May 2012…One of the goals of Saint Malachy School in North Philadelphia is to improve its students’ writing skills, and a health-focused school newspaper has served as a perfect vehicle.
Saint Malachy, a mission school of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, joined the Healthy NewsWorks student media program midway through the 2011-2012 school year.
By year’s end, the newspaper’s staff of reporters and illustrators, ranging from third through eighth grades, already had produced the first issue of the Healthy Informer newspaper.
“I was interviewed a couple of times by Healthy Informer reporters, and by the second interview I could see that their confidence had grown,” said school principal Terry Richardson. “They were prepared and were able to write their stories using quotes, sources, and by working collaboratively with each other.”
Alan Rosenau, an advisor to the Healthy Informer, agreed. Having the newspaper program in the school has helped the reporters learn how to conduct an interview and write a news article, he said. “Urban schools don’t always have the same opportunities as suburban schools, so it was nice to be able to give them another opportunity to be successful and to have the newspapers serve as recognition of their hard work,” he said.
Healthy Informer articles also influenced changes intended to help Saint Malachy students be healthier. For example, student reporters have written about the importance of exercise and how to relieve stress by staying active.
“As the newspaper program develops we hope to make an even bigger connection with the reporting and changes we make at the school, such as more time for physical activity and providing even healthier lunches,” Ms. Richardson said.
The newspaper has already begun to have a great impact on Saint Malachy School and its community, the principal said. The school’s educational advisory board has been impressed by the quality of the writing in the newspaper and its look. “The papers have been so professionally done and have made our staff and school proud,” Ms. Richardson said.