POSEN - Starting in the fall, Posen Consolidated Schools will offer a school broadcast program, thanks to an agreement with Michigan Interscholastic Connection.
Board members approved adding the program after seeing a production by the company's general manager, Sparky Nitchman. Along with basic information about how the program works, he showed them a few examples of student productions. Fifteen schools in northern Michigan have signed up, including neighbors Rogers City Area Schools and Onaway Area Community Schools.
Ultimately, board members agreed they believed it was a good chance for Posen students to learn the basics in a growing career field.
"It's a great opportunity for kids to have something different than what there traditionally has been," Superintendent John Palmer said. Technology "is really up and growing, programming and stuff of that nature. And kids, I've talked to several of them about it and they're really excited about it."
For the first year, Nitchman will help the district get into the program by providing a high-definition camera, tripod, laptop and editing software, he said. After that, the district would pay a monthly membership fee. Students are taught how to film, edit and upload videos to the Michigan High School Athletics Association's website.
Board members agreed to spend no more than $1,500 to get the class started. Nitchman said the district's newly purchased laptops could fill in for the one he would provide, possibly dropping that cost to $1,000.
Although Nitchman works with this sports-focused organization to distribute student-made videos, the production possibilities are myriad, he said. He showed an example where Rogers City elementary students demonstrated positive behavior in and around the school for a series of videos. Students typically come up with lots of ideas for videos when put to the task.
"We're putting together projects that really showcase the school, and reach the community by putting the school in a different light," he said. "This essentially takes the roof off the school."
Although Posen will be a new participant to the program, its athletes are already online, Nitchman said. Other districts, like St. Ignace and Oscoda, filmed their teams playing against Posen teams.
Nitchman's company makes money by selling advertising space on a school's MSHAA video website, he said, demonstrating a few examples. He later added that local businesses can buy ads on his website, sponsor its newsletter or pay to have their logo appear on the company banner. Districts have some say as to what kind of advertising will be accepted. Once he's recooped his investment in a school program, he'll build it up using ad revenue, then split it 50-50 with the district.
In response to a query from an audience member, Nitchman said advertising can cost anywhere from $50 to $100 per month.
Hannah Pontius, Posen's industrial arts teacher, will teach the new class, and Nitchman said he was glad to hear her enthusiasm about it.
In other business:
board members approved a business manager contract with Alletta Misiak and a superintendent secretary contract with Lucia Bruski. Both will continue their roles in those positions.
board members agreed to hire Matthew Bedard as a bus driver, to contract with Joshua Nakoneczny as bus mechanic and to use The Engine Shop south of Rogers City to handle any engine problems with the district's bus fleet. Sherry Romel also will join the district as assistant cook.
with less than a month remaining before school starts, the district has 244 students enrolled, up from the end of last school year, Palmer said. A number of those are foreign exchange students.