Journalism Program Focuses on Peace

Journalism Program Focuses on Peace

      Mountain View School District’s After School Journalism Program continues to provide English Language Learners with effective intervention emphasizing the development of academic language skills.  The successful program has been offered in the District for seven years and focuses on the highly engaging style of journalistic writing as it targets listening, speaking, reading and writing development in the context of a real-world application. 

     The fall session, themed Ambassadors of Peace, engaged 65 student journalists who spent 10 weeks immersed in learning about the field of journalism and what it takes to be a journalist.  Reporting for the Cogswell Cubs Chronicle, the Payne Highlights, the Monte Vista Eagle News, the Twin Lakes Comet Chronicle, the Parkview Eagle News and the Voorhis Mustang News, the student journalists learned proper interviewing techniques, how to write a catchy lead and hook to draw the reader in, and how to construct an article.

       “In a time when we have so much apathy, and crime taking place in our world, our student journalists decided that promoting a little kindness and respect would go a long way in our schools and community,” said Angelica Sifuentes Donoso, MVSD’s Director of Family Engagement and Extended Learning.  “The theme centered around peace enabled the students to take a deep look into the issue of building peace through their journalistic responsibility, as well as conduct research and interviews to discover why being Ambassadors of Peace is so important.”

    The knowledge students gained over the 10 weeks went beyond reading, speaking, listening and writing.  The students became true journalists when they completed their field work at places such as the Museum of Tolerance, the Emergency Resource Association (ERA) and the American Military Museum, as well as interviewed invited guests at their school.  They had a great time on their field trips and were grateful to learn ways to build peace on their campuses and in their community. 

     “It was really neat to learn about Ann Frank during our field trip to the Museum of Tolerance,” said Orlando Becerra, a journalist for the Payne Highlights.  “We spent a lot of time working on our writing and the program helped me a lot.”

      Ismael Sandoval, a journalist for the Twin Lakes Comet Chronicle had fun writing and being able to learn new things during his 10 weeks in the program. 

     “We practiced writing and learned a lot of new vocabulary.  It was fun being with my friends and I would recommend the journalism program to everyone,” he said.

          According to Sifuentes Donoso the Journalism program creates improvement in writing skills and aligns with 

Common Core standards.

        “Our data shows that students who have participated in the program have improved in their writing skills,” said Sifuentes-Donoso.   “Along with intentional learning, the Journalism program provides opportunities for cooperative learning and working in teams which are part of Common Core. The writing, listening, vocabulary and vernacular embedded in the program all support Common Core,” she added.

     After completing their research the students began the writing process and produced wonderful articles on Ambassadors of Peace which were published in the District newspaper, The Mountain View Voices

      The 11 journalists for the Cogswell Cubs Chronicle really enjoyed their time in the program and came to a team decision that they are, in fact, ambassadors of peace.

        “After we spent time researching what it means to be an ambassador of peace we realized that we are actually ambassadors of peace because we are the future leaders of tomorrow,” said Leslie Jimenez, a journalist for the Cogswell Cubs Chronicle “It is up to us to be kind to others at home and at school and if we want a better future, we need to be the example for others,” she said.

        The young reporters learned that writing is a very powerful tool, and that journalists can be great ambassadors of peace through their writing, which can shape values, defuse tensions and promote positivity.   A special celebration was held at the end of the program where District staff, board members, family and friends gathered to acknowledge the students’ hard work and see their wonderful articles in the publication.

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