Updates from PSPA
At our most recent meeting, our board members—most of whom are teachers—breathed a collective sigh that the unprecedented challenges of the 2019-2020 school year are over (or nearly over), at least for classroom instruction.
Like you, we are tired.
Also like you, we are all facing a great deal of uncertainty ahead as Pennsylvania schools adapt to COVID-19.
Our board wanted to reach out to share what we know right now about PSPA’s plans for summer and for proceeding into the 2020-2021 school year.
But, before we jump into business, we also want to congratulate you, our advisers. We know that the last few months have been extra-complicated for so many of you, as you worked to stick to deadlines, adjust sections and coverage, push out the final issues of the year, and encourage publication students through all of the challenges of remote learning. We’ve watched your posts and shares with so much admiration—knowing that what happens behind the scenes of a publication is more complicated than anyone else in your school might understand.
Our board salutes you for everything that you’ve done.
We also empathize if you did not get everything done with your students. We all have some degree of sadness and regret about how the school year ended. It has sometimes been hard to stay focused on the positives. We get it, and we still applaud you for supporting student journalists to the best of your ability.
Even with all the uncertainty, a fresh start in the new school year sounds promising to all of us.
PSPA will extend the 2019-2020 membership to June 30, 2021 for all of our current member schools.
There is no need to renew your PSPA membership, and no fee for the 2020-2021 membership.
We’re simply extending your membership through next year.
Our board reached this unanimous decision with sensitivity to schools’ financial challenges, questions about whether advisers would have access to funds, and our own uncertainty about the programming we’ll be able to offer in the 2020-2021 school year.
We want to continue to support student journalism in Pennsylvania for the next school year, and through the challenges of COVID-19, regardless of our schools’ ability to pay a membership fee.
If you have any questions about this decision, please contact us.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MEMBERSHIP
SUMMER CRITIQUES ARE STILL ON!
We will offer our annual PSPA summer critiques to all member schools in the following categories:
- Literary Magazines
- Broadcast Packages
- Online Publications
A publication critique is an evaluation of a publication's quality based upon a rubric. Critiques are completed by experts from across the country. Your publication staff will receive a document full of helpful, constructive feedback that will help you to improve. All publications earning GOLD recognition will be sent on to a new judge where your publication will compete against other GOLD publications to determine who wins the annual All-State Keystone Award in each category.
The deadline for summer critique submission is July 31, 2020.
The fee for each critique is $60.
The critique fee covers paying our judges as well as the logistics of mailing and online submissions. If you’re unable to access these funds prior to critique registration, we can invoice you once your critique is complete.
Please read more about our summer critique process and instructions for submission here. Our judges look forward to reviewing your publications!
START CRTIQUE SUBMISSIONS
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT SJCS
At our June board meeting, we voted to design our regional competitions to run remotely in fall 2020. We based this decision on the news we are hearing from many schools throughout the state—that field trips are uncertain for the fall. In order to keep things as fair and open to as many students as possible, online competitions seem to be our best option.
Designing what this online system for competition looks like is our board’s summer project. Our board members are experienced in all of our categories, and we’re looking forward to the challenge. We will update you on our plans in early fall. In the meanwhile, we’d like to hear your suggestions and questions!
LEARN MORE ABOUT SJCS
IN CASE YOU NEED HELP...
We hope that the uncertainties of education this fall are not impacting your publication staff. Still, we wanted to make sure you all saw the Student Press Law Center’s High School Budget Advocacy Toolkit.
“If you suspect your program may be eliminated or weakened as a result of COVID-19 budget cuts, this toolkit is for you,” the site states. We’ve reviewed the site, and we all agree that it presents some useful tools, talking points, and even sample letters and communications strategies.
If you are facing any challenges with funding, censorship, or other areas of concern, please also reach out to our board. PSPA exists to support you, and we will do everything we can to help.
RECOGNIZE A PA JOURNALISM TEACHER
Do you know a journalism teacher or adviser who goes above and beyond to support student journalism at your school? Nominate a journalism teacher/adviser for Pennsylvania Journalism Teacher of the Year by July 31, 2020. We encourage you to take a look at the application process early, as several components are required.
LEARN MORE ABOUT JTOY
We wish all of you some much-deserved relaxation and peace in summer 2020.
Watch for more updates soon.