By Tara Cavanaugh
A big check always brings big smiles, doesn’t it?
When MEEMIC, an insurance company for educational employees, donated a $1,000 check to Patricia Jenkins’ media and policy class Friday, March 2, the whole room was full of grins.
The money will be used to purchase a teleprompter for next trimester’s new Skyline TV News, which will create a weekly show filled with news stories and video projects from the Communications, Media and Public Policy magnet students.
Jenkins describes the Skyline TV News as a class for students who are interested in news and video production but aren’t sure they want to commit to the three-year CMPP magnet. Jenkins has led the CMPP magnet since Skyline opened four years ago.
CMPP students learn how to research, analyze policy, petition elected officials and shoot and edit video. “We have real clients, we handle real problems, and we produce real projects,” Jenkins said.
Two students created a PSA about cyber bullying that is now airing on CTN, Washtenaw County’s local community channel. The students have also produced PSAs for the county health department.
The students’ work goes beyond video production. Sophomore CMPP students submitted ideas to Governor Rick Snyder and other lawmakers about increasing arts funding. Those ideas are now being written into a bill that will be introduced into the state legislature.
“I believe we’re the only program in the nation that does this,” Jenkins said. “There are programs that do video, there are programs that do law, but no program does that policy analysis driving the video piece.”
The CMPP magnet has a board of community members who help the program stay current on the issues. Ann Arbor City Council Member Sabra Briere is the most recent addition to that board. Jenkins said Briere requested to be on the board after visiting a CMPP class.
The magnet was funded through the millage that originally paid to build and open Skyline, but now Jenkins needs to find other ways to fund the program, so she is particularly grateful for the MEEMIC donation.
MEEMIC insures 175,000 educators and their families. It plans to provide AAPS with $10,000 in donations this year. It has provided money for a behavioral intervention program at Tappan Middle School, for teachers to attend professional development conferences and for other professional development related expenses. To learn more, check out its website or call 734-821-1555.