What is your name?
What school do you teach at?
Blue Valley West High School
What city and state is your school located in?
Overland Park, Kansas
What different media are produced at the school?
Yearbook, Newspaper, Online
How many students are involved at the media program at your school?
Yearbook-97, Newspaper-25, Broadcast-18
Describe your space for us.
BVW publications enjoy a 37 machine mac lab in a large classroom with a backroom. Our tables are covered with tapestries so that the room feels more like a personal workspace. Students decorate their computers with bitmojis and reward stickers. We also have a backroom that helps everyone feel more at home. It was redecorated last summer with new paint, couch covers, a dining room table and we built a table and some lamps out of yearbooks. Students bring hot chocolate as one of the class supplies and decorated mugs so everyone would have their own. When we have food on Fridays (a Room 233 tradition) and use that space for food preparation and meals on work days.
What do you think are some of the benefits of the workspace you all have?
Room 233 has a different feeling to it than any other in our school. Students love the Macs but beyond that they love the homey feel with all of the pictures of students. We have lots of blankets and work closely without being too crowded. Our backroom is a kid magnet; we have to sign-up to use it for interviews and meetings.
What do your students like most about the workspace you have?
The kids love the backroom. Some use it as their locker-not good, but others use it to gather friends for lunch, do interviews or solve the world’s problems.
What computer programs and/or apps is your staff using on a regular basis for their work?
We use the Adobe suite; Indesign CC, Illustrator and Photoshop. We also use Twitter and Instagram.
What tech equipment are your students using on a daily basis?
Cameras: we have large stock of Canon T6is, 2 GoPros, 5 different size lenses. Computers: we have 30 iMac desktops, 6 laptops, a PC desktop (hooked up to our scanner) and 3 laptop PCs.
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.
A good sport lens is important, 2 are better. Once the kids get used to it, they don’t want to “get stuck” with kit or zoom lenses. They are getting used to our wide-angle lenses and they are becoming more popular. Our most popular item is our Keurig. I know it seems silly, but just being able to have some tea or hot chocolate makes the work flow better. We also have a large portable TV that shows page designs better than our projector. It’s also nice to have that in our back room for editor meetings and movies at lunch.
How is your workspace funded?
Our district has us on a 2-3 year camera purchase rotation which works well. (We usually get about $13,000 to spend.) Computers are updated every few years. The staffers buy the “comfort” items.
Do you have anything on your wishlist for your space? If so, what do you have and why?
The biggest gift we’ve ever gotten was a full-size refrigerator. (You would have thought the kids each got a new car, they were so excited.)
(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.)