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Ohio University-Chillicothe, Gazette team up to enhance learning environment in area schools

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (May 7, 2007) -- Ohio University-Chillicothe continues to partner with the Chillicothe Gazette to enhance the learning environment of Ross County students. For the third straight year, OU-C is the major sponsor, with a $10,000 commitment, of the Newspaper in Education program, which puts the newspaper in classrooms throughout the county on a daily basis.

With curricula that are tailored to various levels, the newspapers make excellent educational resources for students of all grades in the Chillicothe City and Ross County school districts.

"This program is very beneficial in opening up students to knowledge of their community and stimulating in the students an interest in learning new things and further developing their intellectual curiosity," OU-C Associate Dean Mike Lafreniere said. "It is a natural avenue for the campus' commitment to enhancing the educational environment wherever possible in Ross County."

This academic year, the newspapers are used in 79 classrooms throughout the county, including 32 elementary classrooms, 25 middle school classrooms and 22 high school classes.

"Teachers who are involved with the program really appreciate it," said Debbie Roush, who coordinates the program for the Gazette. "As more teachers become familiar with the program, we get more requests from them to become involved with the program. The Newspapers in Education initiative is designed to spark the students' interest in current events and to develop a lifelong habit in news topics that affect their world."

Beyond current events, having newspapers in the classrooms is beneficial for studying courses such as spelling and math.

"Curricula are designed for various disciplines as well as grade levels," Roush said.

According to teachers and students, the program is a success.

A kindergarten teacher recently wrote in a note," I have just begun using the Gazette in my classroom about two months ago. I decided to try and use them since one of the standards we test is the reason people read books, magazines and newspapers ? I am happy to report that all of my children passed that portion of the RPASS assessment."

A Zane Trace sixth grader writes, "I like using the Chillicothe Gazette in the classroom because I like to know about my state and all around me. I did not know what an exciting world we have."

Another student wrote, "I like using the Chillicothe Gazette in my classroom because I like looking at our community to see what's going on."

The program also presents an opportunity for OU-C to gain increased community exposure through material sent to parents, cards in newspaper racks and ads in the Gazette.

"OU-C has been a wonderful partner in this endeavor, and we want to ensure that the campus is recognized for its participation," Roush said.

Series engages campus community in discussion of diversity issues

Members of the Ohio University-Chillicothe community have the opportunity to discuss diversity-related topics during a lunchtime series this spring. The Diversity Lunch Series sessions are held each Thursday at noon in Bennett Hall room 110 and will continue through May 24. 

The second session is Thursday, May 3. Lunch is provided, and the full campus community is invited.

The sessions are led by students in Communication Studies 410, "Intercultural and Cross-cultural Communication." 

"This series offers an opportunity for members of the campus community to become engaged in a healthy discussion of diversity topics and to share and learn from one another's insights," said Associate Professor of Communication Lisa Wallace, who teaches the class. "These are dialogues, and we encourage input and participation from those in attendance."

Groups of students in the class lead the discussions, which are based on topics the students are developing for research papers.

"Having an opportunity to engage in discussion of these topics brings the issues to life and allows the students to gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter," Wallace said. "An interesting aspect of the series is the utilization of peer education with the student-to-student approach. When students learn from each other it is most effective. In contrast to classroom learning led by faculty members, the Diversity Lunch Series offers the chance for students to take the lead role in their learning through intellectual discourse with their peers."

Topics being discussed this quarter are:

  • April 26. Power of language and free speech issues
  • May 3. Generational differences
  • May 10. Appalachian culture
  • May 17. Sexual orientation/gender issues
  • May 24. Support/lack of support for diversity on campus

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Media Contact: Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 707-1368 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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