Patrick Graham is the owner of The Walton Tribune, The Covington News, The Sand Mountain Reporter (Albertville, Alabama), Times-Journal (Fort Payne, Alabama) and Jackson County Sentinel (Scottsboro, Alabama). He is a graduate of the University of Alabama.

Students across Walton County are back in class for the new school year.

They have kicked off the new year with textbooks, tablets and supplies in hand. Here at The Tribune, we want to make sure and put another instructional tool in the hands of local students as well.

That tool? The newspaper.

The Newspaper In Education program or NIE program is a more than decade- long partnership between The Walton Tribune, the business community and local schools enabling students and teachers across the county to use the newspaper in the classroom at no cost to local schools or school systems.

Through NIE, teachers and students receive newspapers every publication day (Wednesdays and weekends) during the school year, utilizing age-appropriate lesson plans provided by the newspaper to take advantage of the one-of-a-kind “living textbook” opportunity the newspaper represents. While reading and writing are areas the paper can really help students develop, it can also be utilized in subjects across the board — from math, to social studies to family and consumer sciences — and by all age groups.

Through the years the program has been utilized by thousands of teachers and students in the paper’s coverage area. In fact, many local teachers, like Tricia Brown of Monroe Area High School for example, have been part of NIE from the beginning and are strong advocates of the program.

“I love receiving The Walton Tribune in my classroom twice a week,” Brown said when asked about NIE. “My students start up or warm up every day is ‘In the News’ where they have to read at least two current events going on around the community and world. They also have to choose a business-related story since they are in a business class. On Mondays and Wednesdays they are asked to use The Walton Tribune to get their articles.

“I also encourage the students to take the paper home and share it with their parents or guardians so they too can be informed with what is going on in the community in which they live.

“Lastly, students love to see themselves in the paper! I sponsor the Future Business Leaders of America and I submit our news and celebrations frequently. When my members are in the paper, I always give them a copy to share with their families! Again, I love receiving The Walton Tribune in my classroom!”

Helping students and teachers through the NIE program is one of the best things we do as a newspaper, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without the generosity of sponsors. However, we need even more sponsors so we can expand the program’s reach and provide newspapers to even more local students and teachers.

Whether a business or an individual, all are welcome to contribute to the NIE cause. If you would like to partner with us on the NIE program, please contact me at 770-267-2443 or at patrick.graham@waltontribune.com in order to discuss the program in greater detail.

NIE helps students become better readers and better leaders. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

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