So what exactly is Media School?
Twenty-four Grade 11 students from Saskatoon and surrounding area come together for a full semester to be immersed in an intensive film- and television-focused program. The 500-hour practical education course, coupled with hundreds of hours of the students’ personal time, provides a wealth of opportunity for these future industry leaders.
Media School integrates five traditional secondary course curriculums into a modern educational format that explores the real-world environment of the film and television industry. The students of this program receive a thorough introduction to storytelling, stages of production, roles on a film set, equipment, and technology. The course provides hands-on experience and professional training that fuels the passion that these students have to be filmmakers. This is the program that anyone in the film and television industry would have wanted in high school.
Media School provides an opportunity to connect students with quality production equipment and create trust and dedication to a brand. Brand introduction and hands-on tangible experience with technology are essential marketing tools that would benefit any supporter of the program.
Who teaches the program?
Tom Simes is the lead teacher of Media School and he loves filmmaking and storytelling. He has created five feature films with his film company Five Stones Films: Season of Dreams (2007), Run, Broken Yet Brave (2010), Underdogs (2011), A Winning Tradition (2015) and Gracia (2016). Tom's practical experience as a writer, director, producer and editor are invaluable as he shares his skills and passion for film with the Media School students.
How the course is structured?
Media School began in 2006 and became the first program in North America to integrate five high school educational credits into the study of the film and television industry. Ron Berntson created the concept and research for the Media School program as the final project of his master’s degree. The foundational objectives of the program are to introduce students to the film and television industry and to inspire them to pursue the art of storytelling through video production. Media School is a Saskatoon Public Schools' program housed at Evan Hardy Collegiate Institute and is open to any Grade 11 student within Saskatoon and surrounding area.
Media School integrates the following four credit classes — English 20, Active Living and Fitness Leadership 20, Communication Media 20, Communication Media 30 — into one cohesive educational environment. Students will also choose one elective course in Period 1, either from class offerings available at Evan Hardy or an online course. Integration of courses allows for greater depth of material and exploration of teaching methodology because it removes the redundancy of teaching objectives covered in multiple curriculums. For example, Media School uses script writing as English exploration (expression), sound source recording as practical physics application, and film analysis as an assessment for learning the storytelling craft and physical methods of creation. The students are engaged in their learning given that the nature of the program is to directly relate to their interests and future goals. Having a unified educational focus for an entire semester allows the students to become immersed completely in the course without interruption.
The concentration on the film and television industry becomes much more of a “real world” experience, teaching students to be effective members of society. It is these underlining lessons of professionalism, communication, and personal growth that have a life-altering impact on the students of Media School; it is the program's true strength.
Breakdown of Media School
Media School offers activities and assignments that support the learning of the students and provide the most accurate representation of the film and television industry available within the parameters of a high school education.
To accomplish this, Media School regularly invites guest speakers who are representative of the local and national media industry to converse with the students. These discussions have been praised by the students and are paramount in creating a real image of the industry.
Media School views and analyses a number of the historical films and television events that have had a impact on the film and television industry. The program begins with the first moving pictures ever created, proceeds through the silent era, the golden age, the French and American new waves, and continues the trend onto modern films. Students view films from all over the world in order to increase their appreciation of the depth of creativity and methodology used to create the art of these productions. These viewing opportunities provide inspiration to the students and may lead to more expressive and stimulating student productions.
Finally, Media School uses various techniques and collaborations to develop a learning environment of trust and respect.