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Mark Newton wins Apple Award for Secondary Education

Mark Newton

HIGHLANDS RANCH - Molding young, impressionable minds into a professional level journalist is quite the challenge. In the fast-paced world of 21st century journalism, digital natives at Mountain Vista High School are at the top of their game.

“It makes me very proud to know that our work is at a top level where we can consider ourselves to be competitive with some different professional publications,” said Taylor Blachford, a MVHS senior. “I’m proud of the standards we hold ourselves to.”

For Mountain Vista High School journalism teacher Mark Newton, his class is a real-world journalistic experience that his students fully appreciate and understand.

“That’s really empowering to the kids to know that they have a voice, and that voice means something,” said Newton.  “That voice is about other people’s voices too - about bringing awareness and empathy into the world we live in, and if we can do that with all the 21st century skills our digital natives are used to, then all the better.”

Newton’s approach is something that engages the students in the multi-faceted world of 21st century journalism and multimedia. 

“I think he pushes kids to incredible high levels of thinking and performance and gets the most out of every kid he works with,” said MVHS Principal Michael Weaver.

The award-winning Mountain Vista journalism program offers a hands-on experience in yearbook, magazine, broadcast, web and social media, which is all driven by technological platforms and student-developed applications.

“By empowering them, we want them to take a look at the world around them, cover the issues that are important to them; we want them to address issues that are critical to their success whether that be at school or the world,” said Newton.

“The one thing that I really believe about kids is that when you engage them and give them that voice that they will respond in ways that are incredibly powerful.”

“I love working with him; he really has a passion for this and he really wants to encourage us to have a passion also,” said Mark Maggs, MVHS senior.  “There was really no way I could do it on my own without Newton. I feel he was my main inspiration for doing this.”

Newton says the students acquire a knowledge that will extend far beyond his classroom and be an integral part of their lives’ success.

“If they take the skills from journalism class and apply them into whatever they want to do, they’re going to be so much better off in their college applications and the jobs they ask for, no matter what profession they’re going to be in,” said Newton.

For Newton and his students, incorporating the concept of the 4Cs is something that comes naturally in the journalism world.

“That’s what journalism is,” he said. “It’s all about creating content. It’s all about creative ways of showing it, presenting it, everything we do is about creation. You talk about communication, well, that’s the core of journalism. The last part is about critical thinking, and that’s what journalists do really well.”

March 6, 2014 | By rmbarber | Category: Apple Awards

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glowing purple lights hover over trays of seedlings in a dark room

It may look like a plain, white shipping container was just parked on the backyard grounds of Mountain Vista High School. The contents of the container are anything but plain, though. Walking inside the container, different colors of ambient lighting glow, futuristic-looking equipment and tall towers are suspended from the ceiling, and the humidity level is set to 70 percent. The container has been recycled into a new kind of learning opportunity for students.