The Orange Glen High School (Escondido, Calif.) Musket Newspaper staff sported the First Amendment on their T-shirts for World Press Freedom Day. Adviser Jess Young is on right in her 45 Words First Amendment shirt. Photo by Harvey Quintero

Jessica Young is newspaper and yearbook adviser at Orange Glen High School in Escondido, Calif., and one of Konnie Krislock’s JEA mentees. Here’s a Q&A with Young about her experience in the mentoring program and her advising.

Eleven students from Orange Glen High School's yearbook and newspaper staffs attended the JEA/NSPA convention in Anaheim. They struck a pose on the red carpet with adviser Jess Young. Photo by Nick Hunsaker

Q: What is your background in advising?

Young: I have been advising the paper for three years and the yearbook for two. I have a degree in journalism and was a yearbook and newspaper kiddo myself back in the day.

Q: How long have you been working with Konnie as your mentor?

Young: This is my first year working with Konnie. The timing was perfect. I had had enough time to get my wits about me, a few years of running things on my own… And I had goals and things I wanted to accomplish. Teaming up with Konnie has helped me continue to grow as a teacher and encourage my students to keep improving their products.

Q: You and your students have attended several JEA/NSPA conventions. How did Konnie help you with conventions?

Young: I had attended the Spring convention the year (Portland, April 2010) before I began working with Konnie, but I had never taken students before. I am an ASNE Reynold’s fellow from 2009, and it was my participation in that program that introduced me to JEA and the conventions. Konnie definitely gave me the courage to bring kids and travel so far with them. She’s gotten to know my kids and she has encouraged me to provide them with experiences, like conventions,that will help them grow.

Q: How many students in your school and what grade levels?

Young: We are a 9-12 high school. We have roughly 2,200 students. We are a Title One school in a high poverty area. The vast majority of our students are English Language Learners. I believe our population is close to 85 percent Hispanic.

Jessica Young accepts her Future Journalism Teacher Scholarship award from JEA executive director Kelly Furnas at the JEA/NSPA Convention in Kansas City. Photo by Nick Hunsaker

Q: You have received a JEA scholarship. How will you be using the scholarship?

Young: I am currently getting my Masters in Education at UC San Diego. My program is Research & Curriculum Design: Teaching and Learning. My thesis addresses motivation and engagement among students who work in collaborative learning environments (like yearbook and newspaper). Basically, I’ve taken the model that I use in my journalism classes, where the students are dependent on one another, and applied that in my standard English 9 class. As a result, I have found that structured group work, with clear expectations, increases participation levels for all students. My hope is to develop a model that can be applied across disciplines, for both yearbook and newspaper, as well as regular core classes, that will help increase interest levels and motivation and productivity among even the most reluctant students.

Editor’s note: Mentoring Monday is a feature on the JEA Mentoring blog. We  feature photos and short stories about the JEA mentors, their mentees and the high school journalism students. Please send your photos, captions and stories to 2jdodd (at) gmail (dot) com.