Golden West is a comprehensive high school in Visalia, a growing city with a population of 130,000.
Visalia is the county seat of Tulare surrounded by rural farming communities. Golden West serves a diverse student body of 1600 students with strong elective pathways that include Visual and Performing Arts, Ag Mechanics, Horticulture, and a new Graphic Media Production department.
Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
I teach the video production pathway where students learn to use a camera and editing software to produce narrative projects. A broadcast class was a natural extension in our pathway. We produced a few pilot episodes during lunch and after school. There was no class the first year; we relied on student volunteers. We received guidance from a retired TV news producer who adopted our effort.
How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
The equipment and supplies we use for our broadcast work was already in place through our video production pathway. We built our set from scratch using old pallets. Our Metal Shop & Studio Art class produced our metal logo. We receive some Carl Perkins funds to upgrade our mics.
Did you have equipment available?
Yes, we have been able to use existing equipment from our video pathway program and used Carl Perkins funds to upgrade cameras, lights, and mics.
How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
2016-17 is our first year as a formal class. We have 18 students in grades 10-12. Students are allowed to sign-up for the class multiple times as long as they have room in their schedule.
Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
Our 56-minute class (18 students) meets daily (M-F). We produce a 12-minute weekly news show that is assembled during the week. We do not broadcast live.
Except for writing, students own all aspects of the production that includes: camera work, news anchors, interviews, funny skits, commercials, graphics, overlays, b-roll, sports highlights.
Our show includes the following regular features:
• News Anchor Top Story (each episode has a top story that gets more emphasis, perhaps even a theme like Homecoming)
• In Other News (short announcements w/ B-roll)
• Sports Update (scores, highlights, athlete interviews)
• Funny “Man on Campus”
• Photo Feed (student send photos of campus life to our twitter feed: @BlazerCentral
• Blooper Credits
Another unique feature of our show is the Jazz Band composed and performed open/close music.
How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
We do not produce a morning live broadcast. We only produce a 12-minute weekly news show. We also use TheCube.com to stream major events like pep-assemblies, and high-profile sport games.
Do your students capture other school events? Sports? Assemblies? Board meetings? Musical Performances?
We also use TheCube.com to stream major events like pep-rallies, lunch-time activities, and high-profile sport games.
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?
One student has assumed the role of Executive Producer. He guides students in their weekly tasks, he trains students, he accepts responbility for quality control.
I have a News Director who runs the News Anchor floor during taping where we include a cameraman, a sound engineer, a lighting technician.
I have a Sports Chief who ensures after school sport highlights are gathered and catalogued. He also supervises the Sports Anchor taping.
I have an Editing Crew who stitch the segments of into each episode as well as correct color and sound.
I have a social media crew that feeds our Twitter channel and produces the weekly “Photo Feed” that we end each show.
Other students assume the jobs of reporting, story developing, interviewing, graphics, b-roll, editing.
Do students audition for on-air positions?
In 2016-17 over 40 students auditioned for anchor “talent”. We put the talent pool into three areas:
Anchors - 4 main news anchors and 1 main sports anchor
Reporters – 4 students give us on-scene action or interviews
Personalities – 2 students apply their creative personality to bring a “man on campus” or “heartbeat” of the school.
Do they write the content?
Currently the students do not write content on their own but edit a draft. We use Google Docs as the workflow to share the copy and modify right up to taping. My goal is to get more students writing the copy. I am working with our senior English teachers to recruit and develop this effort.
How long does the show run?
The show is 11-14 minutes long. Our school created a special bell schedule that added 15 minutes to our 2nd period class.
Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by NATAS and SchoolTube TV?
Last year we submitted our Halloween Special Edition to a local student film contest (SlickRock) and a California Media Festival.
Moto: Campus Life at 30 frames a second.
Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
We’ve created a YouTube channel that posts & archives our weekly show. http://bit.ly/BlazerCentral
All teachers receive a YouTube link the day prior to air then click the link to show their class during 2nd period.
Where do you post programming? YouTube? Vimeo? SVN-TV? Other?
YouTube (http://bit.ly/BlazerCentral). We publish in 1080p resolution, 16:9 ratio aspect.
Have any quick start tips!
• Get your administration behind the effort
• Create a brochure with mission statement to give to potential sponsors Inside | Outside
• Setup a workflow to connect with your counselors, activity director, athletic director, and club advisors on a weekly basis, intiving them to share upcoming events.
• Create a who/when/what workflow
• Start with the low-hanging fruit … run stories on Band, Choir, other popular established programs. Let them use your feed to tell their story.
You can see vids by this terrific school at Blazer Central (http://bit.ly/BlazerCentral)