NCELA Nexus Newsletter December 20, 2016

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December 20, 2016 | nex•us: noun \’nek-ses\ a relationship or connection between people or things
AnnouncementsThe U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Issues Report on Eight Years of Accomplishments. Two reports released in early December spotlight the challenges and achievements of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). According to OCR’s FY 2016 annual report, the number of complaints filed last fiscal year rose to a record 16,720 when OCR’s staffing levels remained at a near all-time low. Still, OCR has resolved more than 66,000 civil rights cases during this administration, according to a narrative describing progress made toward educational equity through strong civil rights enforcement from 2009-2016.

OCR Reaches Agreement with Connecticut’s East Hartford Public Schools on Behalf of ELs. The agreement comes after an OCR finding that the school district violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to provide adequate language services to limited English proficient (LEP) parents and guardians and by unlawfully imposing barriers to enrollment and applying additional registration and enrollment criteria to students based on national origin.

REL-West Study Suggests that Early Gains for ELs Increase Graduation Rates. The earlier that English learner students achieved English proficiency, the higher their graduation rate, suggests a study that measured high school graduation rates across EL student subgroups in Arizona.

Education Secretary Announces Grants That Encourage Diverse Schools. Secretary John B. King Jr. announced a new grant program to support districts and their communities in preparing to implement “innovative, collaborative, and locally-driven strategies to increase diversity in schools.” He also announced the 2017 Magnet Schools Assistance Program competition, to help create integrated public schools with high-quality, theme-based educational programming.

The National Academies Press Announces Final Publication of Report on Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0–8. The report, Parenting Matters: Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0–8, was developed with assistance from OELA. It is available as a free download at the press’s website.

U.S. Department of Education School Ambassador Fellowship Program Welcomes Applications Though January 23, 2017. The Department designed the fellowship program to enable outstanding teachers, principals and other school leaders, like school counselors, to bring their school and classroom expertise to the Department and to expand their knowledge of the national dialogue about education.

Upcoming EventsNational Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), NABE 2017/46th Annual Conference, February 23–25, 2017, Dallas, TX. The conference theme will be “Leadership for Equity and Excellence through Bilingualism and Biliteracy.”

TESOL, 2017 International Convention and English Language Expo, March 21–24, 2017, Seattle, WA. This convention includes a post-conference focusing on ESL in pre-K through 12th grade.

Professional LearningSupportEd, Effectively Advocating for English Learners (online course), starting January 17, 2017. SupportEd president Diane Staehr Fenner and co-facilitator Jill Kester will lead an eight-hour, self-paced online course. The interactive course explores the concept of advocacy and delves into issues and solutions specific to ELs. Use the code SUPPORTED at checkout for a 10% discount off the $149 price.

TransACT Communication, OCR/DOJ Joint EL Guidance Webinar Series, January 26, 2017, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. PST. This is the next open session in a monthly, year-long series that focuses on the issues addressed in the Dear Colleague Letter on ELs published in January 2015 by the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, and the U.S. Department of Justice. The series will also cover material provided in the EL Tool Kit published by OELA, and has been updated to include ESSA requirements.

New ResourcesMigration Policy Institute
State sociodemographic portraits of immigrant and U.S.-born parents of young children. Children in immigrant families comprise one-quarter of the U.S. population ages 0–8. To help policymakers, educators, and other stakeholders better understand the needs of families with young children in the United States, MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy has released this set of 30 fact sheets that provide analysis of key sociodemographic characteristics of native- and foreign-born parents of young children in states with the largest number of immigrant families.

Education Week
Homeless students with disabilities, language needs growing, new data show. After years of deepening child poverty, new federal data show a sharp rise in the number of homeless students who also have disabilities or limited English proficiency. But growth in both the number and needs of America’s roughly 1.3 million homeless students means federal support for them is spread thin.

Building ELLs’ literacy early Is crucial. Georgetown University has conducted a long-term study of children in Tulsa, OK, schools, and found that, on average, Hispanic children who pass through pre-K classrooms come to kindergarten more academically prepared than those who don’t, and they are often months ahead of their peers in both reading and writing.

Majority of English-learner students are born in the United States, analysis finds. According to an analysis of U.S. Census Data conducted by MPI, 82 percent of pre-kindergartners to fifth grade ELs and 65 percent of sixth and 12th grade ELs were born in the United States.

Latino Ed Beat Blog
More low-income Hispanic kids are getting early start to education. A report by the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families found that nationally, two-thirds of low-income Hispanics ages 3–5 attend some form of early education, nearly on par with white children of the same socioeconomic status, though lagging behind their black peers.

School Library Journal
Top 10 Latinx: 2016. This article lists the journal’s top books for children and adolescents that are “by and about Latinxs”; the picks represent a “range of genres, formats, age levels, and countries/regions of origin.”

Senators unveil bipartisan bill to protect Dreamers. A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), unveiled legislation, the so-called Bridge Act, that would extend key legal protections and work permits to certain young undocumented immigrants brought here as children—a status that’s threatened by Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to repeal President Barack Obama’s executive actions to enact those benefits.

Los Angeles Times
Students are anxious about Trump, so the L.A. public school district started a support hotline. The Los Angeles Unified School District has set up a hotline and opened “extended support sites” to respond to a high level of anxiety among students, particularly immigrants.

Job OpportunitiesNational Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA), Silver Spring, MD, seeks new Director. NCELA—a project of the U.S. Department of Education, administered by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA)—welcomes applicants who have demonstrated leadership and content expertise in EL education in grades pre-K through 12, and have significant project management experience.

Missouri State University, Springfield, MO, is seeking applicants for a TESOL Project Coordinator for iELT-Ozarks, a federally funded project.

Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), Madison, WI, is seeking applicants for bilingual positions. Visit, then click ‘View Jobs’ to view open positions.

San Diego State University, Imperial Valley Campus, Calexico, CA, is seeking applicants for a tenure track Assistant/Associate Professor in Biliteracy Education.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, College of Education, is seeking applicants for tenure track Assistant Professor in Multilingual Learning.


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