Stella M. Chávez | KERA News

Stella M. Chávez

Reporter/Blogger

Stella Chávez is KERA’s education reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35. The award-winning entry was  “Yolanda’s Crossing,” a seven-part DMN series she co-wrote that reconstructs the 5,000-mile journey of a young Mexican sexual-abuse victim from a small Oaxacan village to Dallas. For the last two years, she worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she was part of the agency’s outreach efforts on the Affordable Care Act and ran the regional office’s social media efforts.

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Courtesy of Ibrahim Ali

Seventh-grader Zahir Hameed says many students don’t have a problem with him. But there’s one kid who calls him names.

He just calls me 'stupid' and 'idiot,' and he just acts like I’m about to bomb the place,” said Zahir, on a recent Saturday morning at the East Plano Islamic Center.

The Wylie student is one of many Muslim kids here who shared their stories about bullying.

Stella M Chávez / KERA News

Oak Cliff's Bishop Arts District is in the midst of a makeover with new retail and apartments. A few blocks away, a new art gallery – Mercado Artesanal – aims to help the neighborhood keep its cultural identity.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Opponents of Dallas County Schools have won a battle to dismantle the troubled bus service provider. About 58 percent of voters chose to force the agency to wind down operations.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Barry Jacobs has spent the past couple of months collecting complaints from parents at Solar Preparatory School for Girls in Dallas.

Their complaints are about the bus system, Dallas County Schools. It provides transportation for nine North Texas school districts, including the Dallas Independent School District. 

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

It’s a little after 6:30 at night inside Daugherty Elementary in Garland, but classes are in session. Alvaro Méndez stands in front of a group of eager students: They're parents learning English.

Sylvia Komatsu / KERA News

Vivian Castleberry, a North Texas journalism pioneer and peace activist, died Wednesday morning, her family said. She lost a battle with breast cancer at age 95.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Some kids in Fort Worth are getting a little bonus with their haircuts -- a chance to read with their barbers. It's part of a new effort by the city's schools to place books inside barbershops and encourage barbers to dive into them with their pint-sized patrons. 

J.J. Pearce High School Football Facebook page

The Richardson Independent School District has suspended two high school students after they posted racially charged messages on social media.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath was in Dallas this week to talk about how the state’s schools are doing -- and the impact Hurricane Harvey has had on education.

Stella M Chávez / KERA News

Richardson high school students got to rub shoulders with music industry insiders on Wednesday, including Grammy award winners.

The professionals were in North Texas for Career Day, an event organized by the Grammy Museum.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Immigrant evacuees in Houston are already struggling to rebuild their lives after Harvey. Now, some are worried about their future after President Trump’s decision to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Hurricane Harvey has been a tough slog for most Houstonians. For immigrants without papers, the barriers are even more daunting. An undocumented couple whose rental house was trashed by flooding is still waiting for help.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Houston bills itself the most diverse big city in America. A quarter of the population was born outside of the U.S. – and a third of that number is undocumented. Because of federal rules that limit aid to those residents, that presents a huge challenge after a disaster like Hurricane Harvey.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Fateyva Miles has been a mail carrier in the Houston area for three years. She moved there from Michigan.

“I kinda don’t like the flooding, but I love Houston,” she said.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

In Houston, baseball fans welcomed back their team on Saturday. The Astros played a double-header against the New York Mets – the first games at home since Harvey slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Nereyda Rangel sang to her newborn daughter at Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi. The building sits only a few blocks from Corpus Christi Bay, which spills into the Texas Gulf Coast.

As Hurricane Harvey brewed in the Gulf, Shaddai Jireh Leija fought for her life. Soon, she and other newborns would need more than just medical care. They would need help getting out of there.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Dallas, Fort Worth and Irving officials made preparations Monday to house evacuees from Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.   

U.S. Department of Education / Flickr

Earlier this summer, KERA reported on a new law that allows certain community colleges in Texas to offer four-year degrees in areas like nursing and early childhood education. Supporters say this will help fill shortages in those fields. But not everyone’s happy about the effort.

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More Dallas and Fort Worth schools met the state’s education standards this year than last year, according to 2017 accountability ratings released Tuesday by the Texas Education Agency.

Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Following the weekend violence from a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., there are renewed calls for North Texas cities to remove their Confederate monuments and for school districts to rename schools that honor Confederate leaders.

Lara Solt / Special contributor to KERA

As a college student at the University of Missouri, Kam Phillips volunteered at a local Boys and Girls Club. There, she got a lesson in reality when she asked kids what they liked to do for fun.

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A Texas law that allows licensed gun owners to carry a concealed handgun on community college campuses went into effect on Tuesday. At one North Texas school, student reaction was mixed.

Lara Solt / Special contributor to KERA

Laura and Alex Laywell spend most of their days working with refugee kids in Dallas’ Vickery Meadow neighborhood. At night, they open their home to them.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Texas is facing shortages in the workforce in fields like nursing and education. One solution: Lawmakers passed a bill this session allowing community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in certain fields. Gov. Greg Abbot signed the bill into law last month.

Ana Perez / KERA News

Outside Dallas City Hall Friday evening, people gathered to listen to music, hear speakers, and later that night, hold up blue lights in the darkness as part of the city's central tribute to the July 7 anniversary.

Congressman Joe Barton Facebook page / Facebook

Texas congressmen were among those at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia where a gunman opened fire on Wednesday.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Alex Gutierrez struggled with math — and that kept her from going to her dream school. She just wrapped up her senior year at a Garland charter school where students learn English, Spanish and Chinese. She plans to stay home for a few years going to community college, but she has big plans for the future.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Going to school in a tough neighborhood has its challenges, even for a high-achiever like Joel Luera. The high school debater is headed to college in the fall, but the road to graduation hasn’t been easy.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

At this time four years ago, Phantasia Chavers of Cedar Hill was struggling with her sister’s departure for college. Today, it’s Phantasia who’s getting ready to pack her bags.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Chance Hawkins, 19, was born with a rare genetic degenerative disease. He’s getting ready to graduate from Fort Worth’s Dunbar High School, concluding a journey that’s been filled with obstacles — and rewards.

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