by Julie Dodd
JEA Mentoring Committee co-chair
JEA Mentoring Committee member Judy Robinson and I were part of the Southern Interscholastic Press Association Convention last weekend in Columbia, S.C. More than 400 students and teachers attended the three-day convention that included workshop sessions, contests, the SIPA Quiz Bowl, and awards banquet.
In addition to presenting sessions on blogging and social media, Judy and I had the opportunity to talk with a number of people about the value of the JEA Mentoring Program.
We talked with funding supporters of the program, including Karen Flowers – director of the Southern Interscholastic Press Association, Monica Hill – director of the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association, and Meredith Cummings – director of the Alabama Scholastic Press Association. Beth Fitts, director of the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association, has gained financial support from the state press association, so Mississippi will be joining the Mentoring Program beginning next year.
These scholastic press directors talked about the benefits of the mentoring program for the new journalism advisers, for keeping outstanding retired advisers involved in scholastic media, and for their state or regional organizations. In addition to helping new journalism teachers become more effective in their teaching and advising, the mentors are active in state and regional organizations by judging contests and presenting sessions at conferences and conventions.
We talked with mentors Marilyn Chapman and Martha Rockwell and retired mentor Kay Phillips. They talked about the new advisers they have worked with and how they, as mentors, had helped the new advisers.
After the Awards Banquet, I talked with June Ashby about her experience as a new newspaper adviser at Glenn High School (Kernersville, N.C.) and as Martha Rothwell’s mentee.
June, an experienced English teacher, became newspaper adviser two years ago when she changed her schedule to teach a different English grade level and took on newspaper as part of the schedule change.
June learned about the JEA Mentoring Program from JEA mentee Steve Hanf, newspaper adviser at Reynolds High School (Winston-Salem, N.C.), when the two attended a NCSMA summer workshop at the University of North Carolina. Steve connected June with his mentor, Martha Rockwell.
June said that Martha has been a real help as June and her staff worked to make the newspaper more professional and to move the newspaper online to save money.