American Graduate | KERA News

American Graduate

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Hate tests? The Dallas school district has some good news for you. This summer, the district announced it’s going to nix one-third of its assessments. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Around the country, it’s been challenging for law school graduates to find jobs as lawyers. As a result, law school enrollment has gone down in some places. That’s not deterring one North Texas school. The UNT Dallas College of Law is trying to attract a different type of student.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Hundreds of Texas teachers recently spent a couple days in summer school to learn the best ways to teach International Baccalaureate classes. The IB curriculum has been growing statewide because of its high global standards. Today we take a closer look at what sets it apart.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dallas’ Perot Museum of Nature and Science just launched its second TECH Truck. Designed to take science to the streets, the truck recently visited southern Dallas on the campus of UNT Dallas.  

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

Lara Solt / KERA News

Since eighth grade, we’ve been following a group of North Texas students we call KERA’s Class of ’17. 

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.

Bill Zeeble / KERA public radio

One major focus in the classroom is getting students ready for college or a career. These days, some of the hottest careers are in kitchens. One North Texas culinary college class is preparing future chefs.

Gus Contreras / KERA News

Usually students get to class early to pick a good seat. Get to Kenton Rambsy’s class early and you’ll hear Jay Z’s music playing in the room.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The state of Texas deemed Elisha M. Pease Elementary a substandard school. Teachers and principals kept leaving the struggling Dallas campus. The kids were out of control.  Pease Elementary is one of several Dallas schools the district is trying to turn around with a new program. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Debaters from across the country and around the world traveled to Dallas last week for the fourth year of what are known as the Old Parkland debates. The event was held in a new multi-million dollar state-of-the-art “debate-plex.” 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Update, Wednesday evening: In a 7 to 6 squeaker of a vote, the Dallas City Council approved a controversial new charter school in southern Dallas. Opponents were concerned the school would pull students out of the Dallas Independent School District.  

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.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

North Texas school districts have new calendar options, courtesy of the Texas Legislature. Some schools are lengthening days to make up for possible bad weather cancellations. Others are waiting and watching.

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We’ve heard about open carry, the new law now in effect in Texas. It allows license holders to openly carry guns. Later this year, another gun law called campus carry goes into effect. Guns must be concealed at colleges. Campuses are trying to figure out how the new law will work.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

We take a look back at what was an especially newsworthy year in Texas education.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Turns out recess is so much more than just monkey bars and freeze tag. In American public schools, though, recess has been on the decline – edged out to make more room in the day for testing and academics.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dozens of students are so upset by the crumbling state of South Oak Cliff High School that they walked out Monday afternoon. The Dallas school district says the school is getting fixed, thanks to bond programs.

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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.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Students at Bowie High School in Arlington are learning how to fix band instruments. It might be the first high school program of its kind in the country. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

When homeless high school kids get to college, what happens to them during the holidays? Texas Woman’s University in Denton is a leader in helping those with no home for the holidays.

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The Dallas Independent School District is paying its teachers differently this year. The new system bases pay on merit, not years of service – and student evaluations also play a role. Some teachers love the Teacher Excellence Initiative, while others blast it.

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