Mayor Thomas M. Menino today joined Phil Kent, Chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., to announce a new program from the City of Boston and the Atlanta-based media company to provide technology and support to Boston public high school students who are studying media communications.
The partnership includes extensive financial and in-kind support from Turner for several Boston public high schools that offer college and career preparatory programs in television production and other media fields. The pilot for this project is underway at Media Communications Technology High School in West Roxbury. New Turner-developed broadcast technology is being used to teach students how to air sporting events, student theatre and musical performances, staff and parent workshops, and other activities in the Boston Public Schools (BPS). Mayor Menino and Turner officials announced the partnership today, with students from the high school demonstrating their new skills by broadcasting live streaming coverage of the event on the internet.
"This new partnership will help our students understand the media in a new way and teach them how to use it to communicate their own messages," said Mayor Menino. "Our students have the opportunity to build the skills needed to pursue careers in the growing fields of broadcasting and communications technology. This commitment from Turner Broadcasting puts Boston children on the cutting edge."
Mr. Kent said, "We're pleased that our innovative PlayON! technology and people will expand the educational experience of Boston students and look forward to working with teachers and administrators to help develop the next generation of media professionals."
Colleges and minor league professional sports teams throughout the country have been using "PlayON!" technology to broadcast sporting events over the internet, but Media High is only the second high school in the country to use the technology. Turner executives are providing extensive on-site training to a team of students and teachers at the school, enabling them to broadcast high school sports games and other BPS events on the Internet and on the City's cable television channel. The additional programming is designed to complement the Mayor's recent launch of the "Game of the Week" series of high school football games. The Turner partnership will result in more coverage of football and other high school sports - beginning this fall with boys' and girls' soccer and girls' volleyball - though BPS-TV Sportscast, available free on-line at www.bps-tv.org.
Media Communications Technology High School students were trained in all aspects of broadcasting events - including directing, camera work, sound, and on-air announcing. The pilot program will be expanded later this year to engage students at other Boston high schools that have a media communications program. In addition to working with PlayON!, students in the program will participate in after-school learning and hands-on training in all aspects of the media industry. Mayor Menino called for additional involvement from community organizations and area colleges and universities to provide students with year-round learning and preparation for success after high school.
The Turner partnership also creates a $5,000 annual scholarship for a Boston Public Schools graduate to pursue higher education in a media communications field. The company also will provide ongoing technical assistance with the PlayON! production kits and other aspects of the industry.
"This partnership provides tremendous support for Boston's ambitious high school renewal efforts," said Elizabeth Reilinger, Chairperson of the Boston School Committee. "Throughout the city, we are working closely with businesses and the community to provide students with learning and training opportunities to help make their high school experience more challenging, engaging and rewarding. Programs like this one help ensure that every student stays in school and graduates with the skills and knowledge to succeed in college and beyond."
Superintendent Carol R. Johnson noted the added value to families and the community. "Our families lead busy lives and are not always able to attend every baseball game or school play," said Dr. Johnson. "This student-produced programming gives parents and others in the community a chance to see - and sometimes to enjoy again - the wonderful activities that take place during and after the school day."
Media Communications Technology High School is one of four new small high schools in the former West Roxbury High School, serving approximately 375 students from neighborhoods throughout the city. The Turner partnership is coordinated at the school by Headmaster Sung-Joon "Sunny" Pai and teachers Maggie Hoyt and Wesley Williams.
Longtime Boston radio personality and sports announcer Jimmy Myers served as emcee of the news conference today. Mr. Myers recently assisted the students with the filming of their first football game at White Stadium, coaching the young broadcasters in on-air announcing.
To view a webcast of the news conference, visit http://bps.playonsports.tv/?eventId=2471
Media Communications Technology High School students participating in the pilot program for the Turner Broadcasting partnership (and their home neighborhoods):
Xavier Caban, Hyde Park
Keven Chase, Charlestown
Janelly Chavez, Hyde Park
Jordan Hall, Mattapan
Branden Harrington, Dorchester
Darwill Sanchez, Dorchester
Sevon Telemaque, Dorchester
Efrain Vazquez, West Roxbury