Focus

Student Voice Project supports schools that work with historically underserved populations, including students from lower income households and students of color.

Journalism adviser Alexandria Lau (far left) and staffers of the Ambassador School for Global Leadership's newspaper won recognition from the Los Angeles Press Club.

Journalism adviser Alexandria Lau (far left) and staffers of the Ambassador School for Global Leadership’s newspaper won recognition from the Los Angeles Press Club.

To maximize our impact, we focus on schools that are well positioned to leverage SVP’s services. Here are some questions that we consider when evaluating partnership applications:

  • How, if at all, has the school’s journalism adviser demonstrated a desire to manage a high-quality journalism program?
  • How, if at all, have the school’s students/newspaper staffers demonstrated their interest in taking on a leadership role in a student publication?
  • How, if at all, has the school’s administration demonstrated its respect for student voice and commitment to supporting journalism across the curriculum?

We coordinate our school partnerships over a two-year span.

Journalism students at University High School strike a pose.

Journalism students at University High School strike a pose.

In Year One, each SVP partner school launches its new student publication. This requires finding and implementing curricula, recruiting students, developing the adviser-staff relationship, and creating key academic partnerships within the school. SVP assists schools to realize these goals.

In Year Two, SVP partner schools focus on sustainability, community and professional partnerships, and documentation of student and school outcomes. SVP works with schools to create viable, cost-effective, and self-supporting programs that can move forward on their own.

Within each partnership, SVP strives to make itself obsolete. Our role is to nurture fledgling journalism programs through their initial stages of development, scaffold these programs’ independence, and step away. Nine of our partner schools have “graduated” from receiving direct SVP services and we couldn’t be prouder.

Would your school benefit from a SVP partnership? Drop us a line — we’d love to hear from you!


Services

Student Voice Project offers diverse and tailored services.

Adviser Alexandria Lau (top right) and staffers of The Ambassador attend a journalism convention, where they (theatrically) embrace their identities as members of the press.

Adviser Alexandria Lau (top right) and staffers of The Ambassador attend a journalism convention, where they (theatrically) embrace their identities as members of the press.



Willa Seidenberg (right), Director of USC Annenberg Radio News, instructs journalism advisers participating in the SVP's 2011 Scholastic Journalism Institute.

Willa Seidenberg (right), Director of USC Annenberg Radio News, instructs journalism advisers participating in the SVP’s 2011 Scholastic Journalism Institute.

There is no “one size fits all” formula; student newspapers, and the dynamic people who create them, are unique. Through sensitive communication and flexible coordination, SVP supports each program in the ways that will be maximally beneficial. We love building relationships with the dedicated advisers who make school journalism possible, and with the brilliant students who inspired us to do this work in the first place.

Because we create tailored solutions to support our partners’ important work, our list of services is always expanding. But to get a sense of our capacity, here are some services that we have extended in the past:

  • Connecting journalism programs with professional journalists willing to serve as guest speakers and on-site writing coaches;
  • Jazmin Stenson, whose writing appeared in a nationally distributed publication, holds up the award that her school's newspaper won at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Convention.

    Jazmin Stenson, whose writing appeared in a nationally distributed publication, holds up the award that her school’s newspaper won at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Convention.

  • Hosting campus visits to the University of Southern California, where student editors can visit the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s state-of-the-art converged newsroom, sit in on classes, chat with current students, and get a feel for collegiate life;
  • Underwriting the cost of domain hosting for online publications;
  • Creating and curating both instructional videos and lesson plans related to practicing student journalism;
  • Supporting education around media literacy, digital citizenship, and multimedia journalism practices;
  • Sponsoring student journalist recruitment efforts;
  • Facilitating, with institutional partner the USC Dornsife Joint Educational Project, service-learning opportunities in which USC Annenberg journalism students offer on-site, hands-on assistance to school newspapers;
  • Underwriting of printing fees for print publications;
  • Connecting dedicated students with high-profile publishing opportunities (e.g., Castlemont High School staff writer Jazmin Stenson penned a piece for Dow Jones News Fund’s Adviser Update, which goes out to journalism teachers and advisers nationwide);
  • Coaching journalism advisers in implementation of best practices;
  • Recommending students for journalism internships;
  • Introducing student journalists to national journalism organizations that link students nationwide, promote leadership, and offer college scholarships;
  • Purchasing high-quality journalism textbooks and online subscriptions to the Associated Press Stylebook for classroom-based instruction and just-in-time reference;
  • Visiting when students are on deadline and offering snacks, guest editing assistance, and caring support.

Former SVP Program Director Beatrice Motamedi, Director of the SVP Scholastic Journalism Institute

Former SVP Program Director Beatrice Motamedi, Director of the SVP Scholastic Journalism Institute

The Examiner, the newspaper of the 2012 SVP Scholastic Journalism Institute

The Examiner, the newspaper of the 2012 SVP Scholastic Journalism Institute

Previously, Student Voice Project facilitated a two-week professional development summer program for journalism advisers. Entitled the SVP Scholastic Journalism Institute, this program examined a wide range of topics, from journalism basics and the Common Core to student press law and ethics. Approximately 10 educators participated each summer, with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism hosting in 2011 and the USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy (now the Media Arts + Practice division of the USC School of Cinematic Arts) hosting in 2012.

Summer 2012 participants produced their own newspaper, a project that both honed and demonstrated their mastery of journalism tools and practices.



