special features

On the wall at Simpson Street is a feature editorial from the Wisconsin State Journal. The headline reads “Support State Reading Initiatives” and announces the launch of a bipartisan effort co-chaired by Tony Evers and Scott Walker. The editorial is dated September 12, 2012. [read more...]
One might wonder what possible connections there could be between child labor, Girl Scout cookies, and two girls on opposite sides of the world. The connection, as it turns out, is palm oil. [read more...]
Wisconsin has joined a growing list of states pushing to bring cursive lessons back into elementary school classrooms. [read more...]
The number of professional journalists covering the education beat has gone down. Across the United States more education reporters are retiring, taking buyouts, or being terminated. [read more...]
Egyptian authorities have released two journalists who spent more than a year in pre-trial detention. Defense attorneys told Associated Press reporters that Solafa Magdy and her husband Hossam el-Sayyad are staying with family members at their home in Cairo. Magdy is a multimedia reporter and el-Sayyad is a photographer. [read more...]
Low reading scores cause concern and debate around our country. Central to this national discussion are questions about how reading is taught in our schools. In fact, growing numbers of literacy experts say the way reading instruction is implemented in some American schools is outdated and ineffective. [read more...]
Sometimes people use the phrase “I could care less,” which is actually incorrect grammar. Or, at the very least, it’s not what the person meant to say. [read more...]
Legal experts and literacy advocates say a recent 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision will have significant implications in school districts and communities across the country. From Rhode Island to California, and in many states in between, lawsuits and court battles are poised to fundamentally change how Americans view student rights to literacy and education. [read more...]
Lionel Messi is a World Cup champion and record breaker, Messi is known to many as one of the best soccer player in history. [read more...]
Ever wondered why someone says “that’s just a tempest in a teapot” over an event that has nothing to do with tea? This expression is often a response to an overblown situation. [read more...]
Perhaps one of the best known heroines of history is Joan of Arc. Her bravery, conviction, and ultimate canonization has been an inspiration for men and women alike for centuries. One 1928 silent film captures the drama of her famous story as none other could. [read more...]
Every year, over 800 Wisconsin parents, youth, teachers, school faculty, and community members come together to attend Urban League’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Recognition Breakfast. [read more...]
Imagine a shining utopian city with flying cars, robots, and towering glass buildings filled with elaborate technology. Who do you see inhabiting this city? One concept might change your view: Afrofuturism. [read more...]
Simpson Street Free Press is flourishing. Our organization contributes to civic discourse and the greater Dane County community. SSFP students turn out quality articles and explore the world around us. We also know there were many dedicated student reporters who came before us. [read more...]
The “I Have A Dream” Ball is a Madison Tradition. And it’s much more. The annual event organized by Women In Focus is an important part of our community history. [read more...]
The Mallards Duck Pond at Warner Park came alive on Tuesday, August 22 to kick off the 2017 United Way campaign. About 900 volunteers from communities around Dane County gathered to launch a new “Season of Caring” initiative. [read more...]
The term “metropolis” is typically used to refer to a large, bustling city with tall buildings and constant movement. A 1927 silent movie by the same name made cinematographic history, and despite its subtle-but-strong influence on popular culture, you’ve likely never even heard of it. [read more...]
There are dozens. The names are too many to mention in a short newspaper column. But nobody changed my life more than the Free Press volunteers who helped me learn to read and write. They sat with me and coached me and encouraged me. [read more...]
Dr. Jack Daniels recently announced in a press conference that Madison Area Technical College will open a new campus on the south side of Madison in 2019. The college also announced a new partnership with the Madison School district. The plan is to open an expanded campus able to serve as many as 5500 students. [read more...]
Michelle Richardson came into our office with a smile on her face and a map in her hand. She is the GIS Analyst at the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department. We spent the morning discussing her career, personal life, and experiences working at the department. She was very kind and conversational, asking us about our school and lives. [read more...]
The Simpson Street Free Press interns for the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department recently had the chance to attend a teaching workshop at the UW- Madison Arboretum. It was hosted by the Latino Earth Partnership, an organization that works to promote collaboration between educators and Latino communities. [read more...]
Recently, Simpson Street Free Press staff and students had the remarkable opportunity to meet and talk with Hip Hop Caucus CEO Reverend Lennox Yearwood at the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters’ 15th anniversary celebration. [read more...]
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a great word—phrase even—simply because of how fun it is to say. [read more...]
In 2004, scientists unearthed evidence of the oldest tiger ever discovered. Found in northwestern China, the skull of the extinct, jaguar-sized tiger dates back 2.16 to 2.55 million years. [read more...]
