By Maddie Baute
News travels fast in the Frankfort Independent Schools district, a tight-knit community with 265 kids at Frankfort High and 500-plus at Second Street School. With revival of school newsletters on both campuses this year, news is traveling even faster.
Art teacher Julia Harmon, who’s been teaching at Frankfort High for eight years and is the faculty sponsor for the Panther Newsletter, said the idea of reviving a campus newsletter was brought up by Principal John Lyons around Christmas last year, both agreeing on it as a “really neat thing.” They started off by doing it every once in a while but progressed to every Thursday when parents responded so positively.
Both newsletters are student-produced. FHS senior Destiny Romans, who has been doing much of the writing for Panther Newsletter, is handing off those duties to sophomore Victoria Shely.
Harmon’s goal for the newsletter is to have something families can depend on for information about the school — and to keep it regular enough that they can easily find it. Another goal is to get kids reading it by encouraging them to follow the newsletter on Facebook and Twitter, where links to the newsletter will be posted.
The Frankfort Tribune at Second Street was started last year by eighth-grader Ella McCutchen. Elly Gilbert, the journalism adviser at the school, embraced the idea and now offers the student newspaper as a weekly extension class for grades 5-8 that will run all year, although kids who aren’t in Gilbert’s class can still submit things for publication too.
Gilbert said her goal for the paper is to “build students’ skills by asking good questions, writing engaging pieces and developing ideas for interesting stories while also engaging the school and community.”
In addition to a calendar of school events, the most recent issue of The Frankfort Tribune included a Q&A-style Teacher Spotlight featuring kindergarten instructor Julie Gosney and a feature story on the Student Y chapter.
FIS Superintendent Houston Barber said the district wants to keep everybody up to date and give them access to real-time information — not just events that are happening today but what’s going to happen in the future.
“I think the benefit and the impact are significant in terms of growth, development and moving kids to another level,” Barber said.