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White House Honors Boston Arts Program for ELLs

An out-of-school arts program received an award from the White House yesterday for helping to reduce the dropout rate of English-language learners in Boston Public Schools, according to the Boston Globe. If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Boston Public Schools needs all the help it can get these days in serving English-language learners. The school district just settled with the U.S. departments of Justice and Education on an agreement for how to improve services for such students.

Project Alerta was among 15 recipients to receive the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, presented yesterday in the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Project Alerta, run by the University of Massachusetts Boston, provides enrichment programming for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders who are Latinos and English-language learners, according to its Web site.

Here's another news tidbit related to ELLs in Boston Public Schools that I have not yet shared with you. The school district has commissioned two Boston institutions to evaluate its programs for ELLs and identify schools that have improved the test scores of ELLs at a high rate, so the best practices of schools that serve ELLs in an exemplary way can be shared districtwide, Eileen De Los Reyes, Boston's assistant superintendent for English-language learners, told me when I interviewed her earlier this month.

The Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy and the Center for Collaborative Education will conduct the evaluation.

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