The ACEE newsletter, The Catalyst , is a printed newsletter. Its primary audience is teachers, faculty, staff, and AmeriCorps members at Sanchez. The primary mission was to keep school personnel, especially teachers, updated on and excited about what ACEE is up to, and
to share instructional information about activities ACEE members are doing with their focus children that might be useful or interesting to the teachers. It provides a written record of what AmeriCorps members offer the school and the impact they are having.
Brian Murdock, ACEE Program Director, notes, "We thought
about sending it out to parents, but the translation of the newsletter into Spanish made that impractical, given its size."
It's your responsibility to solicit articles, information, artwork and photos for The Catalyst from AmeriCorps members and teachers, to write articles for the newsletter, and to either lay out, make copies and distribute the newsletter, or, oversee an AmeriCorps member or other volunteer to do this for you. You will also want to find at least one person willing to proofread the draft of the newsletter before it is sent out.
In the Spring of 2000, the newsletter was published monthly. You can keep up this monthly schedule, or change to every other month, but do make sure you stick with the schedule you create (for instance, if it's a monthly publication, what day will it come out each month?).
Brainstorm article ideas with AmeriCorps members at the regular weekly meetings. Stress "punchy" (exciting) writing, good grammar and spelling, and ownership of this publication by the AmeriCorps members (remember that it provides a written record of what they offer the school and the impact they are having). Set deadlines for information to be submitted, talk about what format this information should be submitted (on disk in text? via e-mail?), and make assignments for the first issue (both who will write what and who will lay out the publication, make copies, and take care of distribution).
You will need to call, e-mail, and remind AmeriCorps members a few days before their assignments are due!
When you have your material for the newsletter, you can use whatever computer application you find easiest to produce this newsletter.
Past VISTA managers have used Adobe Pagemaker, which is installed in the AmeriCorps computer. These are some tips for using PageMaker to produce this newsletter:
To find the Adobe Pagemaker application, go into programs on the desktop and look for "PageMaker" or do a "search for PageMaker". When you find it, open the program, then start a new document (go to the first topic on the tool bar and click on 'new'). Then a screen will pop up and ask you how many columns and pages you want. Enter the number (usually two columns and four pages) and hit enter.
Once you have layed out a version of the newsletter, you will need to proofread it, and have someone else proofread it as well. Both of you should have deadlines of two or three days to review the publication and offer suggested changes. Then you will need to create the final version of the newsletter and get it ready for copying.
You can also open the other newsletters (go to 'open' and
you should see the most recent newsletters just click on
one) as a template. Open one and then choose "Save As" and rename the document. Then cut and paste your information from text.
To add copy (a story or words) just go to the icon on the
tool bar with an "a" and make a box with it and start to
type. To see your words or proof read a story, just go to
'Zoom in or out". To add pictures or sketches, first scan
them in, save them onto a disk. To retrieve them and
place them onto a page on the newsletter, go to File ,
then 'place', then a screen with pop up and ask where. Go
to drive a: and find it under the saved name and then hit
place. An icon the looks like an incomplete square with
stuff written in it will turn into your cursor. Now place
the cursor where ever you would like to place that
picture. Once you place it, you can re-size it by
clicking on the sides and shrinking it or expanding it.
Make sure when you scan it to touch it up and crop it down
to the size you need, it will help. Helpful hint: use
the 'help' topic at the end of the tool bar when needed,
most of your questions can be answered there.
Make copies of the newsletter on the school copy machine. Distribute the copies into all teacher's and staff mail boxes.
At the same time you prepare the newsletter to be copied, you also need to take the final versions of stories and put them into text-only formats, one article per one file. You then to either have a volunteer prepare these for the ACEE web site (http://www.utdanacenter.org/acee), or, you need to forward these articles to Jayne Cravens and ask her if the online volunteers for the Virtual Volunteering Project can do this. If you decide to find volunteers yourself to put these articles on the web, see the section of this handbook on volunteer recruitment.