Chapin Middle School’s Innovative Approach to Student-Driven News

At Chapin Middle School (CMS), each school day commences with a blend of patriotism, reflection, and a dose of student-driven news. The unique initiative, CMS LIVE, spearheaded by Principal Dr. Huckabee, has become a cornerstone of the school’s commitment to empowering students through hands-on experiences in media production.

The morning routine at CMS starts with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a Moment of Silence, seamlessly transitioning into CMS LIVE, the school’s very own student-produced news show. In its third year of operation, CMS LIVE offers students a remarkable opportunity to acquire real-life skills in media production, setting the stage for personal and professional growth.

Dr. Huckabee’s vision revolves around providing students with avenues to lead their own learning. “Students will fly when we put things in front of them that allow them to lead the learning,” she emphasizes. “Production is the perfect opportunity for our students to try new things, to work together toward a common goal, to help build school culture, and to walk away with an employable skill even at around 12 or 13 years old!”

The heart of CMS LIVE lies in its student crews, where young minds explore various roles in the production process. From teleprompter managers and directors to audio technicians and on-air talent, students engage in a dynamic learning environment mirroring the complexities of professional media production.

One notable aspect of CMS LIVE is its commitment to authenticity. Dr. Huckabee recalls instances where the crew had to address the student body without prior notice. In these moments, the students showcased remarkable professionalism in managing the stress and challenges of live production with less than 30 seconds to go on air.

The success of CMS LIVE is attributed to the leadership and teaching of individuals like Lori Powers and Reggie Salazar. Salazar emphasizes the real-world experience that students gain daily, highlighting the demands of quick thinking and adaptability in the media field. “CMS Live gives our students real-world experience in a real-world career field daily. Our students are placed in positions where they have 29 minutes to prepare, synchronize, and rehearse for a live show. You can’t replicate that anywhere. I am amazed at what these students can do.”

Beyond production skills, CMS LIVE contributes to leadership and character development. Salazar notes, “Our students benefit greatly from this in more than the production skills, but with leadership and character development as well. They also take great pride in what they are doing. We are lucky to have the opportunity and resources to do this.”

CMS LIVE at Chapin Middle School is more than just a news show; it is a platform where students thrive, learn, and shape their futures. It sets the stage for a new generation of leaders and media professionals, showcasing the power of student-led initiatives in education.

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