Johns Creek High School is located 27 miles north of Atlanta and opened in 2009.
The Audio/Video Technology & Film program is one of the six Career Tech programs offered.
The Gladiators have won several state championships in sports in their first six years. But they have also been a success off the field. This year, US News and World Report Ranked JCHS as the ninth best high school in Georgia. Their AP scores have ranked near the top of the state rankings.
The AVTF program started producing videos before the doors even opened. The first production occurred on the first day the public was allowed in the building in June of 2009. Jamie Chuven opened the program at JCHS and with 13 students transferring from his previous school, the program was up and running as soon as the first camcorder was unboxed.
School Video News will be working with some of the students to produce the Southeast Emmy Student Production Awards ceremony, June, 2015.
Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
I actually was a TV production student during my junior and senior years of high school. It was during my senior year when I made the decision to follow this career path. At the time, I just wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do. At the University of Central Florida, I was very involved with productions in the athletic department, which led me to do some taping jobs with the Orlando Magic and the Orlando Predators. During my senior year, in 1992, I was asked to go back home to Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Florida to teach TV Production. This was a job I figured that I would do for a few years before going back to sports. After five years in Florida, I moved to Roswell, Georgia to open the new Centennial High School. Five years later, I helped design and then open Northview High School. In 2008 I was again asked to help design a new school to open in 2009, Johns Creek High School, where I have now been for six years. The three or four year job has now turned into a 23 year teaching career.
How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
Our initial equipment funding was through the standard grants used to start CTE classes in Georgia. Some of the facility special wiring and building needs were funded through the construction budget for the school building.
Now we receive funding from the Career Tech department budget at school and from our fundraising activities. Since the school is only six years old, we have not had to do many equipment upgrades. Mostly we have just added to our inventory as the needs arise.
Did you have equipment available?
We currently have 13 Mac computers for editing (MacPro, iMac, MacBook Pro). The video cameras available for student use are larger shoulder mount cameras, DSLRs, smaller hand held camcorders, and GoPros. We also have purchased accessories for students to use with the cameras, ranging from camera lights, to different types of camera mounts, to digital audio recorders and microphones. Last year we added two quadcopters to allow students to take their footage to new heights.
How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
Classes have a maximum of 32 student spots in each class period. We offer 4 levels of Audio/Video Technology & Film. Normally there are two first year classes, two second year classes and one class with third and fourth year students.
Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
Each class is 55 minutes long. Students take six classes each school day.
First year students spend most of their first semester learning theory of broadcasting and the operation of equipment. We do hands-on testing with equipment as well as written evaluations. The second semester, students are editing basic projects and practicing in the studio, to prepare for their second year.
Second year students spend their entire year working on our daily, morning show. They produce packages every 3 weeks, work as crew on the show, and work on field productions.
In their third year, students do more morning show projects on their own and are expected to enter the many video competitions available. During the year, many students will specialize in an area of production. Some will do more animation, while others will produce music for use on a project.
Students who take the fourth year of the program will do contests and a few TV show projects, but they have to propose a major project to be done during the year. Some have created game shows, some have done promotional videos for the school, and a few have even ended up creating videos for use by the Georgia Department of Education.
How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
We do a daily morning broadcast, live at the start of the school day. This year we produced 164 shows. There is a crew of 9 students that show up early to set up and run the show. Every advanced student must work the morning show at least one time per week.
We also use a NewTek Tricaster for a field studio, where we do multi-camera productions of Fine Arts productions and sports. Next year we are increasing our ability to do sports productions with a wireless camera system. The past two years we have also produced field productions off campus for outside groups.
Do your students capture other school events? Sports? Assemblies? Board meetings? Musical Performances?
All students are required to do outside recording of events. These can be sports, academics, special events, or anything that we may need throughout the year.
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?
Students sign up for the jobs on the morning show. They are supposed to rotate between control room and studio jobs each week. Our anchors are selected at the start of the year through an open audition process. Package reporters come from students in our class.
Students are able, in the spring, to apply for one of the student producer jobs. There are student producers who oversee our morning show, field productions, sports, special events, equipment, and new media. This gives them leadership training and decision making skills needed in the future. Since this is a student run program, it is important to have students involved in the decision making about the direction the program moves in each year.
Do students audition for on-air positions?
Anchors, game show hosts, and sports announcers must audition. Segment reporters are the students working on the project.
Do they write the content?
Students research and write all of their segment content. Show openings and transitions are written by the anchors. Announcements are submitted by the faculty or club sponsors.
Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
Our broadcast is live streamed on our US Education TV page. We also upload the shows later that day for future viewing. This year we started sending our show to the school system TV channel server for airing on local cable systems.
Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
We currently have such a variety of equipment, the list would be somewhat lengthy. But I would be happy to talk to teachers who would like some equipment suggestions.
Have any quick start tips!
My biggest tip is to always involve students in the decision making process when creating a program. They are the crew and the audience. So the programming must appeal to them. It also gives them the motivation to work harder, when they are not just told what to do.