American Graduate | KERA News

American Graduate

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

For the past few years, KERA’s been checking in with students who are part of the Class of ’17. Ricky Rijos is a junior at Flower Mound High School where he loves basketball and has played every year. Now he’s trying for the varsity team but he faces tall odds. 

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American Graduate Day is Saturday, October 3 and in the lead-up to the national PBS television event, KERA is profiling a few North Texas "champions" of education.

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News Special Contributor

As Dallas ISD looks for a permanent superintendent, parents have a bit of advice for the district’s next leader. They agree that the next superintendent should cut down on politics, communicate and collaborate with the community.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Fort Worth school board has unanimously named Kent Scribner to be its next superintendent. The school leader from Phoenix, Arizona was named the lone finalist at Tuesday’s board meeting where he also made an appearance.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Denzel Bailey was homeless in high school -- and since he graduated, he’s lived in a dorm at the University of Texas at Arlington. Except summer, when the dorm closes. Summertime can be a tough time for homeless college kids like Denzel. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

KERA is looking into the remarkable number of help-wanted ads for school superintendents across the country, from Los Angeles to Newark to Fort Worth. Today we dig into the checkered history of the top job in Dallas. With Mike Miles’ departure last month, the district is looking for its eighth permanent leader in two decades. How has that turnover shaped a struggling district that’s the second-largest in the state?

Seth Sawyers / Flickr Creative Commons

The Dallas and Fort Worth school districts are searching for new superintendents. They’re not the only school systems with help-wanted ads. Chicago, Newark and Los Angeles also have openings.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

For more than 15 years, Charles ‘CJ’ Johnson has unofficially fostered homeless kids from North Dallas High School.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

Desmond Davis is one of those 18-year-olds that schools like to brag about: He’s a runner, wrestler and drum major. He’s graduating from North Dallas High School, and he’s heading to college at Oklahoma State University in the fall.

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.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

There are about 110,000 homeless students in schools statewide, including thousands right here in North Texas. As part of KERA’s American Graduate series Homeless in High School, Monday on Think, Krys Boyd talked to a panel of experts about the issue:

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.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

About 110,000 kids in Texas public schools are considered homeless. Many stay with relatives or friends. Others live in shelters or motels. Some even live on the street.

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.

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Three trustees from the Dallas Independent School District are suing one of their own -- the board president. 

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.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Yolanda Cuevas knew one day she’d work in an air-conditioned office.

Christina Ulsh / KERA

You're invited to a special conversation with students and educators featured in the KERA News series American Graduate: Generation One.

Mark Birnbaum / KERA

Growing up in a traditional immigrant family can be rewarding and challenging for kids born in the United States. Meet a Frisco high school student who’s managing to practice her religious faith and be a regular American teenager.

Christina Ulsh / KERA

There’s an innovative school in the Fort Worth school district with about 500 students. Not one of them has been in the U.S. more than a year or two. It’s called the International Newcomer Academy. It’s the focus of the latest installment in Generation One, a KERA American Graduate series.

Christina Ulsh / KERA

A decade ago, about 600 Chinese students attended high school in the United States. Today, there are more than 38,000. For many, it’s their first time away from home and their first time in new country. Meet one teen who’s making the transition at a school in Garland. It's the focus of the latest installment in a KERA American Graduate series called Generation One.

Dianna Douglas

Journalism students at H. Grady Spruce High School in East Dallas recently got a challenging assignment: interview family members and turn their memories into news stories. Most of the stories were news to the students, many of whom are children of immigrants.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Block schedule classes run like the multi-hour science labs you might recall from high school or college. Some schools use them. Many don’t. As part of KERA’s American Graduate initiative, here’s a look at the difference a schedule can make.

Christina Ulsh / KERA News

When President Obama told the government last month to stop deporting immigrants whose children are American citizens, half a million parents in Texas were suddenly eligible, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Mark Birnbaum / KERA

North Texas schools have transformed the way they teach English – by teaching Spanish, too. 

Dual language programs are the focus of the latest installment in a KERA American Graduate series called Generation One.

Christina Ulsh / KERA News

What can Texas schools do to help immigrant students? It's the focus of the latest installment in a KERA American Graduate series called Generation One.

Messaging Apps Draw Teens Away From Facebook

Dec 1, 2014
Christina Ulsh / KERA News

Teenagers are heavy users of social media that keeps their thoughts, actions, and whereabouts private, a stark reversal from five years ago when the goal for many teens on social media was collecting public likes and friends. Here's a look at what kids are doing with their phones when their teachers face the board.

A number of retail stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day again this year, to squeeze one more shopping day into their biggest season. Many of the low-wage workers folding shirts, running cash registers, and stocking Frozen sparkle princess dolls will be teenagers. How do teenagers in Texas try cram their family holiday around their shifts?

A Better Way To Opt Out Of Required Reading

Nov 25, 2014
Dianna Douglas

A recent dispute in the Dallas suburb of Highland Park over requiring students to read the book The Art of Racing in the Rain was settled today—a committee of teachers, parents and students reviewed the book and found that it can be taught in the classrooms. One thing the debate in Highland Park has shown is that parents and students who object to certain books are also often unhappy with their options for alternative assignments. Some Texas schools have made that process smoother.

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