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Jennifer Guerra

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. 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.  

It has been a crazy few days for Ryan Griffin, the guy behind the Read-to-a-Barber program we wrote about on the NPR Ed blog last week. He says the phone at The Fuller Cut in Ypsilanti, Mich., has been ringing nonstop since the story ran. Calls of support, yes, but also calls from reporters in Australia, England, Germany and pretty much every major market in the U.S. The story has been picked up by CBS News , ABC News and The Huffington Post , just to name a few. So I dropped by the...

Jozef Jason came to the Fuller Cut barbershop for one reason: the kid's mohawk. It's almost second-grade picture day, and he wants to look good. He hops up onto an antique swivel chair and asks his barber for the new 'do. "It's high on the top and short on the bottom, and lines that go in a diagonal line where the top is gonna be," explains the 7-year-old. Jozef came for the mohawk, but his dad, Keith Jason, chose this barbershop over all the others in Ypsilanti — a working...

There's no magical spending threshold for student success. Solutions are also complicated by the fact that children with different needs require different levels of support. To better understand those needs — and what it will cost to meet them — a state can commission what's called an "adequacy study." Most states have already done at least one. Michigan is a late-comer. Its first adequacy study is due out this month. Many times, states get back their adequacy studies and do nothing. But it's...

In Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Brimley is the kind of small town where the students of the month in the elementary school get full-page write-ups in the local newspaper. There's an Indian reservation just up the road, a couple bars, a gas station, a motel and that's about it. Brimley Elementary serves two groups that often struggle academically. Of the 300 students, more than half are Native American. Many come from low-income families. You might be thinking at this point that this story is...

Chris Reynolds will never forget his first day at the University of Michigan. He and his dad got up superearly and drove nine and a half hours from Sellersville, a blue-collar factory town in Pennsylvania, to Ann Arbor. "My father literally just dropped me off and then left," Reynolds says. His dad couldn't afford a hotel, so they took about an hour to unpack the car, said their goodbyes, and his dad drove off. Chris Reynolds was officially on his own. He thought he was pretty prepared. He...

In Peter Maginot's sixth-grade class, the teacher is white, but all of his students are black. They're young and they're honestly concerned that what happened to Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner could happen to them. "Who can tell me the facts that we know about Mike Brown?" Maginot asks the class at Shabazz Public School Academy, an afro-centric school in Lansing, Mich. One student speaks up, "Mike Brown, he was shot and killed by a white man." Another adds, "He didn't have any...

It's final exam week for lots of college students. No doubt they're stressed right now, but once they hand in that last paper or take that last test, they're done for the semester. Pack up the suitcase and head home for the holidays. But for some college students — many of whom are former foster youth — that's not quite what happens. "I have no for-certain home, that's the thing," says Trudy Greer, a 22-year-old sophomore at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich. She says she's had a...

Out-of-school suspensions are on the rise across the country , a troubling statistic when you consider being suspended just once ups a student's chances of dropping out entirely. That's why many districts are hoping to keep kids in school by trying an alternative to suspension. The "conflict-resolution room" at Ypsilanti High School in Michigan is quiet and sparse — just a small couch, some chairs and a plant. For decoration there are a few homemade posters with drawings of shooting stars and...