In the age of technology it’s not uncommon for high school students to produce video announcements, but students at Uplift Peak High School in East Dallas are learning much more than video production.
With a classroom that feels more like a working studio, students receive jobs as writers, actors, directors, cinematographers, audio technicians or video editors and work together to produce daily video announcements broadcast to the whole school.
Jay Schaertl is the head of the video production courses offered at Uplift Peak as Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses. With six years of teaching experience and 10 years in professional film making, Mr. Schaertl decided to have his advanced video production course produce morning announcements for the first time as a way to engage the student body. This is the first year that Uplift Peak has offered both an entry level and advanced video production course making the newscast possible.
But it’s the teamwork, sense of community and freedom to learn that make this class a favorite of many Uplift Peak students including senior Nysha Jackson.
“This class is so amazing and fun, but there’s also a professional sense to it. We have a lot of freedom because we earned Mr. Schaertl’s trust, and everyone works hard to do their best and get the job done,” she said.
Jackson said that working toward one common goal with a diverse group of people has taught her acceptance and collaboration.
“We have nerds, sports enthusiast, and even people that prefer to be left alone, but everyone can come in here and coexist. In here, we are a family,” she said.
Both the first and second year CTE courses are possible through a formula funding from TEA and through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. This funding allows schools to reinvest in programs by purchasing new equipment, supplies, and teacher salaries. With these funds Uplift Peak has purchased seven video cameras and tripods, five voice recorders, cables, and other related equipment this year.
Uplift Peak High School students who earn either an ‘A’ or ‘B’ in the first and second year course will earn 16 hours of college credit over two years. These courses are part of the Arts, A/V Technology and Communication CTE cluster.
Uplift Peak Preparatory also offers courses in Information Technology, Health Science, Business Management and Administration, and STEM clusters.
Jackson said she hopes others see the many benefits this course has to offer.
“Every Uplift school should have a course like this. Not only are you earning college credit, but you learn how to work as a team and that helps in other classes as well. When we’re assigned group work in other classes, I know how to work with different types of people and personalities. We all have one goal and that’s how we can work together.”