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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February 2016 Issue ~ Articles


Current Issue:
February 2016

Focus ~ Valuing & Asset-Based Solutions


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

ISSN 1069-5672

Ensuring Equity and Nondiscrimination in Student Discipline Policy and Practice
From a recent social media post showing a young high school girl being flung across the floor by a school resource officer to national reports of stark racial disparities in suspension rates, school discipline has resurfaced as a critical civil rights educational issue. Importantly, these events have forced many school boards, leaders and communities to take a second look at the systemic issues underlying poor disciplinary practices and the antiquated, ineffective policies around them. In this article, David Hinojosa, J.D., discusses factors that lead to unfair discipline and lists steps schools can take to begin or renew efforts in evaluating and correcting their student disciplinary policies and practices.

Listen to our Classnotes Podcast Episode: “Civil Rights in Student Discipline”

#AllMeansAll – Finding and Addressing the Roots of Educational Inequity
Economists are pointing to educational inequities and gaps as major culprits causing the rise in income inequality in recent decades. The United States is not graduating enough students who are prepared to access and succeed in college, and educational opportunity is increasingly stratified by earnings. Laurie Posner, M.P.A., discusses structural inequity in early education, course offering gaps that impact college readiness and a framework for action. 

Learn more about IDRA’s Quality Schools Action Framework™ 

STEM Pathways for Girls of Color – A Review of the Literature
Although women make up nearly half of the nation’s total labor community, they represent just over a quarter of the STEM workforce. Most research focused on increasing the number of minority women in STEM analyzes the impact of non-school-based summer programs on middle school girls’ perceptions and attitudes toward STEM. Paula Johnson, M.A., explores the research literature to highlight trends and identify areas needing further investigation.

Meet David Hinojosa, J.D., IDRA National Director of Policy
This year, the IDRA Newsletter is highlighting our staff’s varied and diverse talents and backgrounds. David Hinojosa is one of the newest employees on board at IDRA, but he is hardly new to IDRA. Before joining IDRA in April 2015, David served as regional counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Southwest Office where he spearheaded MALDEF’s educational civil rights litigation and policy work. In that role, he often collaborated with IDRA’s experts in a range of issues, including school finance and English learner programs. Now in addition to serving as IDRA’s national director of policy, David directs the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity.  

We’re here to help!
See How IDRA’s Training and Technical Assistance Can Help Your School or District
With an unwavering commitment to student success, IDRA services provide innovative, practical and sustainable solutions for diverse student populations based on the unique needs of each district, campus or classroom. A few examples of assistance packages include:

  • Assessing and Elevating the Education of English Language Learners Districtwide
  • Transforming Early Childhood Programs to Centers of Excellence
  • Using Semillitas de Aprendizaje™ in the Classroom
  • Coaching and Mentoring Novice Teachers in Culturally Diverse Classroom Settings
  • Implementing Engagement-based Sheltered Instruction
  • Building Authentic Parent and Community Engagement
  • Creating a College Readiness Culture for Success
  • Integrating Math and Science Instructional Strategies for English Learners
  • Mastering Dropout Prevention with the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program
  • Building and Sustaining Professional Learning Communities
  • Conducting Research and Evaluation

Call today! 210-444-1710 or email

February 2016 Issue ~ Newsletter Plus

Classnotes podcasts on valuing & asset-based solutions

Affective Lessons are Effective Lessons            – Episode 119

Connecting Every Student to a Meaningful Future – Episode 85

Busting Myths About Children of Poverty           – Episode 50

Creating Leadership Opportunities for Students – Episode 30

Higher Math for All – Episode 87

Student Voices on Being Valued            – Episode 54

College Bound and Determined –IDRA Report
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.

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.