added Protection for ELLs

A new draft of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has been released, now called Every Student Succeeds Acts (ESSA). The earlier draft was criticized for not providing critical protections for minority students and English-language learners (ELLs). While there are conflicted feelings about the new draft, most find that ESSA is an improvement over the original ESEA. It also provides an opportunity to move beyond the No Child Left Behind Act, especially for the most vulnerable students. Read more about ESSA in the article below.

ESEA Reauthorization Does More for ELLs
Source: Language Magazine, December 2, 2015

 

Tips for ESL Teachers Communicating with Parents Whose Second Language Is English

A former English-language student, who is now an ESL teacher provides six tips for communication with parents whose second language is English. While students may attain English proficiency, there is often still cultural and language barriers when speaking with their parents. Additionally as schools become more diverse, teachers must be prepared to speak with families from a variety of cultures and languages. The six tips in the article below will help teachers to prepare for these conversations.

Tips for Connecting With Non-English-Speaking Parents
Source: EdWeek.org, December 1, 2015

 

It’s Not Easy Being a Teacher, Especially an English Language Learner Teacher

Linda Chantal Sullivan, a teacher of 15 years, has shared with us the difficulties of being an English language learner teacher. She was inspired to write an article on this topic after reading a statement Bill Gates made last month. He explained how he found trying to reform public schools the hardest philanthropic work he has ever undertaken. Learn more and read Sullivan’s list of why it is hard being an English language learner teacher in the article below.

Why it’s hard to be a teacher of English language learners — by an ELL teacher
Source: The Washington Post, November 6, 2015

 

 

How Can We Better Serve Native American Students?

Native American students are often an overlooked segment in our schools. They are less likely to graduate from high school than any other racial or ethnic group and most schools are not equipped to help them. A recent article from Education Week (link below) address challenges faced in serving Native American students and proposed solutions.

Lessons Sought on Serving Native American Students
Source: EdWeek.org, November 4, 2015

 

 

Bill SB468 Poses Threat to High School Foreign Language Courses

SB468 is a bill sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, that proposes to allow high school students on a college track to replace the foreign language requirement with computer coding classes. It would also require students who would like to become eligible for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program to take at least two computer coding courses.

Below are the latest articles on this topic and the potential threat the bill poses to foreign language courses.

Fabioloa Santiago: Don’t make students choose between computer coding and foreign languages
Source: The Miami Herald, October 20, 2015

Editorial: Don’t sacrifice foreign languages for computer coding
Source: TampaBay.com, October 19, 2015

Bill would allow Florida students to replace foreign language with computer language courses
Source: TampaBay.com, October 18, 2015

Bright Futures should require coding for scholarships, lawmaker says
Source: Orlando Sentinel, October 16, 2015

Dual-Language Programs Show Benefits for English-Language Learners

Schools across the nation are implementing dual-language programs, providing benefits for English-language learners and native English-speaking students. Dual-language education increases bilingualism among English speakers and schools are finding these programs attract families interested in the program and increases the socioeconomic, culture and racial diversity among their students. Studies are also showing increased benefits for English-language learners. By late elementary or middle school, English-language learners in dual-language programs may be more likely to be reclassified as proficient in English.

Learn more through the New York Times article below.

Dual-Language Programs Are on the Rise, Even for Native English Speakers
Source: NYTimes.com, October 8, 2015

 

ELL Proficiency Tests Move Online

English language learners and educators enter a new era. This school year two computer-based tests for English language learners will debut. By moving these tests online, educators anticipate they will be able to gain a more complete understanding of their students proficiency of the English language.

The online tests are being rolled out by two organizations. The first is the Word Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium, also known as WIDA. WIDA is a 36-state group and will launch its online test in November. The second is the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century consortium (ELPA 21). ELPA 21 consists of 10 member states and will debut its test in February and March.

These tests are used to determine a student’s English-language proficiency and identify when they no longer need language instruction. A student is measured by their progress in learning to speak, read, write and listen in English.

EdWeek further explains how field tests were conducted earlier this year and their results. Use the link below to access this article.

As ELL Tests Move Online, Educators Hope for Better Gauge of Skills
Source: EdWeek.org, September 22, 2015