Rural Education

October 01, 2003 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Out of Print

When the doors were locked this past summer at Bibb Graves High School in Millerville, Ala., the little community 65 miles southeast of Birmingham lost more than a campus where generations went to school. It lost the local newspaper.

The Community Connection, written, edited, and delivered by the journalism class at Bibb Graves, published its final edition in June.

The newspaper was part of a University of Alabama program that helped start or bring back newspapers in rural areas. The paper at Bibb Graves had just won a state award for its reporting, and it had covered the debate that eventually ended with the demise of the 330- student, K-12 campus. (“Making the Connection,” Dec. 11, 2002.)

The Clay County school board decided to shut down Bibb Graves in a series of back-and-forth votes during the past year. In June, a federal court upheld the closing, much to the chagrin of journalism teacher Pamela Horn and some Bibb Graves students, who rode buses to Birmingham to protest the court’s action. Another school, Mellow Valley High, also was closed by the district.

The county superintendent said the closings would save money and strengthen academic offerings at the area’s two remaining high schools. But a private Christian school has opened at Mellow Valley, taking about 200 students from the public schools. That exodus could cost the district $2 million in lost enrollment-based aid from the state.

Now teaching journalism at Clay County High School in Ashland, Ala., Ms. Horn has helped start The Paw Print, a newspaper that focuses on her new school rather than on the community at large.

Ms. Horn said she finds inspiration in students such as Brodrick Thomas, a junior who followed her to Clay County High from Bibb Graves. He recently wrote a moving essay about their old school. By keeping up with students from that school, Ms. Horn tries to contain the hurt associated with the closing of Bibb Graves—and its newspaper. The students “are my saving grace,” she said.

Alan Richard


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
Challenging the Stigma: Emotions and STEM
STEM isn't just equations and logic. Join this webinar and discover how emotions fuel innovation, creativity, & problem-solving in STEM!
Content provided by Project Lead The Way

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: February 7, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 31, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education In Their Own Words The Stories That Stuck With Us, 2023 Edition
Our newsroom selected five stories as among the highlights of our work. Here's why.
4 min read
102523 IMSE Reading BS
Adria Malcolm for Education Week