Board Members Re-Affirm JLI Mission, Objectives

The Journalistic Learning Initiative celebrates five years as a nonprofit in 2020, and board members at a
recent meeting marked the important milestone by re-affirming the non-profit’s mission statement.

The Journalistic Learning Initiative’s mission is to empower students to discover their voice, improve
academic outcomes, and engage in self-directed learning through project-based storytelling, said JLI Co-
founder Ed Madison. Initiated in 2010, in collaboration with the University of Oregon School of
Journalism and College of Education, JLI became a nonprofit in 2015 and has now served more than
1,000 young people in Oregon and California.

To achieve its mission, Madison said JLI educators strategically partner with middle and high school
English, Social Studies, Health, and Science teachers to share with students the journalistic
skills—research, interviewing, writing, editing, collaborating, and information-sharing—that will build
the critical thinking, communication, and collaboration they need for college and careers in the 21 st

The JLI board is particularly focused on students in historically under-served and rural communities.
“Our standards-aligned, evidence-based program weaves nicely into school curriculums, and gives
students in high-opportunity communities a chance to ‘learn by doing,’ which is a hands-on, experiential
education model that many private and higher-income students take for granted,” said Madison.
“Project-based learning helps make learning relevant to students by establishing connections to life
outside the classroom and by addressing real world issues, plus it builds student choice into the

In fact, in an independent study of JLI’s pilot program in a low-income, rural community,78% of students
agreed that they challenged themselves more in writing, found it more satisfying to learn and write
about topics, and were more willing to take on hard assignments after access to the JLI project-based
model for one school year. More than 89% of students agreed that journalistic learning skills were
valuable and relevant to them. And, importantly, almost 80% of students agreed that journalistic
learning had improved their critical thinking and metacognition skills, specifically in more deeply
questioning sources of information in and out of school, listening and looking closely for evidence, and
thinking about points of view beyond their own—so important in our world today, noted Madison.

“The objective of our standards-aligned, evidence-based program is the same as when we were
founded,” said Madison. “We aim to increase student belonging, improve student attendance, and close
the achievement gap to improve statewide graduation rates.”

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