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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Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

The Fort Worth Independent School District took five of its struggling elementary campuses and turned them into leadership academies this school year. Now, the district is pointing to some early successes. 

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

The race to save failing schools doesn’t just happen in inner cities. Suburbs like Arlington face the same challenges.

Two miles west of the Cowboys’ glitzy AT&T Stadium, Wimbish Elementary is trying to turn itself around. It’s been on the state’s “Improvement Required” list for four straight years.

If it doesn’t succeed by next year, the state could shut it down or take over the district.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Opened in 2011 to relieve crowding at other nearby schools, John T. White Elementary School in Northeast Fort Worth has always been on the state’s “Improvement Required” list.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Seniors at J.W. Adamson High School in Dallas had a lot to celebrate on Wednesday. Many of them have plans to go to college tuition free. That’s thanks to a new initiative called Dallas County Promise.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Mitchell Boulevard Elementary is one of five low-performing schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District that has been designated a “leadership academy.”

The school struggles with kids regularly moving in and out and low literacy rates, but administrators believe changes made this year — including an ambitious literacy goal set by the district — will put Mitchell Boulevard back on track.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Students in North Texas participated in a national walkout in protest of gun violence on Friday, which marked the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.

DeSoto ISD

DeSoto Independent School District Superintendent David Harris resigned this week.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

The Richardson Independent School District is launching a plan aimed at improving four of its low-performing elementary schools.

It joins other North Texas school districts – Dallas and Fort Worth – that have poured more money and resources into its struggling campuses.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

A man dressed in gold and black blows a trumpet shell. A teenage boy beats on a drum. They’re part of a group that performs traditional Aztec dances.

On Saturday morning, they’re inside the gym at the Wesley-Rankin Community Center in West Dallas. Some of the kids watching may have seen these colorfully dressed dancers before, but few of them know what the dances mean.

Megan Zerez / KERA News

In Collin County, Republican Angela Paxton defeated Phillip Huffines for the State Senate District 8 seat. It was the most expensive primary race – and among the most heated.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

A Plano City Council member generated headlines – and controversy – a couple of weeks ago when he posted a video on his Facebook page, calling for a ban on Islam in schools. Tom Harrison later apologized.

Despite calls to resign, Harrison says he’s not stepping down. Many in Plano say the council member’s actions were a blow to the city’s Muslim community.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Mentoring has always been about developing a one-on-one relationship. As technology has changed, so too has that relationship between mentor and mentee.

One of the country’s largest mentoring organizations – Big Brothers Big Sisters — has evolved to help professionals with busy lives and kids who like spending time online.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

A new report out by the Southern Poverty Law Center finds American students don’t fully understand many facts about slavery and the role it played in U.S. history. The study also finds that educators aren't adequately teaching students about it.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

It’s been a year since the Trump administration issued an executive order restricting entry into the U.S. from several Muslim-majority countries. The travel ban has faced several legal challenges and immigrant advocates say it’s had a chilling effect on refugees and other immigrants.

LinkedIn

A former board member of the Richardson Independent School District is suing the district.

David Tyson Jr. alleges that the district's at-large system violates the Voting Rights Act by denying “fair representation of African-Americans and other non-white voters.”

Amazon

Amazon has narrowed the list of cities under consideration for its second headquarters to 20 — and Dallas is one of them.

Queen's University / Flickr

This has been a brutal flu season in North Texas. More than 40 people have died so far, and Tuesday, the Bonham Independent School District announced it was closing for a week because of the flu outbreak.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

More than three million adults in Texas don’t have a high school diploma or the equivalent of one. And the number of adults in Texas taking the General Equivalency Diploma test, or GED, has been dropping for the past decade, according to a new report.

jeweledlion / Flickr

A battle is brewing in the city of Dallas over school crossing guards. It comes after the Dallas County Schools bus agency said it doesn’t have the money to continue paying for crossing guards past Jan. 31.

Andy Simonds / Flickr.com

The Texas Education Agency recently announced 20 school systems will be part of a pilot program to develop local accountability systems. That’s now possible because of a law passed during the recent legislative session, which allows school districts to develop their own protocol to evaluate their schools.

IN OUR OWN VOICE: NATIONAL BLACK WOMEN'S REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE AGENDA

A new survey shows black adults in Texas and around the country have a lot of concerns about reproductive health. Experts met in Dallas this week to talk about the findings and their implications.

Volunteer Now/YouTube

A memorial service for Ruth Altshuler will be held Thursday at Highland Park United Methodist Church. Altshuler died last week after complications from breaking her hip. She was 93. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Students across the country aren’t just learning how to spell or solve math problems. They’re also learning what are known as social and emotional skills, like managing stress and having empathy. In Dallas ISD, teachers are learning how to teach these skills in the classroom.

Rosa Say / Flickr

Voters chose to dissolve the school bus agency known as Dallas County Schools last month. The bus service will continue through the end of this school year while a committee oversees the dissolution of the agency.

In the meantime, the Dallas Independent School District and other districts that used the service are trying to figure out how they’re going to get kids to school next year.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

A report finds that Texas is among the states that have made the deepest funding cuts to K-12 education over the past decade.

Plano ISD/Facebook

The superintendent of the Plano school district has resigned – and school officials remain tight-lipped about his sudden departure.

Kzenon / Shutterstock

Recent headlines, like the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict travelers from certain countries, have raised questions in education circles about whether U.S. politics are having an impact on foreign student enrollment at American universities. 

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.

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