October 2021 … This fall, hundreds of students in the Philadelphia region will learn to distinguish fact from fiction and how to source reliable information. Before long, they will produce trustworthy, health-focused school newspapers filled with their writing and art.
Helping them on their journey will be Healthy NewsWorks’ three certified teachers: Mia Blitstein, Sarah Lowing, and Ginger Ragland. Much of the groundwork for identifying and engaging the schools and organizations where we operate is carried out by Diane Davis, our community outreach manger.
The Healthy NewsWorks teachers work closely with the classroom teachers at our partner schools, spending multiple hours per week teaching student journalists our carefully crafted curriculum. Diane works to build support and awareness of the program in the community.
The end result is “all kinds of positive outcomes that even the most hardworking classroom teacher couldn’t produce independently,” said Mia, Healthy NewsWorks program manager. “We are so excited to be able to partner with enthusiastic and passionate teachers who know their students deserve first-rate educational opportunities!”
“We spent almost an entire year from the planning to the finished product of the current curriculum,” said Sarah, program associate. “We started with thinking through a theme and some big concepts, and from there collaborated in the revising of existing plans and the creation of new ones.”
The Healthy NewsWorks curriculum meets English Language Arts Common Core Standards and National Health Education Standards and is designed to be used in a variety of classroom applications.
“We are trying to use topics that are still relevant so that we can pull from our very extensive bank of ideas and materials, but we get so excited about new ideas that it’s hard not to want to get lots of fun topics in front of our reporters,” Mia said.
Mia, Sarah, and Ginger are all certified teachers with years of experience in the classroom and as literacy coaches.
Ginger, a program associate, was introduced to Healthy NewsWorks this year by Sarah, whom she had worked with previously. “She reached out and told me about an amazing nonprofit company that worked with various school districts teaching students about journalistic writing with a health focus. My interest was piqued, and the more I learned, the more I liked.”
The teachers are working with the students over video calls again so far this year, to ensure the safety of all involved. They hope to return to the physical classroom when appropriate.