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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May 2014 Issue ~ Articles


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May 2014

Focus ~ College Access and Success 

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

ISSN 1069-5672

Brown at Sixty – How Far Have We Come and How Far Must We Go to Fulfill the Promise of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas
As of May 17, it will be 60 years since the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its historic 9 to 0 decision that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Sixty years later, the real question may be: How far have we come and how far must we go to fulfil the promise of Brown? Bradley Scott, Ph.D., describes that it was just 10 years ago that IDRA was helping to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas U.S. Supreme Court decision. He also presents highlights from the latest update of the Civil Rights Data Collection showing both our progress over the years and the progress still to be made.

See IDRA’s Fullfilling the Promise of Brown and Mendez website

The Cognitive and Affective Dimensions of College Readiness
Making college readiness a reality for all students is a challenge for our high schools. The challenge involves changing hearts and expectations and establishing a system for personalizing instruction, an understanding of college readiness skills, a commitment to all students, and a system to monitor progress. In this article, Rosana G. Rodríguez, Ph.D., and Nilka Avilés, Ed.D., describe the intentionality that is needed in understanding what constitutes rigor, high expectations and college readiness in order to develop a frame of reference that guides teachers into action for the intended outcomes pertaining to curriculum and instruction.

Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Celebrates 30 Years of Keeping Students in School
As IDRA’s Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program has been celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, we have been highlighting milestones and creating new memories. South San Antonio ISD hosted a visit to the program at South San Antonio High School so that guests could see tutors as they worked with their younger tutees. Linda Cantu, Ph.D., share highlights from the anniversary celebration, including the words of students who have participated in the program.

Listen to IDRA’s Classnotes Podcast: “They start calling my name (on being a Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program tutor)”

HB5 Does Not Have to Block Students from College – San Antonio City Council Encourages College Preparation for All Students
In this statement by IDRA President & CEO, Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, IDRA commended the San Antonio City Council for its resolution to encourage local school districts to choose the distinguished level of achievement as the default in graduation plans for all of their students. The recommendation was made by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, ¡PRESENTE! and IDRA. This distinguished achievement designation signifies that high school students have taken Algebra II, which is required for them to be eligible for “top 10 percent” automatic college admission. Also the SAT and ACT require knowledge of Algebra II. Making the distinguished achievement designation the default affirms the intention of school districts to prepare all students for college. 

IDRA Research for College Access and Success
As we continue yet another year of working to assure equal educational opportunities for every child, it is the “Research” in our name that we are purposefully and with profound intent spotlighting in the IDRA Newsletter. And we are doing so by increasing visibility and awareness of IDRA’s research and the impact it has had for children. Each newsletter this year will feature our research contributions to particular topic. This month, the spotlight is on IDRA’s research for parent and community engagement.

May 2014 Issue ~ Newsletter Plus  

Classnotes podcasts on college access and success 

Principal on Creating a College Going Culture – Episode 86

College for All – Episode 75

What Students Need their School Counselors to Hear – Episode 45

The Art of Writing – Tips for Teachers Part 1 – Episode 136

The Art of Writing – Tips for Teachers Part 2 – Episode 137

Latino and African-American Communities Leading School Reform

The Need for Cross-Race, Cross-Sector Dialog

Creating Your Education Blueprint for Action – Mendez and Brown Community Dialogues – A Launch Kit – This launch kit is designed for community leaders interested in starting a Blueprint Action Dialogue in your community.

Fulfilling the Promise of Brown vs. Board of Education – remarks by Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, at the San Antonio event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas U.S. Supreme Court decision.

See IDRA’s Equity Hub
Visit the IDRA SCCE Equity Hub to get stories about school leaders who are successfully facing issues of equal educational opportunity, school desegregation, civil rights as well as school safety issues, like bullying, harassment, conflict and violence. The hub was designed particularly for school administrators, teachers and parents in school districts in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas (the states served by IDRA’s federally-funded South Central Collaborative for Equity). Visit the Equity Hub to share stories of your success, see what your peers are doing to ensure civil rights in education, share ideas and learn from others, get equity tools and post your own stories with photos or video at our Equity Hub Crowdmap.

Civil Rights Data Collection website 

IDRA has released a new report, College Bound and Determined, showing 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 changes how we think about college readiness.

College for All: Get With It! – IDRA Professional Development Program
IDRA has developed a professional development program designed to assist administrators and teachers to create a college going environment, enhance their curriculum to make courses college compatible for advance placement and dual credit, and prepare teachers and support staff to enhance their instruction with the rigor and relevance required for college credit.

See IDRA’s bilingual slideshow: What Parents Want to Know about the New Texas Graduation Guidelines  – 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.


A Community Action Guide-Seven Actions to Fulfill the Promise of Brown vs. Board of Education and Mendez vs. Westminster – This booklet details seven actions community members can take to help fulfill the promise of Brown vs. Board of Education and Mendez vs. Westminster in the education of African American and Latino students. It also includes a step-by-step tool for developing a blueprint for action in a local community.

“A Tale of Two Centrals” – Brandon Love, a student at Central High School in Little Rock who participated with other students in the community dialogue, shared his story.

Effective Dropout Prevention – Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – IDRA’s Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program is a research-based, internationally-recognized dropout prevention program that has kept 98 percent of its tutors in school. Learn more about the program and how to bring this program to your school.

Continuities: Lessons for the Future of Education from the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Jan July  – Get seven key lessons for improving the quality of education for all students. This publication presents the voices of youth, teachers, family members and program leaders and the reasons valuing youth is at the heart of school transformation. Free online.

Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future, by Margaret Wheatley 

 “College Readiness Indicator Systems – Building Effective Supports for Students,” Voices in Urban Education, edited by P. Gloudemans  


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.