Yearbook adviser to helm middle school Communications

Yearbook adviser Jennifer Bladen will chair a new Middle School Communications department, which will include both journalism and public speaking courses.

The department will offer existing classes including Public Speaking, Persuasion and Argument, Introduction to Journalism, Newspaper and Yearbook.

These courses are currently spread out in other departments, and besides changing heads, they will not be otherwise affected by these decided changes.

Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said that this regrouping of classes will allow courses to receive the kind of attention courses in traditional departments receive.

Currently, Public Speaking is in the Performing Arts department and the Yearbook and Newspaper courses are in the Library and Technology department.

Susan Kallok, the chair of the middle school library and Technology department, was an early supporter of the communications department.

Kallok said she is glad about its creation because she has always been concerned that the journalism courses did not receive enough attention.

She has believed the library facility has received her primary responsibility, and that the introduction of a Communications department would allow for a more fluid system without any distractions.

“This should give the courses and teachers responsible for these courses not only more attention but also the opportunity to grow and develop,” Kallok said.

In addition, the department will feature a new debate course.

Students will be able to take this course as an alternative to Public Speaking in the eighth grade.

This course would also allow students to fulfill their middle school communications requirement.

However, students taking the course are not required to join the afterschool debate team headed by foreign language and english teacher Claire Pasternack.

Although both debating formats are the same, the class and the team will debate different topics throughout the year.

“With the new middle school facility, we now have a lot more room and possibilities to offer more opportunities to the students,” Huybrechts said.

Bladen will continue to be the yearbook adviser next year, a position she has held for the past three years.

She said that besides being the head of her own department, the thing she is most looking forward to about her new position are the people she will work with next year.

“All of these great really talented teachers who are right now in different departments will all be brought together,” Bladen said. “It is a really cool team.”