Scholastic Creates New Lesson Plan for 'Instructor'

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Scholastic Corp. revamped Instructor magazine, the nation's No. 1 paid audited educator title for K-8 teachers, after research showed that the role of teaching professionals has evolved to where they influence most purchases made by schools.

The magazine's facelift includes a cleaner look, new editorial sections and an advertiser-friendly environment. The redesign also anticipates an imminent tectonic shift in the teaching world: Nearly half of the 3 million teachers nationwide will retire in the next three years.

"There's a huge opportunity for Scholastic as well as all of our participating advertisers to get their names out there and brand these new-to-the-profession educators," said Michele Robinson, group publisher for Scholastic Professional Magazines in New York.

Published eight times a year, Instructor has a circulation of 200,000. Priced at $4 a copy or $9.99 to $14.95 for a year's subscription, the title is also sold in teacher supply stores. Teachers pay for the subscription through their discretionary budget or out of pocket.

Instructor's audience will notice the changes with this month's issue. New sections include Tough Topic for issues that affect children in and out of classrooms and Making a Difference, for teachers who have made a lasting impact on children. The Your Say and Idea Swap columns offer opportunities to exchange teaching best practices, and Free Stuff is just that.

Among other changes, there are new editorial service sections like Teachers' Lounge and Products We Love, giving busy readers quick tips. Moreover, the articles are shorter and the call-outs on the cover more eye-catching.

"Everything is geared around what they can do in the classroom," Robinson said. "Teachers love to see what others are doing in their classrooms."

The retooled editorial environment is designed to make it easier for product placements like interactive promotional ads. Contests are highlighted to better effect, as are product giveaway pages. The pitches have a sense of urgency: "Buy Now!", "Free Offer" and "Respond to This."

Advertisers liked the changes when they were informed. New entrants in Instructor's back-to-school and fall issues include Bank of America, ESPN and Coldwell Banker.

"We're recognizing the importance of teachers in the actual buying process and realizing they do have the clout to influence purchases, make recommendations and purchase products," Robinson said. "They're the go-to people. Everybody seeks them for their advice."

Founded 114 years ago, Instructor was bought by Scholastic in 1989. Its new owner -- the nation's leading children's books publisher -- has created several spinoffs since the purchase.

The 4-year-old Instructor New Teacher is out in back-to-school and spring editions for a controlled list of 100,000 educators who are more comfortable with technology. The semiannual After School launched in the spring in partnership with the After School Alliance, with the 100,000 circulation scaled back to 55,000 for the next issue.

Also, there's Scholastic Administrator for district-level administrators, superintendents, chief technology officers, assistant superintendents and communication directors. It drops eight times a year to a controlled list of 100,000. And Early Childhood Today targets early pre-K teachers and directors eight times a year with a 55,000 paid circulation.

"Our mission is to reach every influencer in the purchase process," Robinson said.

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting


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