Multicultural Commission Minutes
April 14, 2012, Seattle JEA/NSPA Convention
Before the meeting, Stan, Norma and Judith briefly discussed the website, and whether it would be hosted by JEA and whether we would add our information to their site or launch our own which is ready and link to their site, and whether other committees who had developed their own sites were paying for them and if it was in their budget. We are waiting to hear back from Kelly Furnas and Arthi Subramanian about whether JEA can host our site or not.
The meeting was called to order at 9 a.m. A list of attendees and emails is at the bottom of this document.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
Norma Kneese said that the Diversity Awards would be presented at the noon luncheon to Arrow Newsmagazine, Renton High School, of Renton, Wash.; and second place to J Camp sponsored by AAJA in San Francisco. Kneese said that there has been a lot of revamping through JEA and the new board and the board wants the people giving the awards to also be the ones presenting them. Therefore, she will present the awards at the adviser luncheon on Saturday, April 14.
The mentoring committee asked the Multicultural Commission to create a Diversity Model and present it to previous and new mentors, with the presumption that they will incorporate the model into their mentoring. Kneese presented this at the convention.
Outreach will continue this fall in San Antonio and also in San Francisco in June. Stan Zoller said the Outreach programs were back to back for the ease of the faculty, who would travel from one to the other. Zoller will be the person in San Antonio and Steve O’ Donoghue will be the one in San Francisco, with Linda Shockley traveling to both. Zoller pointed out that Shockley’s expenses of airfare and hotel accommodations are being paid by the Dow Jones News Fund as part of its multicultural initiative. Zoller said he is rounding up Texas teachers to help present at the Outreach in San Antonio. Zoller said he felt there was not enough lead time for planning and that it would be helpful to have dates and locations decided by the fall semester before Outreach. Last year in Minnesota there were 11 participants, and one who came in a day early who had been advising for 13-14 years.
As the coffers are tightening at JEA, Zoller pointed out that it would be good if we can provide the board with outcomes. How many new members do we have as a result of our initiatives? What is the purpose? Where is the bang for the buck? There should be more committees involved. We should go into the middle schools. We need to be working with each other. Zoller said that we are going to go from convention city to convention city, and suggested that instead of a full three days we go to 2 ½ days. He pointed out that advisers in the spring are advanced ahead of advisers in the fall because they have already gone through the year. Zoller said the Multicultural Commission has to work on having more follow up – kind of like an outreach mentor. He also pointed out that it would be a good idea to cast a wider net, and target advisers in the region instead of just in the host city. Kathy Schrier, who chaired the outreach initiative in Seattle, pointed out that they did bring in an adviser from Montana. Zoller pointed out that we are distributing the information to people that are already a part of JEA and suggested that we also get mailing lists from other organizations as well as post on the NCTE Listserv, and that we purchase school lists of high schools and middle schools within 300 miles (6 hours’ drive) of the convention site and send out membership, outreach and convention information to every administrator.
Zoller came with five proposals for restructuring Outreach, which are attached to the bottom of these minutes. Members briefly discussed them, but seemed most agreeable to proposals four and five. Zoller also mentioned using the JEA Advisers Institute to begin Outreach Academy, except in reverse order – that we bring the participants first to the convention for training, then find out what difficulties they are experiencing, then bring them to the Advisers Institute where they can get help with their specific problems.
Kneese said there was still a need for some restructuring.
Outreach Academy ideas
Stan Zoller, MJE
1448 Camden Court
Buffalo Grove, Ill. 60089
To: Mark Newton, MJE
From: Stan Zoller, MJE
Re: Outreach Academy ideas
As we have discussed, the Outreach Academy is an outstanding program and resource to both current and prospective JEA members.
However, as noted by JEA staff and Board Members, changes are needed so that the initiative is more cost effective, reaches more JEA members and potential members, as well as meeting specific Board goals and objectives.
This is merely an outline and brief discussion of possibilities for the Academy. I will present a more detailed report to the Multicultural Commission at its meeting in Seattle.
There are, I believe, there are several options for the Outreach Academy. However, none will be practical without the following:
- A clear definition of goals, objectives and outcomes from the Board. Does the Board want:
- Increased membership retention?
- Increased new members?
- Attract advisers of specific demographics?
- Enhance services to existing members?
The identification of goals will help the Academy be more quantifiable in not only how it is implemented, but also where and to whom it targeted. Specific board-established targets will enable the Multicultural Commission and Outreach Academy Cadre to produce a more goal- oriented and cost effective program.
