After a one-semester trial in two junior high schools and two high schools in Granite District, the Channel One school news service won a glowing endorsement from representatives of those schools.
School administrators, a student and a parent told Granite Board members that the technology has benefited their schools. They were backed by a survey of about a thousand people among the schools who overwhelmingly supported continuation of the programs.Whittle Communications donates television sets and other equipment to schools that subscribe to the service. It has been controversial because newscasts broadcast daily to the subscriber schools include advertisements.
Last summer, the Granite board chose to pilot the Channel One service in four schools before deciding if they should authorize all the district's secondary schools to participate. The pilot schools were Brockbank and Granite Park junior high schools and Cyprus and Cottonwood high schools.
Woody Clayton, director of secondary education, suggested the board should not wait too long to act on the Channel One offer. Whittle Communications has a quota of approximately 8,000 schools and will limit participation at that point, he said.
Walt Bearden, a company representative, said that despite controversy over the program, no school has withdrawn once they signed up. He said the company has an interest in keeping the quality of news programs high to retain subscribers.
Principals seemed more enthusiastic about the availability of the equipment for their schools than for the program content itself.
"We had no equipment until Whittle put it in," said Principal Parley Jacobs of Granite Park. The donation of a satellite dish to the school has further enhanced its ability to use television sets in the classroom to provide a variety of programs for students, he said.
Cottonwood Assistant Principal Gordon Beckstrom said social studies teachers in his school have been particularly enthused about the televised program, which gives students updated news reports daily, along with the commercials, features and quizzes.
Cyprus Assistant Principal Ben Lems said his school is rearranging schedules so that the time spent on the broadcast doesn't come out of the same period each day. Whittle assisted the school in making a cable television hookup, again expanding the school's technological options.