Vine, a worldwide app run by Twitter, enabled users to create six-second videos and post them online for others to view, like, and share. Bought from entrepreneurs Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll by Twitter in October of 2012, Vine faced a lack of funding from its beginning. Despite the pleas of many, Vine owners officially shut down their mobile app in 2016. [read more...]
‘‘It really looked like it was flying,’’ said a professor at Barry University in Florida and marine biologist Silvia Maciá. She was referring not to a bird, but to a squid. Squid are usually expected to live near the bottom of the ocean, and considering, Marcia’s statement seemed quite odd. [read more...]
Can coffee stunt your growth? No. While you may have been told this myth when you were little, there is actually no scientific evidence to back this claim. [read more...]
Verona Area High School students camped out overnight last week to raise awareness about local poverty. [read more...]
UNA Mutual Group Foundation announced that it will donate $183,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters Dane County at the latter’s recent graduation celebration for students. [read more...]
American Girl will host its annual benefit sale to help the Madison Children's Museum and its own Fund for Children this summer. This sale is a very popular event and typically brings in nearly 1 million dollars each year. [read more...]
Critiques of news organizations have been at the center of recent political and public rhetoric. Nevertheless, a recent poll yielded promising results for the news industry: over half of the population is willing to pay for news. [read more...]
Following a contentious 5-2 vote by the Madison School Board, James C. Wright Middle School will be the first school in the Madison Metropolitan School District to require students to wear uniforms. [read more...]
When Simpson Street Free Press (SSFP) director Jim asked me if I knew what the phrase “giving someone the cold shoulder” meant, I thought about it for a while and realized that, though I have heard the phrase, I don’t actually know what it means. Mckenna, an SSFP editor, overheard and offered an explanation. She said that people use this phrase when they want to ignore someone, as a sign of dislike. I began to think about it, but it still didn’t seem to make sense; why does “giving the cold shoulder” mean something negative? [read more...]
Sleep Inn hotel, tucked away at 4802 Tradewinds Parkway in south Madison, will soon receive an upgrade. Developers plan to nearly double the accommodations offered at this location with the construction of a MainStay Suites hotel. [read more...]
One effective way to conserve is to spread awareness about environmental issues. We at Simpson Street Free Press know this well and emphasize energy and environment topics in our curriculum. Members of the Wisconsin chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) recently visited our South Towne newsroom to present a panel around the theme “Conservation and the Environment.” [read more...]
Hundreds of individuals were arrested in Moscow during an opposition rally Sunday. Alec Luhn, a journalist working in Russia for The Guardian, was among the arrested. [read more...]
Last Saturday, a team of Simpson Street Free Press reporters attended the Kingdom Justice Summit put together by Door Creek Church and at the downtown Upper House. While most people might not willingly go to church early on a Saturday, we found ourselves awake, and even dancing -- under the influence of coffee and music. The worship team included members from ten different local churches -- a fact that exemplifies the spirit and unity of the event. Representatives of several different churches throughout the Midwest were among the conference’s attendees. [read more...]
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced recently that it will match any donation to the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, up to $1,000, through January 19, 2017. [read more...]
For many, 2016 may not have been the best year, but we sure had a great time at Simpson Street Free Press. I want to tell you about some of my best experiences at SSFP in 2016. In the midst of all the good moments, five rise to the top. [read more...]
Beloved political reporter and groundbreaking journalist Gwen Ifill passed away early last week at the age of 61 following a private battle with uterine cancer. Ms. Ifill was well-known and respected for her coverage of the White House and national campaigns and for her work with The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC, and PBS. [read more...]
Marianne Morton, Executive Director at Common Wealth Development, announced her retirement after 35 years working for the company. Morton began working at Common Wealth as a VISTA volunteer with the AmeriCorps program and was hired as permanent staff in 1983. From there, she rose through the ranks. [read more...]
Recently, some of SSFP's teen editors including Enjoyiana, Diamond, Dija, Sylvan, Jackie, and Leila gathered at the Chazen Museum of Art to view an exhibit on 20th Century sculpture. Our wonderful volunteer editor Jane Coleman planned the outing. Mary Brennan, a friend of the Free Press, greeted us as we entered; an experienced docent, Mary acted as our guide. As we walked up the stairs to the exhibit, Mary provided us with a little background. [read more...]
Recently, during a Simpson Street Free Press teen editor meeting, we were visited by a wonderful, high-achieving woman. We were lucky, and we quickly proceeded to pick her brain. Joan Collins has made a career of being a journalist, media consultant, and publicist. She started young. At age 11, she began her very own newspaper called The Neighborhood Chatterbox. [read more...]
After 39 years in business, the south side's beloved Badger Bowl is closing. Town Chairman Jim Campbell said the owners of the bowling alley and music venue decided to sell the property to a luxury car dealership, the Illinois-based Field Enterprises. [read more...]
