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Password-protected resources are available only to teachers who participate in The Free Lance-Star's NIE program. If you do not know your password, please email a request to us. Include your first and last name and school.

Tours and Classroom Visits

For Grades Three and Above
To Schedule a Tour
On the Day of Your Tour


For Grades Three and Above–

When teachers order classroom newspapers through our NIE department, their classes are invited to tour The Free Lance-Star. Students may visit the newsroom and advertising departments at the downtown building on Amelia and/or the state-of-the art printing plant on Belman Road located 2.5 miles from the Amelia Street location.

The visit to the downtown office includes an overview of A Day in the Life of The Free Lance-Star followed by visits to the newsroom and advertising departments. Tours can be tailored to address specific curriculum objectives. Length: 30-60 minutes

At Print Innovators, students will see some of the most cutting-edge printing technology available and they’ll learn about learn about environmental-friendly features of the LEED-engineered plant. The printing press allows PI to quickly produce The Free Lance-Star as wll as magazines, other newspapers and products for outside clients. Length: 30 minutes

To Schedule a Tour–

1. You must have ordered classroom sets of The Free Lance–Star during the current school year.

2. Students must be in grade three or above.

3. Optimal group size is 28 students, one teacher and one chaperone. Maximum size is 56 students and four adults.

4. Tours may be scheduled for one hour time slots between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

5. Please schedule at least three weeks in advance.

6. To request a tour, contact Colleen Beirne. Include your grade level, number of students, your primary objective for visiting and preferred tour times and dates.

Before the Tour–
Introduce students to newspapers. The tour script is based on the assumption that students have been exposed to newspapers and are reading The Free Lance–Star in the classroom. The presentation focuses on how various departments at a newspaper come together to create a newspaper–every day of the year. For a list of printing terms that will be used during the tour and a matching crossword puzzle, click here:
Printing Facility Terms | Crossword Puzzle.

On the Day of Your Tour–

1. Please arrive promptly. If your group will be late, call our office at 540/368-5054.

2. If space is available, your bus should park in front of The Free Lance–Star on Amelia Street and discharge students here. Please monitor departure carefully, as students will exit the bus on the street side. If parking is not available on Amelia Street, pull into the William Street Executive Building parking lot next door to discharge students. Then proceed to Washington Avenue for available parking. Do NOT leave the bus parked in the William Street Executive Building Parking lot.

3. One person from your group should check in with the receptionist in the main lobby. We will meet students outside and take them to the Community Room entrance at mid-block Amelia Street.

4. Please remind students that they are guests visiting a place of business and are expected to behave accordingly.

We look forward to having you and your students as our guests. Students are encouraged to come with questions about the newspaper.