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

Andrea Parrish-Geyer / flickr.com

The Supreme Court may have legalized same-sex marriage on Friday, but for some gay and lesbian couples in Texas, getting a marriage license isn’t so simple.

Stella Chavez / KERA News

In Dallas County, the first same-sex marriage license was issued to Jack Evans and George Harris, who have been together for more than 50 years.

Nicole LeBlanc / KERA News

In a case with Dallas ties, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a key enforcement tool used by the Obama administration and civil rights groups to fight housing bias.

Dallas ISD livestream / YouTube

Mike Miles, who pushed for controversial reforms in the Dallas Independent School District, announced Tuesday morning that he’s resigning as superintendent. 

Ron T. Ennis / Star-Telegram archives

The shooting deaths of nine people during a prayer service at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina Wednesday night reawakened memories of a similar event for a Fort Worth congregation in 1999.

Stella Chavez / KERA News

Judge Clay Jenkins is live tweeting his assessment of the recent storm and flood damage throughout the day in various towns of Dallas County.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Hundreds of people showed up last night in McKinney to protest the police. The mostly peaceful demonstration comes after a viral video taken at a pool party.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Over the next few days, thousands of young Texans will receive their diplomas. Some of those students squeaked by thanks to a new state law. High schoolers no longer have to pass all five end-of-course exams to graduate. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Allen High School’s $60 million stadium closed last year due to cracking concrete. The school district announced today the stadium will reopen this week in time for graduation Friday.

Andy Canales / Commit!

Only about one in three third graders are reading at grade level in Dallas County schools. And that can have big implications down the road since only one in five kids who read below grade level go on to college. A new kind of virtual tutoring aims to tackle that problem even earlier. And the volunteer tutors don’t even have to leave the office.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Tuesdays are when KERA’s American Graduate project charts the journey from childhood to graduation. Today, we chart a different sort of journey – the one Dinesh Mali made from childhood in India to his spot as the first Indian-American elected to the Irving school board.

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.

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