Jennifer Guerra

Reporter/Producer

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.

Her stories and documentaries have won numerous regional and national awards, and her work has aired on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace and Studio 360.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Michigan and received her M.A. in broadcast journalism from Fordham University. When she's not on the radio, she and her husband are making up lyrics to songs and singing them to their adorable baby girl.  

Ways To Connect

Photo courtesy of the Cortez family

Today’s State of Opportunity story is brought to you by the letter "S," as in study. There’s a new study out that shows Big Bird, Snuffy, Bert and Ernie have a much bigger impact on kids’ lives than just helping them count to ten and learn their ABCs. 

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The Washington Post ran a story this week, highlighting disparities in public education funding and calling it "one of the sleeper civil rights issues of our time."

The article points to two new studies that show how disparities in school funding harm students in poverty and the country as a whole.  Here's an excerpt:

user ValeryKenski / flickr

Who is poor? Who is low-income? It’s a question our team and others who report on issues of poverty grapple with a lot.  

My news editor and I did a quick search of the newsroom's story database from the past two months, and it turns out Michigan Radio reporters and hosts used the term poor on air twice as often as low-income. So I wanted to know: does it matter which term we use to describe people?

Jennifer Guerra / publisher23

I want to give a huge shout-out to all the teachers who took our recent State of Opportunity survey about special-education training. You ROCK! We got a ton of responses and I promise to share some of them with you, but first, a bit of context.

user Mark Ramsay / flickr

Thousands of high school seniors this month will put on their caps and gowns, walk across a stage, and get their diplomas. Go graduates! 

But it also got me thinking about the countless students who, for various reasons, won't make it to graduation. For instance, students with emotional disabilities, who have some of the worst graduation rates in the country. Fewer than half graduate compared to a national average of around 80%.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Our story this week featured a family that struggled to get the best education for their special needs daughter. It took the help of a lawyer from the University of Michigan's Pediatric Advocacy Clinic to get the school district to agree to put the young girl in a general ed classroom instead of a self-contained classroom for severely disabled children.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Sometimes a family needs more out of a trip to the doctor than what a physician can provide. In those instances, an attorney might be what the doctor orders. It's called a medical-legal partnership, and there are 36 states that have them including one in Michigan that’s helped hundreds of low-income families over the past decade.

Hailee Rose is seven years old, with blond hair and a shy smile who loves math and spelling bees. She has a rare genetic disorder called 22Q, which can manifest itself in many different ways. In Hailee's case, it severely impacts her speech and language development.

U.S. Department of Education

Last week I did a story about credit recovery and one high school's use of the online, after-school program to keep students at risk of failing "recover" credits to stay on track for graduation. But there's just one catch: we know next to nothing about these credit recovery programs.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

We do a lot of stories about what’s not working in education, but today we’re going to flip the script and talk about a school that’s doing really well, especially for students of color and economically disadvantaged students. It’s a rural school called Brimley Elementary in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Andrea Claire Maio

  

It’s high school graduation season, and there’s lots to celebrate. Michigan’s four-year graduation rate is 79%, the highest it’s been in years.

But for students of color and students from low-income families, the rate is significantly lower. To bring those numbers up, some schools let students at risk of failing “recover” credits to stay on track for graduation. But are those methods as rigorous as they should be?


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