Starting a new school year
A message from Healthy NewsWorks Executive Director Marian Uhlman
September 2019 … I had an unexpected conversation recently with a Healthy NewsWorks alum at a school event. He’s 12, and I hadn’t seen him for a year.
I asked him to share his thoughts about what it was like to be a reporter with a few adults who were standing nearby. Without coaching or rehearsal, he said it was fun to interview teachers in his school and it was important to tell your reader where you found your information. And don’t use Wikipedia as a source, he added. Just stay away from it, he emphasized.
He made my day.
I never tire of being present when kids discover the joy of being reporters and the confidence it gives them as writers, interviewers, researchers, and community health messengers.
As Healthy NewsWorks enters its 17th school year, I again have the enormous pleasure of introducing a new crop of students to the ranks of health reporters. About 700 students will serve on their school’s core newspaper team for grades 3 to 8 or as “cub reporters” in our Hearty Kids program for children in grades K to 2. A number of our reporters will be “veterans” of our program, but most will be first-timers.
Of course, writers need readers. Or as P.L. Travers, who penned the Mary Poppins books, said, “A writer is, after all, only half his book. The other half is the reader, and from the reader the writer learns.”
Thus we also will continue to extend our reach in schools with special nutrition, writing, and research lessons for some of our Reader Classrooms. Reader Classrooms receive copies of their school health newspapers for every child. Annually, the total newspaper circulation among all our Healthy NewsWorks schools exceeds 6,000.
In the spring, we will publish our ninth book in the Leading Healthy Change in Our Communities series, this year with a focus on what people are doing today to make the community healthier and safer in the year 2035.
I feel very fortunate to have the support of many talented classroom teachers, adjunct faculty, and volunteers to help deliver our program. I am also grateful to our board for their expertise, vision, and energy in guiding Healthy NewsWorks.
And I am deeply appreciative to all the community members, companies, organizations, and foundations that have contributed time, ideas, and financial resources to help us keep growing and reaching more children. Thank you!
Wishing you a healthy 2019-20 school year,