Completing college is a milestone that improves quality of life and future earning potential. But for many graduating high school seniors, high tuition fees are a barrier to attending college. To help bridge the gap for lower-income students, Madison College (MATC) has launched the Scholars of Promise program. [read more...]
American Girl, the Middleton-based toy company and long-time friend of Simpson Street Free Press, recently signed a multi-year agreement with Scholastic, publisher and distributor of children’s books. [read more...]
Besides checking on your friends, what do you do on Facebook? Well, if you check the upper right corner of your screen, you will see one-eighth of the page devoted to “Trending News,” which supposedly shows a selection of the days' most popular stories. But a recent article in Gizmodo, revealed that this “Trending News” isn’t actually trending at all. Instead, Facebook hired a team of “news curators,” to handpick which stories “trend” each day. [read more...]
The ‘Maker Faire’ movement is sweeping the nation. And earlier this month, it took Madison by storm. [read more...]
I have always been a big fan of music. In my free time, I enjoy listening to Latin pop, Bachata, Reggaetón, hip-hop, and salsa. My dream is to become a professional singer just like Justin Bieber or Bob Marley. A couple weeks ago, I was at Simpson Street Free Press’ South Towne newsroom when I shared my dream with Mckenna, an assistant editor. She responded, “don’t quit your day job.” [read more...]
Simpson Street Free Press is known for hosting academic panels and events throughout the year. Especially vital to the Free Press curriculum is our “Women in Science, Math, and Technology” series. This April, two nuclear engineering students from University of Wisconsin-Madison’s American Nuclear Society (ANS) came to SSFP’s South Towne newsroom to deliver another event in this series. [read more...]
Every state treasures a legend, a story on which its reputation is built. Pennsylvania has Big Foot, Kentucky has a “portal to hell,” and Wisconsin has…underwater pyramids? Legend states that at the bottom of Rock Lake, a fishing hole east of Madison in the town of Lake Mills, lies ancient pyramids, a 200-foot-long figure made of rock, and ruins. [read more...]
2015. The year of Black Lives Matter, Caitlyn Jenner, same-sex marriage, and Rachel Dolezal. It seemed that with each passing month, 2015 continued to push, question, and challenge social norms and issues. [read more...]
FIFA is known as the most important name in the world of soccer. FIFA stands for Fédération International de Football Association. The FIFA world cup is one of the biggest sports events in the world. It is held every four years in a host country. The world cup is a big tournament where countries come together and compete. [read more...]
Recently, Simpson Street Free Press reporters ventured out of the City of Madison to Hubertus, WI. Excited and a little nervous, we headed out of the office on a horseback riding mission. We were a little uncertain about the weather, but we were determined to have an unforgettable field trip. [read more...]
We've all been there. You're at the store and see something you want, but you have no money. You're impecunious. [read more...]
Have you ever wondered what the inside of a technology company looks like and what goes on there? Recently, Simpson Street Free Press student reporters had the opportunity to visit Hardin Design and Development (HDD), a Madison software and application firm founded in 2008. Vice President and Co-founder of HDD Scott Resnick and HDD employee Anouson Bounket led us on a tour of the start-up company. We also had the chance to sit down with them and ask questions about what it’s like to work in the tech industry. [read more...]
I was recently accepted to “Conserve School,” an environmentally focused semester-long boarding school in Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin. The application process was relatively easy compared to the hard part: waiting for an answer from the school. [read more...]
The Barrymore Theatre played host to special guests this past Mother’s Day: Ann Imig and the cast of “Listen to Your Mother.” [read more...]
Have you ever heard the phrase “strike while the iron is hot”? Around the Simpson Street Free Press newsroom, we hear the phrase often. [read more...]
“All rocks are on a journey. They have a spirit, a power, a mystery: When you pick up those rocks make sure you put them back again.” --Mike Wiggins, Bad River Tribal Chairman. [read more...]
Even before the renovation, when the Goodman Library was just another block in the strip mall, my family and I have gone there to do everything from participating in movie nights, to finding a quiet corner and reading. [read more...]
It was a tranquil evening at the Free Press when editors Claire and Ben burst into the newsroom carrying freshly printed maps. The maps depicted the historical topography, or physical features, of the Mississippi river. [read more...]
At just seven-years-old and only in the second grade Samuel Garduño- Martinez, otherwise known as Samy, is the youngest staff writer in the history of Simpson Street Free Press. [read more...]
Margaret Jenks, music teacher at Van Hise Elementary school, accepted the first Award for Excellence in Music Education from the Madison Symphony Orchestra earlier this Spring. Created in partnership with Ward-Brodt Music, this award recognizes a passionate, dedicated, and innovative educator who positively effects the lives of students. [read more...]
