Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network’s Education Department is collaborating with the 7th grade students at America's Choice at SAND School in Hartford.
Now in its third year, Media is Magic (MIM): the SAND Media Enrichment Program is designed to reinforce the students’ core curriculum to produce higher levels of student engagement and achievement. In 2010, SAND Acting Principal Latesha Jones said, "Some of our students have started out in the 50 percentile range in testing and those students who participated in CPTV went on to master skills at an 80 to 90 percent mastery level." The program that started in 2010 as an after-school journalism and technical media skills program has become a literacy enrichment elective within the daily school schedule. Lead instructors have all been graduates of the CPBN Media Lab, starting with Anna Nalitov in 2010, followed by Julia Kwon in 2011 and Mark Yaworowski in 2012. Current CPBN Media Lab interns provide additional mentoring to help the students improve their research, story-telling and presentation skills. The Media Lab, part of CPBN’s Department of Education Services, develops production and instructional expertise by providing a real-world learning opportunity for college students and recent graduates with a passion for digital media and journalism
"The students create curriculum-based content, a process that drives them to actively apply their classroom lessons in math, science, English and social studies. The students are encouraged to research more thoroughly, write more convincingly and present more clearly -- skills that will aid them throughout their academic careers," said Paul Pfeffer, senior instructor and Manager of Education at CPBN, "the students' natural affinity for technology was a great asset."
Each class involved in (MIM) learns to work with media production equipment, including HD video and still cameras, tripods, professional microphones, cables and microphone stands, and interview lighting kits. Video editing software is installed on all the computers in the classrooms. Training on the use of the equipment, which includes proper set-up, break down and storage, is provided, along with learning how to recognize and critically evaluate the elements of a professional video production.
At the conclusion of each of the subject-specific learning modules in 2010, the SAND students and their teachers -- Marcus Jennings, Randy Silmon, Felicita Rosario and Brittany Wilson -- visited CPTV to be interviewed about their video projects. Additionally, while in the CPTV studio, students enhanced their learning by performing professional television production tasks. As a result of their efforts, four student-produced, half-hour episodes aired on CPTV and three student-produced hour-long programs were streamed online at www.cpbn.org.
In 2012, CPBN's Education Department established a PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Lab at America’s Choice at SAND School in Hartford. There was only one other elementary school and only three middle schools in this nationwide program, which included over 40 schools from New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., South Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Louisiana, Utah, Texas and California.
The PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Lab connects high school students through an innovative journalism curriculum designed to transform their understanding of news. The partnership includes an online collaborative space to develop digital media, critical thinking, and communication skills and a network of public broadcasting news professionals to that provide important resources necessary for students to produce original news video reports about how national and global issues affect local communities.
“I have worked as a mentor since the inception of the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Lab program in 2010,” said Paul Pfeffer, Manager of Education, “ I know the SAND 7th graders will meet the challenge of competing against high school teams throughout the country. We will produce network quality videos.”
Donna Sodipo, Vice President of Education at the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN), commented on the program. “This partnership affords students early exposure to the digital media industry and more importantly the academic skill set required for success. Throughout this elective class, intentional linkages are made to the Journalism and Media Academy and our partnership alignment with the district—serving as the satellite campus for the senior class completing their capstone project at the Learning Lab at CPBN.”