Feb. 19, 2024

Our past three editions

Feb. 12, 2024 Lunar New Year • School busses • Super Bowl

Feb. 5, 2024 Legacy admissions • Social media • Taylor Swift

Jan. 29, 2024 Groundwater • Oscars • Mexican food


New analysis shows academic rebound from pandemic

Investigate how your district is faring

Students are not close to fully caught up on pandemic learning losses, a new national study of standardized test score data shows. Students have made up about a third of losses in math and a quarter in reading. 

The analysis, led by researchers at Stanford and Harvard, suggests that the United States is seeing a recovery in learning losses. However, many students are not on track to catch up soon. A federal aid package will expire next fall, and with it funding for extra help will dry up. 

What you can do —

Though the study shows national trends, bringing this story home can be simple. One option is to talk to teachers about how teaching and learning has changed post shutdown — maybe some teachers have adopted new techniques or have seen the benefits of the federal funding package. 

The study also published district level data for a variety of states, so if your district is on the map that is a good entry to a story. Dive into the data, compare your district pre and post pandemic and don’t forget to put the information in context. 


Boston takes snow day with no snow

Look into district snow day plan

Boston was forecasted to receive up to a foot of snow last week. Instead it got a light dusting at best.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu declared a snow emergency Feb. 13 — parking bans were put in place, city buildings were closed, the trash pick up schedule was changed. Boston Public Schools took a snow day.

Despite all the preparations in place, the storm never materialized for much of the Boston area. The storm ended up moving south of Boston, hitting Connecticut, southern Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. 

What you can do —

Whether or not your school was canceled for this nor’easter, the season of potential snow days hasn’t ended for much of the country. Talk to administrators about what thresholds they use to cancel school — is it based on nearby schools? Rate of snow or predicted total? Who makes the final call? Beyond the decision to cancel schools, look into what contingency plans schools have. Some may provide childcare options or food pick up opportunities. 

Since the pandemic hit, many schools are better prepared to teach virtually. In the face of last week’s snow storm, New York moved instruction online instead of canceling school. It did not go smoothly for the nation’s largest school system — many students were unable to log in to their accounts, reported NBC New York. Ask teachers and administrators at your school if they are prepared to switch to remote learning with the next big storm.

What’s viral

Two Colorado students receive cornhole scholarships

Spotlight student athletes, unique sports

Winthrop University, a public university in South Carolina, has signed two students to play cornhole. Gavin Hamann and Jaxson Remmick, both from the Denver area, are two-time American Cornhole League high school national champions, and now their careers will continue in college. 

Winthrop’s cornhole coach Dusty Thompson told the Independent Tribune that he is not aware of any other Division 1 program with signed recruits for cornhole. The cornhole program at Winthrop is modeled after the school’s Esports program, because neither activity is a NCAA-sanctioned sport.

What you can do —

National Signing Day has come and gone, but with a few months left of the school year there is still time to tell unique signing stories. Check in with coaches to see what athletes to highlight. There may be a unique recruitment story in your student body. 

Though it is easy to focus on mainstream sports in sports coverage, don’t forget to spotlight smaller programs (like cornhole) as well. Less common sports may be listed as clubs instead of sports teams. 


It’s always membership season

Beat the rush — nominate members today

It’s starting to warm, which means we are on the cusp of our busiest time of the year. Make sure to nominate students for membership order pins, cords and other Quill and Scroll materials and memorabilia now.

Don’t forget you may now recommend freshmen for membership. We made this bylaw change after several requests from advisers.

We haven’t changed the ordering process from last year. For those wanting to ditch the paper version, you just need to select the form based on how you would like to pay. We have one version for credit card and another version for check or purchase order. (We’ve added buttons for ease of finding these.) As usual, credit card payments are charged $4.49 per order for processing. 

