Low course enrollment halts the morning announcements


Falcon Media design by Falcon Media Production (edited)

As the second quarter begins, students at Poolesville High School (PHS) have had to adapt to a significant change in how information is spread around the building. Falcon Media has stopped producing the morning announcements (previously shown daily during 4th period) for various reasons, including lack of student interest in the TV studio course that made the announcements, and disagreement over how the class should spend its time.

“The reason I heard [for the end of Falcon Media] was the enrollment dropped,” English teacher and Falcon Media sponsor from 2017-2019, Mr. Sean Foster, said. “So, there just weren’t as many kids who signed up for it.”

During the last fully in-person school year, 2018-19, the course had about 20 students, all of whom tended to be engaged in course content. The consensus among students and staff was that the class was enjoyable, as students were able to divide their time between producing creative video content and sometimes catching up on work for other courses. 

Despite the general popularity of this course before the COVID-19 school closure, the online school year caused this course to function differently, which impacted student engagement. 

“Since we were in quarantine, it was really hard to collaborate on big projects like the morning announcements,” senior Charlotte Gularson, a student who took this course during the 2020-2021 virtual school year, said. “However, during quarantine, the class became more self-guided, which I also really enjoyed. There was a lot of freedom last year.”

Similarly, students who took the course during the 2019-20 school year, the year quarantine started, noticed a similar trend in the difficulty of creating collaborative video content.

“I think once we transitioned to online school, that’s when the class lost some of its enjoyment, solely because this class revolves around the equipment and collaboration with other students,” Abby Hidalgo, a PHS alum who graduated in 2020, explained.

Additionally, between the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years, there was an uptick in discourse over how class time should be spent.  Some students had signed up for the course to be a part of the morning announcements, while others had signed up to make products like movies. 

“There were kids who were enrolled for both [morning announcements and TV production]; it was like a juggling game of trying to keep [a balance],” Foster said. “So I was okay switching to teach an AP English class.”

Although this course could potentially run again in the future (with the possibility of Foster coming back to teach), it is still upsetting for seniors who had hoped to take this course in person, like Gularson. 

“I would love to take this class again. I never got the real experience of being in the studio and working with others to create the announcements,” Gularson said. 

Despite not being able to watch the Falcon Media productions during fourth period anymore, the school website still has a link to the announcements on the home page.  The announcements are on a Google Doc, which shares information about current events, including academic events, school events, sports news, and more.