When their “ABC News” class shut down at the end of last year, Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS) principal Rob Souther saw a problem. The school was having difficulty getting information to students on a regular basis, and that was causing a growing hole in school unity and community.
Souther approached teacher Rajan Gill to see if there was anything they could do to fix the communication problem in a way that involved the students. And thus, a new journalism course at the school was born.
“Our class is small right now as it is the first time the course is running, but hopefully we've shown students what is available to them for next year,” says Gill.
Students in the class maintain social media platforms and curate posts on them, communicating school news to the wider community.
But the class isn’t just for social media, explains Gill. “This is half of what we do. For the other portion of the class, students have been investigating what good journalism looks like, different formats for reporting, and understanding the complexities of news media and social media,” Gill said. “Students have had the opportunity to write on local events, such as the All-Candidates Meeting hosted by the Social Justice 12 class earlier this month,” he added.
The class operates as an elective for grade 12 students at ADSS that can be taken alongside English 12. Gill says that one of the big goals with the course is to show students what they are capable of writing with their unique voices.
“My goal with the class is to eventually have students engage with the community and independently discover stories and articles to write. But one of the main goals that Mr. Souther and I agreed on, is that this class would be a vehicle for students to create meaningful and real-world pieces of writing.”
The class currently operates on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok as @ADSSPress.