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‘FIS News’ airs in school

Fifth-graders Chris McCabe (foreground) and Nick Russell prepare the day’s news at the FIS studio.- Tracy K. Morgan/farragutpress
The talented and gifted class at FIS now produces a live news show over in-house televisions each week. The school is home to a production studio that includes a blue screen and makeshift teleprompter.

“It’s a confidence builder for the kids,” said Helen Agee, FIS faculty sponsor. “I think it’s extremely valuable to the students.”

The 11 students currently involved with “FIS News” spend about 15 minutes doing a live weekly broadcast, which is also taped for future learning purposes. Duties are rotated so that each student learns all aspects of directing, producing, editing and on-camera reporting. In addition, the students create and edit music videos and take photos of classmates.

Farragut Intermediate School is not only in the news, it’s making the news.

“I think there’s something that every one of them can take away from this,” Agee said.

“FIS News” is the brainchild of the school’s principal, Dr. Robert Frazier.

“I’ve been wanting to get a studio for years because it’s really good experience for the students. It helps them expand their writing skills and their verbal skills,” Frazier said.

The equipment was purchased two years ago from school fund-raisers and coupon book sales for approximately $30,000. However, the program didn’t get off the ground until the latter part of the 2002-03 school year because of staff transfers.

“Another teacher had been in television before becoming a teacher,” Agee said. “She did all the research and got the equipment in.”

When that teacher was transferred, Agee, the school’s T.A.G. teacher who was also on the technology committee, inherited the program.

She uses part of her planning time each day to supervise the students as they create “FIS News.”

“I wish I could do it all day long,” Agee said. “It’s a wonderful teaching tool. The sky’s the limit.”

“The teachers are good at going the extra mile in providing enrichment for the kids,” Frazier said. “It’s all for the benefit of the kids. That’s what it’s all about.”

Agee said that while they “have quite a bit of neat tools to work with,” they are still in need of a backdrop.

Future goals include expanding the program to deliver a live feed to individual classrooms. Agee would also like to offer time in the studio to every fifth grader.

“But right now we’re going with what we have and doing the best we can,” she said.

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