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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Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Security was tight at Tuesday night's Garland school board work session, including the presence of more police officers than normal, a surveillance tower and a bomb-sniffing dog.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Garland's police chief says the information the FBI sent local law enforcement on one of two gunmen outside a controversial cartoon contest would not have changed his department's response to the event. 

Theresa Thompson / flickr.com

When Fort Worth voters head to the polls on Saturday, the school board ballot will have a range of familiar faces and newcomers. One of those political newcomers is a principal – in Dallas.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Sunday night's shooting at Garland’s Curtis Culwell Center surprised many people who live and frequent this Dallas suburban community. Residents in one nearby neighborhood kept each other updated throughout the evening. They say the event is a reminder that incidents like this one can happen anywhere.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Texas legislators are debating whether to repeal the Texas Dream Act. Signed by then-Governor Rick Perry in 2001, the law allows certain undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. A recent Texas Tribune analysis revealed that the majority of undocumented students who pay in-state tuition rates don't attend four-year universities – they’re in community colleges. And most are in school here in North Texas.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Seventy percent of the students in the Dallas Independent School District are Latino. That’s by the far the largest ethnic group. But some parents say they’d like a better relationship with the district. Earlier this week, Superintendent Mike Miles visited a predominately Latino neighborhood in Oak Cliff to talk to some of those parents and their kids.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

For a kid with severe physical disabilities, having an aide at school can make a huge difference. It can affect whether a student stays in school or drops out, whether the student passes or fails. As part of KERA’s American Graduate initiative, Stella Chavez catches up with Class of ’17 student Chance Hawkins, a sophomore at Fort Worth’s Dunbar High School.

Stella M. Chávez
KERA News

During the past decade, it seems like every school has added a garden. Educators say the benefits range from kids learning about healthier food to improving their social and emotional health. In Grand Prairie, there’s an elementary school that goes way beyond the traditional school garden.

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When it comes to state by state education rankings, Texas often lands near the bottom. Yet, numbers released this week by the National Center for Education Statistics showed Texas at the top of the class in the graduation rates for black and Latino high school students.

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Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Family photo

Dallas homicide detectives arrested 17-year old Nykerion Nealon in the shooting death of Ahmed Al-Jumaili. Al-Jumaili, an Iraqi Muslim immigrant, was shot and killed when he went outside to take photos of a snowstorm last week in Northeast Dallas.

Family photo

The killing last week of Ahmed Al-Jumaili, a Muslim man who'd just arrived from Iraq, has focused international attention on the northeast Dallas neighborhood where he was staying. He was outside with his wife and brother, taking photos during the snowstorm, when he was shot. No one's been arrested, and that's left his neighbors uneasy.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Human trafficking refers to people who are forced into labor or sexual exploitation. And the issue hits close to home.

The Interstate 10 corridor through Houston is the No. 1 trafficking route in the U.S. Some of the business reaches deep into North Texas. The public policy advocacy group Children at Risk recently led a tour of the seedier side of Dallas that’s the heart of the trafficking trade.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Today, March 7, marks the 50th anniversary of a bloody milestone in the Civil Rights Movement – when marchers in Selma, Alabama were attacked by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. On Friday, a busload from SMU began retracing the route a group of students, faculty and staff took a half century ago.

Greer Wilson-Chavez

Update, 5:06 p.m. Thursday: Schools are starting to announce they will be open Friday. Fort Worth ISD says it will be open tomorrow.

Santa Fe Public Schools

The Fort Worth school district is once again looking for a new superintendent.

That’s because the district’s top pick no longer wants the job. 

Kristen Taylor / KERA News

Update, Saturday night: Organizers have canceled Sunday's Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth due to the recent blast of winter weather. The half-marathon is still on -- it starts at 8 a.m. Sunday. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Nearly 300 women from North America are in Dallas for the United Way Women’s Leadership Summit. They’re discussing a range of topics, such as making the organization more diverse, embracing new technology, and tackling human trafficking.

Simon Cunningham / flickr.com

Dallas County high school seniors missed out on $34 million in college grants last year. That’s according to Commit, a local nonprofit that says more than half of the students did not apply for financial aid. We find out what they and others are doing to change that.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

This week’s decision by a Texas judge to halt President Obama’s deportation-relief program is keeping the Mexican Consulate pretty busy. We stopped by there to find out how officials are responding and what people are saying about this legal setback.

On Friday, North Texas Muslims gathered in downtown Dallas to remember the victims of the Chapel Hill shooting. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Downtown Dallas doesn’t have a full-fledged university – it has three of them, all based at the Universities Center at Dallas. The biggest by far is a branch of Texas A&M Commerce.

Santa Fe Public Schools

Fort Worth school district trustees made their choice for superintendent over the weekend. During a special morning meeting Saturday, the board voted unanimously in favor of Joel D. Boyd, who’s currently the superintendent of schools in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Kaitlynn Curtner suffered massive bleeding in her brain when she was 12. Doctors say it was caused by an arteriovenous malformation, or AVM. The Tarrant County girl survived, but the condition affected her short-term memory.

Brandon Thibodeaux for NPR / MJR

As Super Bowl Sunday nears, a lot of people are talking about the team they’d liked to see win, the parties and, of course, the commercials. On Tuesday night at the Perot Museum in Dallas, the topic was football and ethics. 

Meredith Heuer Courtesy of Serial

The woman who made podcasting into a must-listen medium is headed to North Texas. Sarah Koenig will be the keynote speaker at this summer’s Podcast Movement conference in Fort Worth.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Learning to manage money and save for college may not be on every teenager’s mind. One North Texas classroom is trying to change that. Dallas’ Conrad High School has just opened a student-run bank.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

In the Arlington school district, 20 percent of graduating seniors and as many as 27 percent of Hispanic graduates in the Arlington school district don’t apply to college. That startling number is why the district has been partnering with local universities to ensure more students move beyond high school. The latest effort is with the University of North Texas.

About 1,000 educators will descend on Dallas this weekend to attend the Extra Yard for Teachers summit.  The event is organized by the College Football Playoff Foundation as a way to boost education in advance of Monday night’s championship game. For this week’s Friday Conversation, Google education evangelist Jaime Casap sat down with KERA’s Stella Chavez to talk about his role in the summit and in classrooms.

Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram / http://www.star-telegram.com/news/traffic/your-commute/article3847242.html

Twelve earthquakes shook North Texas Tuesday and Wednesday -- and seismologists are intensifying their focus on all of the rumbling and rattling near the old Texas Stadium site.

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