- Other Board Committees and Commissions, specifically:
- Development and Curriculum
- Junior High / Middle School
- Regional Directors
- State Directors
- JEA Headquarters staff
- Active support and involvement from:
Any initiative requires strong partnerships, whether they are internal or external. This is especially true for the Outreach Academy. Currently, the Cadre works closely with a contact person in the host city. These coordinators have done outstanding work on behalf of JEA. However, the local coordinator should have the assistance of a staff person at JEA to assist in budgetary and logistical matters as needed. It’s not unusual for the local contact to be a full- time teacher. With the advent of the summer program, time becomes a valuable commodity. The 2011 summer academies were fortunate to have the support of NSPA staff and the University of Minnesota Journalism School for the Minneapolis program, and the Washington JEA for the Seattle area academy.
Specific goals, as previously noted, will be the key to the success of the Outreach Academy program. It is therefore imperative that the Multicultural Commission and the Outreach Academy cadre have support from other Board functions. The cooperation of and interaction with state and regional directors is imperative. They are the point persons for the area where the Academy will take place. This is a golden opportunity to reach out to existing members and potential members by offering them to take advantage of one of JEA’s more unique programs. Ideally, state directors can be a conduit to scholastic activity organizations that have access to public and, in some cases, private high schools.
In Illinois, for example, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) has 867 member schools throughout the state. By purchasing mailing information from the IHSA, the JEA could reach schools in outlying areas that may never have heard of JEA. In addition to the IHSA, the Illinois Elementary School Association has member junior and middle high schools throughout the state. This could be an excellent opportunity for JEA to capture junior and middle school teachers for not only the Academy, but also Junior and Middle School media as JEA members. However, to achieve some of the above goals and objectives, I think the entire design and implementation of the Outreach Academy need to be reviewed and addressed.
The following are some options that we may want to look at:
Option #1: Leave the program as it is
Pro: The 2 1⁄2 day summer program gives the teaching cadre the opportunity to provide participants intensive instruction during the summer that enables them to hopefully use information in planning for the upcoming school year. The extended time also gives participants the chance to do some hands-on work that can be evaluated by the cadre. Hosting the program in convention cities gives the Multicultural Commission a “target market” from which to attract participants. The convention “reunion” gives the cadre the opportunity to address problems and questions that participants have encountered in the classroom during the school year.
Con: The current program’s logistics work against the success of the program. Using Board determined goals, which includes enhancing membership, there are limited opportunities to attract from a wide base of potential members. Hosting the program only in the convention city, its appeal is to those advisers who live in reasonable proximity to the convention site. Since 2005, when the Outreach Academy program began, it has been somewhat difficult attracting advisers from the host city. This has been a challenge whether the Academy was in its original one-day convention-based format, or in the summer format started in 2011. Interestingly, the numbers were higher during the single-day format than they were over the initial summer program. There is no clear data as to why this occurs. It could be that a summer program interferes with personal travel or advisers are not willing to make an extensive time commitment. Timing for announcing registration may also factor into a low turnout. In the first two years of the summer program, announcement and ensuing registration did not begin until after January first. Given teaching schedules, summer workshops, personal travel and the intense recruitment effort needed, this does not seem to be an adequate time scheduled, especially when the recruitment relies heavily on a coordinator in the host city, who is often a full-time teacher.
Option #2 – Revert back to the original format
Pro: The original format was an intensive one-day program held as a Thursday pre- convention conference. Numbers generally were good with between 18 and 30 advisers participating at most of the Outreach Academy. The single-day format gave participants, especially those who were not JEA members, an opportunity to meet JEA Board members and staff while also experiencing JEA programming.
Con: If the goal of the Outreach Academy is numbers-driven, this is an effective model. However, if the organization is interested in cultivating new members through resources and adviser support, the one-day program falls short. A rapid-fire, day- long program offers advisers only a chance to view the tip of the ice berg with any substantive information to take back to their classroom. Evaluations repeatedly indicated that there was a desire and interest for more “hands-on” activities at the Academy when it was a single-day program. If it is decided to continue with a fall/spring convention based program, some consideration should be given to offering, schedule permitting, and additional time for the Outreach Academy during the conference, perhaps on Friday. However, given the array of breakout sessions, meetings and the write-off competition, there may not be adequate time or space to effectively provide additional instructional time for participants. Additionally, the problem of recruitment remains, especially if sub costs are an issue.
