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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

On Thursday, the last group of migrant kids staying at a Rockwall County campsite was transferred to other temporary shelters. Last week, a larger shelter in Ellis County sent off its last kids. The co-owner of the Rockwall camp spoke to KERA about her experience.

National Weather Service / Twitter/@nwsfortworth

The Garland Independent School District is one of the school systems in the tornado zone that’s scrambling to reopen. No school buildings there were seriously damaged, but there are all sorts of complications – displaced families, disrupted bus routes, destroyed bus stops.

Jackie Arias

South of Dallas, more than 170 buildings were damaged or destroyed by the EF-3 tornado that hit Ellis County. That includes Shields Elementary in the Red Oak Independent School District. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Saturday’s tornado destroyed numerous homes and businesses in rural Collin County. Two people died near a feed store in Copeville and an infant died 20 minutes north in Blue Ridge. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

In rural Collin County, three people died during Saturday’s tornado outbreak. Part of the destruction happened in Copeville, east of Lavon Lake. A husband and wife reflect on their dramatic evening. 

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

The Allen High School marching band will be in Pasadena, California, next week for the Tournament of Roses Parade. Getting the 700-plus members of the Eagle Escadrille across the country won’t be easy. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Nearly 500 immigrant children are temporarily staying at a campsite in Ellis County, about 45 minutes south of Dallas. Two hundred more are expected to arrive there by the end of the week. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

The first group of immigrant children arrived in Ellis County Friday afternoon. Hundreds of kids will stay at the Lakeview Camp and Retreat Center in between Maypearl and Waxahachie.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Update, Friday afternoon: The first group of immigrant children arrived in Ellis County late Friday afternoon. 

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A federal judge on Wednesday denied the state’s latest request to keep Syrian refugees out of Texas.

Twelve Syrian refugees were expected to arrive in Texas on Monday, including a family of six in Dallas.

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The legal battle over the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Texas took another turn Friday. Texas withdrew its request to block Syrian refugees from coming here. The state isn’t dropping the suit though – it’s asked the judge for an injunction hear by Wednesday.

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There was a time when recess was part of every kid’s day. Today, not so much. A Dallas school board trustee wants to change that.

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A recent survey of the state’s 100 largest school districts found that an overwhelming majority of students who failed one or two end-of-year exams were allowed to graduate this past year.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Last week, President Obama’s immigration plan suffered a setback, when a three-judge panel upheld a lower court’s injunction against it. The controversial program would have deferred deportation for more than 4 million undocumented immigrants across the country.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Many African-American youth grow up in poverty and come from single-parent households. And about 60 percent of African-American males drop out of school by the ninth grade. Cedar Valley College, south of Dallas, is trying to change those numbers with a $2.45 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Dade Middle School in Dallas ISD has historically faced many problems -- from student discipline issues to high staff turnover. Parents and community leaders are organizing a summit this weekend to try to boost neighborhood involvement and turn Dade into what’s called a “community school.”

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