COTTONWOOD - Mingus Union High School board members took a rare trip from behind their microphones Thursday night to visit digital media teacher Jeff Wood's classroom, the first fully equipped Mac lab in a Northern Arizona high school.
With the help of Ralph Fobair and a grant he receives each year, Wood has been able to teach students to make video projects using Mac computers and Final Cut Pro.
The council was able to take seats behind the Mac computers students use, 30 total, and watch a short video a group of advanced students put together, complete with bloopers.
"We've had really good fortune this year with being able to release the kids out on campus and have them stay on task," Wood said.
Since Wood started last year, he and Fobair have been able to get the new computers, software and a larger, forward-facing classroom.
Students walk into class, log in to their Course Site accounts, see their assignment and break into groups to go out and film on campus. Each group has a producer, director, camera operator and actors. They study scripts and write their own.
"I want students to be able to come in and feel like this is a great place to be creative," he said.
Fobair and Wood are working to get students a certificate in filmmaking and, later, college videography credits. They're working toward a final project that will allow students to compete for cash to see who can make the best conservation video, a kind of public service announcement for the City of Cottonwood.
The Mingus Union board also acknowledged the efforts of September Rotary Student of the Month Paige Bloniarz, September female Athlete of the Month Laura Wylie, September male Athlete of the Month Brennan Kitchen, September Pursuing Victory with Honor award winner Sarah Ortiz, and Student Artist of the Month Gus Lindley.
A proclamation passed declaring Nov. 13 national Kids at Hope day at Mingus. Kids at Hope is a Phoenix-based nonprofit organization that emphasizes each student's ability to succeed.
Mingus recently completed Module I of the program, which provided training for leaders in the community who want to be involved, said Superintendent Paul Tighe.
"We hope this will help us ensure that all students are successful and that all staff, parents, community members, and students believe that all children are capable of success - with no exceptions," he said in an email before the first training on Sept. 21.
During the Thursday meeting, Tighe said, "if you want to change people's behaviors, you have to change their beliefs."
Tighe's performance pay was approved during the meeting. The board had met during an executive session to evaluate his first three months at Mingus, said member Robb Williams.
"We are extremely grateful for you being with us and the work that you're doing," Williams said to Tighe during the meeting.
Business Manager Kirk Waddle's annual financial report, which he said Tighe had asked him about previously, was approved.
"I haven't been asked by a superintendent about the annual financial report since 2001," Waddle said.
Members also approved procedural board policy changes, and heard the first read on several others.