An education reporter’s education

image001

An education reporter’s education

8:45 p.m. PST December 28, 2015

For me, this wasn’t just another year — 2015 was a year of changes, a year of learning.

I began writing for the Statesman Journal in June and took on the education beat in August.

Though still new to the beat,I’ve learned about the structure of education in the Salem-Keizer area and state of Oregon.

I’ve learned how to best  communicate with teachers, students, parents and administrators.

I’ve learned about some challenging and harmful things happening in the area, as well as some  efforts to improve the world.

I’ve also learned that learning needs to be a top priority for a journalist — especially one who covers education.

A few stories from this year stand out.

The first came at the start of the school year,  when returning students at North Salem High School organized a red-carpet welcome for new students on their first day.

It was a remarkable experience to see the students introduced to high school in such a way. North Salem Principal Cynthia Richardson said it well when she said, “It’s awesome that our students know how important they are. They are valued, ready to learn and ready to work.”

Another stand-out story

dealt with community colleges beginning to produce their own textbooks to lower the costs for their students.

I had no  expectation that thousands would read and share the story within 24 hours.

I’ve also learned a lot more about the challenges educators and students are facing in Oregon.

I wrote about the need for bilingual and specialty teachers, threats in schoolstesting, teachers battling a lack of resources, and students overcoming obstacles such as domestic violence,

Many know that larger class sizes mean less time for the educators to spend with individual students.

Parents, teachers, administrators, students and politicians have seen the negative effects of large classes and have expressed a desire to tackle the issue.

After the Umpqua Community College shooting, I learned a lot about the steps schools and individuals are taking to  contain violence and discrimination in schools.

Gervais School District created a new Crisis Go app for their district employees, Students from Lewis and Clark College demonstrated on the Capitol steps for #BlackLivesMatter, Willamette students demanded gun violence reform, and Chemeketa Community College created a new Threat Management Resourcesprogram that will help prevent threats.

And the efforts of many were recognized and awarded.

As in previous years, the Crystal Apple Awards honored excellence in teaching.

Advertisements

Published by

Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is the education reporter for the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. Natalie has previously worked for organizations and publications such as Direct Relief International, Waging Non-Violence, and Amnesty International USA. She has had stories published with USA Today, Associated Press and Ozy, among others. Natalie earned her B.A. in Politics and French and Francophone Studies (FFS) from Willamette University. During her studies, she wrote a Politics thesis titled, "No One is Dying: How and Why the U.S. Federal Government Avoids Executing Prisoners on Federal Death Row" and an FFS thesis, in French, on cannibalism in the 16th and 17th centuries. Natalie is a journalist, performer, traveler, fiction writer and more. She is working to publish her dystopian novella, "Choice," which follows a man during 24 hours in solitary confinement for allegedly committing murder. For more information on Natalie visit www.about.me/natalie_pate, like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist, or follow Natalie on Twitter (@Nataliempate) or Tumblr (Nataliempate blog "In the Shoes of a Journalist"). Her reporting with the Statesman Journal can also be found at www.StatesmanJournal.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s