Dublin Coffman is a high school located in Dublin, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. Our school’s enrollment is at about 1,800 students.
Coffman is one of the three high schools in the Dublin City Schools. Tolles Career and Technical Center is the vocational school for the Dublin City Schools.
SVN: Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
JP: Dublin Coffman High School has a unique Satelite program with 2 teachers. Mr. Jamie Pearson is an employee of the Dublin City Schools with language arts certification and a broadcast journalism degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Pearson jumped at an opportunity to combine his language arts and broadcast journalism backgrounds. Teaching broadcast and video at Dublin Coffman High School turned out to be the perfect fit.
The other, Virginia Bicknell is employed by area vocational school Tolles Career and Technical Center with a Media Arts Certification.
Bicknell has many years of broadcast televison experiece. She has a B.A. in broadcast journalism and a M.A. in communication. Initially teaching media arts at local colleges, she took a secondary school video teaching position because the high school setting offers students a lot more classtime to develop their skills.
SVN: How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
JP: The Dublin City Schools and Tolles Technical and Career Center partner up to fund the program. Over the years, Pearson and Bicknell have engaged in fundraising activities continue to build the program.
SVN: Did you have equipment available?
JP: Yes, the program has been in existence for over 15 years. Various equipment has been purchased by district funding and program fundraisers. Our video students currently use Final Cut Pro 7 and shoot with Sony HVR-V1U cameras.
SVN: How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
JP: Over the years, our numbers have ranged from 80-120 students in the program. We generally keep our class size to about 20 students. Students interested in video must first take broadcast and video level I. Upon successful completion of this program, students may APPLY to take broadcast and video II. The level I class is a 1 period, full year class. Level II is a 2 period, blocked, half or full year class. Over the years, some students have been involved in the broadcast and video program for all 4 years of high school. Pearson and Bicknell have recently reached out to the district’s feeder, middle schools. Students at these schools are informed about the program, asked to share their videos with the high school, and welcome to our program with open arms!
SVN: Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
JP: Level One Classes are about 50 minutes, with about 21 students who work in teams of 3 using 7 cameras and computers with Final Cut Pro.
Level One Student Projects: Montage, Silent Short Film, News Package, PSA, Music Video, Commercial and a live history of Media Final.
Level Two Advanced Students work on the daily programs. They have a blocked class period with about 21 students.
The Info Show – our daily school announcements- Taped four times a week. Program airs at our school Monday-Thursday. Over 125 shows produced this year.
Rock News – Friday Programming- Airs once or twice a month -Our Infotainment show typically features 3 – segments with hosting to tie them together. Common segments include: Skits, Features on Students and Staff, Cooking, Contests, Music Videos…
Sports XXL – Friday Programming- our Sports show features segments including: Top Plays of recent Coffman games, Gome Viral – popular shorts clips from youtube, Beast vs Least, a popular segment that pits a Coffman athlete versus a student who doesn’t play their sports.
Sitcom/Documentary – Friday Programming-Varies on a yearly basis. Students have created various sitcoms and documentary type shows for this segment. Programs have included Through Green Eyes (school basketball team in season documentary) The Newsroom (a comedy about life in video class), and Being Tall (documentary following a 7-foot student during his days at Dublin Coffman High School.
SVN: How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
JP: 3-4 kids handle our morning announcement show. Our weekly broadcasts are Rock News, Coffman Sports XXL, The InfoShow, Sitcom- this year The Newsroom
Our program has produced tape broadcasts of play by play/ Color Commentary of our school’s sporting events.
SVN: Do your students capture other school events? Sports? Assemblies? Board meetings? Musical Performances?
JP: Over the years, we’ve done all of the above and then some. They key is controlling involvement in of video program with school activities, clubs, functions. People always need things shot and projects done. We emphasize to teachers at our school that we have a curriculm just like they do. We are happy to help when we can!
SVN: What jobs do the kids do? Do the kids rotate through on-air talent and crew positions or are they “hired” for a specific task?
JP: We ask all students to try everything. We emphasize to our students to be well-rounded in every aspect of shooting, editing, writing, being talent, production, directing, lighting, and audio.
SVN: Do students audition for on-air positions?
JP: We are flexible with who is on-air talent. No auditions
SVN: Do they write the content?
JP: Yes- our students translate multiple teacher announcements into a written script on a daily basis.
SVN: How long does the show run?
JP: Our shows our around 8 minutes.
SVN: Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV?
JP: We have competed in several state-wide PSA contests for: The Attorney General, Time Warner Cable, Local Health Department, Local Counceling Center. We would like to get involved in any state or national contests!
SVN: Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
JP: We occasionally put preproduced programs including basketball or football games on the local cabel access channel. Some of our programs and messages we record from the principal are on the schools website.
SVN: Where do you post programming? YouTube? Vimeo? SchoolTube? SVN-TV? Other?
JP: Daily announcement show is seen during home room and Friday shows (Sports, Infotainment, Sit Com) are shown during lunch in the cafeteria.
Some of the Friday shows and film fest entries are posted to either: YouTube, Vimeo or Schooltube. Tweets and Facebook accounts direct students to the watch Friday programs they’ve missed.
SVN: Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
SVN: Have any quick start tips?
JP: A quick way to put together an announcement show is to use your computers buit-in camera to record students reading announcements. Or skpe in a ‘reporter’ from various classrooms.
To build audience include as many people as possible. If you feature just a few students on camera they will likely get much better as the year goes on. But mix that up with Man on the Street or Shout-Outs from a wide range of students. Featuring sports teams is another good way to get the whole school interested in watching. In general Mix It Up, add music, sound effects and graphics if it gets too predictable they will likely tune out.