New Superintendent Blanca Cavazos and Principal Bernie Valenzuela are taking an overview of the programs at Taft Union High School and looking at what other schools offer to get ideas for enhancing Taft programs.
With that goal in mind, Valenzuela, visual and performing arts department chairman Greg Goossen, and vocational arts department chairman David Dennis toured on Sept. 16 another Kern County high school that offers a daily TV news program: East High.
Taft offers a TV Production class while East has a multimedia academy, like Taft High’s Oil-Technology Academy, so it wasn’t comparing oranges with oranges, still the Taft teachers said they liked what they saw. East’s academy program is three years long and incorporates many of the same practices that Taft’s TV Production class uses. A big difference in East’s news class is that their anchors stay in that position for an entire school year. At Taft, all the jobs are rotated so everyone has the opportunity to anchor, run cameras and edit. And, where the East anchors read from teleprompters, the Taft news show is very creative and geared for its young audience.
“We wanted to see how it compared and what we could improve,” Dennis said. “We have a lot of the same technological and logistical issues. We felt our TV show by students for students requiring students to master all the jobs was a strength. We’re looking at ways to try to improve the students’ abilities to function in a job setting. The constant deadline is a good experience for them.
“How do you get the attention of your young audience at 7:45 in the morning?” The answer is in the students’ imagination and creativity and humor. Students actually watch the popular morning TV announcements because they never know what they’ll see. And just about every day, something elicits a big laugh. Along the way, students are learning skills like “time management. Analyzing and improving their work is a skill that carries over to other jobs,” Dennis said. The program is “broadcast on the internet. Video is becoming a dominant role for communicating, instead of writing. To work in that medium and be comfortable is a skill. In the medium of communication, the more effective kids can be, the better off they’ll be.
“Greg (Goossen) has students go on to film school.”
Goossen added, “It’s valuable to see something different, to see other people doing what you’re doing. I was affirmed that what we are doing is pretty good. (The Taft broadcast) is a lot more interesting to watch and more sophisticated as well on different levels” as opposed to simply talking heads. “We’re trying to be creative. We’re a work in progress for sure. I’m glad I went. I’m glad were allowed to do what we do here. It’s a lot of fun.”
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