MIDDLE SCHOOL COURSES

Student Leadership

This project-based course is designed for students with a serious interest in leadership. Classwork centers on discussion, development, and implementation of crucial aspects of good leadership (teamwork, self-awareness, effective communication, conflict resolution, etc.). Students reflect on their beliefs and opinions about leadership, exchange ideas and perspectives with their peers, and then apply what they learn to a project proposal. Students engage in in-class activities designed to help them put theory into practice. These activities enable students to identify their leadership style and recognize the strengths and contributions of others. In the final project, students consider the type of leader they are currently and the work they would like to do to benefit the Harvard-Westlake community. Elected ninth- and eighth-grade Student Council senators are required to enroll in this course.

Newsmagazine Journalism

Students apply journalistic skills to produce Spectrum, the middle school newsmagazine: writing articles, conducting interviews, assigning stories, laying out pages, and editing. Editors assist the faculty advisor in setting policy, participate in meetings, supervise sections of the magazine, and oversee layout and design of the publication. Students should expect to spend several hours each issue researching and writing stories; they are required to stay after school the week before publication if they do not finish their articles in class. Prerequisite: Media for the Modern Age, taken previously or concurrently.

Media for the Modern Age

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of publication writing, design, and production. Students learn to interview and write news, feature, sports, opinion, and review articles. Design skills are developed through the use of Adobe® Photoshop® and InDesign® as students create news and feature layouts. The course provides a strong foundation in responsible journalism and student press law and is a prerequisite for Newsmagazine Journalism, Introduction to Yearbook Journalism I, Introduction to Yearbook Journalism II, and Introduction to Broadcast Journalism.

Introduction to Broadcast Journalism

This course introduces broadcast journalism basics through podcasting. Students write and produce news, sports, opinion, and original programs for Harvard-Westlake outlets: Spectrum, Chronicle, and KHWS. They use studio and field equipment and editing software to create audio-only content. Prerequisite: Media for the Modern Age, taken previously or concurrently.

Introduction to Yearbook Journalism I

Students cover middle school student life, special events, activities, and organizations for the yearbook. They make editorial decisions and are responsible for page layouts and designs. Management skills are developed as students learn to meet deadlines and communicate with the upper school yearbook student staff. Students are introduced to basic concepts in yearbook design and to the production values and procedures of the Harvard-Westlake Vox Populi yearbook. Introduction to Digital Photography is strongly recommended and may be taken concurrently. Students must attend labor-intensive layout sessions three weekends per semester and spend several hours each deadline on photography, research, and writing stories. Prerequisite: Media for the Modern Age, taken previously or concurrently.

Introduction to Yearbook Journalism II

Students spend the spring semester meeting final yearbook deadlines and completing The Tenth Muse, the middle school’s literary magazine, and Pathways, the middle school’s community service magazine. Students continue to attend labor-intensive layout sessions three weekends per semester and spend several hours each deadline on photography, research, and writing stories. Students taking Introduction to Yearbook Journalism I are encouraged to also enroll in this course. Prerequisite: Media for the Modern Age, taken previously or concurrently.

Public Speaking

Students learn to express themselves with confidence and clarity. The course is designed to develop presentation, listening, and critical-thinking skills. Students become aware of the elements of verbal and non-verbal communication and how to effectively incorporate visual aids. They deliver both impromptu and prepared speeches, including biographical introductions, informative “how-to” explanations, and persuasive arguments. Students gain additional insights into the basics of good public speaking by watching and critiquing speeches. They provide constructive feedback to their peers, articulating insights that can be applied to improve their own performances as well as to help others.

Debate

This introductory course is designed to teach parliamentary-style debate. Students explore both sides of an argument, support their points with evidence, and effectively communicate their positions. Key skills include public speaking, argumentation, reasoning, comprehension of empirical evidence and data, source analysis, refutation, research, note taking, rhetoric, and teamwork. During class, students work in groups to create research outlines, write and practice delivering speeches, and debate each other.

UPPER SCHOOL COURSES

Modern Journalism I

Members of this class learn ethics and best practices for digital and print journalism. Serving on the Chronicle, Big Red, and Panorama staffs, students interview; report; write; produce infographics, video, and audio; and use social media to cover the news. First semester lays a foundation of best practices for scholastic journalism. Second semester offers greater autonomy and the opportunity to specialize in photography or video journalism. Students are expected to make time outside of class to research and prepare articles and assist with occasional weekend print-layout deadlines. There are some quizzes but no final examinations. Prerequisite: A middle school journalism course.

