By JEROD CLAPP
JEFFERSONVILLE — High schoolers across Greater Clark County Schools are one step closer to taking to the airwaves.
Approval to apply for an FM radio frequency was approved by the district’s board of trustees at Tuesday’s meeting. Following the meeting, Superintendent Andrew Melin said it could open new opportunities for students.
“It’s something we want to investigate how we can involve all of our high schools in the process,” Melin said. “There’s only going to be one tower and one station, but we want to see how we can serve as much of our district as possible.”
He said the district would only purchase one tower, but students in each of its three high schools could produce content to air.
Melin, who worked on his high school radio station and then managed it after graduation, said he thinks it presents a number of educational benefits for students who want to participate.
“It’s very exciting,” Melin said. “I benefited greatly from my experiences I had in high school. Based on those and that high school radio station, I was able to secure a paid position at a processional radio and TV station when I went to college. That led to a lot of other opportunities through my college experience.”
Though the results of the application won’t come for a couple of months, Melin said if the district is approved, it will move fairly quickly to get a station moving.
He said he would hope to have the tower purchased — at about $50,000 — and installed by the beginning of the next school year if they’re approved for the frequency. But he said staffing a radio program and managing it between three schools is the most difficult portion of the job.
Their neighbors across county lines, New Albany High School and Floyd Central High School, both contribute to WNAS — the oldest high-school run FM radio station in the country — from their own campuses.
“The station could be on 24/7,” Melin said. “The thing about the technology today is that a lot of it could be automated. They could produce the content during a class period and it could air later that day. You don’t necessarily have to have a live person on air all day. The great advantage is that we can get kids involved in all three high schools to be a part of this process, whether it’s during the school day or after hours.”
The board also approved the purchase of a data warehouse in an effort to make retrieving student and other information more efficiently.
The district approved the purchase of Five-Star at $21,000 to replace another data management system that staff found less user-friendly and more expensive.
Melin said rather than going to different departments for information on student backgrounds, progress and other data, teachers and other staff will be able to get more information more readily and faster.
“It’s going to be an incredibly time saving process,” Melin said. “What will be able to happen is that when [staff] logs in, within a few clicks, we can get whatever report we need. If I’m a teacher and I have 25 kids in the class at the start of the year, I’ll have a class list and I can click on their names and a data summary will be created.”
He said this will help in creating reports needed for students who are in the district’s intervention program, IMPACT, as well as those who aren’t.