After shrinking to several class offerings, the journalism curriculum at Buhler High School is slated to double next year.

The school won’t revive a print newspaper that fell victim earlier in this century to rising print costs, but students will continue to produce online “The Buhler Crusader,” launched last October at thebuhlercrusader.org

Also, an envisioned Public Relations & Marketing class could produce a literary and fine arts magazine - one per semester - that promotes Buhler High School and students’ work. A Beginning Magazine Production class would be a prerequisite class for students who want to take Digital Media Design & Production, which will produce “The Mangonel,” the yearbook for Buhler High School. Topics in Journalism and Beginning Photojournalism also would be available course selections. 

All the classes would be included in career and technical education pathways, and Beginning Journalism would carry a semester credit toward the necessary English Language Arts credits at the high school.

"I think we’ve got to fight the trend,” said Buhler High School teacher Sarah Berblinger, who took over the journalism classes in fall 2018.

“Social media is sort of a breeding ground for fake news,” she said.

As she described to the Buhler USD 313 Board of Education Wednesday night what would be taught in each class in the expanded curriculum, Berblinger repeatedly said students would be taught to take the ethical approach to journalism.

If students don’t sign up for the expanded journalism offerings, Berblinger would teach a freshman English course, but USD 313 Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Instruction Cindy Couchman expressed confidence students will enroll in the classes.

The enrollment in an introduction to yearbook production class had one student initially in fall 2018, but the enrollment this semester is ten students.

“It’s a dream that I think can become a quick reality,” Berblinger said of an expanded program.

School board member Laura Meyer Dick said Public Relations & Marketing would introduce students to a career that spans across a multitude of interests. Students also would develop business skills as they sell advertising, Berblinger pointed out.

The USD 313 board gave the go-ahead to the expansion at its meeting.

This region’s new member on the Kansas State Board of Education, Ben Jones, Sterling, attended the opening of the Buhler USD 313 board meeting, giving officials an update of the state board’s activities. “My biggest concern,” Jones said, is “standing up for rural schools.” Most of the ten members on the state board represent urban areas. 

Jones said he believes in local control of schools, but invited the public to contact him - bjones@ksde.org - with questions or issues.

Among personnel changes the Buhler USD board accepted were the resignations at the end of June of the district’s Business Manager Perry McCabe and Plum Creek Elementary School Principal John Schulte.

McCabe is retiring, and Schulte and his wife wanted to move back to the Kansas City area so they could raise their children near grandparents and extended family.