Posted by: Zeta Heiter | May 4, 2011

Jurupa Hills High School – TV and Video Production

When considering the kind of positive impact a CTE program can have on a group of students, we often imagine a full-fledged, well developed, and long-standing program. However, it hasn’t escaped us that even brand new programs that are in the process of coming together can still manage to have encouraging effects on students. This especially seems to be the case in the instances when programs have been organized to maximize students’ sense of connectedness to the program, school, and each other. Jurupa Hills High School and its Media & Design Arts pathway is a good example of this phenomenon.

Jurupa Hills High School is a new technology-based high school in Fontana.  The school has a full broadcasting and TV news studio, a radio & sound studio, and a theater.  The school’s Media & Design Arts pathway, in partnership with Chaffey College School of Visual, Performing, and Communication Arts, focuses on the technology involved in multimedia and entertainment.

Digital technology and computer-generated imaging are quickly becoming as relevant as traditional film technology and are expected to transform the industry, with more jobs anticipated for those skilled in digital technology than for  actors, producers, and directors. Jurupa High School’s program is positioning itself and its students to take advantage of this trend.

In their first year, the program’s focus is the production of a television news program which is  filmed “live to tape”, running on the school’s website.  In the future, Jurupa High’s program expects to  be set up to broadcast live. The news is produced in the school’s professional-quality TV studio, equipped with three cameras (including a glide-cam), full lighting, teleprompter, sound booth, and editing equipment.

Students work in teams, rotating roles so everyone has the opportunity and exposure to all facets of the production.  Roles include, camera operator, editor, floor director, and on-air positions of anchor, weather, entertainment, and sports reporters.  There is also a special features team that produces public service ads on topics of interest to students, including texting while driving, drug abuse, and one promoting the TV production program.

These teams do more than provide students multiple learning opportunities, however. This being the program’s first year of implementation meant there were delays in equipping the studio and only one course for a range of skill levels (next year, the school is hoping to be offered a beginner’s course and an advanced skills course to better meet students’ abilities and needs). Despite these drawbacks, the course instructor was able to facilitate the creation of cohesive student teams that allowed students to bond with each other and feel attached to the program and strengthen their sense of belonging to the school. This has resulted in some notable transformations in some students’ behavior and overall performance. Those who were formerly quiet and withdrawn at the beginning of the school year seem to have blossomed, engaging actively with their peers, teachers, and content in the TV production program as well as their other classes.

In fact, as a general rule, the work the students have done in TV production class seems to have created tangible benefits in their core classes.  Students report that they are more creative in their assignments, using multi-media in ways they wouldn’t have considered before. They have better computer and research skills, and are more comfortable when doing presentations in class.

While many people may focus on the potential for fame or financial success in television, students say that this course has changed their perception of the industry. They now appreciate the broad spectrum of work that goes into developing a television news program and see more opportunities for work in the news than simply “being on TV”. This is a promising outcome for a CTE course. But perhaps even more exciting is the transfer of skills, attitudes, and beliefs fostered in students by the CTE course to their general educational experience.

What are you seeing in your schools? Are your CTE courses impacting student achievement and performance in their core content classes?

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