Mamaroneck High Students traveled to West Virginia in November to cover and experience first-hand reporting on a topic they chose based on research. While there, students collected a huge amount of audio, delving into both local culture, demographics, and politics and learned the skills of reporters on the road covering a feature story. They are putting together podcasts for itunes in a journalistic format -- with a similar template and storyline to “This American Life.” Mamaroneck High School may be the first high school in NY State to offer a podcasting course.
Podcasting was introduced this school year through a Mamaroneck Schools Foundation grant that provided funds for students to build a professional podcast studio with professional equipment. Two MHS seniors built the studio last spring for their internship project so it was ready for students in fall, 2018. Preparations for their trip to West Virginia began in Summer, 2018, when students read “Hillbilly Elegy” and “What you are getting wrong about Appalachia” They then wrote action plans based on their takeaways and narrowed their focus to one theme and concept to report on for a full-length piece in radio format.
The podcasting studio is located right on Mamaroneck High School’s campus.
The podcasting class is part of MHS’s Journalism program (which began four years ago). West Virginia was selected as the State of choice for a field trip because of its unique and specific demographics in comparison to New York and Larchmont. Culturally, the idea was to have students gain a greater sense of a region beset with different issues/challenges than those they encounter every day.
Forty-seven students are enrolled in the Journalism class at Mamaroneck High School. The podcasts were technically supervised by Michael Sammartano, Instructional Technology Coach.
The district’s continued focus on authentic learning was directly related to the trip. This type of real world experience is an excellent example of the many rich, relevant educational opportunities the district provides.
The course is centered around specific technological skills that professional journalists use daily in their work. Students learn about researching, writing and editing a radio script with the audience in mind and sound design.
New iTunes show “Discourse”, written and produced by Mamaroneck High School students, started on iTunes in February.