TOWER- Parents of students enrolled at Vermilion Country School now have a new way to see what their teenager has been up to during the school day. With the help of school staff and the journalism …
TOWER- Parents of students enrolled at Vermilion Country School now have a new way to see what their teenager has been up to during the school day. With the help of school staff and the journalism class students, the school is now producing a regular newsletter that is sent home to all families, as well as made available on the school’s website.
The newsletter is part of an outreach effort by the school to engage the parents and guardians of the high school students, as well as alert the wider community to the philosophy and teaching style of the school. With many school students living as far as 30 miles from the school, it is often difficult for parents to attend school functions. The newsletter is an effort to bring the school home to families. Students and staff issued the first newsletter in late October, with the next one scheduled to be published in December.
Meanwhile, the school is also set to launch a newly-designed and mobile-friendly website, which will go live next week. Both outreach efforts are being spearheaded by the new school administrator Frank Zobitz, who is also a professional website designer. Starting in January, Zobitz said they expect to be adding student-produced newsletter content on a regular basis to the school website.
In the inaugural newsletter edition, students from the VCS journalism class reported on the school’s environmental education program and this year’s focus on phenology and biomes, as well as an article about an apparent school-wide craze for Dum-Dum lollipops ,started by the school’s newest teacher, Brad Neyens. The newsletter also includes articles by school staff on language arts, math, philosophy, and social studies classes. Kitchen manager Cindy Pettinelli gave updates on the senior dining and meals on wheels program (call 218-753-1246 for information), and office manager Jolene Herberg gave parent reminders on how to use the online parent portal to track students’ progress.
Language arts teacher Karin Schmidt is seeking adults to come and be guest readers in her class.
“Did any special person read to you when you were a child?” Schmidt asks. “How about as an adult? When I read aloud, I experience metacognition as the story vividly appears in my mind,” she said.
Schmidt is reading aloud to her students every day, from a wide variety of picture books, short stories, and poetry.
“Nobody is ever too old to be read to,” she said.
Schmidt is looking for some adult helpers to read to her three classes.
“VCS students need other voices in the classes reading aloud. I would like to invite you to be a guest reader if you have a favorite picture book or story. Call us at 218-753-1246 to arrange a few minutes. Volunteers can share some of their favorite books or stories or read from the classroom collection.”
The newsletter also contained a silly story that students wrote as part of one week’s Big Circle program (held each Wednesday), as well as unveiling some of the school’s new marketing materials, urging students to “Find Your Place” and “Discover” Vermilion Country School.
Writing for the newsletter is only part of the journalism class efforts this fall. Students are creating the school yearbook, mastering their computer graphics, layout and design, and photography skills. The class also uses the “Journalism Matters” curriculum, which teaches journalism techniques, teaches students how to analyze media, teaches independent thinking skills, and teaches journalism ethics.