Success Story: The New School

Don't you love it when your students go on to do amazing things? Success Story is a new series launching today featuring some of the remarkable schools I've had the chance to work with. For the first episode I'm profiling Lee Sullivan from The New School.

Lee couldn't make it to one of my in-person trainings so she attended the free webinar series on video production I offered a few months ago. (By the way... that free webinar series was so well attended I turned it into an online course... still free!) After she cranked out the awesome video you see above I reached out and asked her a few questions. 

What is your role at the school?

I’m the part-time Recruitment Coordinator at The New School (TNS), a small (30-35 students) independent high school that serves southern Maine.

What is Leap Night?

In lieu of using testing and grades, students at TNS demonstrate what they know in a variety of ways. LEAP (Learning, Experience & Performance) Night is the school’s version of final exams. Students prepare exhibits of their work at the end of each semester. They meet with “Feedback Team” (pairs of adult volunteers) for an hour who ask them a lot of questions and then provide a written report. The evening ends with student performances in the “big room” on a stage – readings, theatrical presentations, videos they’ve created, etc.

Why was this a good fit for a video?

LEAP Night is hard to describe in words on the school’s website. The video allows us to show the process in action -- how engaged the students are and how fun and varied the performances are, which will be good for recruitment, as well as reinforcing to parents what a great school it is (retention).

What device / software did you use?

iPad Mini 4, edited with iMovie.

How long did the whole process take?

This was the first movie I’d shot and edited with the iPad and iMovie, so probably 5 hours of editing including adding music etc. on YouTube. I’m sure I’ll get faster.

Anything that worked well or didn't work well?

Figuring out the technology before I got the iPad was a bit torturous. I’d planned to use my DSLR, a Nikon d5300, to shoot videos at the school. Long story short, I finally figured out I can’t edit video from the camera on my PC unless I use MovieMaker, which is very clunky. So I ended up getting an iPad Mini 4 and using iMovie to edit, which I love. I’ll use the DLSR with MovieMaker when I need higher quality footage.

What has the response been?

I posted it on Facebook and it had an excellent share/click rate. It’s now on our website on the page about assessment at The New School. I’ll post it again prior to LEAP night to invite people to the event and recruit people for Feedback teams. 

Pretty cool to see what Lee came up with! What do you think? Do you have questions about how this video came together? Have a video you'd like to share? Want to take the free course yourself? Let us know in the comments!