Congrats to Colonia for getting 4 badges

Congrats to Colonia for getting 4 badges

Photo Credit: Alex Gall

This was Colonia High’s first year using School Newspapers Online (SNO) to host the school’s newpaper.  The switch from a publisher document to SNO’s online format was a big success with The Declaration receiving four of six badges from SNO. Over the course of the newspaper being online there is different badges (aka awards) which demand different requirements from the school to apply for them.

The different badges every school can apply for is Continuous Coverage, Site Excellence, Story Page Excellence, Excellence in Writing, Multimedia, and Engagement. The badges start on January 1st of the school year and go all the way to December 31st. If a site earns all six badges, it will be awarded the honor of being a SNO Distinguished Site for the calendar year. In addition, SNO Distinguished Sites will receive a press release, a letter to send the institution’s principal or PR department, and a certificate. Out of 1,322 High School site there were only seven sites who were awarded all six badges.

The badges Colonia High School has received was the Continuous Coverage received on April 9, 2014; Site of Excellence received on March 20, 2014; Story Page of Excellence received on March 26, 2014, and the Engagement Badge received on May 1, 2014. The Declaration can thank the four students in Journalism 2 for helping attain the Continuous Coverage and planning out which articles need to get published. One student, senior Jessica Lowrie, had her article ‘Tis the Season for Promposals published in Best of SNO. Had two more students been published in Best of SNO, Colonia could have received a writing excellence award.

Miss Danielle Simkovich is an English teacher at Colonia High and has been the advisor of The Declaration for four years. Simkovich has not been trained in web design, but watched numerous tutorials provided by SNO to design the online layout for the paper. Currently, Colonia High School is the only school in Woodbridge Township to have their newspaper on a website for public consumption. Colonia High decided to try School Newspapers Online in an effort to get the news to the public in a more timely fashion. “By the time our readers got the information, the information was old news,” added Simkovich.  When asked how it was like doing the newspaper online, Simkovich stated, “Now that I have the template set up and know how to use web design, it was pretty easy. But in the beginning of the year I had no idea how to design a webpage and didn’t understand what a widget was.” Also, editing the articles has moved a lot quicker since it can be editing on the computer instead of on paper and then on the computer.

Currently, Colonia’s newspaper staff has published 399 articles on the site, which is far more articles being published before. Students in the Journalism class write about one article per week and Journalism 2 students maintain the word of the day, fun fact of the day, Patriot motivator, and event calendar widgets on the site. Those widgets and the breaking news ticker are updated daily.

Lowrie stated, “Laying out the newspaper on SNO is a lot easier and working towards the badges was an incentive that made us all work harder. It was exciting to get published in Best of SNO because I wasn’t expecting anything.”

Simkovich is looking for more students to join Journalism 1 and Journalism 2 for the next school year 2014-2015. Operated by Simkovich, The Declaration currently has a Twitter account and Instagram for the school, which are both updated daily with different news; including sporting events, club activities and club news. follow us on Instagram @coloniahs_ and also follow the newspaper on twitter @coloniahigh. Students in the class have their own school twitter account where we tweet five things a week for upcoming events and sports. The staff of The Declaration is excited to work towards achieving all 6 badges next year and in making their newspaper the best it can be. If you are interested in taking journalism, speak to your guidance counselor. If you want to be a club reporter, email or speak to Miss Simkovich.