Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2013 12:05 amThe St. Louis American recently concluded its school-year-long STEM Newspaper In Education program, which focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and literacy in area public schools.During the 2012-13 academic school year, The American printed and delivered newspapers free of charge every week to more than 5,100 students in St. Louis Public Schools and the Normandy School District.Every week, The American dedicated a full-color page in the main news section of the paper to the STEM Newspaper In Education program, targeting students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades.Nicole Williams – then SLPS deputy superintendent for academic services, who has since been appointed superintendent of Poughkeepsie City School District – spearheaded innovative ways to utilize the newspaper as an educational tutoring tool at Ford and Hamilton elementary schools.Williams partnered with Washington University’s Each One Teach One, an after-school tutoring program, to ensure greater success. She met with tutors at Washington University during two four-hour training sessions held at the beginning of each semester.“It was very clear and structured for our tutors,” said Amy O'Brien, school partnership liaison program coordinator for the Institute For School Partnership at Washington University.She said, as an example, “If you were a Monday tutor, you were going to concentrate on the inventors section of the STEM page.”The training sessions ensured consistent use of the STEM page that would incorporate the SLPS Literacy Model, which reinforces the reading of non-fiction texts. After reading an article, the tutors would help students construct graphic organizers to compare and contrast facts or highlight new vocabulary words.“Her vision was that it would be enjoyable for the students,” Shirley B. Brown, Each One Teach One liaison for SLPS, said of Williams. “But it would also be very academically-oriented and would reinforce classroom instruction.”Brown collaborated with the Community Service Office at Washington University to bring Each One Teach One to Ford and Hamilton elementary schools. At each school, tutors assisted students with year-end projects – a newsletter at Ford and a newspaper at Hamilton – modeled on The American's STEM page.The students’ research for the newsletter and newspaper and their layout design was completed on laptops donated by Boeing.“It even told me some facts about Benjamin Franklin that I did not know,” said Sir Charles Freeman, 10, a student at Ford Elementary School.Rachel Clark, principal of Ford Elementary School, said that Each One Teach One, in addition to the utilization of the STEM page in the paper, resulted in academic progress “for 89 percent of our students.”Jamyrah Holmes, 11, a student at Ford Elementary, admitted that she was reading below grade level when she was assigned to Each One Teach One. She has since made significant academic improvements.“I will miss coming to Each One Teach One, seeing my favorite tutors and learning new things from the newspaper and the books,” Holmes said, “because it’s helping me with my academics.”According to the National Newspaper Association, students with some Newspaper In Education program in their classrooms score on average 10 percent higher on standardized tests than those who do not use a Newspaper In Education program. Minority students who use a newspaper at least once a week score 29 percent higher on standardized tests than those who don’t use a newspaper.--
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