School’s journalism class back this fall

The student editor-in-chief of MavLife, La Costa Canyon High School's student newspaper, is protesting the cutting of the journalism class after recent controversial coverage.

The student editor-in-chief of MavLife, La Costa Canyon High School’s student newspaper, is protesting the cutting of the journalism class after recent controversial coverage.

Jessica LaFontaine

La Costa Canyon High School will no longer be removing the journalism class that produces the school newspaper, MavLife, from the class schedule. Instead, the class will be combined with the broadcasting journalism class, which produces the school television newscast.

Classes resumed Aug. 27.

Anthony Fregoso, MavLife student sports editor, wrote an editorial that sparked debate last spring. The article was critical of Principal Kyle Ruggles and other administrators over the decision to cut Athletic Director Kari DiGiulio, along with the position entirely.

Shortly after the publication of the article in March, school administration announced the journalism class would be cut from the curriculum due to low enrollment numbers.

Students from the journalism class appealed the decision to the San Dieguito Union High School District Board of Trustees at the superintendent level, spoke to local news outlets and met with school administrators several times about the issue.

Despite their efforts to keep the class, the administration told students the newspaper would have to continue as an extracurricular activity, not as a class.

Jessica LaFontaine is a San Diego freelance writer

At the close of the school year in June, students learned from their adviser that the class would survive another year, but with a twist – it would be combined with the broadcast journalism class.

“I’m really pleased that we are able to offer this opportunity to the students, and I believe its aligned with the way journalism and communication is happening in our county in this time,” Ruggles said.

Ruggles referenced U-T San Diego’s addition of U-T TV and said he believes that combining print and broadcast journalism will be beneficial to the students.

The class will be taught by journalism teacher Suzi Van Steenbergen and broadcast journalism instructor Scott Jordon in a large, divided classroom. Ruggles explained that there will be some overlap, but the classes will mostly be taught separately.

The class was initially going to be canceled due to low enrollment, and while Ruggles said he does not know exactly how many students will be enrolled in the combination class this fall, “there will be enough students to keep the course.”

As the enrollment numbers and budget dictated the previous decision to cut the class, some question the longevity of the decision with the payment of two teachers for one class.

Editor-in-Chief Megan Mineiro said she was elated when she discovered the class would remain.  However, the principal never informed the students of the decision.

“He never came to us and told us or anything,” Mineiro said.

Mineiro said she believes the media attention the controversy got helped them resolve the issue and fight to keep the class.

“I feel completely relieved that they decided to keep the class,” Mineiro said. “I think it’s a good solution by combining the class with the broadcasting class.”

The decision to keep the class was achieved by the district office and high school administration coming together. The question of whether it’s a temporary fix or a long-term solution still remains.

“We’re going to have to see how this school year progresses,” Ruggles said. “I hope that we’ll be able to offer journalism on a more consistent basis.”