Every week, EPIC Superintendent Bart Banfield explores topics related to education, learning, leadership and more. Be sure to check back each week for the latest.

EPIC News Network

One of the things I love most about EPIC Charter Schools is the innovation and resourcefulness we bring to the table. After all, making school different is an ongoing journey that requires finding new and exciting ways to enrich the educational opportunities we offer the students we serve. It’s in this tradition that I am supremely proud to announce the launch of the EPIC News Network, the state’s first and only statewide journalism program for high school students. 

ENN is a professional journalism program for the students of EPIC. Students from across the state are reporting and photographing events in their communities in addition to following the actions of state leaders and events that shape the cultural and political landscape of Oklahoma. ENN teaches students the principles of newsgathering, reporting, writing, editing, photojournalism, ethics and production. The articles, photo essays and podcasts are all delivered via epicnewsnetwork.org and the ENN social media channels. The quality and volume of work coming from these industrious student journalists is impressive. It’s clear they have set themselves to the highest journalistic standards, but that probably has something to do with who is teaching them. 

Steering the ENN ship are co-directors M. Scott Carter and Phil Cross, both of whom have  dedicated their professional lives to providing Oklahoma with the finest in newsgathering and reporting. Between the two of them, they have garnered literally piles of awards, including an Emmy. The level of professionalism and talent these two exceptional journalists bring to ENN adds not only years of experience, but a high level of real-world instructional value to this unique classroom opportunity.

Before becoming superintendent of EPIC, I served as its assistant superintendent of instruction. I have always placed a high premium on not only what our students were being taught but how we teach it to them.  That’s why I am so excited about ENN. Putting real-world application to instructional material is a well-known key to learning. These students are actual reporters generating actual news content about the events going on across Oklahoma. They are responsible for the content they produce and are held to the same journalistic standards as other journalists. The educational value of such an experience is priceless. 

I encourage everyone reading this to engage with ENN on social media, offer feedback, and see for yourself the outstanding work being produced by our very own EPIC students. I think you’ll be impressed. I know I am. 

Dare Greatly, 

Bart

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