Happy News for a Happy New Year: A Minnesota Grants in Place Update

Mandy Tollerud's "Student Produced News" project at Rothsay Public School

January 2, 2019 |
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Ms. Tollerud and her students prepare for the second season of RPS News at Rothsay Public School, Rothsay, MN.<\/p>"

Editor’s note: Strong partnerships can lead to achievements and success. Our Grants in Place collaboration with Minnesota's West Central Initiative, which provides funding to teachers in western Minnesota, confirms this belief. We are pleased to provide you with some "happy" news to start the New Year. Our sincere hope is that 2019 will be a good year for you, your rural community, and public education.

Get Happy!

Grants in Place is a modest grant program that encourages rural school district teachers across the country to engage their students in place-based learning. We believe that place-based education gives meaning to learning, strengthens the bonds between school and community, and instills pride in the cultures and histories of rural places and small towns. This approach has a keen focus on student engagement, learning outcomes, and community impact.

Mandy Tollerud’s "Student Produced News" at Rothsay Public School, Rothsay, MN, received a $1000 Grants in Place award to provide her students access to a classroom "studio" complete with lighting, sound equipment, and video recording (via Ipads). Students produce local news stories happening within their school and their rural community, with a strong focus on interviewing community members and experts.

We are pleased to provide the first episode of RPS News Season 2 and the following update from Ms. Tollerud:


“The past few weeks I have begun implementing video production and green screen technology into my technology classes using the materials provided from the grant. My hope is to get the students comfortable and familiar with the taping, editing, and general production before we begin taping our first installment of RPS News later this month. Here is the timeline I am aiming for.

Nov- Dec.- 6th grade students will write, produce, and edit two episodes (monthly) of RPS News. These students (with a lot of guidance) were able to produce two episodes of the News last spring (as 5th graders) so the hope is that they will be able to hone their skills this fall/ winter with the goal of working more independently.

Jan - Feb.- 6th grade students will mix with 5th grade students to work together to tape two more installments of RPS News. My hope is to have some 6th grade leaders training the 5th graders on all aspects of RPS News.

Mar- Apr.- Team 56 (the name for our 5th and 6th graders) will work entirely on their own to produce two more installments of RPS News. I hope to serve as a mentor or guide if needed and stand back as much as possible. I'd like this to be student produced in the hope that they gain as much real-world experience as possible.

May- My plan is to showcase our students and their News accomplishments at multiple community events. We will show new episodes in the school cafeteria each month, also at the spring band and choir concert, during a spring school board meeting, and also during the 5th grade senior citizen tea. I'd like to culminate with a night where we invite community members and leaders sometime in late May.”


We invite you to learn more about our 2018-19 Grants in Place program! Also, we encourage you to check out our web section on the value of place-based education.

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