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The Future Ready EdCast

2022 Student Podcast Challenge

We're inviting students in grades 5 - 12 across Worcester County Public Schools to create a podcast, then — with the help of a teacher — compete for a chance to have your work be featured on The Future Ready EdCast, get expert advice to help you enter your work to NPR's Student Podcast Challenge, not to mention win a great prize pack to help you elevate your podcast to the next level!


Here's how it works: Put together a podcast individually or with your class/extracurricular group. Then your teacher/advisor can submit it to us. This contest is for students between 5th and 12th grade. (We will name a winner for grades 5 - 8 and for grades 9 - 12.) Each podcast should be between 3 and 8 minutes long.

Our team of judges will review submissions and select a group of finalists. (See the Fine Print below.) From there, one submission will be designated as the Grand Prize winner for each grade band, and that individual or team will be featured on an upcoming episode of The Future Ready EdCast!


Getting started can be a bit scary, but no one is expecting you to be a podcast pro! More than likely, this is your first time trying to put together a podcast, and that's great! While this is a contest, we really hope you approach this challenge as an opportunity to learn some new skills and have some fun!

As we are modeling our program after NPR's Student Podcast Challenge with hope that our winners will go on to win at that national level, we suggest starting with NPR's Starting Your Podcast: A Guide for Students resource page.  This page provides an in-depth guide on podcasting from brainstorming and planning all the way through production and editing. 

We have also provided some great teacher resources to help our teachers/advisors support you on your podcasting journey!



The 2022 Student Podcast Challenge will open for submissions beginning October 31, 2022, and the contest will close on December 21, 2022. Submissions will be accepted only through the official submission form


Teachers should receive parental permission for each student who works on the podcast. Please keep these permissions on file, as they will be required should your students' work be chosen as a finalist and/or winner. The absence of a WCPS Publicity Opt-Out form is not sufficient for this purpose. (Download a sample permission slip here.)


Our judging panel will be using the judging criteria set forth by NPR's Student Podcast Challenge to narrow down and choose the winners in our two age groups — middle (fifth grade through eighth grade) and high school (ninth grade through 12th grade).


Does the podcast tell a compelling story or teach us something new and important? Is it structured in a way that makes sense and keeps listeners engaged? Can we easily follow the story you're telling or the information you're explaining? Have you spent time editing — cutting out unnecessary information or repetition and making sure the main ideas come through clearly?


We want to listen to this podcast and hear your voices. Do we hear the unique voices of your class and community? Does it have personality, or does it make us want to fast-forward? (Tip: Try not to sound like you're reading from a script.) Does it make us laugh or cry or leave us deep in thought — feel something? That's what we're looking for.


We're not judging you on how fancy your equipment is and we don't expect you to be an expert on recording and editing sound, but we hope you'll try.

Some podcasts may use sound, or audio, in creative ways. Others may be more of an interview format. If you use sound apart from interviews and narration, does it add to the story you're telling? Is the sound clear, and are the volume levels even? Do the transitions sound smooth, without gaps between audio clips? Did you layer the audio and narration? These are some of the things we'll be looking for.


  • What are the rules for the NPR Student Podcast Challenge? 
    • Your podcasts must be between three and 8 minutes long.
    • It must contain original work created by students in a class or extracurricular group.
    • Your podcast can include some original music — but be careful!
    • Eligible groups for this contest are from fifth to 12th grade.
  • Do you have some tips on what music is allowed?
    • This podcast challenge is about showcasing your work, and that's what we want to hear. We want to hear the creative ways you've found to share stories and illustrate ideas with sound. The legal rules for using music from the Web are complicated, and we'd never want a class to be disqualified from our competition because you used music you weren't allowed to.
      So, here are some tips. Make sure your music is originally composed and performed. Can your school's marching band play an original composition throughout your podcast? Yes. Can that band play "Let It Go" or a rendition of music from the Beatles or Drake? No. The important thing here is to make sure your tune isn't copyrighted.
  • Do all students in a class need to speak on the podcast?
    • Nope! We expect to hear student voices, but not all students in each class must be featured. We hope that you will work together in a variety of different roles to put this podcast together. Depending on how big a team you have, the roles of writing scripts and researching may be divided up in different ways. We cover more about those roles in NPR's student training guide.
  • How does each class submit?
    • Bookmark the following URL:, which will go live when the contest begins on October 31, 2022. The form will automatically close at 11:59 p.m. on December 21, 2022. Remember that teachers must submit the form on behalf of students.
  • Can teachers help with the writing, editing or production?
    • No. The goal is for the contest to represent original student work. Teachers can teach about writing, and editing (NPR's teacher guide is a helpful resource for that), but the actual podcast entry should represent original creations by students.
  • Is there a minimum or maximum number of students that can work on a podcast?
    • No
  • I'm in a journalism club (or a podcasting club, or an AV club, or any other type of club) before/after school. Can we make a podcast?
    • Definitely! You just need to ask your group's teacher advisor to submit it on your behalf through our submission form. (That's for legal reasons.)
  • I'm a teacher. What sorts of resources can I use as my class creates a podcast for this contest?
    • NPR's resource guide for teachers is full of information for educators, whether you're leading a class in podcasting or advising an extracurricular group.
  • As a teacher, can I submit multiple entries?
    • Yes! You can submit entries for more than one class or group of students putting together a podcast. Please make sure to fill out aseparate submission form for each.