Media learning grows with academy, pathway upgrades
Media learning grows with academy, pathway upgrades
Posted on 12/03/2018
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Students on the set of the Creative Media Production Academy's studio

The 800 hallway at Northwest High School looks like any other ordinary hallway that one would find in a typical modern high school. However, when entering the door labeled “NHSTV 805,” it’s easy to see this is not a typical classroom.

This area houses the district’s Creative Media Production Academy and is also home to NHSTV, which has been awarded the Best Daily Live Show in the southwest region of the United States by the National Television Network the past three years. Student employees at NHSTV buzz through hallways with camera equipment, edit news stories in Adobe Premiere, meet in production teams, write scripts and prepare graphical content for the on-air show that takes place daily at 11 a.m.

And now, thanks to upgrades approved by voters in the 2017 Northwest ISD bond election, students are getting their hands on new, state-of-the-art equipment to push their output further.

Through the upgrades, the NHSTV control room, conference room and television studio have all seen significant enhancements from the previous 9-year-old facility and equipment. The goal of the project was to put systems and equipment in place to give students tangible real-world experiences to provide a competitive advantage for internships, college program acceptance and employment at any facility that uses audio and video production.

Jeremy Rawe, creative media production coordinator, said his students have exceled over the years and gained skills that have advanced them beyond the old equipment’s capabilities. The new facility helps teach skills that will allow students to compete in the current career and college markets, he said.

“Our new system was designed just like a television station that you would find at our local NBC, CBS, FOX, or ABC affiliates in DFW, but on a smaller scale,” said Mr. Rawe, who has taught in Northwest ISD for 13 years and served as the original facilitator of the CMP Academy for the past 10 years. “Our students are being trained every day in a real-world television production facility, and they are learning quickly the skills needed to work in live television production.”

The NHSTV facilities were designed and engineered by Digital Resources in Southlake and incorporate equipment made by industry leaders Ross Video, Panasonic, Cuescript, and Allen and Heath.

Additionally, the studio features a new set designed and built by Mecca Design in Dallas. The studio lights were upgraded to LED, which is more energy efficient and saves the district thousands of dollars a year in electricity costs. With the fourteen Sony monitors built into the set, it can adapt to various uses. In late October, for example, the set transformed from its usual NHSTV design to one made for a Facebook Live broadcast by Dr. Ryder Warren, district superintendent.

Students said they love the improved facility, having created shows every day throughout October and early November.

Students in the Creative Media Production Academy's control room

Garrett Schneeman, a senior in the academy, said the program helped him gain acceptance into the University of Oklahoma and the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“I had gained knowledge and vast experience from the old facility,” he said. “The new facilities only add to the experience, allowing me to learn on professional-grade equipment, giving me a competitive advantage over my peers going into this field.”

Annie Funk, a junior in the academy, agreed.

“Producing, anchoring and directing our shows every day in this studio gives me a real-world experience not many other high school students can get,” she explained. “I will be able to use this to my advantage when applying for scholarships and college.”

The upgrade of NHSTV also enhanced Northwest ISD’s digital media pathways at Byron Nelson and Eaton high schools, adding working cameras and control room equipment. These are now used by the students of BobcatTV and EGLTV, smaller affiliates that create the daily announcements on these campuses.

Dr. Ron Myers, principal of Byron High School, had been doing announcements over the PA system for the past several years but is happy to now have video announcements.

“We are grateful to Mr. Rawe and our pathway students for their support as we launched BobcatTV this year,” he said. “By sharing their knowledge with us, they have made an impact on more than 2,600 students, staff and families. Helping to get our message out through this medium is something we wanted to do for quite some time.”

Students can apply to the Creative Media Production Academy during their eighth-grade year and begin as freshmen. Any student can take classes in the digital media pathway at all three comprehensive Northwest ISD high schools.

NHSTV broadcasts live daily at Northwest High School but can be seen from anywhere in the district by visiting while connected to the district network. The show is also broadcast live to the world on the NHSTV YouTube Channel and is also available to watch demand.

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2018-19 issue of Northwest Navigator magazine.

To learn more about the career and technical education programs within Northwest ISD, click here.