DeKalb Middle School has a new online newspaper, The DMS Saint. The DMS Response to Intervention (RTI): Tier II Reading/Language Arts students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade advanced class are responsible for content, and DMS staff members Tena Davidson, Martha Melching, and Felicia Warden, are co-editors of the paper.
The students are free to choose their own stories, and the educators in charge say the kids have done an outstanding job with the available resources.
“It’s about their interests, and what’s important to them. They know that our county has limited resources, and that we have limited technology here,” Davidson shared. “There are county’s around us who have much more opportunity for students in this subject, but our students told me that they could do even better than some of those schools, and they haven’t disappointed. Some of the stories they have come up with have just blown our socks off.”
“These are our Tier II Reading/Language Arts students, the top 20-23 students in Reading Language Arts, and we challenged them to start a school newspaper and make it a little different than what we’ve seen before,” said Melching. “They are writing broader articles, reaching out into community news, but past that, into worldwide news. They have taken that and run with it. It was their idea to put it on line, and one of our own students, Trey Fuston, has been our webmaster. He created the website for us. They all took the challenge we gave them and went farther with it than we had dreamed.”
The content of the new publication includes hunting and fishing news by Derek Young, video game news by Garrett Clayborn, entertainment news by Dulce Maciel an in-depth story on cafeteria regulations by Wesley Carpenter and Matthew Agee, a piece on the Ebola virus by Ashley Phillips, a feature on John Phillip Sousa by Christian Cudney, an ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge story by Raiden Martin and Daniel Puckett, a story on ISIS in the Middle East contributed by Wesley Carpenter, and an article on the new DMS cross-country track team by Andrew Fuson and Parker Gassaway.
“The fantastic part about all this is that the kids are doing a great job of choosing subjects they are interested in, and researching it,” Warden said. “They are pushing themselves to find more information, and to grow their own knowledge.”
“They are laying the foundation to create something that can be passed on, some of our eighth-graders have really taken the lead, and will pass the torch to the younger students when they move on to high school,” Assistant Principal Amanda Dakas told the Review.
Webmaster Trey Fuston said he is self-taught, and setting up websites is something that he was interested in, so he jumped in and learned how it worked. “I got started by doing a website for my dad’s business,” he said. “In the beginning I just sort of figured it out for myself. It was really interesting and fun to do, so I thought we should do it for the school paper.”
Saint staffer Caitlin Milligan said she was excited by the prospect of being able to share DMS news on the web. “I think this is a great way to reach people,” she said. “Not only other students, our teachers, and our parents, but anyone, maybe even the mayor or the governor, can type in our web address and see what we can do, and how we pronounce it to the world. This is who we are, and these are thing we care about.
The DMS Saint can be found online at www.thedmssaint.com.