Additionally our mail service is sporadic at best. It can take up to three weeks to process and send an order during the peak spring season, which traditionally starts later this month. Also, plan ahead. We are unable to overnight orders during the weeks of March 4, March 11, April 1 and days of April 8-10.

> Start the process here.

Meet, collaborate and discuss with peers

Quill and Scroll’s Student Journalism Collaboration Program, which is a discussion forum for students, will continue hosting discussion forums this school year. 

The Student Journalism Collaboration Program aims to connect student journalists from across the nation. Through virtual meetings, participants will discuss, collaborate and troubleshoot with their peers about scholastic journalism issues pertaining to their student media.

Our next meeting will take place Feb. 20 from 7-8 p.m. Central, and our topic of discussion will be AI

Please ask interested students to fill out this form by noon today. Once students fill out the form, they will automatically receive a notification for all subsequent meetings. Participants who signed up will also receive a reminder the week before the event and the Zoom link the Friday prior to the event. For those signing up today, we will send the link later this afternoon.

We look forward to seeing you!

Sorry advisers, this is a student-only offering.

PSJA Journalism Contest Open

Portfolio contest due March 1

The PSJA Journalism Contest, co-sponsored by Quill and Scroll, seeks to honor the best journalism produced by private and independent school students. It is a “portfolio” contest, one that seeks not to reward single stories, but a pattern of excellence over the course of a year.

Other than Editorial Leadership, work produced for the contest should have been published in a news publication — in print or online — or a yearbook between March 30, 2023 and Feb. 29, 2024. Deadline for entries will be Friday, March 1, 2024. An awards ceremony will occur after judging is finalized. 

For PSJA members, the cost for your school is $20 per entry. Non-members pay $25 per entry. To become a member of PSJA, email PSJA Director David Cutler ([email protected]) and sign up for the PSJA newsletter.

Make sure to include either your credit card payments or check or purchase order when you enter. The link provided on the site will take you directly to the credit card or check/purchase order page for the order. The PSJA category payment option is at the bottom of the page.

If you are interested in entering the contest, please see our website.

Free Spirit Conference Applications available until March 1

2024 Free Spirit Conference: In June 2024, the Freedom Forum will host its annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference June 22-27 for high school juniors. Students selected for the program receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the nation’s capital where they hear from journalists, as well as a $1,000 scholarship to the college of their choice. Applications are due March 1. 

Plan ahead

We will be out of the office during the weeks of March 4, March 11, April 1 and days of April 8-10. We will not be able to send or process orders during this time — including overnight orders. 

Also, we will not publish the Weekly Scroll during the weeks of March 11, 18 and April 8. Please make sure to plan accordingly. 

Workshop set for June 24-27, in Dallas

The Gloria Shields NSPA Media Workshop returns to the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria June 24-27, 2024, with bonus classes on June 23. Workshop registration is $140 per student or adviser.  The extra cost for the Sunday bonus class is $20 per person.

In 2023, 680 students from 85 schools took advantage of the instruction from our exceptional faculty. Watch the workshop website for additional 2024 workshop details as they become available.

> Watch the preview video for 2024.

Come see us at our booth at the JEA/NSPA Journalism Convention in Kansas City

Join us in Kansas City for the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention. This year’s convention will be at the Crown Center. Registration opened Jan. 17 and the hotel link was sent to all registrants this past week. Join us for “At the Heart of the Story” at the JEA/NSPA spring convention April 4-6.

Just a thought

Happy Scholastic Journalism Week!

The Quill and Scroll Student Advisory Board decided to collect 100 reasons why scholastic journalism is great from schools across the country.  

It’s not too late to participate. If your school or students would like to be part of this, please send this form with your students. The students will be updating the list during the week.

Advisers, check out the list. It might be a great resource to use during recruitment.

Also, don’t forget that students from the Student Advisory Board will be fostering a discussion on Generative AI Tuesday night. (Details are above.)

Have a wonderful Scholastic Journalism Week! 

— Lori Keekley