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 2016 Issue ~ Articles


Current Issue:
May 2016

Focus ~ Student Voices


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

ISSN 1069-5672

Youths in Action – Intergenerational Leadership
Young people informing their community about environmental problems, presenting about their experiences with dual credit classes in high school, and organizing field trips to a local college – all of these are aspects of leadership modeled by youths from neighborhoods that outsiders often claim don’t value education. In this article, Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., describes how a group of 20 youths launched a campaign to inform the community and to present testimony to the city council and the county commissioners on the issue of environmental justice.

See our photo slideshow of Youths in Action

See a sample lesson, “Growing Bacteria in a Culture,” from Minority Women in Science: Forging the Way

The Role of Conversation in the Classroom – Promoting Student Voice through Instructional Dialogue
In order to assess what students are thinking and how they are learning, we have to get them talking. This strategy for teachers is instrumental in the development of academic vocabulary for all students, especially English learners. In this article, by Paula Johnson, M.A., investigates the role that conversation plays throughout instruction toward building teacher capacity and student self-efficacy in subject matter knowledge.

Download our list the seven strategies for instruction of English learners in science

Listen to Substantive Conversation in the Classroom – IDRA Classnotes

Students Become Leaders in their Community to Support Peers on the Path Toward College
From field trips to colleges, to having high school and college counselors give them tips and support, a group of about 20 student leaders are demonstrating leadership for college preparation and admission in neighborhoods that have had little if any support in the past for these efforts. Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., gives examples of the work of these youth from the community-based ARISE Las Milpas center south Texas.

See our student interviews, “College Students Describe What a School’s College-Going Culture Really Means”

Teenage Voices on Their Experience in the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program
The IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program is a research-based, highly successful cross-age tutoring program. With a 98 percent success rate, the program shows what happens when students suddenly feel valued for who they are and for their contributions to others. See what they have to say about the program, such as “The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program has made me a better student after I experienced being a teacher and having to take responsibility and being a role model to my students. I have learned that the way you treat them and talk to them can change the outcome of how the students act toward you and others.” – Elijah Peña Zamora, Middle School, South San Antonio ISD

Learn more about the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program

Teens talk about how the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program has changed them. [00:45]

Implementation of New Texas Graduation Requirements Needs Further Study – Ready Texas: Stakeholder Convening Proceedings Report Released
Texas adopted substantial changes to high school curricula in 2013 (under House Bill 5). Policymakers, education and business leaders, families, and students are now faced with the question of how implementation of those changes is impacting the state of college readiness and success in Texas. The Ready Texas: Stakeholder Convening led by IDRA and carried out in partnership with UTeach at UT Austin, brought together education, community, policy, foundation, business and philanthropic leaders to discuss the future of post-secondary education in Texas and to provide input on the design of a statewide study of HB5 implementation. The convening was made possible through a grant from Greater Texas Foundation. The proceedings report captures highlights from the project.

Ready Texas: Stakeholder Convening Proceedings Report


May 2016 Issue ~ Newsletter Plus

Classnotes podcasts on student voices

They start calling my name (on being a Coca‑Cola Valued Youth Program tutor) – Episode 135

Student Voices on Being Valued – Episode 54

High School Youth Tekies on College Access – Episode 74

Substantive Conversation in the Classroom – Episode 130

Creating Leadership Opportunities for Students – Episode 30

Fostering Student Questions – Episode 40

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Slideshare: Mendez and Brown ~ Youth Picture Pathways to Graduation

Video clips about the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program

Equal Voice RGV HB5 Community Survey Infographic (bilingual)

Texas Higher Ed Commissioner on College Access – IDRA Classnotes

The Power of Possibility: How IDRA and Our Partners are Transforming Public Education – IDRA Annual Report Released
IDRA’s 2015 Annual Report, The Power of Possibility: How IDRA and Our Partners are Transforming Public Education highlights the ways in which 2015 was a pivotal year for children both in terms of progress and deepening disparities. It shows how IDRA and our partners are valuing children of all backgrounds by keeping a sharp focus on educational quality and equity. We are producing research and analyses that matter and putting in place effective programs, strategies, policies and solutions to secure public education that works for all children. 

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.