We recently made a trip to downtown Madison. Simpson Street Free Press writers, Lucy Ji, Alex Lee, and Helen Zhang, visited the City-Council Building looking for another piece of local history. What we found was a little-known treasure that is both history and art. [read more...]
Co-founder and owner of Isthmus Publishing Company is selling to the owners of Red Card Media, an off-campus meal-card program for students. In a post on the Isthmus website Thursday, Vince O’ Hern announced the sale to a group including Craig Bartlett, Jeff Haupt, and former Green Bay Packer, Mark Tauscher. [read more...]
If you’re searching for a natural place to visit this summer, consider a visit to the Stower Seven Lakes State Trail in central Wisconsin. The area attracts families, photographers and naturalists, serving as a place for family recreation, as well as an opportunity to observe the land's natural resources and unique wildlife. The 14-mile trail spans various forms of vegetation, including the often-rare lotus flower in some areas during the right time of year. [read more...]
One bird you might see while traveling around Wisconsin is the black-capped chickadee. Black-capped chickadees are mid-sized and stocky. They have white under parts and stripes of olive color on their sides. They also have a patch of feathers atop their head that resembles a black cap. Their wings are dark with broad white marks on the edges of their feathers. [read more...]
The American Goldfinch, while native to Wisconsin, is also found throughout most of North America. [read more...]
Dane Buy Local, a non-profit organization founded in 2004 to generate a sustainable local economy through education and collaboration, is participating in “Independents Week.” This seven-day campaign, spanning June 27 to July 7, honors community entrepreneurship and local business members. [read more...]
Hoping to garner support for the national "buy local" movement, Dane Buy Local and the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) have declared June 27 through July 7, 2014 “Independents Week.” This week-long national campaign will reflect on economic democracy, local entrepreneurship, diversity, and community. [read more...]
As we Simpson Street Free Press reporters walked through the doors of Wright Middle School, we were thrilled and nervous to meet the former assistant principal of Hamilton Middle School, Dr. Angie Crawford. We are both former students of hers when she was assistant principal. Walking down the wide halls, we noticed many artworks done by students. On one side of the hall, we noticed an article about President Obama visiting the school's library, which really impressed us. As we continued down the halls, we finally arrived at Dr. Crawford's new, larger office, where she sat waiting for us. [read more...]
It was a bright and beautiful Wednesday afternoon when fellow staff writers, Antoneah Armour, Pallav Regmi, Victor Lien and I, went to visit Mahon Antique Restorations. Located less than five minutes from our south side newsroom, our editor told us this would be a good story. We weren’t sure why. We were anticipating a lecture about furniture, but instead we found something much more fascinating. [read more...]
Recently I enjoyed a delicious meal with several of my fellow staff writers at Carnival's, a local south side restaurant famous for its mouth-watering Baja fries. [read more...]
Downy woodpeckers are usually found in woodlands, parks, and gardens. They are found in Canada, Alaska, and all over the United States except the southwestern portion. These fascinating birds are native to Wisconsin. [read more...]
The red-breasted nuthatch, also known as an “upside-down bird,” is one of many birds native to Wisconsin. With its distinct black cap and pale rust-brown underparts, this attractive bird is commonly found on the branches, rather than on the trunks, of trees. [read more...]
Look out consumers, new costs are coming your way. A slew of factors will drive up the price of television during the coming year. [read more...]
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s recent award reinforces the power of journalism and private citizens to protect their communities. [read more...]
The long-eared owl is a unique species of bird that lives in southern Wisconsin. [read more...]
Did you know that some great horned owls call Southern Wisconsin home? Woodlands, meadows, bogs, and deciduous forests are all suitable habitats for these owls. They are very large birds, with a wingspan longer than four feet. Great horned owls are also tall and can stand as much as two feet tall. [read more...]
Red-tailed hawks are often seen flying across the sky looking down on fields and farmlands in search of prey. They have white chests with dark streaks on their bellies, and reddish-orange fan-shaped tails. [read more...]
Ospreys have curved bills, fierce yellow eyes, and white heads with dark eye stripes. Their backs and wings are covered with dark brown feathers, and their breasts are white. This bird is found on all continents except for Antarctica, although in South America it seems to be a non-breeding migrant. [read more...]
Eastern screech owls are year-round residents of southern Wisconsin. They live in woodlands, suburban parks, and other natural nesting areas. These small owls can grow to be eight or nine inches long and can have a 20-inch wingspan. [read more...]
Grand falcons and majestic eagles live and fly all over North America. They awe us with their power and grace. But there are other unique birds in Wisconsin that are not as well known, but just as interesting. One of them is the American kestrel. [read more...]
The bald eagle is one of the most impressive sights to behold in all of nature. It is no wonder that it is a symbol and national bird of the United States. [read more...]