Friday, October 26, 2018

Interns' Take on the Staff Appreciation Football Game

Photo by Digital Communications Intern Aaron Wu. 

Every year, Arcadia Unified's Digital Communications Interns (DCI) prepares an amazing assortment of special access, prizes, and activities for the Staff Appreciation Night, which takes place at an Arcadia High football game and was established to thank all the fantastic employees who work for the Arcadia Unified School District. Features range from VIP passes to standing in the field area and from Chromebook laptop and gift card giveaways to free candy for the kids. This year's registration area featured free tiny golden footballs and DCI stickers, a face painting table, a photography booth complete with posters for each school site, and a video interview station. Various DCI members drew school names in calligraphy with chalk onto the walkway, adding to the festive decor of the night.

Of course, none of this could be achieved without the help of the DCI interns. To accomplish such a wide variety of tasks, numerous groups were created, with each intern assigned to a specific role such as photography, registration, and videography. Here's what the DCI interns had to share about the experience.

Photo by Digital Communications Intern Ella Cho.

"As one of the event photographers, I found it especially neat to capture the pure joy and happiness on the staff members' faces when they ran out of the tunnel at the beginning of the game. It reminded me what AUSD is all about: taking large strides to meet a goal while maintaining a high morale."
—Ella Cho, Senior

"Seeing all of the happy faces and being able to capture them as an event photographer was by far the best part of the night. I especially loved seeing kids' faces light up when they were offered golden footballs, candy, and the option to get their face painted!"
—Jocelyn Thao, Sophomore 

Photo by Digital Communications Intern Cassidy Chhay.

"Working at registration was truly a pleasure as it allowed me to greet each and every staff member and their families as they arrived. It was so incredible to see many of my former teachers again, and I was very grateful to be able to thank them for all the effort and energy they dedicated to giving me the best possible education."
—Sarah Wang, Senior

Photo by Digital Communications Intern Aaron Wu.

"Working at the check-in booth, I got to welcome all of AUSD’s amazing staffers: offering them goodies, learning about where they work, and seeing my former teachers—that brought forth a big sense of nostalgia. Switching back-and-forth between that, giving out t-shirts to kids, and face-painting was fun as well as I got to meet so many wonderful people. Seeing all the big smiles and the camaraderie amongst the staff, the schools, and their families and realizing that everyone took time from their Friday night to represent their schools and support our Apaches reminded me part of why I joined DCI: to have the chance to contribute to AUSD and give back to our community."
—Jasmine Oang, Junior

"Taking pictures at the photo booth was such an amazing opportunity as I was able to talk and interact with all of the teacher and staff as well as watching them all interact with each other in a non-work environment. It was so much fun to photograph the teachers and their families with Fur Ann. Personally, I think that because the scene is so chaotic with hundreds of teachers all coming in at once, you need to be comfortable interacting with them and telling them where to go and what to do. Just be warned, you’ll probably lose your voice the next day, but it’s all worth it."
—Courtney Hayata, Senior

Photo by Digital Communications Intern Cassidy Chhay.

"This year, I got to help set up and man the Face Painting booth, and it was such a delight to get to see all the adorable kids coming out to show support for their families and the school! Seeing all the childhood innocence and joy that came from something as simple as getting a football painted on their face was the best reward at the end of the day. It really put all the hard work AUSD does into perspective—the final goal is always to have been able to brighten up someone’s day, week, future."
—Maggie Wong, Senior

"As one of the interns working the raffles, I found it amazing greeting all the incredible staff that came to the booth, seeing former teachers, and having the opportunity to see the delight on their faces as they received their raffle tickets, each hoping to have the winning ticket! Being up in the PA booth during halftime to hand out the raffle prizes was also an unforgettable experience! Not only was I getting an amazing view of the Band and Color Guard halftime performance, but I was also able to see the smiles on the faces of the various winners as they are surrounded by friends and family. All the smiles and laughs truly make me appreciate the value of being a part of the AUSD family."
—Brandon Chen, Junior

Photo by Digital Communications Intern Jocelyn Thao.

"As part of the staff organization crew, I passed out signs with their corresponding schools. It was great meeting all the different staff members. My favorite moment was watching each school run out of the tunnel holding the signs with pride."
—Leila Nunez, Freshman

"Being able to greet staff members and their children with a smile, raffle tickets, mini footballs, and candy was an incredibly uplifting experience! Their joy was so contagious and I was able to see that they all truly loved being part of the AUSD family!"
—Sandi Khine, Junior

Photo by Digital Communications Intern Courtney Hayata.

"As the photo booth assistant, I would find certain school posters and give it to staff members so that they could hold it as they were being photographed. To make the search more efficient, I organized the posters into three stacks: elementary, middle, and other schools. 
When the influx of staff slowed down, the team still had a lot of golden footballs left, so we threw them to the crowd to hype them up. They disappeared in mere minutes!"
—Sandra Tang, Senior

"Working at the registration booth was such a fun and great experience because I was able to meet everyone as they arrived with their family and friends. It was one of the highlights of my night to see all the happy faces of staff members as they entered. I think a tip for the job is to make sure all the passes are not tangled and easily removable from the pile."
—Sarah T. Wang, Junior

Thank you to our amazing bosses, Mr. Foran and Ms. Nuuvali, for organizing this event, and props to my fellow interns for pulling off such an amazing feat. The entire team thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the staff members and their families in addition to being able to show our gratefulness for their efforts. We look forward to next year's Staff Appreciation Football Game!

