BUENA PARK, CA – Students at Whitaker School are acting out voice over dialogue, editing video and audio files and writing scripts to prepare themselves for digital media careers thanks to the school’s Story Maker academic initiative.

Story Maker, which was introduced at the start of the 2019-20 school year, is an element of the school’s development into a Communications and Media Arts Academy. Story Maker teaches fourth- and fifth-graders to use digital media equipment and applications such as Vimeo and Audacity for video hosting and audio editing.

Fifth-grader Alexie S. said she loves participating in Story Maker because she wants to create cartoons for Cartoon Network.

“Story Maker is so fun because you can make your own characters and stories,” Alexie S. said. “I’d like to join a video art production class in high school and maybe even have a career in making cartoons.”
Principal Mary Beckelheimer said Story Maker and the school’s shift into a Communications and Media Arts Academy are boosting students’ literacy, reading, writing and speaking skills by combining them with hands-on video production lessons.

“Our visual digital media emphasis is grounded in academics and scholarly work as students share experiences and build connections,” Beckelheimer said. “We are complementing our rigorous standards-based instruction with media arts enrichment classes that encourage students to build academic skills through creativity.”

Program Specialist Rebecca Bergstrom said Story Maker has boosted positive behaviors, creativity, academics and communication skills in all of its participants.

“Story Maker is an outlet for students to highlight their creativity. Our students must learn how to collaborate, assign roles and responsibilities and work together,” Bergstrom said. “Story Maker shows students how TV shows are developed and gives them insights into careers.”

Bergstrom said the school is considering purchasing green screens and showcasing finished student projects at a film festival at the end of the school year.

“Whitaker School’s digital media focus is enhancing learning in all subjects for our students,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “The hardware and software that our students are mastering will be invaluable because it teaches them teamwork and computer literacy skills that will be useful in high school, college and their careers.”


Whitaker School student Isabella S. records a voice over by Julian H. for a morning announcement video using Audacity software. The students are part of Story Maker, which teaches students how to use digital media hardware and software to create video projects.

112519_BUENAPARK_DIGITAL2: Whitaker School student Manuel N. edits a video project during a Story Maker lesson. Story Maker teaches students to use digital media hardware and software to create video projects.