Option #3: Use the current program, but on a regional basis.
Pro: Maintaining the 2 1⁄2 day program would continue to provide potential members and new advisers the opportunity to get extensive hands-on training. However, rather than limit to the host city, have it in the host region. By having it in two regions, there a greater opportunity to reach out to advisers who may not otherwise have an opportunity to attend the Academy. The reality is that with the conferences being held, in “popular” cities, adviser living in areas away from convention cities would not, as noted, have the chance to attend. To make this model work, a location would need to have equal proximity for members. For example, if a convention was scheduled for Chicago, a centralized location in the North Central Region would show both new member advisers and potential advisers that the organization is not limited to convention cities and is truly “reaching out” to those advisers limited in proximity and ability to attend national conferences. Using Chicago as an example, a location within a day’s drive, or easy flight, of Chicago would not
only potentially attract more summer participants, but possible entice them to attend an easy-access convention. For example, in Region 3, a location in central Iowa or southern Minnesota, while not glamorous, could attract advisers from states that typically do not have high JEA participation. As always, advisers will be invited and encouraged to attend the national conference. Despite the distance, the exposure to JEA programming and resources could be an incentive for Academy participants to attend the conference. That, however, would require the unified efforts of the Multicultural Commission with other Board commissions and committees and JEA staff.
Cons: The issue of recruiting remains. A successful regional conference will require excessive coordination between all state directors and region directors. Also, a regional Academy would remove the allure of a commuter program as is one of the attractions to the current summer program. Cost for room and board would have to be covered by the participant or JEA. Participant-borne expenses would likely be a deterrent. However, the summer program does not require funding for substitute teachers. To make this concept a success, aggressive funding and/or partnerships are needed.
Option #4: Have the academy be part of the Summer Advisers Institute.
Pro: JEA is embarking on an aggressive 3 1⁄2 day summer conference. It has secured extremely competitive room rates and registration is reasonable. This would be an ideal environment to showcase JEA, its resources and programming opportunity by offering the Outreach Academy over the course of the Advisers Institute. In addition to intensive instruction (perhaps each morning), Academy participant will have the opportunity to participate in breakout sessions. In addition to getting a “feel” for JEA conferences, they will have an outstanding opportunity to network with advisers from across the country. In addition to the program, they will be able to earn continuing education credits at little or no cost to their school district. To attract a large number of advisers, underwriting for travel will need to be procured.
Con: While the summer advisers institute offers a centralized opportunity, there are roadblocks. First and foremost, as noted above, is the cost of travel. If JEA is committed to serving advisers who are new to education and are teaching in financially challenged districts – whether urban or rural – the organization cannot expect these districts or individual teachers to cover the cost of travel and registration. JEA needs to find support its outreach effort by supporting its participants. A logical first step is to waive the registration fee. Secondly, providing each participant a stipend to cover travel and hotel is in order. Finally, a one-year complimentary membership should be provided to each participant as enticement to continue their association with the organization.
Option #5: Reverse the procedure — Have the advisers come to the convention before the summer program to identify problems they have experienced during the current school year. Using this information, participants would receive instruction during the summer on how to “correct” these problems.
Pro: The biggest advantage to this option is that teachers would goal set and/or reflect (depending on which convention they come to) about their class and program. They would then attend the summer academy to learn how to improve those areas in which they felt deficient during the previous year. This would allow them to effectively plan for the upcoming school year by addressing weaknesses. Since participants will have already attended a national conference, two options for the summer instruction can be considered: a.) have regional academies or b.) reconvene at the summer advisers’ institute.
Con: Once again, costs are the main factor. If the expectation is that travel will be the same, the JEA will need to find a way to support the efforts of these advisers who are likely to come from financially strapped schools in rural and urban areas. At face value, the travel remains the same as Option 4 if the summer program is held at the advisers’ seminar. If the summer academy is held regional or in the host convention city, the issue of recruiting becomes more important as does the site where the academy is held.
In summary, as noted at the start of this memo, these are just ideas. There are financial strengths and weaknesses to all of them. The bottom line is this – what model, or combination thereof, gives JEA the best opportunity to not only reach the greatest number of advisers and potential members, but also have the greatest impact on the students of Outreach Academy participants. Travel, location and retaining Outreach Academy participants as members are key concerns, but so too is the impact on the students.