Best Practices for your Morning Announcements  

August 20, 2017
Morning Announcement Best Practices © fotolia / hanss

As someone in-charge of morning announcements, you obviously know how important it is to get the process right in order to produce good results. Creating school morning announcements isn’t an easy task. However, with the right amount of preparation, even the toughest challenges can be overcome.

That’s why we have something called “best practices”. Best practices are established procedures used across various industries to achieve the best results. These best practices are tried and tested rules/methods that have been observed to have the most positive effect.

That said, can there be any best practices for morning announcements? Well, there sure can. However, there are no fixed best practices that can be applied uniformly to all schools. Each school has its own requirements. As a result, it is up to the morning announcement team to figure out what works best for them. In this blog, we’ll be discussing a few case studies involving schools that consistently produce top-notch morning school announcements. Their strategies and plans can be adopted by your own team or you can create a completely new set of best practices based on these.

Amy Beverland Elementary in Indianapolis, Indiana

At the Amy Beverland Elementary School in Indianapolis, communication is prioritized. Their ABE TV Morning Announcements are completely managed by students from the 6th grade. However, there are periodic contributions from students belonging to other grades. These contributions consist of video commercials, jokes, and pledge recitals.

ABE’s morning announcements are an ideal case study for how the implementation of a basic set of basic practices can lead to high-quality production.

According to the Jamie Strebing, the School’s TV/Video Production teacher, the morning announcements stand out because of a few practices that he insists on.

  • Organization: Strebing insists on his team being organized. As the “boss” himself, Strebing makes sure that scripts are written and approved at least a week before the recording begins. But, it doesn’t end there. He gives the script a second look every day to check for areas that need improvement. Checking is also carried out for the graphics and video areas. The team has to ensure that everything is ready and loaded. To put it simply, on the day of recording, recording is the only thing that the team has to bother with.
  • Team Training: Strebing also focuses a lot on student-on-student training. There are periods where Strebing overlaps teams and gets members to train each other about the various aspects of their particular tasks. Not only does this let Strebing focus on direction, it also boosts the team spirit.

Additionally, Strebing also suggests that one start with the equipment available and move up there. He also makes sure to incorporate anything new that might add to the value of the morning announces.

Oxford Elementary School, Alabama

At the Oxford Elementary School in Alabama, a group of 8 to 10 students is selected to run each broadcast team. The total number of teams ranges around 3 or 4. The members are selected on the basis of an audition that is held annually.

A typical schedule involves students showing up for rehearsal 20 minutes early. The extra time is dedicated purely for preparation. Once they’re done preparing, a live recording of the school’s daily morning announcement is telecast throughout the school.  The daily preparation almost immediately before the morning announcement is what sets the Oxford Elementary broadcast teams apart.

Also, the optimum number of members allows for a balanced work distribution. Each team has a weather reporter, a sports announcer, and a main anchor.  As for segments, there are primarily two – the “Did You Know?” segment and the Character Education Segment. There is also a segment with the school’s principal that focuses on school-related announcements.

There are two camera operators and one dedicated operator each for the switcher, the sound, and the computer. The teams work according to a one-month interval and rotate afterward. There are two months in an academic year during which students can work in these teams.

The school also involves younger students from Kindergarten to 4th Grade. They are encouraged to take a part in the school’s broadcast efforts. They audition for specific roles and are chosen based on their performance. Each team carries out duties for one month, after which they rotate. As a result, they actually end up serving for two months each.

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The basic process involves writing a script and producing it. To help the teams learn, the school provides members with previously produced morning announcement videos and scripts. Once the teams have their own scripts prepared, they are required to audition and seek approval.

Approvals are provided on the basis of enthusiasm, originality, and preparedness.

St. James Episcopal Day School

At the St. James Episcopal School, students in the broadcast team are trained via computer classes. There are generally 2 groups. The computer classes focus on teaching the students about animation, flip camera operation, photo editing, and film editing/creation software. The class goes on for about 45 minutes. During this time, the teacher in charge ends up choosing the hosts for the upcoming broadcast. The scripts for these broadcasts are written by the teacher days in advance. In fact, the scripts for a total of 4 upcoming shows are written. The students, of course, assist the teacher in charge by providing their inputs for the script.

The recording is carried out during recess and PE classes in the same week. All 4 shows are pre-recorded. The editing is carried out almost immediately. Most of the students are 5th graders and they work in teams that rotate. The other students participate on a group basis or class by class basis. As for content, there are special features such as educational videos in Spanish. For this, the students actually shoot a shoot a short film in Spanish.

The 5th-grade team members are each tasked with specific roles (production and preproduction).  They are also given the freedom to make decisions on costumes, backgrounds, and even the script. The final production is edited by the teacher-in-charge.

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Featured Image: © fotolia / hanss