Media center reaching out to students through new podcast

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Mya McCullum

Recording area where media specialist Rick Wright will help faculty and staff record episodes of a new podcast, “First Chapter Fridays.” Wright brings in participants to discuss their favorite books, engage with the school, and reach out to students learning virtually.

Emily Hawkins, Staff Writer

Starr’s Mill High School media center specialist Rick Wright has introduced a new look to virtually interact with students and staff.

After the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, Wright began creating podcasts in an effort to bring the school together amidst the pandemic. On “First Chapter Fridays,” students and faculty choose a favorite book from the Starr’s Mill library and read from the first chapter. 

Wright decided to start recording these podcasts in an attempt to reach out to the students who are learning virtually and are unable to visit the library at school.

“The question that not only myself, but all the media specialists in the county, … is how do we reconnect to our virtual students?” Wright said.

Wright, who frequently connects with other media specialists across the southeast, was inspired by other school coordinators who engage with students through a virtual library. Already, several students learning virtually have begun contacting him for books discussed on “First Chapter Fridays.” 

It started as a way to engage virtual students, but since it started students of all grades are volunteering to read on the podcast.  

“I’ve been doing it for a month, and it’s been a pretty successful program,” Wright said. 

As the primary source of information and announcements from school, all Starr’s Mill students are able to quickly access the podcast through Schoology on the media center’s page. Students and staff alike can participate in sharing their favorite pieces of literature. Wright pointed out another benefit, regarding how teachers who come on “First Chapter Fridays” are able to connect with their students.

“It allows students to see [their teachers] in a different light,” Wright said. “One of the things that a lot of people forget is that a lot of teachers have a lot of different talents. They do a lot of different things.”

Wright hopes that members of the community outside of school will also join in once the coronavirus threat eases. He will continue engaging with the school and selecting faculty and students for the time being. Currently, all episodes of “First Chapter Fridays” are available on Schoology under the media center page.

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