With broadcasts on cable television, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, McKinney Educational Television (MET) is the digital resource that teachers, parents and the community can access for news about McKinney ISD events, programs and student achievements.
“The power of video allows viewers to see or experience to some degree what our students are doing,” said McKinney ISD Chief Communications Officer Cody Cunningham.
Photos Courtesy of MISD
Many parents are not logging on to the McKinney ISD website, which is why MET is a convenient resource for parents or staff looking for specific programs or stories to watch, like, share or tweet. Each video is Archived and the site is searchable, which makes finding the clip you want to see that much easier.
MET features programs such as the bi-monthly video blog with Superintendent Dr. J.D. Kennedy. McKinney ISD is one of the only districts in the state with a superintendent video blog. The videotaped segments are an important outlet for the superintendent to share and discuss issues of school finance as well as feature some of the district’s outstanding teachers.
Another regular segment is Sports Talk, a show dedicated to McKinney ISD high school sports. This show is hosted by Tyler Sloan and features one-on-one discussions with coaches as well as the accomplishments of McKinney ISD scholar athletes.
“I’d like to think we are on the cutting edge when it comes to the avenues of communication,” said Cunningham. Indeed, McKinney ISD was one of the first North Texas school districts to develop a smart phone app – misdGO – to keep parents and the community better informed.
MET is accessible 24 hours a day and is available on Time Warner Cable Channel 98. The online information loop features school announcements, job postings, candid school photos and district news.The channel also features special programs including profiles of candidates nominated for this year’s Teacher of the Year awards, choir concerts and fine arts performances.
The district also streams high school graduations live through MET. “To be able to share that experience with family members who live out of state,” is important to families said Cunningham, who receives emails of thanks from out of state relatives of McKinney students. “Literally dozens of family members — mostly grandparents — email to say how much it meant for them to have the opportunity to see their student graduate,” said Cunningham.
“In distributing videos and other technologies,” Cunningham continues, “we are able to upload on Facebook and other social media sites, which enables us to broaden our audience.”
Still with all the avenues of communication — the Internet, cable television, online and print — the real goal is to help the community better understand and engage with the district.
“We are always looking for creative opportunities to tell the stories in our district,” said Cunningham, who credits MET’s video producer with much of the channel’s success. “Everything we do is created, videoed, edited by a single person and that’s Karla Schumacher,” he said.
Schumacher serves as the TV/media producer and has been with the district for seven years. Her job is to highlight the district’s positive accomplishments and its people. “I promote the great and awesome things that students, teachers and staff are doing,” said Schumacher.
A one-woman department, her work includes everything from script to screen.“I will find a story about something that Is going on in the district, contact people, interview and shoot B-roll and come back to the studio and start to edit and add graphics and music,” said Schumacher.
She then uploads the video to MET, online and through the district’s other communication resources. “We are always trying to look at what’s the next best way to put out our media,” said Schumacher. That’s important in an era when sharing a tweet or a link is often faster than sending a letter home to parents.
“Video provides transparency,” said Schumacher, “It gives the community another look and even more glances at what we are doing.”
Schumacher just completed one of the biggest communications projects of the year: Teacher of the Year spotlights.Viewers can see a 45 second to one minute vignette of McKinney ISD teachers nominated for this year’s awards. “It gives you a really great snap shot of how they work as a teacher,” said Schumacher.
From fine arts to football, or classroom achievements to college road trips, MET Is a resource for parents and the community to better understand what is going on in the district. With multiple communications resources, access is available on your phone, your computer and through your cable television connection.
“We’re always looking for ideas. One of the things we love doing is highlighting the accomplishments of our students and teachers. Even more than that, we love human interest stories,” said Cunningham.
Parents, teachers and school staff are encouraged to send story ideas, accomplishments and news to the communications department. “There is no better way to show what our students are doing than to go into the classroom and show a student in their own words,” said Cunningham.