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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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.

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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.  

Nawal Rahman

Since the presidential election, incidents of hate have dominated headlines. Many of the incidents have been targeted at minority groups, but some have also been directed at Donald Trump supporters.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Imagine coming to this country and not knowing how to speak the language. More than 7,800 refugees came to Texas during the 2016 fiscal year, and many of them didn’t know English. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Just about everyone is using technology, and kids are practically experts. The issue for teachers is how to get kids to use these digital tools effectively in the classroom.

KERA visited one elementary school in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch district that’s finding technology can help students learn.

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There’s something on the ballot in North Texas that isn’t getting a lot of attention. It’s an election to raise taxes in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district.

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There’s a big push in education to boost students’ math skills. One group hopes to do that by taking elementary and middle school kids on a series of math- and science-focused walks through the Dallas Arts District.  It's called walkSTEM. Beginning in March, these free walks will take place monthly and led by area teachers.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

In Fort Worth public schools, just three out of every 10 third graders are reading at grade level. That’s a problem the school district, city and business community is trying to fix. They’ve just formed a coalition to boost literacy.

KERA visited one elementary school that’s been touted as a model for the district.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

A Dallas elementary school teacher is in jail on felony charges of continuous sexual abuse and indecency with a child.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

There’s room for improvement for Texas public school children according to Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. He was in Dallas on Wednesday talking about the state of education in Texas. Morath said the state needs to do more to better prepare students for the future.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

With a new school superintendent taking over this fall in Houston, every one of Texas’ eight largest cities now has a Latino running the school district. That’s a big deal in a state with a surging Hispanic population and a history of political underrepresentation. In the first chapter of a statewide collaborative series, KERA digs into the implications for students, schools and the politics of education.

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Finding fresh food can be tough in neighborhoods without easy access to grocery stores. Residents of Vickery Meadow, a refugee-rich neighborhood in northeast Dallas, are making healthy food more accessible by growing it themselves in their community garden.

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In recent weeks, several North Texas school districts have held or considered having tax ratification elections.

This week, in an American Graduate series called “The First Week,” we’ve been listening to conversations about race after a summer of racial turmoil in America and police shootings in Dallas. We’ve heard from parents, students and a teacher. Today, it's Gregg Anderson, a school resource officer who’s building relationships in the  Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Over the next five days, in a series called "The First Week," we’ll listen in on the conversations students, parents, educators and police officers are having after a summer of racial turmoil in the U.S. and police shootings in Dallas. First, we look at race through the perspective of a black family in Arlington.

Ken Bennett / Wake Forest University School of Law

Two North Texas universities recently decided to no longer enroll new students in their evening law school programs.

UNT Dallas

The UNT Dallas law school program is in jeopardy of not receiving accreditation from the American Bar Association. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Around the country, it’s been challenging for law school graduates to find jobs as lawyers. As a result, law school enrollment has gone down in some places. That’s not deterring one North Texas school. The UNT Dallas College of Law is trying to attract a different type of student.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

In the days since a gunman shot and killed five police officers in downtown Dallas, group after group has called for a new kind of conversation about police and race relations.

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A federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday that the Texas Voter ID Law violates the Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit challenging the law was born in North Texas.

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One of the five police officers killed in the July 7 downtown Dallas shooting was laid to rest at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery on Saturday. As part of KERA’s series, “Remembering the Fallen,” we look at the life of 32-year-old Dallas Officer Patricio "Patrick" Zamarripa.

Javier Giribet-Vargas / KERA News Special Contributor

More than 1,000 people gathered for a candlelight vigil in downtown Dallas Monday night to remember the five officers who died during last week's shootings.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Police have identified the shooter as Micah Xavier Johnson, a 25-year-old Army veteran who lived in Mesquite. On Friday, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Johnson was upset about recent police shootings. KERA visited Johnson’s neighborhood and spoke to neighbors there.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

It’s summer, but that doesn’t mean kids are off the hook from learning. One Dallas camp is teaching its students about character – and this week, the focus is on beauty. KERA News tagged along with one group as they trekked around the Trinity River Audubon Center.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA

David Kapuku came to the U.S. with his family in 2013 after his mother won the Diversity Visa Lottery. KERA reporter Stella Chávez met David while reporting on immigrant students in North Texas for a series called “Generation One.” She recently caught up with David, who’s just graduated from high school. He talks about how the past few weeks have been filed with triumph and tragedy.

Photo: Nada Atieh

When school's out, Texas schools are giving low-income kids free meals in the summer. The problem is five out of every six kids who are eligible don’t show up. However, the Arlington school district is trying to turn that around. 

Gus Contreras / KERA News

The Orlando shooting hit two groups especially hard. The shooter was Muslim. And most of the victims were gay. Two leaders of the Muslim and gay communities in North Texas talk about how the two groups can work together.

U.S. Department of Education / flickr

There’s a rating Texas schools do not want – improvement required. Under a new state law, schools that have received this rating at least two years in a row have to come up with a plan that explains how they will get better. Schools are trying creative ways in the hopes of turning things around.

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