Newspapers in Education program brings News Advocate to the classroom

The Newspapers in Education program between area schools and the Manistee News Advocate is back for the 2015-16 school year.

The Newspapers in Education program between area schools and the Manistee News Advocate is back for the 2015-16 school year.

MANISTEE — Teachers throughout Manistee County have been bringing another educational tool into the classroom for the past 12 years through the Newspapers in Education program.

This program provides a free copy of the Manistee News Advocate one day a week to area classrooms. Teachers have the option of taking a printed version of the paper, or with the technology that is available in schools today, they can receive it online.

Manistee News Advocate Circulation Manager Aaron DeKuiper said the program continues to be an extremely popular one with area educators.

“All of the schools within the county — with the exception of Manistee Catholic Central — have signed up for the program this year,” he said. “We have 22 classrooms ready to go, and we usually have between 20 and 30 classrooms every year.”

What DeKuiper likes about the program is it touches all grade levels. Teachers have a wide variety of methods in how they incorporate it into the classroom.

“We have students as low as the second grade with Ben Mauntler’s class in Onekama, who use their iPads when reading it,”  he said. “And it goes right up to high school like Manistee High School’s Troy Bytwork who uses it in his classroom for studying current events. However, most of the classes we have are at the fifth and sixth grade level.”

Every teacher has a different way of utilizing it with their students.

“It depends upon the teacher as they do word search, study certain parts of speech or discuss current events,” he said. “Others pull something from it and create a bulletin board or pull things from their school that they discuss. There is even some that use the advertising from the newspaper for math purposes to figure percentages and things of that nature.”

Brethren Elementary School teacher Jen Wojciechowski said it keeps her students tuned in what takes place in the community.

“What we do with the Newspapers in Education is try to pick out articles that are relevant to our community,”she said. “We like to read about Manistee, Onekama and Bear Lake, but we particularly like to read about Wellston, Brethren and Kaleva and the things going on there.”

Onekama Elementary’s Mauntler said he prefers the online version.

“We have been doing the Newspapers in Education for the past seven years,” said Mauntler. “We have done it three years with iPads, and I like it a lot. The paperless newspaper is great, because the kids can get to articles you can’t get to with the printed newspaper to follow-up on what they have read.”

DeKuiper said that teachers often contact him about becoming involved in the program because they have heard of the program’s merits on what takes part in other classrooms.

“They come to us wanting to be part of the program, and we welcome any teacher to join,” said DeKuiper.

According to DeKuiper, just because a teacher doesn’t start the year off with the NIE program shouldn’t stop them from joining at any time during the school year.

“The can start doing it right on up to the end of the school year,” he said. “All they have to do is call (231-723-3592)  and we will set them up.”

Half of the cost of the program is paid for the News Advocate and the rest is picked up by 21 local businesses. The businesses see the value in putting the News Advocate into the hands of these students as a learning tool.

“The 21 businesses that sponsor it this year is the largest group of sponsors we have ever had, but we are always accepting new ones,” said DeKuiper. “If at any point in the school year a business wants to become a sponsor all they have to do is contact me. They can sponsor an individual classroom if they want, but most just sponsor in general.”

DeKuiper said the program has many merits for the businesses.

“It is a great program overall,” he said. “The kids benefit from what they learn and the businesses get some visibility on being involved in their community.”

Newspapers in Education is a national program that’s a component of the Newspaper Association of America. The program has brought newspapers to the classroom across the U.S. for more than 30 years. At this time, more than 1,010 papers are going to students each week.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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