Throughout the years the Deseret News has made educational programs a priority among its overall plans in serving the community. The Sterling Scholar Awards program featured in this special section is just one that serves students, parents and educators.

Another program, the award-winning Newspaper-in-Education service, offers teachers a new dimension for the classroom, including the unique "No Books Day" when textbooks are put aside and replaced by the newspaper.Carolyn Dickson, NIE manager; Sherry Madsen, coordinator, and Sylvia Orton, office assistant, are often joined by education specialists for school activities during the year.

On March 8, the Deseret News was the only "textbook" used in hundreds of classrooms across the state - from Providence on the north to Santa Clara and Blanding on the south - including a one-room schoolhouse with 18 students in kindergarten through sixth grades in the remote Burr Trail area of Boulder.

Some 38,431 newspapers were used by 1,413 teachers in 29 districts, with 32 schools using nothing but the Deseret News in classrooms. A second "No Books Day" the following week brought the total to 42,427 papers, 1,669 teachers, and 313 schools.

Several programs are offered exclusively for teachers. In addition to informative workshops on using the newspaper in a variety of subjects - and receiving state recertification, inservice and optional university credit - subject seminars are held.

The educators visited the various courts where a probation office, juvenile judge and two justices of the Utah Supreme Court spoke to them. Other subject topics included technology, environment, media and the Legislature.

A new national program called Family Focus, co-sponsored by the Deseret News, helps parents learn new ways of working their children to foster good reading habits and improve reading skills.

And editorially, the department prepares a weekly "Young Ideas" page that is published in the Deseret News.

Another popular sevice is the spelling improvement program for younsters in fourth through eighth grades.

This educational service, designed to improve the spelling skills of students, is a yearlong program climaxed with a state spelling bee. Now in its 13th year, more than 40 public, parochial and private school districts are participating.

Throughout the nation, an estimated 9 million students are involved in the program, according to the National Spelling Bee headquarters in Cincinnati.

In Utah, public school districts are conducting competition in their own area while the Catholic Office of Education, Lutheran and private schools along the Wasatch Front compete among themselves to select a representative to the state championship finals on April 7.

The Deseret News spelling program is sponsored in cooperation with the Utah Education Association, Utah State Office of Education, and State PTA.

The state winner and one parent will be guests of the Deseret News to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., May 28-June 3.

On the lighter side of education, the Deseret News has offered quality, low-cost instruction in an entirely different field: skiing!

Since 1948, the Deseret News has provided the lessons at a variety of "classrooms" ranging from golf courses and public parks to the "Greatest Snow on Earth" in the Wasatch Mountains.

Under the leadership of Alf Engen, director throughout its 40 years, the school has offered instruction in downhill and cross country skiing to anyone between the ages of 8 and 80.

Other educational programs sponsored by the Deseret News throughout the years have included such "subjects" as bowling, tennis, swimming and water safety, and many others.