Stella M. Chávez | KERA News

Stella M. Chávez

Reporter/Blogger

Stella Chávez is KERA’s education reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35. The award-winning entry was  “Yolanda’s Crossing,” a seven-part DMN series she co-wrote that reconstructs the 5,000-mile journey of a young Mexican sexual-abuse victim from a small Oaxacan village to Dallas. For the last two years, she worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she was part of the agency’s outreach efforts on the Affordable Care Act and ran the regional office’s social media efforts.

Ways to Connect

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

For Angelica and Diana Canchola, meeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the highlight of their day.

The 16-year-old twins introduced Pelosi to their peers and teachers at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy in downtown Fort Worth on Monday.

Courtesy of Islamic Circle of North America

Ruman Sadiq says the current political climate has led to misperceptions of Muslim women. 

That’s why she hopes a new six-week billboard campaign will encourage people to call and ask questions about the hijab, or head scarf.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Growing up in South Texas, Jesus Martinez heard a lot about President John F. Kennedy. His mom was a huge fan of the late president and former first lady. She read the book, "Letters to Jackie, Condolences From a Grieving Nation” and even named Martinez’s sister, “Jacqueline.”

Students at John Paul II High School in Dallas discuss immigration during the campus-wide Solidarity Week.
Stella Chavez, KERA News

The debate over immigration and funding for a border wall has dominated the headlines. Against that backdrop, students at one North Texas Catholic high school spent the past few days in a campus-wide conversation about immigration – from government policies to personal stories.

Shutterstock

The Richardson Independent School District plans to change how school board members are elected.

The new electoral system is part of a settlement agreement reached between the district and former board trustee David Tyson, Jr. Tyson sued the district last year saying the current electoral system violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965, by denying fair representation of African-Americans and other voters of color.

Students in several rural school districts in Northeast Texas are getting access to college-level courses through a program called Pride Prep.
Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

About 10 percent of students enrolled in college courses in Texas are still in high school. They're taking dual credit classes – that's where they get high school and college credit. These dual credit classes are growing in popularity, but in rural areas, access to college can be a struggle.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Across the state, about 10 percent of teachers don’t return to their jobs each year, according to the Texas Education Agency. School districts and others are trying to change that. That includes Dallas Teacher Residency, a year-long teaching program that could make the difference between a new teacher staying or quitting.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Perhaps the hardest part of being a high school teacher is seeing students drop out or fail to graduate. But sometimes, students and teachers get a second chance.

The front of the new Fannie C. Harris Youth Center, near Fair Park in Dallas. Dallas ISD and several non-profits held a ceremony t
Stella Chavez / KERA

An estimated 4,000 students in the Dallas Independent School District are considered homeless. On Tuesday, Dallas ISD and several non-profit groups marked the opening of the first phase of a homeless youth center. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez lost her bid against Gov. Greg Abbott. Valdez, who served four terms as sheriff, would have been the first Latina and openly gay governor.

LM Otero / AP

Updated, 11:53 a.m. 

Former Dallas County Schools Board President Larry Duncan, 72, has pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion.

According to court filings Monday, Duncan pleaded guilty to the federal charge in connection with the bribery scandal that brought down the troubled school bus agency last year.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

The American Civil Liberties Union, members of the local Greyhound bus drivers’ union and representatives of other groups delivered 200,000 signed petitions to the Greyhound bus headquarters in downtown Dallas on Friday.

They’re demanding the company stop allowing border patrol agents onto its buses to question passengers.

Justin Martin / KERA News

Dallas will make history Wednesday as the first Texas city to get state recognition for its LGBTQ neighborhood.

Tonight at 7, the Texas Historical Commission will unveil a historical marker in front of JR’s Bar & Grill in Oak Lawn — the heart of the gay and lesbian community in Dallas.

Vice President stumped for U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions on Monday at Park Cities Hilton in Dallas. Sessions is in a battle for Congressional District 32 with Democrat Colin Allred, a civil rights attorney and former NFL linebacker.
Christopher Connelly/KERA

Vice President Mike Pence came to Dallas on Monday to campaign for a pair of Republican incumbents, U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Both are facing tough Democratic challengers.

Courtesy of the Dallas Mexican American Historical League

Growing up, Victoria Ferrell-Ortiz didn’t hear her grandmother talk about life in Cemento Grande or Cement City, the town built for workers of The Trinity Portland Cement Company in the early 1900s.

She’s in her 80s now and Ferrell-Ortiz wanted to document her story before it’s too late.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Miguel Oliva Esquivel was outside at work when he heard a helicopter flying overhead.

"What’s with the helicopter?" he wondered.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

From the outside, the brick and metal building in Paris, Texas, looks like any other storefront. But inside, Iglesia Evangelica Filadelfia has become a place of refuge.

This church is not just a house of worship. It’s where immigrants caught up in a raid at a trailer factory — and their family members — have gone seeking information, financial aid and comfort.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Staff and students at the Leadership Academy at Mitchell Boulevard Elementary celebrated not only the first day back but also the fact that the Fort Worth campus is no longer on the state’s list of failing schools.

Lara Solt / KERA News

The Dallas Independent School District launched a program a few years ago to turn around struggling schools called Accelerating Campus Excellence, or ACE. Now, other North Texas school districts are launching similar efforts, while Dallas ramps down the program.

Lara Solt for KERA News

The Texas Education Agency rolled out a new A through F accountability system Wednesday that measures the academic performance of school districts.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Rural libraries in Texas face many challenges — they don’t have a lot of resources, but the people they serve have a lot of needs.

A new effort from Texas Woman’s University in Denton and the Texas Library Association is focused on helping them.

Lara Solt for KERA News

Dual-credit courses are more popular than ever in Texas. High school students are taking college-level classes and getting both high school and college credit. But a new study finds that not all Texas students benefit equally from these classes.

Dallas Mexican American Heritage League

Forty-five years ago — on July 24, 1973 — a Dallas police officer shot and killed a 12-year-old Mexican-American boy, Santos Rodriguez, while he sat handcuffed inside a patrol car.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

A former school board member is suing the Richardson school district and school board claiming they violated the state open meetings law.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Some North Texans with ties to Mexico are excited about the new President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who campaigned on rooting out corruption and advocating for the poor. Others are skeptical.

Fort Worth ISD school bus
Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is demanding the Fort Worth school district turn over a copy of its sixth grade human sexuality curriculum, which includes lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity. He says parents were repeatedly denied access to class materials.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Fourth- and fifth-graders are gathered inside a cool, dark conference room. They take turns wearing headsets and face a computer screen. Calming, electronic music plays in the background.

The objective: to paint. But this isn’t exactly the kind of painting you’d imagine.

Courtesy of Alia Salem

A group of North Texas activists traveled to McAllen, Texas, over the weekend to protest the separation of immigrant parents from their children – many of whom are being held in detention centers.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

President Trump Wednesday signed an executive order ending his controversial policy of separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

It’s not clear yet how these children will be reunited with their parents. In Dallas, city and community leaders gathered at City Hall to speak out about what’s been happening along the border.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

The Fort Worth Independent School District took five of its struggling elementary campuses and turned them into leadership academies this school year. Now, the district is pointing to some early successes. 

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