Opportunities for Students Grow as SpartanTV Jr. Welcomes All Five Elementary Schools

Opportunities for Students Grow as SpartanTV Jr. Welcomes All Five Elementary Schools

Athletics and activities are typically most numerous for students in middle school and high school. Nearly eight years ago, elementary teacher Jon Walter sought to bring additional opportunities to his students.

“I wanted to start an after-school program at the elementary school level that allowed students to collaborate with each other and build new relationships,” said Walter. 

With a passion for technology, an interest in news production, and the recipient of several generous community grants, Walter and his colleague Michael Choragwicki started the after-school program which became SpartanTV Jr. 

Each week, students come together to practice in front of and behind the camera. Then, students participate in one of several recording days to capture news stories for the monthly newscast. 

In its first year, SpartanTV Jr. comprised 19 fourth and fifth-graders from Southeast Elementary School. Now, SpartanTV Jr. is open to fourth and fifth-grade students throughout the district. This year, nearly 60 elementary students have gotten involved. The program is overseen by additional staff — including Joy Walter from North Grove, Brooke Wright from Southeast, and Jake Brens from Sycamore Middle School. 

Students have fun in the program, but they also gain valuable skills. “Students learn to collaborate with others. They gain skills in the areas of writing, researching, and public speaking. And they learn technology skills such as filming and editing,” said Walter. 

As students move on to Sycamore Middle School and Sycamore High School, their experience in SpartanTV Jr. serves them well if they get involved in SMS Live or SpartanTV, respectively. 

To Walter, the success of this program is not measured by a number — the sense of pride students feel and the positive feedback they receive from the community is the goal. 

Without the community's support of this program at all levels — SpartanTV Jr. at the elementary level through SpartanTV at the high school level — would not be the success it is today. Sycamore Community School District 427 is thankful for the support and is proud to offer opportunities that empower our students to succeed.