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Students at Countryside Elementary anchor daily school news program

Jason Banks and students preparing for live broadcast Oct. 24, 2018 – Every morning at exactly 7:55 a.m., fifth grade students at Countryside Elementary get to step in the shoes of a live broadcaster and report the local news to their school. The Countryside Kids News Network (CKNN) has been giving students a way to express themselves for years. 

Two or three fifth graders anchor the news program each week and there are different stories every day. Some days they focus on fun facts, while on other days they interview a teacher. Jason Banks, tech para for Countryside Elementary, coordinates the broadcast and helps provide the framework for the script, but the students are encouraged to come up with features or fun facts.

The broadcast is live and Banks appreciates this aspect of the program. “Broadcasting live encourages mistakes and learning from mistakes,” he said. “It also brings excitement and energy to the news.” Students also enjoy being live. Harper Koelbl, fifth grade student at Countryside Elementary said, “It’s scary being live, but you get used to it.

Equipment for live broadcast Over the years, changes in technology have allowed the program to evolve. Banks uses an app that allows him to livestream the broadcast wirelessly to the YouTube channel. “Technology has allowed for more efficiency,” said Banks. “Previously, a class wouldn’t be able to watch a program if they missed the live telecast, but now they can watch it whenever they want.”

Since the program is only open to fifth grade students, there are some students who have been eager to do the broadcast for years. “I’ve been watching and waiting to do this,” said fifth grader Cate McCoy. “It’s fun to communicate with my classmates.”