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Susan A. Enfield, JEA 2012 Administrator of the Year and superintendent for Highline Public Schools, Burien, Washington, shares her belief in the educational need for scholastic journalism and student media in schools. Enfield is also a former publications adviser and journalism teacher.

Susan A. Enfield receives the 2012 Administrator of the Year award from Journalism Education Association president Mark Newton.

Susan A. Enfield receives the 2012 Administrator of the Year award from Journalism Education Association president Mark Newton, MJE. JEA photo by Bradley Wilson, MJE.

Part 1: Why maintain a journalism program

Part 2: Pressures on today’s principals

Part 3: The First Amendment and school publications

Part 4: Qualities of a good adviser

Part 5: Checklist for principals

About Susan Enfield, JEA 2012 Administrator of the Year

The Journalism Education Association chose Dr. Susan A. Enfield, superintendent of schools for Highline Public Schools in Burien, Wash., as its 2012 Administrator of the Year. This award goes to an administrator who has shown a dedication to journalism education.

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Hiring the qualified adviser

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Selecting the best candidate to advise a student media program involves a range of considerations. Finding journalism teachers with the necessary background and training helps to ensure students will have the best knowledge and skills to produce quality products. Those products are created for an outside audience rather than just teacher assessment within the classroom.

Teachers with the knowledge who know how to create excellent publications help students be responsible staff members — ones operating with accuracy, truth and integrity

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Journalism Educator standards

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Teaching secondary school journalism requires a broad range of knowledge and performance abilities. Journalism courses, frequently based in a school’s English department, go beyond what most English or language arts curriculum requires. Therefore, these standards reflect a need for skill in teaching storytelling, writing, listening, speaking, researching and reporting, leadership, collaboration, media law and ethics, fiscal responsibility and multimedia production. Mastery of these skills helps teachers prepare their students to become knowledgeable media producers and consumers essential to our democracy while using critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.

Exemplary journalism educators engage students using the best strategies in communication, instruction, management, motivation and evaluation. The ever-changing nature of media demands journalism educators keep pace with technology and pedagogy. Finally, such journalism educators seek growth through deliberate reflection, both individually and in professional learning communities

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Common Core state standards

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When the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers published the Common Core State Standards in 2010, they described what students should expect at each grade level. Their goal, according to the CCSS Anchor Standards for College and Career Readiness, was to help schools ensure that “all students are college and career ready in literacy no later than the end of high school.”

Just a sampling of standards for reading, for writing, for speaking and listening and for language shows the way journalism and student media fulfill these necessary curricular needs. These include:

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Ties to educational initiatives

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Responsibilities of today’s principals run the gamut from coping with the results of school levies to integrating the latest in online learning. As school chief administrators, they hear parental objections to parking restrictions and teacher worries about outdated technology. The backdrop of day-to-day concerns includes a constant worry about school security, changing state and national standards and trends in student assessment.

None of it’s easy, especially when the primary concerns – helping students learn and getting them ready to make wise decisions for college, career and life in a democracy – can almost get lost in the shuffle.

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