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A free summer seminar for experienced high school journalism advisers

From the 23 teachers who attended this workshop in July 2019, we have included Solutions Journalism Story Ideas, other Story Ideas for a whole range of topics and Tech Examples of something they learned, many of these for data visualization, plus some resources anyone can use in the future for these topics.

Wise words from teen on third floor

Thud, thud, thud, thud, thud, BANG. These are sounds we’ve become accustomed to this week, mostly between the hours of 8-10 p.m. We’ve watched young teens congregate outside Johnson Hall, run through the halls of Johnson Hall, and simulate noises which sound like home renovations.

One of these young teens, Francis Blasko, plans to become a forensic anthropologist. He was inspired by crime shows.

I know this because I was curious. We’re journalists, right? We are here because we want to develop strong journalism programs which will produce strong journalists. We want to help shape young minds, then those young minds will, in turn, shape society.

Instead of eating breakfast and going straight to class on Tuesday morning, I decided to fit in an interview with chaperones and a random student. Blasko was eager to tell me about the program, Research Education Medicine Alliance, where minority students with a high grade point average, who plan to pursue a career in STEM are selected. This two-week program includes a stay on Kent’s campus while taking college classes and working alongside healthcare professionals at Clevland Clinic; those who choose to come to Kent will receive a scholarship.

Forensic anthropology may be Blasko’s goal for the future, but his goal, for now, is to make connections.

“You gotta make friends otherwise you’re kinda in your own world by yourself. You gotta have people so you can connect.”

His message made me realize that’s exactly what we’ve been doing this week.¬†Conferences are simultaneously overwhelming and exciting. If we each look back over our last week, we’ve probably read a gillion emails,¬† considered what equipment we needed to pack, made plans for travel, spent hours in transit, and had our minds blown by amazing speakers. In my mind, all this training would be lost if we didn’t follow Blasko’s advice.

Our speakers have been phenomenal, but the connections I’ve made with other teachers is what I will remember the longest. This group is quirky, fun, interesting, and down-right talented. I’ve received advice on lesson plans, rubrics, equipment, how to motivate staff, things that only those in the high school trenches can share.

Instead of focusing on resources we learned in our sessions today, I wanted to focus on the resources we have in each other (as I trust the rest of you will adequately cover our sessions). I look forward to growing with you beyond this week.

I also look forward to seeing if Carolyn Wagner can maintain her “Master Tweeter”status as displayed in this handy Google Flourish I created, you’re welcome!

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  1. LOL. Awesome!

  2. #truth. Love the message of this post! I love conferences like this because they bolster my confidence in my content knowledge, but, truth be told, our profession is very relational. Most of my professional success has stemmed from my personal interactions with the professional context of my school. This is the stuff that makes lasting impressions.

    • “*within the professional context”

  3. This was such a good idea for this post! Using the environment you’re in and applying what we’re learning to it is awesome!

  4. The personal and professional connections made here are so important! Most of us are the only journalism teachers in our buildings, so the chance to be around teachers who are passionate about this field, and can share their “ninja skills” is great.

    I love that you found out who the kids are that have been in our dorm. What a cool program and opportunity! And, the Flourish chart is awesome.