FLINT TWP. – Students in the Carman-Ainsworth, Swartz Creek and Flushing school districts are using very sophisticated video equipment in their classrooms, which will only get better with the latest release of $25,000 in Public, Educational or Governmental (PEG) funds from the township board.
PEG funds come through an agreement with Comcast Cable to return a percentage of franchise fees to the community for public access TV programs. PEG funds are disbursed three or four times during a school year.
In the latest disbursement, Carman- Ainsworth is getting $15,000 and Swartz Creek and Flushing are getting $5,000 each. The fund distribution is based on the percentage of Flint Township students residing in each school district. Each school district is required to provide quarterly written reports to the township on how the funds are spent.
C-A Middle School plans to use its funds to buy a new tricaster for its Advanced Computers class, also known as the CAMS News Network (CNN).
About 28 students are currently enrolled in the class which is responsible for producing a weekly news broadcast for the entire middle school, said Mike Warren, CAMS computer technology teacher.
A tricaster is a portable broadcasting room that allows four different cameras, graphics and sounds to be incorporated in the weekly news broadcasts, Warren said. The current tricaster is not high definition. Upgraded equipment can run HD video. If there are any leftover funds, they also would like to buy more television sets for the hallways which run daily announcements and the CNN broadcasts.
“We would not be able to run a program like this if it wasn’t for the Township finding us funding,” Warren said, offering his thanks.
Swartz Creek also uses its funding for a daily news broadcast called Into the Creek, produced entirely by students in its Visual Communications class. Course offerings have been expanded this year to include the Yearbook Class and also a new Media and Marketing course, said Ben Gillett, visual/video communications instructor. He also reported that a fundraising partnership with the Coffee Beanery Company raised about $2,000 so far this year, which also is used to buy equipment.
Flushing Schools use PEG money to support a Video Production class at the high school and a broadcasting communications and technology class at the middle school, said Matt Shanafelt, assistant superintendent, in his quarterly report.
PEG funds will be used to continue its subscription to Soundzabound – a royalty-free music library of audio files students can use to enhance their productions without worrying about copyright infringement.
Funding also will be used to update student computers and equipment that currently are about ten years old, he said.
A $4,000 PEG grant during the 2016- 17 school year was used to pay for an iMac Retina 5K display computer, four camcorder memory card sets, two camcorders, a camera disk bracket set and the Soundzabound subscription, Shanafelt said.
Middle school students are using equipment to learn skills including creation of public service announcements, stop motion animation and video capture in addition to a weekly news broadcast.
The high school video production class is working on movie trailers, commercial projects, public service announcements and a Memory Montage History project.
“On behalf of the district, we greatly appreciate the financial support that is afforded though this grant to allow the district to provide the most up-to-date broadcasting opportunities for our students, ”Shanafelt said.