American Graduate Champion: Rhonda Hauser

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

rhonda-hauserToday’s Champion is Rhonda Hauser. Hauser is the Director of the University of Texas Priscilla Pond Flawn Child & Family Laboratory. She works and interacts with children, parents, college students, staff. Hauser is a champion because she truly lives to help those she works with and beyond. Not only does she come in to contact with children ages 18 mo.- 6 years of age and the parents and caregivers of these children, but day in and day out she mentors those adults that want to learn more about positive guidance in the early childhood space and much more. Many have found in her a true friend, mentor, advocate and role model. She has helped many families with the day to day transitions and struggles of parenting, but has also been there for families who have experienced divorce, death, homelessness, poverty. Rhonda is a Champion because she lives to make a positive impact in the lives of many. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “Others would benefit from this because no matter the many different roles Rhonda plays she always puts her best foot forward. Rhonda does not sing her own praises but instead her character and work speak for itself and is demonstrated in the many lives she touches.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

 

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2015

KLRU celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a range of special programs and events that celebrate the Asian American experience. Year round, KLRU provides content and events that give a diverse perspective on our community. Here is a complete list of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month programming. more

Cinco de Mayo on KLRU

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with back-to-back documentaries and music on May 3rd!

Arts In Context El Taller Sunday, May 3 at 1:30 pm &  Tuesday, May 5 at 10 pm
Proyecto Teatro aims to make the arts accessible to the entire community, regardless of income levels, and to reduce social and cultural differences in society.  For actor and director Alejandro Pedemonte creating a space that leads to human developement through the arts was his main goal when he created Talleres Infantiles, a year round Spanish language art program for mostly low income students.  We follow a group of students and volunteers for a year as they work together to improve their community while maintaining their culture. more

American Graduate Champion: Courtney Seals

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

courtney-sealsToday’s Champion is Courtney Seals. Seals is the program director of three Southwest Key Programs that service juvenile justice youth. In her first program she helps to coordinate Enrichment Activities for youth who are being served at a court mandated treatment facility. Her second program is a Youth Mentoring program that looks to link at-risk youth with volunteer mentors in hopes to help the youth successfully complete and transition out of probation, but most importantly for the youth to have a connection to a positive community. Lastly, she works for the Family Keys Program which looks to prevent truant youth from entering the juvenile justice system altogether. She works with her case manager to provide services to the entire family in hopes to re-engage the youth with school and their community. She is one of those service providers that the youth constantly return to for help and advice. She is definitely a champion that deserves recognition! The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “The greatest thing about Courtney is her passion. Anyone that meets her would be inspired by the manner in which she serves the youth. For the youth, to know that there are providers out there that genuinely care and will sacrifice to help them fulfill their dreams and succeed is invaluable.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

 

American Graduate Champion: Cathy Requejo

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

cathy-requejoToday’s Champion is Cathy Requejo.  Requejo is the supervisor for AISD Project HELP  (Homeless Education and Learning Program). Project HELP assists students experiencing homelessness to enroll in school and have access to academic supplies and services to participate and attend school daily. For well over a decade, Requejo has been the bridge between families experiencing homelessness and the school district. She works to ensure that school-age children are cared for and given the full extent of educational services due to them under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act, and she works to influence policy that can better serve youth. The recognition letter submitted by the community said:  ”Work with the homeless is by its nature a quiet enterprise but by no means is it easy. Cathy works with families in the midst of turmoil to not only try to secure their basic needs, but to see school as a safe beacon for the kids, and many times for the parents themselves.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Mary Yancy

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

mary-yancyToday’s Champion is Mary Yancy. As a practicing psychologist, Yancy is a staunch advocate for accessible mental health and wellness services for children and their families. She was instrumental in the creation of the Texas Child Study Center, supports the AISD Social Emotional Learning initiative, and currently serves on the advisory boards of the Austin Recovery Council, People’s Community Clinic and Caritas. She has helped wed the longstanding Austin ISD Peer Assistance and Leadership Program with new research and curricula on Socioemotional Learning. Her civic engagements have also included service on education, arts and social service boards including the Texas Book Festival, The Ann Richards School, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, the Seton Fund and Arthouse. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “She knows that the true well-being of youth is based not solely on an academic focus but on a holistic view of development and experience, and she puts her own resources to work to make holistic approaches happen for all of Austin’s youth.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Ivanna Crippa

