class of '17 yearbook

The journey from
8th grade to graduation

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Dallas School Board Extends Contract of Superintendent Mike Miles


Early this morning, the Dallas school board voted to extend the contract of Superintendent Mike Miles through July 1st, 2017. Miles won't get a raise but will now be allowed to consult.  The closed session lasting nine hours may have set a Dallas school district record. It began a little past 5:30 p.m. Monday and trustees didn't emerge until almost 2:45 a.m. Tuesday. They then had an additional hour of open discussion. Read More

Pilot Project Will Teach Fort Worth Pre-K Kids How To Tackle Stress


A student at Momentous Institute shows off a glitter ball. These balls help teach children how to cope with stress and anxiety.

Momentous Institute

A student at Momentous Institute shows off a glitter ball. These balls help teach children how to cope with stress and anxiety.

Here’s a question. Do you know the difference between your amygdala and the hippocampus? There’s a group of 3 year olds in Oak Cliff who do. And soon, pre-K children in Fort Worth may know, too. The district is teaming up with Momentous Institute in a new partnership aimed at teaching young children how to take care of their social and emotional health.

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Prime Prep Faces Steep Odds To Stay Open


It’s 4th and long for Deion Sanders’ Prime Prep charter schools, after the state moved this week to shut it down.  Over the years, Prime Prep’s gotten bad press for public fights between co-founders, the possible illegal transfer of student athletes, and alleged governance violations. But what caused the TEA’s announcement is school lunches. Read More

For Most Kids, Nice Finishes Last


A new study holds up a mirror to America's parents. A researcher at Harvard surveyed 10,000 middle and high school students in 33 different schools around the nation about what they thought their folks cared about most: that they achieve at a high level, that they are happy (defined as "feeling good most of the time"), or that they care for others. Almost 80 percent of youth picked high achievement or happiness as their top choice, while about 20 percent selected caring for others. The survey also shows that about 80 percent of kids themselves rank achievement or happiness as most important, paralleling what they believe their parents value most. Read More

PBS Asks: Are Baton Rouge Schools ‘Separate And Unequal’? We Look At North Texas


Six decades after the U.S. Supreme Court said racially divided schools were unconstitutional, a curious thing has happened. Many school systems are more segregated than ever, but in a completely different way. Tonight, PBS Frontline takes a look at this phenomenon in Baton Rouge, La., in a documentary called Separate and Unequal. What about the numbers in North Texas? Read More

Texas Teachers Face Financial Strain


On Friday, The Texas Tribune published a story about teacher pay and the challenges educators face in Texas. According to the piece, the average Texas teacher makes about $49,000 a year, which is about $8,000 below the national average. During the 2010-2011 school year, teacher pay in the state ranked 30th in the country, and two years later, it dropped to 35th in the nation.

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What We Don’t Know About Summer School


It's a warning echoed in countless teen movies — "If you don't pass this class, you'll go to summer school!" Kids for generations have been threatened with the elusive summer school: fail this test, miss this day and kiss your vacation goodbye. This summer is no exception, with districts around the country pulling students in for all sorts of programs. But surprisingly, it's really hard to get a head count — either nationally or at the district level — of how many kids are going to summer school. So as the July heat kicks in, we started wondering about the whole idea. What, exactly, is summer school? How much does it cost? And, the biggest question, does it work? Read More

Preschoolers Outsmart College Students In Figuring Out Gadgets


Ever wonder why children can so easily figure out how to work the TV remote? Or why they "totally get" apps on your smartphone faster than you? It turns out that young children may be more open-minded than adults when it comes to solving problems. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have found that 4- and 5-year-olds are smarter than college students when it comes to figuring out how toys and gadgets work. 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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