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About the Curriculum Initiative

In May 2013, the Journalism Education Association began work on its curriculum initiative, creating lesson plans across 14 content areas, complete with learning outcomes, assessments, evaluation guides, models and alignment to standards including the Common Core and Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

Over the course of the next 11 months, JEA worked with 14 of its members — identified as national leaders in their area of expertise — to develop nearly 200 weeks worth of lessons to complement high school journalism classrooms across the country. Helping them were dozens of other JEA members, professionals and student journalists who volunteered their own ideas, materials and examples to benefit scholastic media advisers.

As important as this electronic resource is, it’s merely a portion of JEA’s curriculum initiative. Just as important is the ongoing commitment the organization is making to the effort. Curriculum leaders keep the curriculum current and dynamic by providing updated lesson plans and examples that reflect the newest trends and technology. They collaborate with other JEA committees such as certification and Career & Technical Education to ensure that the organization is at the forefront of defining 21st century journalism. They coordinate with our national Professional Advisory Committee to ensure our student learning objectives align with industry standards. They showcase their curriculum and lessons at national conventions and conferences. And they host online chats to not only discuss implementation of their module, but to coordinate discussion of best practices that will guide future development.

We welcome your feedback, suggestions, plaudits and corrections. Please feel free to email sarahjnichols.sjn@gmail.com, or contact specific curriculum leaders directly.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How am I allowed to use the curriculum?

JEA grants its current, paid members full license to use, remix, tweak and build upon any curricular materials for classroom use. Materials should not be redistributed outside of the classroom or used for conference presentations. Occasionally, teachers are asked to post their lesson plans to a school or district website for other teachers’ use, but please do not do this either.

JEA does not require attribution of our materials used in the classroom, but we love it when it happens. A line such as “Adapted from the Journalism Education Association Curriculum Initiative” would be appropriate.

Do you have a curriculum map I can follow?

Because every high school journalism program is different, we have not created a prescribed sequence to follow. Instead, the curriculum is designed to work like a buffet — allowing you to take variable-length modules that will fill your needs while accommodating your skills, technology and teaching philosophy.

That said, we receive requests regularly for a sample syllabus or curriculum map. During the summer of 2016, curriculum leaders put together samples for advisers to consider. Each curriculum map shows how one journalism teacher uses various lessons from each module in the JEA Curriculum Initiative for a one-semester course.

If you are using the curriculum, we would love to hear which modules (and which time lengths) you use — as well as your impressions of that structure — so we can share that with other members. Email sarahjnichols.sjn@gmail.com.