New Course To Teach Rural Oregon Students Effective Communication

Journalistic Learning Initiative Partners with Bi-Mart to Offer 20 Schools Novel Effective Communicators Course

March 9, 2021 (Eugene, Ore.) – The Oregon-based non-profit Journalistic Learning Initiative (JLI) has teamed with longtime Northwest retailer Bi-Mart to offer new programming to 20 rural schools in the retailer’s Oregon service area. Under the partnership, rural middle and high school teachers will be eligible to receive a fellowship stipend and training for a new course called Effective Communicators. Slated to begin for the 2021-22 school year, existing English Language Arts or social studies classes can also integrate the content.

“Bi-Mart is a trusted pillar in rural communities throughout Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and we are delighted to have their partnership to benefit Oregon’s underserved students,” said JLI Executive Director Ed Madison.

Bi-Mart Vice President of Advertising and Marketing Don Leber said: “As a community partner throughout the Northwest, Bi-Mart has long been associated with the kind of hands-on, grass roots programs that make a real difference in people’s lives. We see Effective Communicators as an extension of the kind of support we want to provide the communities we serve.”

Students who participate in JLI’s programs emerge as effective communicators by researching, interviewing, writing, and publishing stories about topics of interest and global concerns. Classes typically video conference with and interview experts in distant locations who might otherwise be inaccessible. “This can be a game-changer, given the digital divide that often creates technology deserts in many rural communities where homes can lack reliable broadband communication and project-based experiences are scarce,” Madison said.

Effective Communicators will provide students the kind of interpersonal interactions they need to become 21st-century learners and workers, especially for those who may have struggled during Covid-19-related remote learning,” added Madison. “Teachers who have used our journalistic methods in their classrooms say they especially appreciate our novel ways of enhancing students’ much-needed social-emotional skills, such as empathy, face-to-face communications, and respectful civil discourse.”

Oral and written communications skills also rank as critical to workplace success in a recent analysis of job advertisements. Strong communicators earn better grades, test higher, and excel at college and in their careers. Regardless of career choice, students who communicate effectively convey confidence and exhibit a heightened sense of character.

“We’re excited to play a role in exposing deserving students to the skills that will help build a foundation for further learning, as well as set them up for success in whatever direction their lives take,” said Leber. “We hope the educators and students who participate in Effective Communicators will experience the benefits of this program for years to come.”

The course also teaches responsible use of technology and social media. “Research indicates that dependence on devices can rob young people from developing an ability to express themselves, advocate for their ideas, and communicate face-to-face. Conscious and responsible use of social media is therefore a critical aspect of the course,” Madison said.

For more information about Effective Communicators, go to journalisticlearning.com, or write to info@journalisticlearning.com.

Founded in 2015, in collaboration with the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and College of Education, the JLI empowers students to discover their voice, improve academic outcomes, and engage in self-directed learning through project-based storytelling. Students learn to research, interview, write, edit, and collaborate, making them more effective communicators. Since its inception, JLI has helped more than 4,500 young people in Oregon and California succeed.

Bi-Mart Corporation opened its first store in 1955 in Yakima, Washington, as a place where members could make the most of their hard-earned dollars. Today, Bi-Mart has 80 stores in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, primarily in rural locations. Now employee-owned, Bi-Mart remains a strong community partner and sponsor of education, arts, health, and athletics programs across the Northwest.”

Contact: Sydney Clevenger, (503-449-6580), sydney@journalisticlearning.com

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