St. Croix Central Schools in Wisconsin has been busy. Not only have they acquired a new auditorium and sports complex, they’ve outfitted the locations with cutting edge equipment to create the best visual and audio experiences for each setting.
The excitement builds with creating content for the locations and gearing up for the events. The Panther students stepped up to the plate and are undertaking the challenge as part of a program that was integrated into the school’s curriculum this year.
Jason Koele is the new Athletic Director at St. Croix. His charge has been to put the technology to good use and get the students involved and learning. “We started by teaching kids the fundamentals like editing and creating video,” said Koele.
“We’re laying the framework for something pretty awesome. No school around the area is doing this, so it’s a big asset to us. We want to be a model of excellence for others.”
Oftentimes, schools launch new courses under the CTE umbrella, Career/Technical Education. CTE courses provide students with an opportunity to learn a skillset that provides real-life experience working with industry professionals. Another perk is the possibility of earning college credits during high school.
The students are gaining their experience running the new video board in the Thomas Sempf Gym. The school’s library was renovated to include green screen space where students can use an iPad or video camera linked to software allowing them to drop in backgrounds, proving useful for staff pictures. TV screens with HDMI inputs provide a common space for students to work on projects together, like player headshots, videos or anything else they can imagine for game day.
The main focus of student studies includes light, sound, LED lighting interfaces and more. “The curriculum is housed in our business department but is tied to our marketing and IT classes,” Koele continued. “Students in grades 7-12 are welcome. We do have an extracurricular offshoot that streams our games live on a platform to broadcast to audience members who might not be able to attend in person. I know one event had over 700 views one evening. Students also help with announcing and producing videos, headshots and player intros.”
The Panthers plan to continue their progress in working toward intro videos and expanding into the community by filming sponsor commercials on site. Koele commented,
“Equipment like this opens up doors in education and experience. It’s easy to use and is crucial in creating the climate for events.”
“It’s applicable to anything you want to do with it. We thought we’d try an outdoor movie night for the track and cross-country teams, which was a success. This can be a big focal point in bringing the community together.”