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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.

Solutions Journalism: Universal 9th Grade at Berkeley High School

Story Idea: Berkeley High School implemented a Universal 9th Grade program in the 2018-19 school year to address issues of race and at Berkeley High.

  • Solutions Journalism Principles:
    Response to a Problem: Berkeley High School faced a rash of race and gender-based incidence that prompted several walk outs and the formation of identity-based affinity groups among students on campus. Some symptoms of the problems that might be described:
    o In 2014 a noose was found hanging from a tree on campus which was broadly though to be a reference to lynching.
    o In 2015 a message posted to library computers called for violence against African American students on campus.
    o The 2015 yearbook was edited to include “garbage men” as a future career for the predominantly African American students in the Academy for Medical Professions on campus.
    o In 2015 and 2017 students were discovered sharing photographs of intoxicated female students with grossly offensive captions.
    In response to these problems, the school developed a Universal 9th grading, hoping that by having all incoming freshman receive the same curriculum and attend classes with each other (rather than in small schools and programs as had been done previously, and had contributed to racial and class segregation on campus) might allow the campus community to address these issues systematically and curb some of these problems. The first U-9 class started in the 2018-19 school year.
    Evidence: This will be difficult to show as it is difficult to demonstrate evidence of cultural changes definitively. My suggestion would be to employ qualitative methods and interview students and staff involved with the U-9 as well as older students and staff that can comment and provide a comparison to the school before the U-9 program was implemented. Given the newness of the program, you’ll want to make sure you get as wide a range of interviews as possible. It might also be wroth the time to convene a panel and interview and document their conversations with each other. Might also look at racial incidences at area schools and see what they are doing to combat them.
    Insight: Look at how program is implemented to see what kind of specific curriculum they use and that might be replicated at other schools, even those without these specific Universal 9th Grade structure, especially if the evidence seems to indicate some degree of success.
    Limitations: Will want to look at the impact on small school programs that have given up their specific 9th grade programs and have become 10-12. What impact do they see in terms of what they’re giving up. Also interview Principal and School Board about cost and what they see in terms of long term plans. Ask about challenges in the curriculum and roll-out this year and how they are intending to correct those issues.
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