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Palmyra broadcast students air concerns

Chris Sholly
Lebanon Daily News
Lebanon, Pa.

October 6, 2011

PALMYRA - Students in the broadcast journalism course aired their concerns to the Palmyra Area school board last week about a schedule change that affects their live show.

Senior Peter Megoulas told the board that, when students signed up for the class in the spring, they thought they would be producing a daily live show. But when classes started in the fall, they were informed they would no longer be doing that due to a change in the building schedule.

Megoulas said the students were disheartened and disappointed by the change. He said high school Principal David Jones suggested the students pre-record their show and report the previous day's news and announcements.

"This suggestion would not allow us to report accurate, up-to-date announcements and dismissals," he said. "As a class, we feel that the best possible solution would be simply to revert to last year's scheduling system with period one being 86 minutes and shifting home room and our show to the end of the period.

"It is the wish of the students and staff at the high school to see their students and friends on the TV screen every morning displaying their hard work," he added.

A school administrator said this year's course catalog stated that students in the class would experience a daily live show. Last year, the show was aired during the last 10 minutes of the first period, which was the home room period. That schedule allowed the students 60 minutes to produce their live show prior to airing it.

The schedule has been changed so that the 10-minute home room period is now before the first period, which doesn't give the broadcast students time to prepare the show before going to class.

School board President George Downey III told Megoulas that the administration would look into the class' concerns.

Superintendent Collene Van Noord said the scheduling change was made in an effort to solve some other concerns at the high school. She said she and Assistant Superintendent Lisa Brown met with Jones and journalism teacher Beci Pope to hammer out a compromise that might better prepare the students for broadcast journalism.

"The compromise could likely be a combination of some live shows but also some taped ones," Van Noord said.

"We've talked to them about recording the show," Brown added. "We've talked to them about the possibility of every Friday airing it at the last 10 minutes of first period. We're still looking at other compromises."

In other business, Van Noord told the board a religious group called Joy El Ministries has requested release time to allow interested students at Northside Elementary School to attend a one-hour Bible program at a Victory Christian Fellowship, 695 E. Ridge Road, North Londonderry Township, during the school day.

Under state law, the district must allow students with a parent's permission to attend the training. Van Noord said the district has set aside the time between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. as the release time for interested students. The hours do not interfere with the district's core instruction time.

"It may be one hour a week up to 36 hours per year," she said.

Joy El would have all responsibility for the students once they leave the school, including their transportation, she said.

This is the first time Joy El has made this request, she said. The Palmyra Area Council of Churches did something similar when it first started.

"There were problems with it, and they chose to end the program and put their time and financial resources onto other areas," she said.

Joy El also offers a Bible program for Elco students.

chrissholly@ldnews.com; 272-5611, ext. 151

Copyright 2011, Lebanon Daily News. Reprinted with permission

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