Education | KERA News

Education

Liberty High School in Frisco has grown rapidly and become more diverse since opening in 2006.
Credit Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Every week, KERA reporters go inside the classroom, meeting students, teachers and administrators, to explore the latest in education in North Texas. KERA's ongoing education coverage is part of the national public broadcasting initiative American Graduate

Explore in-depth education multimedia projects: Race, Poverty and the Changing Face of Schools, a look at the changing demographics at four North Texas high schools; What’s Next For The Class Of 17?, stories about North Texas students from eighth grade to graduation; Homeless in High School, how schools and kids deal with homelessness; and Generation One, meet first-generation Texans who are reshaping schools.

Support for KERA’s education coverage is made possible in part by:

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

For eighth grade students heading to high school, summer’s supposed to be a fun time. But for one Mesquite girl, it’s been kind of stressful. In this installment of KERA’s series Class of ’17, we meet Alex Gutierrez who didn’t have the math grades to get into the private high school she wanted. Now, she’s going to have to get through summer school to advance to the ninth grade.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Making the jump from middle to high school is one of those big moments in a kid’s life. In the latest installment of KERA’s education series Class of ’17, we meet Kelli Bowdy and her strongest educational influence, her grandmother, at the 8th grade graduation ceremony at Morningside Middle School in Fort Worth.

A senior attorney at the National Center for Youth Law says "Dallas is, by far, the most aggressive in the state of Texas, and Texas is way more aggressive than any other state". The group joined 'Texas Appleseed' and 'Disability Rights Texas' in filing the complaint.

The Texas Education Agency released statewide STAAR results, with school district breakdowns available only from the district for now.

Dallas School Board member Mike Morath was scheduled to give this year’s graduation speech to Woodrow Wilson seniors. But he offered something a little different.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Texas Association of Business (TAB) wants Governor Rick Perry to veto the education bill that reduced end-of-course high school exams from fifteen to five. But given how many lawmakers voted for the measure, odds seem against it.  

                    

Update, 6:20 p.m.: Former Dallas schools Chief of Staff Jerome Oberlton was released on a $25,000 bond Tuesday after pleading not guilty to charges of accepting kickbacks while he worked for Atlanta Public Schools.

Mahendra Patel, Oberlton's partner in the scheme they're both accused of participating in, also was released on bond, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

ScrippsBee / Flickr

It took ten rounds to stump Plano eighth grader Chetan Reddy. He had no trouble in the first few rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee championship final, but in Round 10, the word kaburi (a type of land crab) tripped him up. He exited the stage to a standing ovation.

Chetan finished the Bee tied for seventh place. Arvind Mahankali from New York won the title with the word knaidel.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Many Texas lawmakers said their top priority for the legislative session that just ended was to improve public education.  So what did they accomplish?

As part of KERA’s American Graduate initiative, three North Texas legislators came to our studios to talk education: Rep. Helen Giddings, a Dallas Democrat; Rep. Diane Patrick, an Arlington Republican, and Rep. Jason Villalba, a Dallas Republican.

ScrippsBee / Flickr

The answer for most of us? Probably not. There are 42 competitors still standing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. One of them is Plano eighth grader Chetan Reddy.

This year, spellers have to be masters of phonetics, but for the first time ever they have to know what words mean too. So here’s your chance to see how you stack up against the semifinalists based on the vocabulary questions they tackled Wednesday.

Vijay Reddy

Chetan Reddy is the grizzled veteran of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which starts today in Washington, D.C. Only this grizzled veteran is just an 8th grader.

Chetan, who lives in Plano, is making his fourth straight appearance in the national contest -- and it’ll be his last one, because next year he’ll be too old. So he's determined to retire with trophy in hand.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dallas School Superintendent Mike Miles tells KERA that it's time to review and improve the process for hiring his cabinet members. This follows the resignation of yet another top administrator: his chief of staff, Jerome Oberlton.

Oberlton's Linked-in account

Another chief of staff for the Dallas school district superintendent has resigned. This latest chief says he anticipates being named in a federal indictment.

KERA News

DISD says  nearly 300 teachers received termination notices today after a school board vote last night.

Seven of the nine board members voted in favor of terminating the teachers and two DISD principals. Trustees Carla Ranger and Bernadette Nutall cast the dissenting votes.

