Search our Site

About IDRA
Technical Assistance
Education Policy
Fellows Program
Press Room
Contact Us
IDRA Newsletter
Grad for All e-letter
IDRA e-News
IDRA News Sign Up
OurSchool Data Portal
Family Leadership
Courageous Connections
Introductory Seminar 2015
La Semana Parent Institute
Fellow Program Symposium
Policy Forum
Roundtable Series
Available Podcasts
Classnotes Podcast
Download our podcasts
directly to your Ipod

or listen directly by clicking here

Friday, 28 August 2015

Follow us on

The IDRA Newsletter is published 10 times a year. Each edition focuses on issues in education, striving to provide many different perspectives on the topics covered and to define its significance in the state and national dialogue. The IDRA Newsletter can only be mailed to U.S.addresses, but pdf and web copies are available online.

Click Here to Subscribe

See PDF of this issue.
See IDRA Newsletter eLetter for this issue.

August 2015 Issue ~ Articles


Current Issue:
August 2015

Focus ~ Collge Preparedness


Sign up for IDRA's free email newsletter!

Get IDRA's Classnotes Podcast via itunes or online

Newsletter Executive Editor
María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, Ph.D.

ISSN 1069-5672

Building STEAM – Changing the Equation for College and Career Readiness for All
Imagine a child who learned fractions by incorporating the foundations of musical notes or the student who learns about force of motion through interpretive dance. In this article, Paula Johnson, M.A., describes the movement that is underway to bring innovation to STEM education through the integration of the arts: STEM + Arts = STEAM. Championed by the Rhode Island School of Design, STEAM education has the potential to transform the 21st century economy just as science and technology did for the 20th century. 

Listen to our Classnotes Podcast episode, “STEAM Education for Every Child,” Part 1 and Part 2


Listen to “Should Algebra II be a requirement?” KLUP morning radio program – recording


More Comprehensive Advising Needed in the Aftermath of Changes to Texas High School Curriculum Requirements
In 2013, Texas’ political leadership chose to modify the Texas strong 4-by-4 college readiness curriculum and put in its place a thinly-veiled new system of student tracking. This new system created different “paths” to graduation that were achieved by changing the course combinations different sub-groups of high school students would need to take in order to graduate. In this article, Albert Cortez, Ph.D., describes how schools were given the task of providing guidance to students and parents on these new curriculum plans.

See “The Impact of Education on Economic Development in Texas,” San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce White Paper, developed in collaboration with IDRA


Supporting Students and Families for the Transition from High School to College
In order to lead all students to enter and graduate from college, school leaders have the critical task of equipping educators within the complexities of systemic change in culturally- and linguistically-diverse schools. In this article, Nilka Avilés, Ed.D., gives examples of the role educators have at each level of schooling.



Listen to our Classnotes Podcast episode: “A Principal on Supporting Teachers for Student College Readiness”


Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools –
School Opening Alert

As schools are opening their doors for a new school year, this alert is a reminder that public schools, by law, must serve all children. The education of undocumented students is guaranteed by the Plyler vs. Doe decision, and certain procedures must be followed when registering immigrant children in school to avoid violation of their civil rights.

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Plyler vs. Doe, public schools may not:

  • deny admission to a student during initial enrollment or at any other time on the basis of undocumented status;
  • treat a student differently to determine residency;
  •  engage in any practices to “chill” the right of access to school;
  • require students or parents to disclose or document their immigration status;
  •  make inquiries of students or parents intended to expose their undocumented status; or
  • require Social Security numbers from all students, as this may expose undocumented status.

Get more information on our dedicated webpage.

Download the alert as a bilingual school opening alert flier (English-Spanish) to share with others.


See IDRA’s new eBook on Supporting Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools


Meet Dr. Nilka Avilés, IDRA Senior Education Associate
This year, the IDRA Newsletter is highlighting our staff’s varied and diverse talents and backgrounds. At IDRA, Dr. Nilka Avilés leads teacher professional development in science education particularly serving English language learners, and in strengthening college access and readiness for underserved and underrepresented students. She also directs IDRA’s new School TurnAround and Reenergizing for Success Leaders project. Before joining IDRA, Dr. Avilés directed the Early College High School initiative at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is a native Puerto Rican and is the first-born daughter of Adolfo and Hilda Avilés, who were educators, principals and executive directors at the Department of Education in Puerto Rico.


August 2015 Issue ~ Newsletter Plus    

Classnotes podcasts on college preparedness

A Principal on Setting Expectations for College – Episode 126

Principal on Creating a College Going Culture – Episode 86

Connecting Every Student to a Meaningful Future – Episode 85

High School Youth Tekies on College Access – Episode 74

Immigrant Children’s Rights to Attend Public Schools

Classroom resources for STEAM education

Education Closet Lessons
EdCloset serves classroom teachers, arts educators and leaders by providing a space to work together and learn about Arts Integration and STEAM.

Rhode Island School of Design
STEM to STEAM is a RISD-led initiative to add Art and Design to the national agenda of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education and research in America. STEM + Art = STEAM. The goal is to foster the true innovation that comes with combining the mind of a scientist or technologist with that of an artist or designer.

eBook: What Parents Want to Know about the New Texas Graduation Requirements
The new graduation requirements in Texas do not ensure your child will be prepared for college. Students are no longer required to take four years of classes in English, math, science and social studies. By weakening the requirements, your child’s college eligibility is threatened. See what you need to look out for and how to make sure students take the courses they need to be prepared for college and career.


Infographic: Equal Voice-RGV Graduation Requirements Community Survey Findings
The Equal Voice-Rio Grande Valley Network surveyed more than 1,600 parents about their knowledge about Texas’ curriculum tracking policies and new graduation requirements. Few parents across 24 school districts and 30 cities in the Rio Grande Valley have received information from their children’s schools. IDRA analyzed the survey data and developed a report with the survey’s key findings, implications, and recommended next action steps for communities.


The Power of Possibility, How IDRA and its Partners are Changing Public Education, IDRA Annual Report 2014
IDRA’s 2014 Annual Report highlights seven defining moments in our work last year, from advancing educational and civil rights, to amplifying the voice of families and cross-generational leaders in securing educational quality and equity; to improving student success, graduation, and college preparedness; and preparing new teachers for increasingly diverse classrooms. We are grateful to funders and partners for their commitment to excellent and equitable education that made IDRA’s work possible.  

Call for Applications for IDRA José A. Cárdenas School Finance Fellows Program – IDRA is inviting research applications for the IDRA José A. Cárdenas School Finance Fellows Program. This will be the second round of this new fellows program to support research that will inform efforts to secure equitable funding of public schools across the country.


IDRA OurSchool portal – designed to help you – educators and community members – find out how well your high school campus is preparing and graduating students, what factors may be weakening school holding power, and what you can do together to address them. 



IDRA’s Quality Schools Action Framework™



 Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework
At a time when public education makes a world of difference to our students, communities and economic success, many are looking for strategies that will work for them and that will last. Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework shows how communities and schools can work together to strengthen their capacity to be successful with all of their students.


Click Here to Subscribe
 © Intercultural Development Research Association  ·  5815 Callaghan Road, Suite 101 ·  San Antonio,Texas 78228
Phone: 210-444-1710  ·   Fax: 210-444-1714