Modern Journalism II

Students are reporters for the Chronicle website, Chronicle newspaper, and Big Red and Panorama magazines. Working in section teams, students interview, report, write, and design for immediate publication and longer-term assignments. They create industry-standard infographics, video, and audio. Students cover a news beat, produce articles, and learn how to manage peers. They are expected to work independently outside of class and sometimes on weekends. There are no quizzes or examinations. Prerequisite: Modern Journalism I and permission of current instructor.

Modern Journalism III

Students develop advanced journalism skills serving as editors of the Chronicle, Big Red, and Panorama, student-run, nationally recognized publications. Students produce digital, print, photographic, and video journalism; sell advertising; oversee daily digital operations; and manage a regular print publication schedule. This class also works with the staffs of HWTV and the Harvard-Westlake Vox Populi yearbook. Senior editors serve on the Editorial Review Board, determining policy and content. Senior reporters, photographers, and videographers mentor younger students. Independent work outside of class and on weekend layout sessions is required. This fast-paced course emphasizes ethical leadership and appreciation for First-Amendment issues. Prerequisite: Modern Journalism II and permission of current instructor.

Live Sports Broadcasting

Students learn to produce different types of prerecorded and live sports programs. The curriculum includes multilevel development of all audio and video equipment operation; statistical gathering and analysis; on-screen graphics creation; play-by-play and color commentary skills; and editing of sports packages, video profiles, and highlight reels. Productions appear on all school and social media platforms. Students from this class serve in supervisory and peer-teaching positions during HWTV broadcasts. All sports are covered, but an emphasis is placed on those competing during the semester in which the course is taken.

Broadcast Journalism I

During the first semester, students develop skills to write, direct, produce, and edit four distinct styles of audio news story production. They learn how to use a variety of studio and field-based equipment to produce content for SportsReport, CampusNews, podcasts, and the online Chronicle. In the second semester, students acquire skills to write, direct, produce, and edit their first complete video/audio news package. In addition to acquiring an understanding of the news production team, students gain appreciation of the responsibilities that come with producing reliable news broadcasts.

Broadcast Journalism II

Students assume leadership roles in the production of content for SportsReport, CampusNews, podcasts, and the online Chronicle. In addition, they continue to develop investigative reporting skills and produce longer-form news packages. Students attend weekly production meetings and spend most of their time researching, writing, and producing news and sports stories. They are evaluated on the quality of their reporting, writing, and production, as well as their continuing contributions to the news team. Prerequisite: Broadcast Journalism I.

Broadcast Journalism III

Students assume producer roles for SportsReport, CampusNews, podcasts, and the Chronicle website with the opportunity to develop new broadcast content. Students organize and run weekly production meetings and sit on the Chronicle management team’s digital committee. They are evaluated on the quality of the shows they produce, as well as on their own reporting, writing, producing, participation, and contributions to the betterment of the news team. Prerequisite: Broadcast Journalism II.

Yearbook Journalism I

Students help to create the school yearbook, Vox Populi. The topics covered include principles of design and layout, caption writing, feature writing, photojournalism, advertising, and budgeting. Sophomores who have worked on the yearbook at the middle school and students taking yearbook for the first time enroll in this course. A strong emphasis is placed on developing leadership skills to prepare students to be editors as juniors and seniors. Students must attend labor-intensive layout sessions six weekends per year and spend several hours each deadline on photography, research, and writing stories. Prerequisite: A middle school journalism course.

Yearbook Journalism II

Students are the page editors and photographers of the school yearbook. Editors provide the structure for the development of the yearbook, while page editors have specific areas of responsibility. Students research, write, take pictures, and design spreads. Page editors are encouraged to attend the summer journalism conference. Students must attend labor-intensive layout sessions six weekends per year and spend several hours each deadline on photography, research, and writing stories. Prerequisite: Yearbook Journalism I.

Yearbook Journalism III

The senior editors of the school yearbook enroll in this course. Each editor has a specific area of responsibility and is expected to attend a summer journalism workshop. Editors supervise the work of other students and are responsible for creating the yearbook. Seniors must organize and attend labor-intensive layout sessions six weekends per year and spend several hours each deadline on photography, research, and writing stories. Prerequisite: Yearbook Journalism II.