American Graduate: Education | KERA News

American Graduate: Education

Sierra Mickell studies at McKinney North High School
Credit Lara Solt

KERA's ongoing American Graduate initiative charts the journey from childhood to graduation. It’s part of the national public broadcasting project American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen. This multiyear initiative is playing out on all of KERA’s platforms, with news stories and community outreach through radio, television, web sites, social media and events. Some highlights:

In-Depth Multimedia Projects: What’s Next For The Class Of 17?, a look at junior-year decision time for the students we’ve been following since eighth grade; Homeless in High School, about how schools and kids deal with homelessness; and Generation One, which dug into the first-generation Texans who are reshaping schools.

Stories of Champions: Nashwa Zafar, UT-Arlington Muslim student; Esther Martinez, Irving elementary teacher who makes home visits to every student’s parents; Marcelo Cavazos of Arlington, named Texas Superintendent of the Year; Gregg Anderson, a school resource officer in Carrollton; and Kecia Dennis, a middle school teacher in North Richland Hills.

Support for KERA’s American Graduate initiative is made possible in part by:

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. 

Dustin Marshall won the district 2 trustee seat on the Dallas Independent School District school board Saturday over competitor Mita Havlick.

bill zeeble / KERA News

The Orlando shootings have brought another layer of pain to transgender kids and their families. We hear from several of them about how they’re coping - and how the rise of the Texas bathroom issue has complicated their lives.

bill zeeble / KERA News

McKinney Boyd High Valedictorian Larissa Martinez went viral this month when she revealed her undocumented status in her graduation speech. The 19-year-old says her decision to talk wasn’t hers alone. 

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Sunday’s deadly attack on a nightclub in Orlando has kids across the country asking questions. And with school out for summer, that leaves a lot of pressure on parents to come up with answers. Here's a range of resources to talk about tragedy death and loss with children.

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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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.

ESPN

We’ll turn now to a follow-up of our American Graduate series “What’s Next for The Class Of ’17?” Earlier, we caught up with Ricky Rijos Jr., an 11th grader at Flower Mound High School. He’s a basketball fanatic – but he’s only 5’6”, and after sitting on the bench he says he’s giving up the sport.

Fran Fraschilla can relate. He’s a former college coach, a current announcer for ESPN and the father of two boys who never reached 6 feet tall. Fraschilla, by the way, is all of   5’7”.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

Like a lot of high school juniors, Ricky Rijos Jr. of Flower Mound High is facing uncertainty.

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.

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