South Row fourth graders launch student newspaper

CHELMSFORD, Massachusetts (March 5, 2024) – Fourth graders at South Row Elementary School have published their very first edition of the South Row Times, a new student newspaper. And they are already hard at work on the next one.

Fourth grade teacher Beth-Ann Mathews is advising the students with the endeavor, explaining that it’s an experience that will better prepare them for middle and high school.

“Years and years ago, my daughter came through South Row,” she said. “The principal at the time was really into writing and she created a newspaper. The kids would come before school and she would work with them in creating this newspaper. And I thought, what a cool thing to have young kids learn about.”

With a relatively new fourth grade student council, Ms. Mathews said she thought those children would be the perfect ones to manage a newspaper.

“One thing I’ve always wanted to do was to get kids involved in something like that,” she said. “The kids [in student council] are already invested in wanting to be a part of the school.”

About a dozen students signed up to volunteer their time to the project, and began working on the first edition.

“We started with just giving them the topics, something simple, interview each grade level, find out what’s happening,” Ms. Mathews said, adding that the students had to learn how to be reporters and what questions to ask. “And they’ve really enjoyed it.”

For the second edition, Ms. Mathews said the students were responsible for choosing the content.

“They’ve come up with amazing topics,” she said. “One wants to do comics. Other groups are thinking of doing an advice column and a poetry column … and a book review column.”

Ms. Mathews said she created the newspaper in Google Slides.

“It has pictures and things, so we’ll just print it and make sure everyone has a copy,” she said, adding that additional copies will be made for distribution. “And then they can go and deliver it to whoever they interviewed.”

Fourth graders Elin Haas and Madison Williams are two of the students who are taking time out of their recess periods each week to work on the newspaper.

“It’s fun because you get to interview the teachers,” said Ms. Haas.

Ms. Williams said she is excited to share her hard work with others.

“I like it because we get to publish it and then everybody gets to read it,” she said.

Though they aren’t sure whether they will seek out careers in journalism in the future, Ms. Haas said she and Ms. Williams are enjoying the experience.

“It’s just something that we’re experimenting with,” she said. “But we do really love it.”

View the first edition of the South Row Times here.

About Chelmsford Public Schools

The Chelmsford Public School District provides all students with multiple pathways to optimize their own potential for academic excellence, leadership, and social and emotional wellness. The mission of the Chelmsford Public Schools is to educate, engage, prepare, and empower well-rounded and knowledgeable learners to PERSEVERE through challenges, demonstrate RESPECT and INTEGRITY in their words and actions, are DEDICATED to their community, and display EMPATHY as global citizens while discovering and pursuing their full potential.  This PRIDE-driven culture enables all members of the school community to support the growth and development of students.  For more information, please visit