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.

Ways to Connect

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.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Animals are among the victims of this weekend’s East Texas tornadoes. Rescue groups and vets have been busy searching for and treating four-legged survivors.

Paige Redding and David Milbauer go through their units at My Storage Place in Canton.
Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Four people died, dozens were hurt and thousands of homes felt the impact of tornadoes that tore through East Texas Saturday night. The folks that bore the brunt of the storms were in and around the town of Canton, an hour east of Dallas.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa is the 2017 Latino Superintendent of the Year, according to the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS).

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

A new report out says in the 2014-2015 school year, 8 percent of Texas students who dropped out did so in the seventh or eighth grades. The Fort Worth school district is taking several measures to prevent students from dropping out before high school and keep them on the path to graduation.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Experts say teaching a child how to read at a young age can make a big difference later in life. Last week, Tarrant County education groups held a forum to discuss how to get younger kids to read – and how to get their parents involved.

SAD_Hortons_Kids 114 / U.S. Department of Education

Texas is one of two states that doesn’t offer educators the option of getting a certification in early childhood education. A Texas legislator wants to change that.

State Rep. Dan Huberty says teachers should receive special training to teach the state’s youngest students. That’s why he’s sponsoring a bill that would let teachers receive an early childhood certificate. The Houston-area Republican addressed his colleagues earlier this week during a House subcommittee hearing on teacher quality.

Fort Worth ISD Facebook Page / Fort Worth ISD

School districts in Dallas, Fort Worth and across North Texas are making a big push this week to get parents to enroll their kids in pre-kindergarten.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

O.D. Wyatt – and the Fort Worth neighborhood around it – looks a lot different now than when the school opened in 1968.

Lara Solt / Special contributor to KERA

A classroom used as a prayer room at Liberty High School in Frisco got the attention of the Texas attorney general’s office this month. The office sent a letter raising constitutional concerns about the room. The Frisco superintendent called the letter a "publicity stunt" and said the prayer room has been in use for several years without complaints. 

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