Grosse Pointe North High School, commonly called North, is a public high school in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.
Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
My high school had a very popular radio program that I was a part of and really enjoyed. I decided to go to Central Michigan University and major in Broadcasting. During my senior year I realized how much I enjoyed broadcasting in high school and I decided to switch my major to Speech with a Broadcasting emphasis and a minor in history. This allowed me to get my teaching certification. I was able to find the program in Grosse Pointe that was looking to increase their program to the second high school in the district.
How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
TV Production began in Grosse Pointe in the mid 1980’s as a club and eventually grew into a class and was eventually offered at both high schools. We have done many fundraisers over the years. For several years we did a live 22 hour telethon that really helped establish the program. We have also sold DVD’s of our graduation ceremonies and video yearbooks that continue to support the class. Funding has been really difficult with cutbacks over the last few years and we are currently working towards becoming CTE certified.
Did you have equipment available?
We had various pieces of equipment, but it took years to get everything fully functional.
How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
Our average class size is in the low 30’s but some of the advanced classes can swell to much larger because I don’t feel that I can so no to kids who are so interested in being part of the class. We have 6 different levels of TV Production. TV 1 is a studio based course and incorporates iMovie with iPads. TV 2 is a computer credit and focuses on Final Cut Pro X. We used Avid Media Composer from the early 2000’s until last year when we switched to FCPX. TV 3-6 are usually lumped in the same hour for advanced students.
We have several elementary schools that have done morning video announcements for years. All three of our middle schools have a Broadcast Journalism class that does announcements and other major events. It is not uncommon for a freshman to come into high school with four semesters of experience from middle school.
Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
We run a 7 period day and the classes are 49 minutes in length. We are on a semester schedule and our classes are open to 9-12 graders. TV 1 students will get a wide variety of projects including studio projects with a 3 studio camera setup, Broadcast Pix switcher Slate 1000G and have many other projects shot with an iPad and edited on iMovie. Throughout all the classes, students will work on commercials, promotional videos, music videos, short films, and news packages to name a few. Both high schools have almost 200 students per semester.
How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
At North we do live morning announcements. The kids love the responsibility and added pressure of going live. I currently have 45 students in the class but only about 12 are on crew on each rotation. I have had many of the students for all four years and I have a hard time telling students the class is full and they cannot take it. We have done weekly shows in the past, plus programming for the school district, sporting events, performing arts, guest speakers, etc.
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?
The students do all the work and rotate weekly between the jobs. At the beginning of the semester I take volunteers to be talent and they have to make a semester long commitment.
Do students audition for on-air positions? I have had auditions but I just take volunteers now and really enjoy helping students become better on air talents.
Do they write the content? Announcements get emailed to us and the talents have to edit the script every day. We use Rundown Creator so the director, producer, computer graphics, talents and myself can all see each other’s changes.
How long does the show run?
We have a tight timeline of 4 minutes that we try really hard to stick to but it isn’t always possible.
Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV? No, we usually submit to DAFT, Meijer Great Choices Film Festival, and MIPA.
Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
We have been livestreaming our announcements at https://livestream.com/accounts/3796840
We have also aired them on our local educational access channel.
Where do you post programming? YouTube? Vimeo? SchoolTube? SVN-TV? Other?
Once the school unblocked YouTube we have been posting our videos our channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz_74NxYmZ47Lx1vrxp0JFw
Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
Broadcast Pix Slate 1000G
10 iMacs with FCPX
Nikon 7100 DSLR
Canon G 20
Sony Studio Cameras
Various Light Kits, audio board,
Go Pro Hero 4
DJI Phantom 3
Have any quick start tips!
Find the most passionate kids and help them succeed. You need the administration and staff to “buy in” for the program to be successful. Have the administration on the announcements as often as you can and include various contests from clubs. Define your own success; making an impact on your students is what counts!