Katie McQuone has helped students at Sunnyside High School in Fresno find their voices—and share them with the community. McQuone leads the school’s Video Production Academy (VPA), in which nearly 100 students learn digital and social media skills. Through project-based and interdisciplinary instructional approaches, students produce daily video news stories for the school’s broadcast. McQuone understands the value of bringing businesses into her classroom and sending students out into the community. They record theater performances at local elementary schools, shoot video for the city’s minor league baseball team, and work with Fresno’s zoo, city bus office and community college. Student-produced stories are featured at the Community Media Center for Fresno and Clovis and air on local network affiliate and public broadcasting TV stations.
McQuone makes sure her students’ work is recognized. All students submit videos to competitions like Picture of the Valley, Slick Rock and the National Student Production Awards, also known as the “high school Emmys.” Many of McQuone’s student productions won county and regional awards, including a regional Emmy for a documentary one student produced about her parents’ lives as migrant farm workers. For their Unsung Heroes Living History Project, VPA students collected and published oral histories from military veterans. All of McQuone’s students graduate with work-based learning experiences, dual enrollment college credits and often certifications in programs like Adobe Premiere Pro. Many go on to study communications and media in college, and several have been hired right out of her classes by television stations and networks.
McQune is graduate of Sunnyside High and is a leader in the school where her former teachers are now her colleagues. She sits on the arts and CTE committees, coaches the varsity swim team, and heads the school’s staff and alumni associations, organizing fundraising and appreciation events many times each year. McQuone leads professional development for teachers throughout the region and teaches evening video production classes as an adjunct instructor at Fresno City College. Students collect in McQuone’s classroom before school, at lunch and after the school day ends. In a large school where many students lack stability at home, McQuone’s classroom is a sanctuary.
McQuone earned a bachelor’s degree in radio, television and electronic media in 2009 from San Francisco State University.
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