Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How about some good news for a change?

Recently there has been some press coverage about my high school. You can find more information here from the Detroit Free Press. This post is in no way meant to defend the actions of these people. However, I do want to address the sad fact that schools only seem to make the news when something bad is going on. No wonder people think schools are failing and filled with terrible teachers when that is the only information they are provided. As educators, we know there are a million success stories every day. They happen before our eyes when a student finally “gets it”. Where are those stories?
I understand that news is now a business and ratings are everything. Stories about kids or teachers doing good things do not draw viewers. What does that say about us as a society that we don’t seem to care about the good news and only want the juicy bits? I decided that I wanted to share some of the great things that have happened this year in my school. I ask all of the educators out there to try and do the same. Find some great things that have happed this year and write about it. If we can’t count on the mainstream media to share these stories, then it is our job to do it. Let’s show everyone that there are great things going on in our schools. There are bad things that do happen, but those numbers pale in comparison to the great things.

1. Hannah Meier ’13 wins the Girls National Indoor Track & Field Championship in the mile with a time of 4:48.50. Her sister, Haley Meier ’13, came in 17th with a time of 4:59.

2. The Girls Ice Hockey team won their third State Championship in four years with a 6-2 win over Ann Arbor Pioneer.

3. The Gay-Straight Alliance was reformed after a 2 year absence from South.

4. The Tower won 40 awards from the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association, including a Spartan Award and an All State Journalism Staff honor given to Paula Freidrich.

5. 8 Gold Key Portfolio winners including Mellissa Bryan, Zoe Carter, Kelsey Horn, Alexandra Kern, Bridgett Blondell, Paula Freidrich, Erika Long, Mary Magee, Natasa Kopcak, and Savannah Melcher.

6. DECA won a record 72 awards at State Competition.

7. The volleyball team recorded the most wins in program history with an overall 34-11-5 record. The team was named the All-State Academic, an All-America Team, and was led by First Team All-Region and All-Conference Ann Buslepp and All-Conference Mary Kate Kramer.

8. The varsity football team advanced to the state playoff semifinals, the farthest they’ve advanced in program history.

9. The Choir was named the All-State choir and included five of the state’s top composers.

10. The Tennis team advanced to the State Quarterfinals and finished the season in the state’s top ten.

11. 6 Students were selected by the Detroit News as outstanding graduates from the class of 2011.

These are just the 11 things that two students gathered in 24 hours. There are many more great stories out there and I challenge the media to share more of these stories with the community. Educators, I hope you will take the time and share some of the awesome things that have happened this year in your school.

Special thanks to Sam Metry and Alex Knuth for compiling this list on your own time.

Special shout out to friends out there that are having a tough time. Remember all of the great things that have happened in your schools and be proud of what you have accomplished. This is not an easy job and we all do the best that we can. :-)

- @TheNerdyTeacher


  1. I love reading stuff like this. There are so many awesome things happening in our schools that are overshadowed by the publicity that we get when something bad happens. Let's take the time to celebrate and honour the great things that happen in our school.
    Thanks for the great post!

  2. Nicholas: My name is Patrick Hogan and I'm an education reporter for a company that probably could be considered a "mainstream media" outlet in Eastern Iowa. I found your blog entry through a link on Twitter (my SN is @phogan) and just wanted to chime in with the other side.

    As you see, your list of good things is pretty long. Therein lies the problem of the education reporter. Even the worst schools have interesting and inspiring things happening inside them, but we only have so much time and many schools to cover. I have three districts to attend to, and I imagine in a large metro area like yours, the reporters are even busier.

    Even so, I would say I spend 75% of my time writing feature stories on new, cool and interesting things going on in schools. 20 percent is spent covering regular business, things like school board meetings and budgets. The last 5 percent are the occasional controversies that spell out. They're nowhere near the end-all and be-all of my school coverage, but because controversies are ... well ... controversial, they tend to stick in people's mind. This in turn comes back to bite me. I cover controversies because I have an obligation to my readers to give information on an institution they put their tax dollars into, but then the next time I go back to that school to cover a feature story, I frequently find sources unwilling to talk to me for making their school look bad.

    I don't have any solutions for this. I do feel that our company is allowing us to spend more time getting to know the community so that during times like these, people understand that we're just doing our job; reporting the news. I also feel that teachers such as yourself who embrace social media will help get that good news out there that currently falls through the cracks due to volume.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share my point-of-view as someone on the other side.


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