The website of the Student Education Reporter Program.

Sacramento School Beat

Sacramento School Beat

Sacramento School Beat

About is the website of the Student Education Reporter program, an effort funded by the Sacramento County Office of Education. This program trains Sacramento County high school students to become education reporters for their schools and districts to help compensate for the current shortage of professional education reporters and subsequent lack of coverage of schools and education in the region.

Student reporters produce a minimum of one story a month throughout the academic year that are accepted for publication. The student reporters are paid a $1200 stipend each academic year they work.

Each student reporter works with a writing coach (a professional journalist or educator who act as coach, mentor, instructor and editor) throughout the year. All stories produced by students are provided free to local professional media outlets. The goal of this program is to increase media coverage of local Sacramento County schools and districts to benefit the students, the parents and educators.

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Karl Grubaugh, Writing Coach

Karl Grubaugh is a writing coach with the California Scholastic Journalism Initiative. He edits stories produced by students for publication on, the initiative’s news website that covers schools and districts across Sacramento County. Grubaugh, who holds an MA in journalism from the University of Missouri, retired in 2020 after a nearly 40-year career teaching journalism and social studies in K-12 and college classrooms. He also has nearly four decades of  journalism experience, including almost 20 years as an on-call copy editor at the Sacramento Bee. He was named the National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year in 2008 by the Dow Jones News Fund.

[email protected]

Tom Dresslar, Copy Editor

Tom received his degree in journalism from Cal State, Sacramento in 1983. From 1985-87, he was editor of the Placer Herald, a weekly newspaper that served communities in Placer County. He also worked as a reporter and photographer. Subsequently he became Capitol Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Daily Journal in 1987, and served in that post for 13 years. At the Daily Journal, the nation’s leading legal community newspaper, Tom covered the California Legislature, State government and State courts.

Tom was hired as a staff investigator for the California Assembly, first in the Speaker’s Office of Oversight, and then for the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. In his two years in the post, Tom worked with other staff to investigate corruption at the California Department of Insurance, market manipulation and price gouging by energy companies, and misconduct related to a State-government technology contract awarded to Oracle. In 2002, Tom left the Assembly to work as a press secretary for the California Attorney General. In 2008, Tom became communications director to the California State Treasurer and was later hired as communications director for the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. He served in that position until September 2018.

[email protected]

Steve O’Donoghue, Coordinator/Writing Coach

Steve taught journalism, social studies and English in high school in Oakland Unified School District for 33 years where for 18 years he also ran The Media Academy, a journalism magnet program, at Fremont High School. Subsequently he worked for the Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University and then began establishing city and countywide journalism programs in Oakland, Contra Costa, Sacramento and Chico with foundation grants and support from county offices of education.

Steve was a long time activist in the Journalism Education Association and Journalism Education Association Northern California.. He was named the National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year in 1990 by the Dow Jones News Fund.

[email protected]

2022-23 Student Education Reporters

  • Hadia Ahmad, Natomas Pacific Pathways Preparatory
  • Jack Fedor, Natomas Pacific Pathways Preparatory
  • Kaylie Huang, Mira Loma High School
  • Kylie Huang, Mira Loma High School
  • Akshaj Mehta, Natomas Pacific Pathways Preparatory
  • Juliana Castro, C. K. McClatchy High School
  • Gemma Costuna, Rosemont High School
  • Allison Lubacay, Franklin High School
  • Ethan Machado, C. K. McClatchy High School
  • Joshua Cullers, Galt High School
  • Kennedy O’Gilvie Joplin, C. K. McClatchy High School
  • Samantha Rickards, St. Francis High School
  • Kay Stout, Cordova High School
  • Kiki Aspillera, West Campus High School
  • Lilah Gonsalves, Pleasant Grove High School
  • Kaili Jiang, John F. Kennedy High School
  • Savannah Haile, Pleasant Grove High School
  • Isabella Martin, Vista Del Lago High School
  • Zoriah Mendoza, Franklin High School
  • Maxim Russo, Cordova High School
  • Saffiya Sheik, Horizon Charter School


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