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Student-Driven Publication Keeps SMS Students Engaged, Informed

As a result of a teacher’s over-the-summer idea, Sycamore Middle School students and staff will be more informed during the 2018-19 school year. The school’s newest publication, Knightly News, is now circulated campus-wide, thanks to RTI teacher Kristen Mundy and her team of young editors-in-training.

“All students need to read as much as possible. Sometimes, kids have a hard time finding print that is relevant to them. I felt that a school newspaper would be interesting to all students at Sycamore Middle because it is written by students,” Mundy says.

The student-driven, bi-weekly publication includes sports recaps and updates, editorials, career information, spotlights, interviews, book recommendations, school-related polls, fun facts, event coverage, middle school survival tips, puzzles, and an advice column.

Even the art work on the cover is inspired by students, with a different creative submission selected for each edition.

Four sixth-graders, eight seventh-graders, and nine eighth-graders were hand-selected for the paper by Mundy based on their above-average TN Ready testing scores. Each of the 21 students has a specific job to perform within the publication that includes editing, research, interviewing, and layout.

The students of Mundy’s advanced RTI class who participate in the newspaper are: Landen Guye, Kate Killebrew, Brendan Saylor, Kloe Tryon, Ariel Osborne, Avery Wenning, Anna Kate Saylor, Eva Bailey, Cadence Aaron, Jada Pugh, Sofia Santiago, Gracie Vasquez, Sarah Flores, Bailey Waller, Caylee Valentin, Jayme Lawrence, Marissa Spurlock, Julie Hatter, Maegan Armstrong, Dorothy Roach, and Gaibriella Allen.

“My favorite part is finding and creating puzzles to put in the paper,” says Brendan Saylor, an eighth-grade student who contributes entertainment content.

Copies of the Knightly News are available in the library, and electronic copies are delivered to students, parents, and members of the staff; each edition can also be viewed on the school’s website.

The very thankful press crew plans to remain together all year, making improvements issue after issue, they say. And, if all goes well, they hope the Knightly News continues for years to come.

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