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

ivanna-crippaToday’s Champion is Ivanna Crippa.  Crippa works at Breakthrough Austin, non-profit organization focused providing a path to college, starting in middle school, for low-income students who will be first-generation college graduates. She is a huge advocate for DACA students and immigrant students, as well. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “There might be one or two people in this world that are more passionate about getting low-income, 1st generation students to and through college, but probably not more than Ivanna Crippa. Ivanna is a 1st generation college student, herself. Her story of being a young Hispanic girl leaving her home in Houston to attend The University of Texas in Austin is one to which many of our students can relate. Her determination and grit as a high school student applying to enough scholarships to cover her cost of attendance is inspirational. Her performance as a college adviser shows she’s leaving a legacy of students breaking the mold and finding their own voice as a college student. Ivanna impowers young hearts and minds, definitely making the world a better place!”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

KLRU News Briefs: Truancy Starts Many on Pipeline to Prison, Texas Tribune Highlights House Budget Debate

Research shows young people who are involved in the court system are more likely to dropout and eventually enter the justice system. This is what people call the School-to-Prison Pipeline, and that is what our Saturday News Briefs examines. This story is part two of a story we brought you last weekend about the push to decriminalize truancy in Texas.

We spoke again to Mary Mergler, Director of Texas Appleseed’s School-to-Prison Pipeline Project about their findings on this issue. She told us the pipeline’s most common victims are minority students.

“African-American and Latino students are sent to court disproportionate to their representation in the student body,” Mergler said. “And what we know about African-American and Latino students is that they are already at a greater risk for being pushed out of school by harsh disciplinary policies. So, our same groups of students who are already at risk, are also the ones being disproportionately sent to court for truancy which we know leads them down that school-to-prison pipeline.”

Special Education students are also over-represented at truancy court. Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston), who chairs the Senate’s Criminal Justice committee, authored one of many truancy bills this legislative session and has been working on this issue for years.

“From a financial standpoint you’re going to pay now or you’re going to pay later,” Senator Whitmire said. “We spend a lot of money on criminal justice. If we would spent a fraction of that on early intervention [and] mental health? I can’t emphasize that enough.”

Once the students are ordered to court for missing school, they and/or their parents face fines up to $500. Texas Appleseed reports 80% of students sent to court for truancy are low income and therefore often unable to pay those fines. In Travis County, Justice of the Peace Judge Yvonne Williams sees some of the poorest families in our region in her courtroom.

“On this side of town, though it’s changing, the average person I see is not able to afford these fines. So to say that I’m going to make you pay a fine is like saying, Okay, fine the blood in me. I’m a turnip. What are you going to do? So you still have that problem,” Williams said.  ”You can’t pay the fine, so you go to jail. So that’s that whole pipeline. I start at school, they get me accustomed to going to court, and then now, I’m an adult, and what the heck? I’m going to prison because I did this or this. I didn’t finish school. So I’m in this underbelly, and it’s okay.”

Judge Williams tells families to plead No Contest, which enters the parent and child into an intervention program and the Class C Misdemeanor is removed from the child’s record.

“I am not going to be part of the clog that makes that happen. My court is never going to be part of that system that makes that happen. I refuse to cooperate,” Williams said.

Our Sunday piece comes from our partners at The Texas Tribune. Every Sunday from now until Sine Die on June 1, we’ll bring you legislative stories from the Tribune. This week’s Political Roundup from Multimedia Reporter Alana Rocha looks at the Texas House’s all-nighter spent debating their budget bill. Plus, a look at the early stages of Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.

KLRU News Briefs air locally during PBS NewsHour Weekend, every Saturday and Sunday evening at 6:30pm. Our Saturday story is part of KLRU’s American Graduate initiative, which is aimed at increasing awareness around the dropout crisis in Central Texas. Lydia De La Garza, who is featured in the piece, is a member of our American Graduate Advisory Group.

Do you have an American Graduate story idea? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at CivicSummit@klru.org, post a comment, or tweet at us using #amgradtx. 

 

American Graduate Champion: Dr. Paul Cruz

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

paul-cruzToday’s Champion is Dr. Paul Cruz. Cruz is the superintendent for the Austin Independent School District, serving more than 85,000 students and more than 12,000 employees. For more than 28 years, Cruz has worked in education. He has been a teacher, campus administrator and central office administrator in Corpus Christi, San Antonio and south Texas. Dr. Cruz was also a superintendent of schools in Laredo ISD, a district with approximately 23,500 students.The recognition letter submitted by the community said:  ”Dr. Cruz is an inspiration to those of us who have immigrated to this country and who learned English as a second language. He instills pride in being Latino and has a story that motivates us to increase and continue the work ethic that as immigrants we come to this country clinging to.  Dr. Cruz has spent his career listening for and being attentive to the barriers that he has had the control to altar and take away for the families and students in the AISD educational journey. His leadership has allowed for many of these barriers to be removed and he continues to examine and create ways to ‘clear the path’ to graduation for our students and their families in the city of Austin.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.