The Spartan Forum


Keshavan Badri, Forum Writer

The Spartan Forum, Skyline High School’s student-led news organization, has undergone a remarkable transformation under the leadership of teacher Ryer Ulland. The Spartan Forum has evolved into a dynamic online news outlet where students collaborate in the class of Journalism to publish captivating articles both about local and global news.

According to Ulland, the move to online journalism was an opportunity to expose his students to the ever-changing landscape of digital media.

“I wanted to give the students an opportunity to learn about online journalism and digital media,” Ulland said. “It’s crucial for them to be familiar with different formats and platforms as technology continues to evolve.”

The shift has given the Spartan Forum the opportunity to be read by anybody. The virtual newspaper that is now on the “world’s stage” has to be more accurate and write more captivating articles than before the transition.

“Being online has allowed us to reach a larger audience and get our stories out there more quickly,” Ulland said. “But it’s also made us more accountable. We have to be more careful about the accuracy and credibility of our reporting because anyone can fact-check us online.”

Despite the challenges posed by the Forum by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ulland and his students have persevered in their commitment to producing quality journalism. Through remote learning, they found ways to collaborate and produce content that is both engaging and informative.

“Students have been remarkably resilient and work around the changes made,” Ulland said. “They’ve adapted to the new format and found ways to work together despite the distance.”

The news organization is highly collaborative, with students driving the direction of the paper. They choose their own topics, and contact sources related to the article for accurate reporting. The class includes teams for social media promotion, web management, and photojournalism where journalists work together in promoting the Forum, managing the website, and reviewing each other’s articles. This allows students to hone their skills in various areas of journalism and teamwork.

“Students have the freedom to choose what they want to write about, and this really empowers them to take ownership of their work,” Ulland said. “It’s amazing to see the level of creativity and passion they bring to the class, and how they work together to create a high-quality publication.”

The student driven-class has Ulland serving as a mentor rather than a traditional teacher. 

“I try to give the students as much autonomy and control as possible,” Ulland said. “They come up with their own story ideas and work together to produce the content. My role is to provide guidance and support, but ultimately it’s their paper and their voice.”

He believes that students learn best when they are engaged and passionate about their work, his approach to teaching is centered around creating a fun and interesting learning environment.

“The class is designed to be hands-on and interactive, and we have a lot of fun exploring different topics and ideas,” Ulland said. “I want the students to feel like they are part of something special, and that their contributions are valued and important.”

Through this student-centered approach, the Spartan Forum has become a hub of creativity and collaboration. Students are encouraged to experiment with different forms of storytelling and media and to explore their interests and passions through their writing.

“The students bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the class, and I’m constantly amazed by their ideas and insights,” Ulland said. “It’s a privilege to work with them and to see them grow and develop as journalists and storytellers.”

Ultimately, Ulland’s goal is to inspire his students to pursue careers in journalism and media, and to instill in them a lifelong passion for learning and discovery with the Spartan Forum as a conduit for students to grow their skills.