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Testimonials

SVP STUDENTS SAY…

“Before my involvement with SVP, I had no idea where I wanted to be in a couple of years but, after meeting different people in the program, I realized that my intentions should be to go to college and SVP gave me those resources and the confidence to apply to the best colleges in the nation.

“The Student Voice Project above all gave me confidence in knowing who I really was and knowing where I stand in this world.”

—Felix Ruano, editor-in-chief of The Ambassador, Ambassador School of Global Leadership, Los Angeles

“I just wanted to say thank you for helping us make the newspaper. Without you, my drawings would not have even been in a newspaper.”

— Luz Nava Pineda, 8th grade, arts & design contributor to The Eagle, Chavez Prep, Washington, D.C.

Luz drawing

“The journalism program at Chavez Prep has allowed students to grow as writers, photographers and people.”

-Claire Parker, 11th grade, Director of The Paper Project, Washington, D.C.

Felix

“In all honesty, SVP’s journalism class has changed my high school experience drastically. I’ve grown so much. I used to be scared to speak for myself or was too self-conscious of my writing, but journalism has allowed me to slowly improve my writing style and to stand in defense of my beliefs.”

-Cindy Lopez, 12th grade, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School

“Thank you! Because of you, we were able to inform and entertain our classmates and friends about what is going on around the world and around our school.”

—Jayla Aloyo, 8th grade, staff writer for The Eagle, Chavez Prep, Washington, D.C.

“Newspaper has helped me during my classes, to write my responses and essays. I have to balance my articles with class work and school work, which is a lot to handle. It is a lot of work, but this will help me in the future, when I have a lot of work and I need to organize a schedule that I will have to follow to complete the work. I have learned to respect journalists, because they work really hard and get exhausted.

“Ever since I joined newspaper club, I read almost every day. I’ve learned that everyone has an opinion that matters and that people have to listen.”

—Stephanie Bueno, 9th grade, staff writer for The Eagle, Chavez Prep, Washington, D.C.

“Journalism has opened up a whole new work and style of writing for me.”

-Jazmin Stenson, staff writer for Ye Castle Crier, Oakland, CA

SVP EDUCATORS SAY…

“This new journalism program (at Castlemont High School in Oakland) has had a profound positive impact on student skill and our school community… Thank you also for your financial support, which made it possible for us to print our first issue of Ye Castle Crier to much rejoicing. Students grinned as they passed the paper out to afternoon classes, and many students across campus dropped everything and read. Reaction to the first issue was overwhelmingly positive — sparking discussion and interest in journalism from students of all grades. As our students wrote in their very first editorial, our school now has a forum for airing student pride, hope and frustration.

“Academically, I am enthusiastic about the growth I have seen in my students as writers and thinkers due to their work on Ye Castle Crier. The drive to support their arguments with evidence based on interviews and online research has made the writing process more real for students. The fact that their work will be read by hundreds has helped them to become more careful, meaningful editors. They read with a greater eye towards authorial purpose and audience, because for Ye Castle Crier they have been both author and audience in a more engaging way than with a textbook or novel.”

—Marguerite Sheffer, adviser of Ye Castle Crier, Castlemont High School, Oakland, CA

“Having help from an experienced journalism teacher who is able to warn me about any difficulties before they arise is invaluable. There aren’t any journalism teachers at my high school or any precedent to follow, so I have come to rely on the teacher-trainer SVP assigned to our school for both curricular and moral support … Other new journalism teachers would really benefit from such individualized guidance.”

—Esanim Bediako, adviser, Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School, Los Angeles, CA

Gumbel


“[SVP-affiliated professional journalist] Andrew Gumbel is a frequent visitor to our class. Last time he visited, he gave tips on how students could write more effectively. For example, he emphasized the importance of sharing personal stories about homelessness in order to put a face on poverty. It’s this type of attention and expertise that can take students’ writing to new levels.

“There’s a diverse group of students and I think journalism addresses their need because the lower-performing students can get an idea of writing as a process — it takes many drafts and a lot of collaboration to get a really good final product.”

-Alexandria Lau, adviser of Wildcat, University High School, Los Angeles, CA; former adviser of The Ambassador, Ambassador School for Global Leadership, Los Angeles, CA; graduate of SVP’s 2012 Scholastic Journalism Institute

“I have one student who failed my class last year. While she was very quiet, she is very talented. I made her apply for the editor’s position, and she became the arts editor. She comes to every meeting and doesn’t flake. She writes short stories when she can’t get as many submissions as she’d like. That’s quite an improvement over last year when she wouldn’t even come to school and admitted that were it not for the journalism class she was going to drop out. She’s actually doing the work this year. It’s an amazing turn-around.”

-Andrea Bingham, PUC CALS Early College High School, Los Angeles, CA


THE EXPERTS SAY…

“Journalism helps students get a rounded education. It teaches literacy, critical thinking, diversity and community connection. It helps youth emerge as tomorrow’s leaders and stewards of our precious democracy.”

Gilbert Bailon, 2007-08 President of the American Society of News Editors and editorial page editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Not only does participation in high school journalism programs put students on the path to academic success, but – as previous NAA Foundation research has shown – newspaper programs aimed at youth also helps nurture a future generation of informed and involved citizens, a path toward active participation in our democratic process.”

Margaret Vassilikos, Senior Vice President and Treasurer of the Newspaper Association of America Foundation

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