class of '17 yearbook

The journey from
8th grade to graduation

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Immigrant Children Face Barriers To School


The New York Times has an interesting story today about how immigrant children in Long Island are having a difficult time enrolling in school. Kids are stuck at home because their parents don't have or can't get the documents needed to prove they're residents of the school district there. Apparently, this has been an issue in other parts of the country. In May, the Departments of Justice and Education warned school districts that they could be violating federal law if they turned away undocumented children. They issued districts updated guidelines based on the 1982 Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe. Read More

Fallout Continues A Week After Dallas School Board Member Is Removed From Campus


Fallout continues over the forcible removal of a Dallas school board member last week from a campus. A long, closed-door meeting Monday night will soon lead to open meetings on what’s allowed and what’s not by trustees and the superintendent. Read More

The Secret Lives Of Teachers


So where do they go, all the teachers, when the bell rings at 3 o'clock? When you're a kid, you don't really think they go anywhere. Except home, maybe, to grade papers and plan lessons and think up pop quizzes. And when you find out otherwise, it's a strange experience. Many people remember it vividly: the disorienting feeling of encountering your teacher in the grocery store, or in the line at McDonald's, talking and acting just like other grownups. A jarring reminder that they have lives outside the classroom. But of course teachers go off and do all sorts of things: They write books and play music and run for office and start businesses. For some, a life outside the classroom is an economic necessity. In many states, more than 1 in 5 teachers has a second job. Read More

Who Needs Algebra? New Approach To College Math Helps More Pass


Let's start with a little word problem. Sixty percent of the nation's 12.8 million community college students are required to take at least one course in subject X. Eighty percent of that 60 percent never move on past that requirement. Read More

Daniel Tiger: Won’t You Be His Neighbor?


Lexi Schaefers' preschoolers squeal with excitement. Their eyes are trained on an animated tiger dressed in a red hoodie and sneakers, peeking out of the TV at them. These 3- and 4-year-olds at Shady Lane Preschool in Pittsburgh, Pa., sing along with the songs and laugh and mimic what the characters are doing onscreen. It's been 13 years since Mister Rogers' Neighborhood went off the air and more than a decade since the passing of its host. But the world Fred Rogers created for preschool children — one that's safe, nurturing and accepting — lives on in a PBS program called Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Read More

Homecoming Mums: Inside A Larger-Than-Life Texas Tradition


All of America has homecoming football games, parades, pep rallies and dances, but no place has a tradition quite like the Texas homecoming mum. This is no demure flower with a couple of ribbons. It’s a full-body shield of plastic flowers and sparkly ribbons and teddy bears with graduation caps. And, this time of year, Texas students try to outdo each other with the biggest, wildest mum creations. They are practically works of art. Read More

To Cut Student Debt, Florida College Cuts Off Some Student Borrowing


To get a student loan at Broward College, one of Florida's largest community colleges, you first have to sit through a two-hour financial lesson with Kent Dunston. It's a little like Scared Straight, the 1978 documentary designed to keep kids from ending up in prison. Dunston's lesson, though, is about scaring students into making good financial choices. Nationwide, student loans total more than $1.2 trillion. And schools now face punishment — even closure — by the federal government if the rate is too high. Read More

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Meet the Team

KERA News

Stella M. Chávez

Stella M. Chávez

Reporter/Blogger

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s education reporter/blogger. Stella’s journalism roots are 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. In her spare time, she enjoys running, biking and writing. She also spends a lot of time caring for her mom.

Bill Zeeble

Bill Zeeble

Reporter

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues. He’s won numerous awards over the years, with top honors from the Dallas Press Club, Texas Medical Association, the Dallas and Texas Bar Associations, the American Diabetes Association and a national health reporting grant from the Kaiser Family Foundation. His radio pieces have aired on nearly every national news show carried on KERA, from NPR and American Public Media to the BBC.  Zeeble, a native of the Philadelphia area, has worked in public radio in the Chicago area, Corpus Christi and New Orleans. He spends time working with NPR to teach students how to do radio journalism. He and his wife have 2 dogs and 2 cats, adopted and rescued.


Dallas stock photography provided by Justin Terveen

General stock photography provided by Shutterstock

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Class of ’17 is a five-year KERA News project to explore the world of education – particularly the road to graduation – through the eyes of a diverse group of young North Texans. We’ll follow these kids through the crucial transition from 8th grade to high school, then all the way to senior year and graduation – or whatever comes after school. We’ll also chart the latest education news, research and techniques. And just like high school, we’ll have a little fun along the way. It’s all part of KERA’s American Graduate initiative, a national public broadcasting effort to explore the dropout crisis. And you can have a voice in the Class of ’17 – tweet #KERAClassof17.

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