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

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.

Shutterstock

From Alaska to Maine, Texas to North Dakota, public schools have dramatically changed during the past two decades. Walk into these schools and you’ll likely find that the majority of students are children of color.

Lara Solt

For the past month, you’ve been hearing from North Texas high school juniors. Their stories are part of KERA's American Graduate series, “What’s Next for the Class of ’17?” Alex Gutierrez is a student at the International Leadership of Texas high school, a charter school in Garland. Alex has been struggling with math and as junior year ends, a big test looms.

Mark Birnbaum

Chance Hawkins has all the junior year challenges of his classmates at Fort Worth’s Dunbar High School. His personal challenge is even bigger – he’s battling a degenerative muscle disease. Chance is one of the students KERA has been following for its American Graduate series, “What’s Next for the Class of ’17?” In this latest installment, Chance talks about how this school year has been and what he’d like to do in the future.

Shutterstock

The Obama administration on Friday issued guidelines to protect transgender students from discrimination. In a letter to school districts, the departments of education and justice said transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. The announcement has been met with applause and anger.

Lara Solt

The Class of ’17 — a group of North Texas students that KERA began following three years ago — is wrapping up its junior year. And it’s crunch time, which means these students are starting to make decisions about what will come after graduation.

Burlingham / Shutterstock

Early voting ended May 3 for a number of North Texas school board and bond elections. Here's a look at some of the items on Saturday's ballot.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

On May 7, McKinney voters will head to the polls to decide on a $220 million school district bond package. It includes plans for school upgrades, new technology and a 12,000-seat stadium and event center.

Shelly Adams/DFW Scanner / Twitter/@DFWScanner

The Wylie Independent School District called off school on Tuesday – a day after hail the size of baseballs broke windows and caused other building damage.

 

wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock

In Dallas County, more than 30,000 eligible children are not enrolled in pre-K. The education nonprofit Commit and nine area school districts have teamed up this week to early register thousands of students for pre-K in the fall. Jaime Hanks Meyers is director of early education at Commit.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Dade Middle School in Dallas has had a history of problems. Some community leaders want the Dallas school district to boost neighborhood involvement and turn Dade into what’s called a community school. Some folks believe more community and parental involvement would make a difference there.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Funeral services were held Thursday for Jose Raul Cruz, the North Texas teen killed Sunday by an off-duty Farmers Branch police officer.  At Cruz's funeral, one man shared his story about the teen.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

The Dallas Independent School District is trying out a new approach to discipline in six of its schools. It’s called restorative discipline. Instead of suspending kids from school or sending them to the principal’s office, teachers first get students together to talk about the problems they’re having, or causing. 

Shutterstock

Update: More than 150 Dallas school district employees had their blood tested for lead on Friday.

Joost Nelissen / flickr

About 500 Dallas school district employees have to move out of the building they work in. That’s because small amounts of lead and other substances were found in the water there.

Timberlawn

State health officials want to close one of the oldest psychiatric hospitals in Texas. Timberlawn Mental Health System in East Dallas has had a series of violations, including a suicide and fights between patients, dating back to 2009.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

On Tuesday, voters will cast ballots in Texas’ Democratic primary. The most recent polls show Hillary Clinton with a significant lead over opponent Bernie Sanders. That hasn’t stopped both groups from knocking on doors in North Texas and bringing out their party’s big brass to get voters to the polls.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Bill Clinton made a historic trip to Paul Quinn College Monday. It was the first time a president – former or current – has visited the private, historically black university in Dallas.

Fort Worth Independent School District

Texas has a handful of schools built underground. One of them is in Fort Worth. Washington Heights Elementary was built nearly 40 years ago to reduce energy costs and noise. KERA recently went underground to dig up dirt on this unusual school.

The president and chancellor of Texas A&M visited a Dallas charter school Tuesday to apologize. They told students at Uplift Hampton Preparatory they were sorry about the racial taunts the Dallas kids endured during a campus visit last week. A&M’s top student leader also delivered thousands of letters of support.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Fort Worth’s new school district superintendent is making big changes. This week, trustees unanimously approved a plan that would cut 10 executive-level positions, reassign central office employees and put more money into struggling schools.

Alexandru Nika / Shutterstock

Students at Hood Middle School in Dallas took part in a historic election Friday. During lunch, they voted to change the name of their school. Some say the mostly minority school shouldn’t be named after a Confederate general.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

It’s been a little more than a month since tornadoes wrecked some North Texas neighborhoods. In the Garland Independent School District, officials have been busy helping students and their families get through the recovery process.

ALEPH STUDIO / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

The Dallas Independent School Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to make recess mandatory for all elementary students. That got us wondering: What are recess requirements in other North Texas schools?

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

A new initiative underway at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital is giving away free bilingual books to moms who’ve just given birth. The plan is to give away as many as 14,000 books this year.

cheng/Shutterstock.com

Only 3 percent of students who attend the country’s top colleges and universities come from low-income families. That’s according to a new report out this week from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Pages