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 SDCOE Director Reflects on Employee-Appreciation Program

By Angela McNeece, senior director, North Inland Special Education Local Plan Area


Growing up as a professional in special education—progressing from an instructional aide to teacher to principal to program administrator to Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) director—I learned early on in my career that we are only as good as the classified staff we have supporting us. This fact hit home truer than ever earlier this year, when I had the opportunity to “walk a mile” in the shoes of Rick Berger, iTV video production supervisor, as part of the California School Employee Association (CSEA) Appreciating Classified Employees program. I was truly amazed at the resources San Diego County has within the iTV department and the staff within.

First, Rick gave me a tour of the facility starting with the newly installed Green Screen Cyclorama. Then I got to see the view from behind the camera, as Doug Gilmore, iTV executive producer, made preparations for filming a charter school advertisement. I got to experience what it looks like to all those TV newscasters as Rick showed me the perspective from in front of the camera. I never knew the teleprompter was right in front of the camera lens. This makes it easier to read and look into the camera at the same time. The secret is to be able to read the print without letting your eyes track the words. Doug was an expert at that. Then I actually got to feed the teleprompter while Doug was being filmed. I could tell it takes experience, practice, and skills to keep the words following at a steady rhythm that matches the speaking cadence.

After filming was completed, the real work began. Rick took me back into his office where all the editing magic happens. The movie editing software Rick uses has a wealth of editing tools, but the magic happens with knowing how to pull it all together and what to use to make the production stand out as professional.  Rick showed me how to add a background with special effects and text titles. Then came the music and how to fade it in and out. He also showed me how to edit out the portion we had to retake as a result of me not tracking the teleprompter correctly by piecing the filming together exactly and then matching the background so there was a seamless transition.

Rick shared with me some of the recent productions iTV has put together, from a student talent show to educational awards ceremonies. The performances we watched were live performances from the recently produced iVIE Awards ceremony. iVIE, or Innovative Video in Education, is a film competition for all San Diego students. It was held May 6th at the Civic Theatre downtown. It’s just like the “Oscars,” complete with student dance, music, and song performances, snippets from all the nominated videos, acceptance speeches from the winners, and, of course, trophies. iTV has been producing this event for the last 12 years. Other programs iTV produced this year include Academic League Competitions, Online learning with IT Academy and EdTech Productions, and the Classroom of the Future Foundation Gala. Also, “The World of Autism: Understanding the Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Young Children” is a production of ITV.  Many of these productions are broadcasted on iTV Educational Channel 16.

What an educational experience it was for me to participate in “walk a mile” Appreciating Classified Employees program. I learned so much about what goes into the making of a video production, but I also learned about the capacity of iTV for in- and out-of-studio productions. Rick is a true ambassador for iTV with a wealth of experience and expertise to share. It was a pleasure to be able to walk in his shoes, if even for just a few hours.