The principals are being fired under a controversial  plan by Superintendent Mike Miles that requires them to meet new benchmarks.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Seven of the nine Dallas school board trustees voted to terminate the principals of Madison and Roosevelt high schools Thursday night.

Update, 3:59 p.m.: Rockwall ISD's buses for secondary school students will be delayed up to 45 minutes.

Update, 3:48 p.m.: Mesquite ISD will release its high school students at 4 p.m.; buses running 30 minutes later than normally scheduled. 

Update, 3:45 p.m.: Plano ISD says most activities will continues as schedule but asks parents to check with their students' individual campuses.

Grapevine-Colleyville ISD also reports that all after-school activities will continue as normally scheduled.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Members of the Dallas School District’s first-ever “Fellows Academy” just graduated. The Academy was created by Superintendent Mike Miles to custom- train future principals. It is focused on helping principals become better leaders.

CSCOPE, an online curriculum system used by nearly 80 percent of Texas school districts, will be a thing of the past, Senator Dan Patrick and other Republican state lawmakers announced Monday. The decision follows concerns raised by some conservative groups that the curriculum promoted anti-American values.

Lauren Silverman

Dozens of Madison High School students in South Dallas walked out of class today. 

They joined some parents in protesting the possible firing of their principal, Marian Willard.  

They’re concerned Willard is among Dallas principals who would lose her job under Superintendent Mile Miles’ new performance plan for campus administrators.

“We don’t want her to leave. She is a great principal. She came to this school and turned it around when no one else could,” said student Monicea Barnes as she waved a sign that said “save our principal”

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Among the challenges that many school districts face is the number of economically disadvantaged students and, in some cases, kids without a steady home.

One class in the Fort Worth Independent School District decided to tackle this problem, and they did it with style.

Bickel & Brewer Storefront is suing the Grand Prairie Independent School District claiming its at-large election system violates the Voting Rights Act and denies Latino voters fair representation.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

The Irving School Board is taking a new direction after Saturday night’s election. Randy Randle, Lee A. Mosty and Norma C. Gonzales – allies of censured trustee Steven Jones – won their respective seats.

Among the changes Randle wants is for immigrant children to learn English through immersion instead of the current bilingual program. Randle defeated Mike Gregory for District 7.

BdwayDiva1 / Flickr

A record number of Hispanic high school graduates enrolled in college last fall outpacing their white counterparts, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

Using U.S. Census data, the study found that seven in 10 Hispanic students, or 69 percent, who graduated in 2012 went on to college compared to 67 percent of white students.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Some local groups are squaring off over Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles' plan to evaluate principals and terminate those who aren't measuring up.

At a press conference Wednesday morning, Dallas NAACP members and other community leaders said Miles must go.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

School board elections rarely attract much attention. That means wealthy donors and political action committees - PACs - can sway outcomes. Here's how the three biggest contributors are  trying to do that in the May 11  DISD elections.

Janine Khammash / KERA News

At public universities in Texas, only 1 in 4 full-time freshman graduates within four years. That's obviously a problem for students -- and with Texas legislators considering a bill that would increasingly link state funding to graduation rates, it's a pressure point for colleges, too.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Second graders at Seguin Elementary School in Grand Prairie have a message for their peers in West ISD.

“We’re with you” and “You’re in our prayers.”

The messages were written on "gingerbread people" that the children made out of butcher paper this week. Moms laid down on the paper as their children traced them. They worked together to decorate the imaginary figures with hearts and smiles and then wrote words of encouragement.

DISD

Rene Barajas, who became the Dallas Independent School District’s Chief Financial Officer in January, has resigned to return to his former school district in Garland.

Superintendent Mike Miles made the announcement on Wednesday in a press release saying that Barajas is going to be Garland ISD’s Deputy Superintendent of Business Operations. Before going to DISD, Barajas spent five years as Garland ISD’s chief financial officer.

Lowell Brown / Waco Tribune

The school board president of West Independent School District  says about half the district’s 1,463 students will return to school Monday, but at a different school, in a different district. That’s because three of West ISD’s four schools suffered damage from Wednesday’s explosion. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

A teacher who turns his class assignments into an iBook. Students who develop apps for mobile devices. QR codes that direct students to their teacher’s home page.

These are just some examples of how some students are learning and keeping up to date with the latest technology. Gone are the days of a teacher standing in front of a classroom lecturing students. These days, students are using their smart phone or laptops.

Pages