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Reaching out to students with text messaging

A school district in New York is trying to convince thousands of low-achieving students that school is cool.

The city is planning an intensive campaign that would use cellphones to help motivate students, most of them minorities and from poor families, in two dozen schools. The pilot program will include mentoring and incentives for high performance, like free concerts and sporting events and free minutes and ring tones for their phones. Every student in each of the schools will be given a cellphone.

Parts of the program including having mentors to call the students as well as celebrities and Internet so that they can check homework assignments.

QUESTION: Would an ecouraging text message from a celebrity inspire you to do well in school?

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In 2006, then-editor Steve Smith of The Spokesman-Review had the idea of starting a publication for an often forgotten audience: teenagers. The Vox Box was a continuation of the Vox, an all-student staffed newspaper published by The Spokesman-Review. High school student journalists who staffed the Vox made all content decisions as they learn about the trade of journalism. This blog's mission was to give students an opportunity to publish their voices. The Vox Box and the Vox wrapped up in June 2009, but you can follow former staffers' new blog at