DOUGLASS: High school students launch newsletter with community support

Thursday, September 15, 2011 | 9:19 p.m. CDT; updated 5:17 p.m. CDT, Saturday, September 17, 2011

COLUMBIA — Douglass High students will discover a stack of school newsletters when they arrive Friday, an effort led by algebra and journalism teacher Donna Blauch.

Pawprint is expected to run once every two weeks for the first year, Blauch said. With proper supplies and support, she hopes her students will eventually produce a newspaper.

“We’re very excited, and it gives students a new opportunity to learn so many different things,” she said.

Douglass’ new principal, Eryca Neville, asked Blauch to create the newsletter with students in her journalism class this year.

“I thought it would be a great way for our kids to get experience — reading and writing — in a real world context,” Neville said. In a previous Missourian report, Neville had emphasized the importance of providing students with learning opportunities outside textbooks. 

The first edition of Pawprint will include a feature on Neville, a survey on bullying and a “then-and-now” piece comparing the years 1981 and 2011.

Blauch’s students wrote, edited and designed the layout. Two art students designed the newsletter logo, which Blauch said is a bulldog, the school mascot, holding a newspaper in its mouth.

She said the newsletter benefits students outside of her class in skills such as research and proofreading.

Bringing Pawprint to life had initial difficulties, Blauch said. Limited supplies and funding put the newsletter at a temporary standstill.

“I didn’t have anything to work with,” she said.

A printing company, Defining Print, 12 S. Ninth St., provided printing services for the first distribution. Two Columbia College graduates have also been visiting Blauch’s journalism class weekly to assist with the production of the newsletter.

Defining Print is a company associated with The District, a participating business in the Columbia Public School District’s Partners in Education Program. Columbia Daily Tribune, which Blauch has taken her students to visit, is also a participating business.

According to the Partners in Education Program website, the program bridges businesses with schools to provide new opportunities in education.

Blauch said she is still hoping to receive more assistance from the community.

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