By Andrea Sturdivant| Published on April 20, 2015
My experience at the NABJ event on Thursday, April 16, was very informative and overall amazing. I greatly enjoyed speaking with several journalists such as Dedrick Russell, Stephanie Maxwell, Ken Lemon and Brittany Johnson. I covered the seminar on education and found it to highly informative and insightful. The Social Emotional Learning program (SEL) through Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools has helped and is continuing to help many students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg remove barriers to learning such as constant social and emotional blocks that can interfere with student success in the classroom. The program helps children in a multitude of ways; one benefit is in the area of academics. SEL has helped 23% of children increase their overall academic skills. Additionally, 9% of students show improvement in their attitudes toward themselves, others and their school. It is reported that for every $1 invested in education through the SEL program, there is an $11 return on the investment. The Social Emotional Learning program is definitely successful.
The conference offered discussions on a variety of great topics including an initiative called ”Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline.” This program demonstrates how schools and communities are working together to boost opportunities for black students. After the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, many schools began instituting “zero-tolerance” policies for student behavior. These “zero-tolerance” policies combined with notable biases in disciplinary actions pushed a lot of students out of school and into the juvenile justice system. However, some school districts are now working diligently to reverse these trends by creating new policies and systems that build strong school foundations and cultures of connections to help students keep learning in the classroom where they belong instead of behind bars.
The National Association of Black Journalists’ Institute on Education, sponsored locally by the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists provided a wealth of networking opportunities for me and my classmates. I was privileged to meet several prominent journalists and educators including Stephanie Maxwell, Anchor/Reporter at WSOC-TV and Ken Lemon and Brittany Johnson, both Reporters at WSOC-TV. All of them were happy to share their first-hand experiences about working in the broadcast industry. Ms. Maxwell, Ms. Johnson and Mr. Lemon gave me great advice on connecting with people in the industry and recommended that I gain all the experience I can through the internship program at Carolina School of Broadcasting. They advised me to maintain a portfolio of my work and constantly learn new technology. Mr. Lemon told me and other Carolina School of Broadcasting students to never ever give up on our dreams and goals and to keep striving to be the very best we can be. He said, “If you believe you have the ambition, mindset and attitude you can do anything to make your dreams come true.”
NABJ Media Institute on Education. http://www.caabj.org/
Andrea Sturdivant, Shanette Stukes, Kyle Bynes, Dedrick Russell “WBTV News Reporter and Local Chairman of CAABJ”, and Chevis Armstrong