This Future-Oriented High School Is Devoted to Digital Media

Instructor Jesse Valdez and prospective student Bella ProsperoA high school curriculum based on "Creativity, Self-awareness, Empathy, and Critical Thinking" -- and it's focused on digital media arts.

This sounds like someone set out to train the next generation of Boots Roadies!

And who knows, I wouldn't be surprised if we end up hiring graduates of the Millennium Charter High School, which opened just a few months ago in Salinas, California, just up Highway 68 from Boots Road Group in Monterey.

That seems all the more likely after a tour I was given recently by Hamish Tyler, MCHS' media center director.

The campus, a converted warehouse space at the HQ of the county office of education, contains state of the art studios and classrooms, stocked with digital gear for producing TV, radio, theater, graphics, animation, music, and the web versions of all of the above.

The day I was there, the schools' black box theater was being used for a film acting lesson, while in a nearby classroom, instructor Jesse Valdez demonstrated software to prospective student Bella Prospero. Meanwhile, a fully equipped green screen stage was set up for a three-camera shoot involving, interestingly, a potted plant.

Green screen studio, Millennium Charter High School, SalinasThere was a teleprompter, too, presumably unneeded -- that plant looked like a pro. :)

It sure looks like a fun place to go to school, and it's all in service of a serious mission:

Millennium Charter High School graduates will be prepared for college and ready for employment in the evolving world of Media Arts Technology through a balance of traditional academics and real-world, hands-on experiences. Our students will discover their unique gifts and talents and how to use them as they work individually and collaboratively. Engaged and educated in a true community of learners, our students will be empowered to realize their dreams.

The state superintendent of schools, Tom Torlakson, visited MCHS at the end of January, and was impressed, according to the Monterey Herald:

"We're launching career technical education and you're already living it," Torlakson told Millennium students and teachers... "This program in Salinas is a role model for the rest of California."

We'll be staying in touch -- looking forward to talking with the students, maybe sharing some stories from the field (there are a few good ones), and helping out however we can.