What is your name? Elizabeth Strehl
What school do you teach at?
Las Vegas Academy of the Arts
What city and state is your school located in?
Las Vegas, Nevada
What different media are produced at the school?
Eclectic (our yearbook), Accolades (lva-accolades.net: website new this year), and Eminence (in the works, an interactive online arts journal)
How many students are involved at the media program at your school?
Describe your space for us.
My classroom in located in Frazier, one of the three buildings on our campus that is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Together, they represent the best examples of Art Deco architecture in Las Vegas. Whereas most of the original rooms in this building have been divided into three classrooms, mine is still the original size.
This gives me an area for my desk and a student aide desk, an area for instruction, an area for a computer lab and meeting tables, and a separate office for my editors. The windows, rare for a school in Las Vegas, overlook Downtown Las Vegas, namely the Arts District.
What do you think are some of the benefits of the workspace you all have?
I love the sheer size and openness of this room. When we are working in groups or various student committees are meeting, they can spread out, and there are ample computers for students to use as needed. I also love having windows. The natural light floods the room, and we can get fresh air.
What do your students like most about the workspace you have?
My editors love their office space. They have assigned desks with name plates, and they can decorate as they see fit. It’s different every time I go in there. Students also love the openness. When student are working in groups, they are often seated on the floor, on tables, at computers. It’s organized chaos.
What computer programs and/or apps is your staff using on a regular basis for their work?
We’re revamping our program, switching from a traditional print paper to a SNO site, and we’re transitioning to a full CTE in multimedia communications. Right now, the programs most used are Adobe (especially Spark and InDesign), LayOut Pro (Jostens Yearbook system), and the SNO site.
What tech equipment are your students using on a daily basis?
Most of our cameras are older versions of Canon Rebels. All the students have Chromebooks and have access to desktop PCs. We’re working to get video equipment and iPads. We have Google compatible drawing pads, but they’re new and we’re still learning how to use those.
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.
This is really basic, but when I took over we had a traditional overhead LCD projector. The color was washed out and the image was fuzzy. Our tech guy invested in a large screen TV which makes going through yearbook spreads much more pleasant. We can truly see the colors and images aren’t distorted. We also have a few computers with double monitors, which come in handy when editing and updating.
How is your workspace funded?
I don’t have a budget. I have money in a publications account that was fundraised by my predecessor before the pandemic and I have a supportive administrator. I did get about $1,000 from DonorsChoose in partnership with a state grant, and we do sell student recognition ads for the yearbook. I am currently training my journalists on ad design and we hope to start selling ads for our SNO site. Starting next year, I will also be eligible for some CTE money through our school district.
Do you have anything on your wishlist for your space? If so, what do you have and why?
Video equipment! We have applied for a grant for video cameras, sound equipment, and a green screen. We are waiting to hear. Students are excited about adding broadcast journalism to our program.
(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.)