What school do you teach at?
Francis Howell Central High School
What city and state is your school located in?
What different media are produced at the school?
Newspaper, web, yearbook, broadcast
How many students are involved at the media program at your school?
Describe your space for us.
It’s a funky little space I’ve got. I’ve got the normal classroom/lab space (that you can see in the photo) but there are a couple of other smaller rooms that we use for different things. One of the room’s original purpose was to be an office for the adviser; for me, it felt too cloistered and away from the students and in my first year, I never went in there. Now, it’s got a recliner, couch and mini-fridge and students are allowed to hang out or eat lunch in there when not in class. Toward the back, we’ve got a space that is most often used for longer interviews that need a bit of privacy or quiet. As I’d think is normal, the newsroom can be quite noisy. Past that room is our old darkroom, which we’ve made into a pretty lousy portrait/broadcast interview studio. It’s got some backdrops and a couple of lights. These last two rooms might (please, please, please!) be getting transformed into a proper broadcast studio sometime this semester.
What do you think are some of the benefits of the workspace you all have?
I like the fact that we’re all in one space. It makes it easier to monitor and for management team members to flow around.
What do your students like most about the workspace you have?
My kids said they like that our room is a flexible space – everything’s sort of integrated together, which makes it better for a team approach. However, they also like having the separate conference space for smaller projects and conversations.
What computer programs and/or apps is your staff using on a regular basis for their work?
Adobe Creative Suite which we have on our Macs, but we mostly access via Jostens Monarch. We do both our newspaper and yearbook online.
What tech equipment are your students using on a daily basis?
20 iMac desktop computers, 10 Canon t5i cameras, 1 Canon 60D, two iPad minis. With all equipment but the desktops, students can check it out and take it for use overnight.
Aside from the computers and the programs, what are one or two pieces of equipment that you have that you think other programs should have.
We’ve got a GoPro that is fun to use, but has limited use. You definitely know it’s being used when you see it. Same thing with the drone we have, which we use in conjunction with the GoPro. It’s neat and you can do some cool things, but it’s absolutely a specialty piece of equipment.
How is your workspace funded?
Mostly through the sales of yearbooks and advertising in our varying media. Funding from the district has been consistent in keeping us in working iMacs and the space, but anything else is done by sales and ads.
Do you have anything on your wishlist for your space? If so, what do you have and why?
As I mentioned above, we might be revamping the back space into a more proper studio, at the instigation of my principal. That’s still in the wait and see stages. This year, I removed three of the rectangular tables you can see in the photo and I’m pretty annoyed I didn’t do it sooner. It’s opened things up and it seems my varying publication staffs use the space a lot more for either ice breakers or group discussions. That open space has been much more conducive to that. Generally speaking, I’d like the space to be a lot more open. I don’t think the small office space (where the couches are now) needs to be there and it would just give the classroom more space. There’s another wall I’d like knocked down, to open up the space toward the studio, but we’ll see. I’d like different tables and chairs, but there’s only so much you can do with budget and space. My intro classes tend to use the tables more, while the publications students are at the computers and out of the classroom more frequently.
(This is one of a series of posts where high school newsrooms are showcased. We’d love to showcase your newsroom on the site. To find out how, check out the information here and submit yours today.)