Southeast High School is located in Bradenton, Florida on the west coast just south of Tampa.
Southeast is a public school, and the TV program is a four year elective sequence. Mike Sanders is the director of television for the program, and the 2014 – 2015 will be his 11th year in that position. In 2013, he was honored by being awarded the Florida SkillsUSA high school advisor of the year.
I began teaching speech and theatre in a large high school in the southern suburbs of Chicago. There was a large television program, and I taught one or two TV classes a year if there were too many for the television instructor. I got my masters degree in TV while in Illinois. I moved to Florida in 2004 and taught English for a semester. During the second semester, the television teacher took a job coaching football at a university, and I was given the job. I have never worked in the television industry. 2014 marks the beginning of my 37th year of teaching.
How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
Manatee county is a large school district with 6 high schools that all have production programs. The Southeast program was in existence but with very old equipment, and the studio was three small rooms attached to the media center. In 2006, the superintendent called all of the TV instructors together to inform us that the district was going to start up its own cable channel. He asked us what we needed to support the channel with original programming. My colleagues asked for cameras and computers. I asked for a building. To my surprise and delight, he said yes. Southeast High School was in the process of going through a huge facelift. A number of new buildings were being constructed at the time. The expense of our complex was included in this building renovation.
We had on campus a 5000 square foot building that was built in 1959 and literally was uninhabitable and sitting doing nothing. I came up with a plan to turn it into a modern TV facility. The school district put 2 million dollars into the building renovation and 1 million for equipment upgrades. As with all of the television industry, I was in the right place at the right time.
How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
Television production in the state of Florida is a career technology program. Students can take Television Production 1 through 5. TV 4 and 5 can be taken the senior year if the student is planning on going into the industry. The program is not a magnet program. Southeast is not a specialized career tech school. Students take all TV classes simply as an elective. I have freshmen through seniors in the TV 1 class. The TV 1 class is capped at a maximum of 22 students per class, and there are 4 TV 1 classes. Usually, TV 4 has approximately 10 students. I average between 120 and 130 students total in the classes.
Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
The classes run 90 minutes. The maximum size of TV 1 is 22. The class is designed to teach the necessary concepts of personal discipline, team work, and studio procedures. Students are divided into learning teams, and the focus of the team is to create these three concepts. The first 9 weeks deals with studio equipment operation and preparation for the first project which is a simple 1 minute commercial with two cameras, three shots, and lowers. The students write and perform their own commercial. All students must rotate through all crew positions during the production sequence. The second production is a more advanced demonstration show. Again, students must rotate through all crew positions in order to develop more advance skill sets. In the middle of the third quarter, students are now ready to intern to do the morning announcements. At this point, students are “hired” to do specific crew positions. Once the students have started to produce the announcements, they are ready to learn field production. They have learned the discipline which is necessary to stay on task outside of the facility without teacher supervision.
The students in TV 2 focus on more advanced studio production work as well as a complete emersion into field production. During the first 6 months, they are responsible for producing the morning announcements until the TV 1 students are able to do them. The rest of the time they are involved in field production. There are four projects that they execute during the school year: 90 second “man on the street” production, 90 second news piece, 3 minute feature piece, and a public service announcement. They will also test to receive their certification in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6.
TV 3 is all field work. These students produce feature pieces and public service announcements for our monthly news magazine production entitled “The Right Direction.”
The students who have made it to TV 4 are required to do a 7 to 10 minute capstone project. They choose the format. All capstones are submitted for judging to the Sarasota Film Festivals Young Filmmakers showcase. We have been fortunate to have had a production chosen for public viewing 5 out of the last 6 years.
How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
We do 5 announcement shows a week. The shows produced for Monday, Tuesday, and Friday are full productions that last 10 minutes. A “brief” is produced for Wednesday and Thursday that runs 2 minutes. It takes 12 students to produce a show, and students are slotted into specific positions. However, as the year progresses, they are encouraged to expand into other crew positions.
Do your students capture other school events? Sports? Assemblies? Board meetings? Musical Performances?
Southeast High School’s extra curricular club is call SETV and is an extensive program. There are 30 to 35 students involved with productions. Our flagship show is called “The Right Direction” (“If you set your compass to Southeast, you’re headed in the right direction.”) and is produced monthly. It is a half hour news magazine that shows what is happening in and around Southeast. The show consists of 2 seven minute in studio interviews that are shot during after school club meetings as well as 2 three minute features and public service announcements. As mentioned earlier, the features and psa’s are produced by the advanced classes.
Our most extensive programming is sports production. SETV broadcasts live 25 to 30 sporting events a year. There are 20 students on this crew. As the year progresses, the crew “invites” other students to participate as intern utilities. Once these individuals prove that they have the correct attitudes and professional attitudes that are necessary to make the team successful, they are allowed to become permanent members of the team.
Our sports productions utilize 7 cameras, 4 camera instant replay, and live graphics.
In addition to the sports events, the club produces live broadcasts of concerts, awards ceremonies, and presentations. We also are asked to travel the county to do productions for middle schools such as an annual Veteran’s Day celebration.
Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by SkillsUSA or NATAS?
We participate the SkillsUSA national Conference. We have been fortunate to have won 4 out of the last 5 national championships in Broadcast News Program. This year, we also place 3rd in TV Video Production.
Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
We broadcast our programs via two avenues. SETV is associated with High School Cube. This is where we do all of our live programming as well as archive everything that we produce. We do not post but a few of our announcement shows. Those are broadcast to the school via closed circuit television. We, also, broadcast to Manatee county on the school districts cable channel, EDV-TV.
Where do you post programming? YouTube? Vimeo? SchoolTube? SVN-TV? Other?
SETV only posts on High School Cube. However, students are taught how to post on Youtube and encouraged to do so with everything they create.
We have come to rely and have expanded our community awareness through social media. We began with a facebook page last year that has helped our viewing audience to grow. We post notices of all of our live broadcasts as well as any shows that may have been produced in the studio that were not live. Facebook is also an excellent place to keep the community informed of the successes and activities of the student membership.
We have also done a couple of interactive live internet events from our studio. These were talk shows with members of the School District of Manatee County board. We created accounts with gmail and twitter, and our audience was able to send in questions that they would like answered. We were able to send them to the host through an ipad.
As we all know, the impact of the internet in broadcasting is tremendous. The philosophy of our program is to introduce students to the power of social media and the legal and ethical issues that faces anyone who accesses the net for communication.
You can access our website at: www.facebook.com/sehstelesivion.