March 25, 2024

Our past three editions

March 4, 2024 FAFSA • Measles • Election

Feb. 26, 2024 School culture • Substitute teachers • Beyoncé

Feb. 19, 2024 Academic rebound • Snow days • Cornhole


New digital SAT test rolls out

Collect student reactions, explain changes

This spring brought with it a makeover for the SAT, a college entrance exam administered by the College Board. For 98 years the test has been taken on paper, with both multiple choice and written answer sections. Now, the test is taken digitally and there are some changes to the overall format. 

What you can do —

As students in your school take the SAT, check in with them about the format and their experiences. Students are likely used to some standardized tests being digital and others being on paper, so may have interesting things to say about the new format. 

While they may have thoughts on the execution, students might not know what is different this year from last year. An explainer-style piece walking through the changes — which include shorter reading passages, no non calculator portion and an overall shorter test — might be fitting.


Potential TikTok ban still looms

Dive into status of ban, talk to students about implications

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill March 13 that could remove TikTok from app stores and web-hosting services in the United States. The bill would force ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to either sell TikTok within six months or lose access to the United States market. 

That six month countdown hasn’t started though — the measure still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Joe Biden. It is not clear when the Senate will vote on the bill, CBS News reported. Even if the Senate votes to pass the measure, the deadline could be extended amid a legal battle. 

What you can do —

Though a ban is not yet here, TikTok has been in the headlines and students are likely thinking about the future of the app. Talk to students about what they think — should TikTok be banned? How would it change their lives? Be sure to clearly explain the status and implications of the bill.

What’s viral

Total solar eclipse to occur over U.S. April 8 

Check what your area will experience

If you are turning your eyes to the sky April 8, make sure to wear eye protection. The eclipse that will pass across the United States is the last major eclipse to cross North America for 20 years. Compared to the last total eclipse that crossed the country in 2017, this one will last longer and be more dramatic overall. 

In April, the moon is at a point in its orbit that is comparatively closer to Earth, making it appear larger, Science News reported. The sun is also close to its most active point in its 11-year activity cycle. 

Nearly 32 million people will be inside the path of totality, which ranges from the northeast corner of the country down through Texas. 

What you can do —

If your community is in or near the path of totality, odds are good there will be an influx of tourists or at least local events to celebrate the eclipse. Some school districts are closing schools in honor of the event. Check in with students to see if they plan on taking in the eclipse. This is also a great opportunity for some science writing to explain why this eclipse is scientifically interesting. Are some students traveling far to see the eclipse? Show their preparation and cover their experience upon return.

Check what your community will see on eclipse day here.


It’s always membership season

Don’t be left out this year, nominate members year round — including freshmen

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 in February after requests from several 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 from April 2-10.

> 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 April 15 from 7-8 p.m. Central, and our topic of discussion will be social media use

Please ask interested students to fill out this form by April 11. 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.

Plan ahead

We will be out of the office April 2-10. We will not be able to send or process orders during this time — including overnight orders. Please remember we need at least three weeks from the time we receive your purchase order or payment to the time you need the materials. We will process all orders as they are received. If your induction is planned for the week of April 8 or before, now is the time to submit your memberships.

Also, we will not publish the Weekly Scroll during the weeks of April 8 and 15. Please make sure to plan accordingly. 

Benz Scholarship

Applications open for $250 adviser award

Quill and Scroll will award the $250 Lester G. Benz Scholarship to an adviser who undertakes a professional development activity over the summer or in the 2024-25 academic year.

The award can be used to attend a National High School Journalism Conference, to pay for tuition for a university course in a relevant subject area, or for a summer workshop, the JEA Summer Advisers Institute or a local summer workshop in your state, to name a few.

Applications are now being accepted. Deadline is April 12, 2024.

The award is named after former Quill and Scroll Executive Director Lester G. Benz.

Student Scholarship applications will open April 12, 2024 and will be due May 10, 2024.

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.

Applications are open for the 2024 Vanessa Shelton Chapter of the Year

Has your chapter been active in Quill and Scroll this year? If so, it’s time to apply for the Chapter of the Year.

Chapters must have initiated members in each of the past three years.

Applications are free and winners will receive a plaque, $250 for the classroom, four free memberships and honor cords and one member spot on our Student Advisory Board.

During the past 97 years, Quill and Scroll has granted charters to more than 11,400 schools around the world. When a school’s journalism program receives its charter, students in the school begin a Quill and Scroll chapter there. Quill and Scroll does not dictate how active a chapter should be, but the Chapter Manual does provide some guidance on the value of an “active chapter,” the activities it may engage in, and its general goals:

“The chapter can accomplish these goals: 

(1) inspire members of the staff to greater efforts; 

(2) attract students of higher ability to publications/media work by offering them journalistic recognition and honors; 

(3) provide incentive for the development of the journalism department and the improvement of school publications/media; and 

(4) secure greater recognition of journalism work by students, school officials and the community.”

The deadline is April 19 and the winner will be announced mid-May. The application form is on our website

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

If you’re wondering if you should apply for the 2024 Lester Benz Adviser Scholarship, don’t wait. The time to start the process is now.

Previous scholarship recipients have used the money to attend a national convention, to enroll in a summer workshop or to pay for a university course in a relevant subject area.

Applications are due April 12, which is about three weeks away and can be found here.

— Lori Keekley