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TMJH Journalism Class Cancelled Next Year

Last week the Park Rag received an anonymous tip instructing us to look at a post entitled Goodbye Journalism on a blog called Treasure Mountain Junior High Park City Post. The post indicated that Journalism class, as well as other well-like electives were being taken away for the 2016-2017 school year. According to the post, “Taking its place is a new schedule, which includes morning I-Time, a 25-minute study session.”

With the topic being journalism, of course we were interested. While deciding to be a journalist as a career is currently a tough road to hoe, journalism classes teach valuable skills like writing, criticism, logic, and interpersonal skills. The post author also stated that she is concerned that:

  • Replacing real classes with I-Time should no longer be needed once someone hits 8th grade.
  • If the school holds kids hands with programs like I-time, instead of classes, students will not learn how to do things for themselves.
  • Electives provide something “fun” to do at school, and that is needed.
  • There is already an after school help lab, to assist students who have questions
  • Students that may be interested in Journalism will not have an opportunity to try it out.

We reached out to the school district and spoke with TMJH Principal Emily Sutherland to ask about these changes. Ms. Sutherland told us that the expansion of I-Time had nothing to do with cancelling classes. She stated that Journalism was not being offered next terms because it was not growing and was not “hugely popular.” She said the school district is attempting to align all classes with CTE Pathways (Career and Technical Education Pathways). According to the district’s website “CTE provides courses and pathways consistent with industry standards. Exploratory courses begin in the 7th grade, and subsequent courses teach students specific job readiness and job skills, which can lead to employment and post secondary education.”

Ms. Sutherland also indicated they were always tinkering with classes offered and said they are planning on adding the following classes next year:

  • Public Speaking and Broadcasting
  • Exploring Computer Science
  • Another Level of Biology
  • Additional Dual Language Immersion opportunities

So, it appears that this change, while unfortunate for those students who love Journalism class, has been thought out. If classes had to be cut, we wish it could have been something else beside Journalism; however, it seems the district is not cutting classes to simply add an independent study.

We hope in the future that there will be enough interest to force the school district to offer the class again. Until that time, if you are a student, and want to work on something close to real Journalism, we’d love to have you write for the Park Rag. We have no money but we have lots of ideas. Send us an email if you are interested.



Craig Dennis

Journalism is not going away; it is being transformed. Maybe TMJH did not do a good job keeping the course up to date with the changes going on in the industry and the web. As an example, check out, a trade association originally started by suburban and community weeklies (like the Park Record) that realize innovation is a must. A properly designed Journalism course would give students excellent job skills . . . a few of which you mentioned.

Julie Hooker

As the journalism class teacher at TMJH, I can tell you that each year, the numbers of interested students increased. This semester, I have 26 students in the class. In addition to publishing an online magazine, they meet with local journalists, practice the inverted pyramid, master the writing process, and submit articles and ideas to local media. Students in this course have the opportunity to create video entries. They get excited to see how many “views” they have on their site.

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