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Bill Zeeble / KERA News

In this series, The First Week, KERA's reporters are listening in on the conversations about race happening in and around North Texas schools. Today, what students are saying about the violence this summer: police killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, and a gunman's July ambush that killed five law officers in downtown Dallas.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Over the next five days, in a series called "The First Week," we’ll listen in on the conversations students, parents, educators and police officers are having after a summer of racial turmoil in the U.S. and police shootings in Dallas. First, we look at race through the perspective of a black family in Arlington.

If you watch a watermelon harvest you may never think about the pink summery fruit again the same way.

Two pickers walk the rows. They bend over and grab the 20-pound gourds and pitch them to a man perched on the side of a dump truck, who heaves them up to another catcher in the truck bed. The pickers have arms like Popeye and the timing of acrobats. They like this crop because the bigger the melons the more they can earn.

Out on the wide open plains of West Texas, you can see the horizon for 360 degrees, interrupted only by the nodding up and down of pump jacks pulling oil up out of the earth.

There lies the aptly named town of Midland.

To get the hang of the place, you need to start downtown, on a corner near the Chase Bank, where an electric billboard displays the essentials: the temperature, a message — "God Bless Midland" — and a number. On this day, it's 45.94.

Quin Mathews’ Art Memories On Frame Of Mind

Jun 15, 2016
Quin Mathews

"Made in Texas” are three of the most persuasive and dynamic words in the vast vocabulary of the Lone Star State. They’re so important that the state has created amarketing campaign encouraging people to “Go Texan.” Want delicious produce? Go Texan. Looking for new boots? You get the idea. 

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Working parents face a challenge when it’s time to find affordable child care over the summer.

No-cost and low-cost camps in North Texas can be tough to track down —and fill up quickly.

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.

Chris Connelly / KERA News

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made national headlines this week when he came to Fort Worth and said school superintendent Kent Scribner should resign. Scribner refused, and defended his decision to rework the district's rules for transgender students. Patrick, in Dallas for the state Republican convention, refuses to back down. On Thursday, he called Scribner "a dictator."

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Vocabulary is a tough sell for school kids, so a program called Word Masters tries to make it fun by challenging students across the country to compete with tricky analogy tests.

Burlingham / Shutterstock

Early voting ended May 3 for a number of North Texas school board and bond elections. Here's a look at some of the items on Saturday's ballot.