We were finally able to replace our aging Mac Pro workstations! Thanks to some budget magic, we’ll finally have a total of 16 modern, usable audio/video workstations ready for us on day 1 of the Fall semester. Thanks to Superintendent Richard Schoene, Cheryl Supanik, Heather Hanson, Josh Woodruff, and the support staff at Belmont-Harrison Career Centers for making it happen. Exciting!
“It’s a lot like Discord.”
The website and Mission Board have been revamped in order to be easy to navigate and use. Additionally, several online services were created to support all Entertainment Marketing courses. These services include a separate and comprehensive documentation site (docs.reddevilproductions.com) and a custom chat platform (reddevilproductions.chat) based on the industry standard Rocket.Chat.
All services are restricted to users in our school domain (@stcschools.com) and authenticated with students’ existing google accounts, making them safe, secure, and easy to use. I am excited to start using these new tools, and I believe they will supercharge communication and collaboration across the program.
“Grades are made up.”
Grading across the program is changing significantly. After much thought and planning, I am moving away from a point-based grading system to one focused on high-quality feedback, individual student achievement, and goal-oriented learning. Students will no longer receive traditional letter grades or point values for individual assignments. Instead, everyone will receive individual, high-quality instructor feedback to assess progress and guide improvement, and there will be a strong focus on incorporating that feedback and showing clear evidence of learning. As the year progresses, students will build individualized portfolios that include completed audio/video/music projects, present important concepts, and show growth as a learner and creator.
Though I am still required to enter weekly, interim, semester, and final letter grades, these grades will be agreed upon between each student and the instructor during individual conferences at the end of each 9-week period. For students, this means that each 9-weeks we will sit down together and review your portfolio. In that meeting, you will tell me what grade you feel you earned. If your portfolio supports the grade you assign, the grade goes into the book.
This does not mean that students will not be responsible for their work. If anything, I’m asking students to put in more effort than in a traditional classroom. It means MORE work for me (the instructor) and you (the student), but I promise it will be worth it. Learning and mastering new skills is far more important than letter grades, points, or percentages. Removing “grades” from our day-to-day? It means we get to focus on learning, improving, and most importantly creating.
We’ll talk in-depth about how all this works (and how we will approach learning in general) in the first weeks of class. All this information (and more) will also be available in the Program Handbook on RDP Docs as well as shared with parents and guardians. Currently, only the Welcome and Getting Started pages on RDP Docs are live. Other content will be available in full at the start of the school year.
Hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the Summer! See you all soon.
– Mr. Weaver