D214 Studio offers ‘digital storytelling’

Nic Baggetto, Editor-in-Chief

With redefined college readiness programs entering every facet of education, hands on experience has become an important factor in choosing career paths. Until recently, District 214 hasn’t offered any media- related courses or internships. The introduction of D214 Studio, which began on February 6 at Forest View Educational Center, marks a turning point for those interested in pursuing a digital media career.

“We are teaching the kids how to be digital storytellers,” graphics and media tech teacher at Hersey High School Todd Hatfield said. “The skills include being in front of the camera, behind the camera, lighting, audio, editing, interviewing techniques and basic story telling principles.”

Hatfield is coordinating with Elk Grove’s Bruce Janu, a world history teacher and sponsor of film club. Together, the two will be working to train students in the digital arts while producing an actual television show called “High School Flip.” The first season of the show, which is currently filming, will detail the district’s design program as they work on drafting renovations for a house. Season two, which will film in the fall, will be a documentary of the district’s practical arts program actually working on the house.

“The course is designed to be a real life production studio,” Janu said. “The teaching is on-the-job training.”

Janu went on to explain that he and Hatfield intend to act more as coaches than teachers in the hopes that, down the line, the program will be more student led. Be that as it may, the course still counts as a graded class on transcripts as well as an internship credit, the intention being that those considering broadcast journalism or production as a career path will gain added work experience.

“It’s scary when I hear kids say they are going to college for sports broadcasting or cinematography, for example, when they’ve never taken a single course in high school about those areas,” Hatfield said. “This now allows those students to explore those areas as a possible career choice.”

Out of 30 applications submitted, 16 D214 students were selected to take part in the program after school from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays for the rest of the year.

“The opportunity to work on the aforementioned skill sets doesn’t exist and isn’t taught anywhere in the district other than Hersey’s Media Tech class,” Hatfield said.

“So this course is the only opportunity for students to learn, practice and perfect those skills with trained professionals that work in the industry.”