By way of a closed-circuit, campus-wide television network, nearly 1,000 students and teachers tune in to a daily student-produced newscast each morning at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School.
Falcon Television Network, FTN, is in its tenth year, said program adviser and sixth-grade teacher Ken Newton.
“It really started with just the lunch menu,” Newton said.
Today the show has grown to a 10- to 15-minute “quality” program that is enjoyed by more than 900 students each morning, Newton said.
This year, FTN is run by a group of nearly 80 students, mostly fourth- through sixth-graders with a couple of first-graders, too. Each day a different crew is responsible for producing the morning program which includes news, entertainment, games, weather, sports, birthdays, trivia and of course, the lunch menu.
“Our program gets the day going on the right foot and on a positive note for the entire school,” Newton said.
On Mondays, the group meets at lunchtime to discuss the show content for each day that week.
The program is made up of different segments each day including the daily lunch menu. Weather is featured three times a week. Green Bay Packers fan Vanessa Felix and sixth grader Joey Herand write and produce their own sports reports on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sixth grade student body president Jimmy Warshawsky writes and hosts his own segment “60 Seconds with the President” each Wednesday.
“I’ve always loved performing but I’ve never done this before because I don’t like to get up early,” Warshawsky said. “I started FTN this year and it’s been really fun.”
FTN is an extra curricular activity that requires the students show up to school 30 minutes early to rehearse the show, and reserve lunchtime on Mondays for the weekly meeting.
“It’s responsibility,” Newton said. “ They sign a contract and it’s a year long commitment.”
In addition to gaining public speaking experience and boosting confidence level in students, FTN increases students writing skills and computer literacy.
“Mr. Newton gives us constructive criticism to make out show better,” said sixth-grade student producer Chelsea King.
“The 21st-century student really has to be proficient in computers and technology, and they get that here, too,” Newton said.