The entire digital media program is being cut to make way for a new courses and programs.
“We are planning to add more classes to our Engineering and Health Science programs. Engineering courses will provide more hands-on learning through robotics and drones. Health Science is adding a Sports Medicine program,” Principal Sarah Dorn stated.
Andrew Schaffer, the teacher of the digital media program, was devastated by this news as he has built the program over the last four years. The digital media program contains six courses. These classes have been popular amongst students with about nine percent of Sandy High School students taking them.
However, the school has still decided that other classes may be more popular amongst students and beneficial.
“The decision was made at the school level, in consultation with the District Office. We looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the State of Oregon that projects labor needs. When making decisions, we also look at the resources that have been invested and the number of students who are served. These decisions are always difficult; however, my goal is to offer the most amount of options for students at every level,” Dorn said.
According to Schaffer, within the last year, the district has spent roughly $20,000 on the program and just recently $4,000 on a camera. The digital media program also was just approved to be an Oregon Department of Education program of study; making the news even more shocking for Schaffer and his students.
Not only will the school be losing the digital media program but it will most likely be losing the club as well.
“I am the club advisor, and Pioneer Digital Media is linked to the digital media program, so I think it’s unlikely that the club will be around. I can’t say for sure though, it’s possible that another teacher will take on the role,” Schaffer said.
Sadly, the club is most likely not the only thing leaving with the program. “My degree is in digital media and that is my first passion, followed closely by teaching. I was told I would be offered a position teaching Edgenuity classes, but that’s not where my passions lie, so it’s doubtful that I will come back next year. I’m very disappointed because I love Sandy High School and I’m incredibly proud of what I built here. It was not easy,” Schaffer said.
The loss of this program is even more impactful because it includes so many different courses that have universal purposes. These courses are Digital Media 1 (2 periods), Digital Media 2 (2 periods), Digital Media 3, Digital Imaging, Independent Study Media Projects, Independent Study TV and Sports Broadcasting.
“I hope that my program not only taught students about digital media, but also helped them develop career skills and understand how to effectively work as part of a team. All three of these are skills that will transfer to any post-secondary route that my students pursue,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer is not alone in his beliefs of how the program has helped or will help students. Junior Jenna Switzer has been in the program since her freshman year and has first-hand experience to how the program has helped students.
“I think the school doesn’t realize how valuable the skills we’re taught in this class are and how many careers relating digital media there are. Not only that but we have so many students who love Schaffer’s classes and his teaching style. It’s apparent he loves to teach and is passionate about what he does. Ask any student who’s taken his classes and they’ll tell you the exact same thing,” Switzer said.