Instagram Team

Instagram Team assists the Arcadia Unified School District's public relations/communications efforts by updating the @arcadiaunified Instagram account. Our district's Instagram account was given a nod from Buzzfeed as one of the Top Ten Instagram accounts in the world, and we aim to keep it that way! We divide our responsibility for posting to our account into shifts, so one intern takes care of all the posts and captions per assigned day.

The key responsibility of members on the Instagram team is being punctual about posting. All Facebook posts must be transferred to the Instagram account by the same day the post is made on Facebook or by no later than the next day if the Facebook post is made late in the evening. Just remember, the sooner, the better. Members of the team should also proofread the caption, add appropriate hashtags, and tag applicable/appropriate Instagram accounts from other teams and/or organizations associated with Arcadia Unified. Additionally, Instagram team members should be looking through Instagram to find items to re-post to our district account, such as a post from Arcadia High's Girls Volleyball Instagram that would be great to share with our followers. Likewise, the Instagram team member should alert the Facebook team of items found on accounts associated with Arcadia Unified that would be great to post on our district Facebook page. 

The requirements for being on the Instagram Team are to have been in DCI for more than one semester and be committed to making timely posts on the intern's assigned day for posting. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Thoughts on Podcasting

This article is an adaption of Jeffrey Lee's student-led podcast skills presentation.

Podcasting is unique. I like to think of it as a low-maintenance Youtube channel since it doesn’t require a video component; you can focus solely on getting your message out, whether it’s a specific topic or simply talking about your experiences. A podcast can be about anything that interests you. In fact, topics you may consider peculiar actually might make the best podcast episodes because they are often intriguing and thought-provoking.

Sound appealing? If you’re interested in creating your own podcast, then keep on reading.

Step One: Have Fun
The first step is to listen to some popular podcasts. Take note of what it is that podcast hosts do that make their podcast engaging, and learn how they approach topics and interview others. Afterward, plan your podcasts and set a goal (and topic) for your episode release dates.
Remember to not be repetitive with your topics. This step is probably the most difficult because it requires planning. Take some time and plan out the operations as soon as possible. You don’t have to focus on something relevant; do something that interests you but make sure you have a clear goal when making it.

Make sure you know your technology! The platform that the Arcadia Unified Student Podcast uses, Podbean, is great and allows for basic recording and uploading of podcast episodes, but its capabilities are very limited. For example, it’s impossible to add a different soundtrack in addition to the three basic ones they provide, and you cannot join different audio clips together, which is a problem if you are working in a team and need to have different segments recorded on different devices. Also, Podbean only accepts MP3 audio files, so be sure that you have that file type when uploading your episode. You can use other editing software to make the final product that you upload into the platform you'll use to store and share your podcasts.

Step 2: Pull Through!
Make sure to stick to the schedule you’ve made and to release episodes on a semi-regular basis. However, always look for ways to improve your podcast. For example, during Podcast Team’s first semester, the team commonly had to resort to sending questions to the interviewee beforehand, recording each side of the dialogue separately, and then have the podcast editor edit the clips together using Audacity, an audio editing program. This saved time during our busy school week and allowed the interviewer and the interviewee to record themselves however many times they liked, but there was no live response or interaction between the two, taking away from the podcast listener’s experience. So this year, we are committed to making all our interviews live. Also, Skype now offers audio and video recording, so even if we cannot conduct an interview in person, we can always do it live through Skype.

Step 3: The End of the Cycle, to Some Degree
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get any likes on your episodes because many people forget to click the like button on episodes. However, make sure to advertise on social media. It’s a surefire way to gain more listeners and spread the message you are trying to put out. Try to look for constructive criticism: should you talk a little faster, should you use the voice recording app on your phone, or should you find a quieter area without outside noises and some fuzzy sounds?

You don’t need a 20-minute podcast filled with different segments. It’s perfectly fine if you can get a solid 5-10 minute discussion going.

I find podcasting a very rewarding experience. You can expand your connections with the people you interview, improve your communication and teamwork skills (the latter if you have a team to help you produce podcasts), and you learn a lot overall. For your listeners, it’s convenient and easy to listen to. Now, what are you waiting for? Go podcast!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Turning Student-Led Presentations into Blog Posts

Ever since the idea of turning student-led presentation posts into blog posts was conceived last year, there's been quite a lot of confusion about the process. This post shall serve as a guide to teach interns how to properly convert a Google Slides presentations to a Blogger post. 
  1. Use the same title. 
  2. Give yourself credit in the intro paragraph. 
  3. Write a paragraph per slide or however many as deemed appropriate.
  4. Write down what is said verbally; don't simply copy and paste from the presentation. 
  5. Link the presentation. 
  6. Upload visuals to make the blog post more interesting. 
The reason why interns can't simply link their presentation is that, following presentation etiquette, there should be few words per slide since the presenter should be elaborating on the bullet points rather than reading off of the slide. This also gives interns the chance to add anything helpful that may have been omitted while presenting. 

If you need any additional help converting your skills presentation into a blog post, feel free to ask for assistance from anyone on the DCI Website team.