SCETV Takes Viewers Inside Carolina Classrooms

September 2015

SCETV: banner image: iStockPhoto: students raising hands

Despite today’s technology and information sharing abilities, keeping students, parents, and teachers up-to-date on the latest education news can be difficult.

South Carolina’s public educational broadcasting network SCETV saw the need to highlight the positive things that were happening in schools around the state. SCETV created a locally produced program, Carolina Classrooms, which airs monthly. The program informs the public about education in South Carolina, while promoting an atmosphere in which problems and potential solutions can be discussed and giving the community an opportunity to engage with education leaders and share ideas.

Carolina Classrooms is important because it portrays positive images and good will about our state’s educational system,” Linda O’Bryon, president and CEO of South Carolina ETV. “It helped bridge the post-election transition of state education leaders and has given the superintendent of education, legislators, teachers and administrators a public venue to discuss the public important topics pertaining to education.”

Each program focuses on key educational topics and initiatives in the state. SCETV solicits from teachers and students short videos showcasing the good things they are doing in their classrooms and incorporates them into shows.

To ensure show topics are timely, SCETV works with a team of education producers and educators. The station also talks regularly with state education leaders to determine if there are any initiatives on the horizon that might benefit from public discussion and invites audience suggestions for show topics. Additionally, SCETV works with community partners, local school districts, the state Department of Education, the South Carolina State Museum, and Riverbanks Zoo, among others.

“Our March program on New Student Assessment is a good example of our collaboration and how a need to discuss or promote a topic can lead to the subject of a show,” said Dean Byrd, SCETV’s director of education. “In one of our early meetings with newly elected State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, [she] told us that South Carolina schools were implementing new assessments in April. We quickly planned to do the March show on this topic to let parents and students know what to expect. We formed a working group of education professionals to outline the changes and what viewers needed to know. The program turned out to be very timely and informative.”

This October, SCETV will host a town hall meeting, in collaboration with CPB’s American Graduate initiative, in one of state’s more rural communities. The meeting will focus on funding inequities among districts. The station also plans to feature its popular Making College Affordable show in January 2016.

“We interview financial aid and college admissions professionals from around the state and present their information to parents and students who are about to apply to colleges. It’s a very informative hour which has an accompanying website packed with helpful resources and information,” Byrd said.

Carolina Classrooms airs the last Wednesday of the month at 7 pm. Each episode is repeated on the SC Channel and ETV World and available online. To learn more about the series or watch past episodes, please visit http://scetv.org/carolinaclassrooms.