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Monday, 02 March 2015

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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.

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January 2015 Issue ~ Articles


Current Issue:
January 2015

Focus ~ School Perseverance & Grit 

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

ISSN 1069-5672

Grit and Non-Cognitive Skills – Framing the Narrative
A growing chorus of academics, administrators and policymakers are steering educational research, money and the public’s imagination to conversations around resiliency and non-cognitive skills. Words like “grit” are now consistently being used to describe a student’s ability to persevere, to face challenges and to overcome failure. In this article, María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., and Hector Bojorquez raise the concern that often these conversations are being framed in ways that yield little but negative attitudes, defeatism and deficit practices in the education of young people.

Institutional Grit and Perseverance – Valuing Students and Supporting Academic Success in the Era of the “Grit Gap”
This focus on children and grit is not actually new. An emphasis on character development for low-income children and children of color is baked into American history, describes Laurie Posner, M.P.A., as she reviews attention that has been given to student grit and character development over time. In this article, she also highlights other works that counter the concentration on student traits and instead point to school success and grittiness.

Gauging Grit – Gouging the Poor
Competing views of students and their families have great impact on education results. Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., compares and contrasts the culture-of-poverty perspective with IDRA’s culture of possibility frame that recognizes the assets of students and focuses on the responsibility of the institution. He also provides a list of “contrasts of incongruities” that are prevalent in education conversations today.

Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Winning Essay
IDRA sponsored a national essay competition among participants in the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, a nationally-recognized cross-age tutoring program of IDRA. Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program tutors wrote about how the program helps them do better in school and how they help their tutees to do better. Six students received prizes. Here is one of the winning essays. Others are available online.

Meet Hector Bojorquez
Director of IDRA’s Student Access and Success Department
This year, the IDRA Newsletter will highlight our staff’s varied and diverse talents and backgrounds. As of January 2015, Hector Bojorquez, was named to lead IDRA’s department of Student Access and Success. This department conducts and disseminates research to educators, policymakers and families concerning early child education, STEM, dropout solutions, and high school to college transitions. It also provides technical assistance to expand opportunities for systemic reform in our community schools. Mr. Bojorquez is the principal author of IDRA’s newest publication, College Bound and Determined. His talents and background, however, also are deeply rooted in the arts. 

January 2015 Issue ~ Newsletter Plus

Classnotes podcasts on asset-based solutions in education

A Principal on Setting Expectations for College – Episode 126

Continuities with Lessons in Dropout Prevention – Episode 63

Busting Myths About Children of Poverty – Episode 50

Transformational Teaching in Math – Episode 36

Tool for Building Quality Schools – Episode 81

A Valuing Professional Development Model – Episode 143

College Bound and Determined – IDRA Report

PSJA Proves that a School District Can Assure that All Students are College Bound
IDRA’s report, College Bound and Determined, shows how the Pharr-San Juan Alamo school district in south Texas transformed itself from low achievement and low expectations to planning for all students to graduate from high school and college. In PSJA, transformation went beyond changing sobering graduation rates or even getting graduates into college. This school district is changing how we think about college readiness.



Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program winning essays



Increasing School Holding Power for All Students Podcast Series
This podcast excerpted from a recent teleseminar presents a new framework for transforming schools. Learn how communities and schools can work together, which school factors are key to student success based on research and IDRA experience, and an example of the power of shifting from a deficit view to one of valuing youth. Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel led this teleseminar hosted by the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities. A transcript of the full teleseminar (with the Q&A portion not available in the podcasts) is also available in pdf format. Also available are the teleseminar materials in pdf format. 

Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners – The Role of Noncognitive Factors in Shaping School Performance: A Critical Literature Review
University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research



Ensuring High Teaching Quality to Tap Into Students’ Strengths
In this interview for IDRA’s Equity Hub, PS279 principal Jean Dalton Encke in the Bronx talks about how she uses data and systems to monitor teacher effectiveness and student achievement to ensure that students are succeeding. Having grown up in the Bronx herself, she is passionate about using students’ strengths to help them learn and prepare for college. She has brought in IDRA’s Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program and has a partnership with Lehman College to bolster both literacy learning and exposure to college for students, many of whom may not have seen graduation and college as a possibility. Ms. Dalton Encke is interviewed by Nilka Avilés, Ed.D., an IDRA senior education associate. [18:18 min] 


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. 

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