(Moretown, VT) For most elementary schools, a school newsletter can be a fun way to give students experience in journalism, but rarely a method of disseminating information to the community. That is not the case for members of Moretown Elementary School. With the help of Library Media Specialist, Meg Allison, students at Moretown Elementary have taken the old-fashioned notion of a printed school newsletter to a new level and have created the Moretown Messenger Newsletter, “a bi-weekly online publication of important news, announcements, student-authored editorials, curiosities, and celebrations.”
Because of its web-based nature, the Moretown Messenger has the ability to reach out to the entire community, whether families have students in the school system or not. The newspaper’s publication team consists of Moretown staff, students, and community members, and the ideas for articles and themes can be decided by a collaboration between adults and students. Since October 2011, this newsletter has served as a vital communication link to strengthen ties with the Moretown community.
The Moretown Messenger is created using Microsoft Publisher, a program that all 4th, 5th, and 6th grade student computers were equipped with through e-Vermont: The Community Broadband Project. Earlier this year, Digital Wish delivered over 50 Dell netbooks to Moretown Elementary to be used both in school and at home in a comprehensive 1:1 computing initiative. Digital Wish also provided weekly training and a variety of other technology resources, including a lesson on Publisher that contributed to the success of the Moretown Messenger.
Principal, Duane Pierson, thinks this initiative is exactly what the rural school needed. “We have a school newsletter that’s been published by students using the technology that we have and the tools that they’ve learned. Not only is it published like an old newspaper, but we’ve made it available online through our website so we’re really doing some modern media uses of what our kids have learned.”
Meg Allison has been blown away by the uses technology has to enrich the classrooms and the school climate as a whole, especially coming from a school that before this barely had a computer cart for the whole school. “We’ve come a long way in twelve months.”