Middle school students now have a voice! M.Y. Voice, the first Maryland magazine whose content is created by middle school students, will arrive in Maryland’s public middle schools in early December. The first issue features news and opinions – all authored by middle school students – about cyber bullying, the physics of skateboarding, Maryland’s “stinkbug problem”, and more.
M.Y. Voice, which is published by Maryland Life magazine, is produced in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and top educators and principals across the state. The “M.Y.” in the masthead stands for “Maryland Youth.”
There are more than 180,000 middle school students in Maryland. Each student will receive a free quarterly copy of M.Y. Voice through his or her school. Additional copies will be distributed to public libraries so that privately schooled and homeschooled students will also have access. The inaugural issue is sponsored by Baltimore Gas & Electric and Lockheed Martin, who are interested in engaging students in smart energy practices and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) initiatives, respectively
“We’re very excited about M.Y. Voice,” said Dan Patrell, President of Great State Publishing, LLC, and Publisher of Maryland Life and M.Y. Voice. “Because of Maryland Life’s role in celebrating Maryland’s history and culture, we’ve wanted, for some time now, to provide an outlet to extend this love and appreciation of state to Maryland youth. That we’re working directly with Maryland middle school students to make this happen makes this even more compelling.”
The origins of M.Y. Voice date back to conversations between Patrell, frequent Maryland Life contributor and children’s book author, Jennifer Keats Curtis, and Marlene Young, Honorary Chair of Maryland Life’s Maryland Board, and a founding member of the Board of Managers of the parent company, Great State Publishing, LLC. Early on, all witnessed the impact of Maryland Life’s stories of history and culture, travel and discovery, on students throughout the state. From the seeds of this recognition came the impetus for a statewide magazine for Maryland middle school students. “We recognized early on that for this youth magazine to make a dynamic, state-wide impact, we needed to involve experts in education,” said Young. “So, we reached out to Dr. Nancy Grasmick, then Superintendent of MSDE and a member of our Maryland Board.”
“After consulting with Dr. Darla Strouse of the MSDE, we concluded that by working with teachers and principals to shape content and enabling the students to provide it, we could make the most profound impact on our middle school students,” added Curtis, who has been named Editor of the magazine.
“Our sixth, seventh and eighth graders are talented and opinionated. And, they have a need to be heard about ideas and topics that are important to them. A publication written by them for their same-aged peers is a great means of achieving this goal.”
Guiding the creation of every issue is an Advisory Board made up of educators and principals (including many from Maryland’s Blue Ribbon schools) and key personnel from MSDE. At regular meetings, story ideas are vetted to make sure they conform to Maryland curriculum standards for middle school youth. With the stories set, Curtis works with teachers and students to produce professionally written stories – with photography and art – suitable for statewide publication through Maryland’s middle schools.
“We’re very proud of this partnership,” said Dr. Bernard Sadusky, Interim State Superintendent of Schools. “The publication showcases the talents of some of Maryland’s finest students. “
“I’m so happy to see this magazine come to fruition,” said Grasmick. “Maryland’s status as first in the nation for education is predicated on creative endeavors such as this one. I’m so proud to have played a role in its initial development.”
“Personally, I can’t wait to see what future issues hold!” said Strouse, Partnership and Recognition Programs, MSDE. “This first issue is packed with great stories from cover to cover– it’s a great read for parents, as well as students, and I’m sure many parents and teachers will want to read it, after their children are done with it.”
Great State Publishing, LLC, publishes Maryland Life magazine. Its first bi-monthly issue arrived January-February 2005. Since then, the magazine has won many awards for its work in celebrating the state. For more information on M.Y. Voice and Maryland Life, and for sample copies of both publications, contact Dan Patrell, 301 696 1060, or firstname.lastname@example.org.