During the SkillsUSA Ohio conference, we met an exceptional group of students representing Grand Valley High School in Orwell, OH. Kris Doran, their advisor spent some time with us at that weekend.
SVN: Kris, Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
KD: I graduated from Youngstown State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Telecommunications and a minor in Multimedia Website Design in 2005. I then started working for WYTV in Youngstown, Ohio as a Promotions Producer. Two years later I became Assistant Creative Services Director for New Vision Television in Youngstown. During my weekends I worked for the Cleveland Indians as a Feed Producer out of the scoreboard department.
While working at New Vision, I decided to start working on my Masters of Education degree in Instructional Technology from Kent State University. I finished that degree in the summer of 2009 and am currently finishing a second Masters of Education in Career and Technical Teacher Education; also from Kent. Last year I also began working on another Masters from Kent State. This time it will be a Master of Arts focusing in Journalism Education. So, needless to say I like education, and transitioning to teaching was a no brainer for me.
SVN: How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
KD: Initially and on-going all the funding for my class is provided by the Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School. I teach a satellite program for them at Grand Valley High School.
SVN: Did you have equipment available?
KD: Yes, I have 15 iMacs, 3 Canon GL-2’s and 3 Canon XHA1 cameras. We also have a switcher and sound board setup for our broadcasts as well as a variety of other production equipment.
SVN: How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
KD: Currently I have a total of 16 students for my Interactive Multimedia course. It is broken down into a two-year program. I have 12 students scheduled for my incoming junior class next year so we hope to continue growing the program.
SVN: Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
KD: Each student who takes Interactive Multimedia makes a commitment for two-years three periods a day. Periods are 42 minutes.
During the first year of the course the students create GVTV and work on projects to build a foundation for their skills. This includes shooting assignments, PSA’s, commercials, a short silent film, sound editing, stop motion, intro to special effects and a short documentary or personal profile. We also spend time learning about graphic design and Adobe Photoshop.
During the second year students work on advanced projects like short films, action scenes, a long form personal profile or documentary, PSA’s, CTTE commercials, senior demo reel and a senior project of their choice that demonstrates their strengths in the field. With those projects they develop a resume website that they take with them. We also start perfecting our Adobe Photoshop skills and work on advanced graphics.
SVN: How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
KD: The entire junior class works on the daily broadcast before we work on lessons and projects. When students are available we cover as many sporting events as 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?
KD: Each student has a turn to rotate through jobs. The students have to apply to me to get their first choice of job and they generally do not do the same job twice. We rotate approximately once every four weeks. I split the class into different station departments. They are either assigned to news, sports/ weather, creative, or special assignments depending on the size of the class.
SVN: Do students audition for on-air positions?
KD: Not at this point.
SVN: Do they write the content?
KD: Yes, students write all the content for the show each day.
SVN: How long does the show run?
KD: The show varies on length and variety of news. We have had episodes as short as 5 minutes and as long as 15 minutes. We try to include different segments beyone just the news that includes: teacher and student spotlights, music and movie reviews, and multimedia project showcase. The segments are selected by the students so they change depending on the personality of the class.
SVN: Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV?
KD: We try to upload all of our content to SchoolTube and compete in many of their contests. This year we also competed in The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the Ohio Governors Show
SVN: Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
KD: Yes our daily broadcasts are available on the Grand Valley High School webpage:
We also upload those newscast to our SchoolTube channel:
SVN: Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
3 Canon Gl-2 cameras
3 Canon XHA1 HD cameras
1 studio Focus Enhancement Switcher MX-4
1 mobile cart Focus Enhancement Switcher MX-4
3 100ft RCA cables
1 Alesis Multi Mix 8 channel audio board
1 JVC SR-DVM 600 Mini – DV deck
4 Wireless AEW-T100 Audio Technica wireless microphone systems
1 Epson Perfection 4490 Photo Scanner
Lowell Light Kit
2 Lexar Card Readers
3 ATW-R1810 Audio Technica Microphone Systems
3 WR-Pro Azden Wireless Microphone Systems
2 Shure SM58 Stick Mic
1 AT8004 Audio Technica Stick Mic
1 DV-Sm1 DV Audio Shotgun Mic
3 Canon MA-300 XLR Mic adapters
3 Canon Powershot Digital Cameras
SVN: Have any quick start tips!
KD: Start with the basics and take it a little bit at a time. It is easy to look at bigger and more established programs with envious equipment eyes but take it one step at a time. In the end, it the skills that you teach your students that will make them stand out, not a fancy new toy!