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

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. 

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Frisco Superintendent Jeremy Lyon responded sharply to questions about Liberty High School's prayer room Friday, calling a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office "a publicity stunt."

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

As the city of Frisco has morphed from small town to boom town, its schools have transformed, too. These days, the majority of Frisco students are non-white. 

Amna Salman (foreground) and other Muslim students gather to pray inside a classroom at Liberty High. Photo/Lara Solt
Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

The city of Frisco has transformed over the last quarter century – from a country town to a booming suburb that’s home to high-end shops and the Dallas Cowboys. Its schools have been transformed, too. Here's a look at how one school — Liberty High — is changing.

Mark David Smith / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

An immigration judge has granted bond to a 26-year-old Salvadoran woman, allowing her to leave a North Texas immigration detention center and receive treatment for a brain tumor. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

President Donald Trump’s travel has affected many groups of people -- including college students. Raha Pouladi is a PhD student in North Texas -- she and her family were looking forward to a visit from her parents this spring. The problem? They live in Iran – one of the seven Muslim-majority countries under the temporary ban.

Christina Ulsh / KERA News special contributor

Federal officials have granted waivers to 872 refugees to enter the U.S. this week. Refugee Services of Texas says Thursday is the last day they will be able to arrive through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

More than half of the refugees who'd planned to settle in Texas in the next month are out of luck. Refugee Services of Texas says 57 of 112 planned resettlements have been canceled after President Trump's order to suspend the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on citizens and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries caused chaos at airports around the country — including Dallas-Fort International Airport. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

In Richardson, high school students are learning about all kinds of health care jobs, from emergency medical technician to nurse’s aide. They’re also getting hands-on experience, but they’re not getting it in a traditional classroom.

Shutterstock

Texas school districts and campuses received their own report cards Friday from the Texas Education Agency, and many school officials aren’t pleased with the results or the new grading system.

John Koetsier / Flickr

The 2017 Legislative session kicks off next week. Among the many topics sure to spark debate is education. KERA looks ahead to several of the education issues Texas lawmakers will tackle when they meet.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

On a frigid December afternoon, a couple dozen volunteers were busy unloading a U-Haul truck outside J.W. Ray Learning Center in Old East Dallas. They were delivering supplies to the elementary school – chairs, shelves and gym equipment.

They also brought along laundry detergent. Lots of detergent. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Keeping young kids focused in school can be tough. That’s why the Dallas Independent School District and Dallas Yoga Center are working together to create a mindfulness meditation program for students and teachers.  

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