Taking Ownership: Mitchell’s Secret to Success
Featuring Mitchell High School Teacher, Tanner Long
When Mitchell’s Business Teacher, Tanner Long, got the inkling to give his students new opportunities by bringing live streaming and production to the school, he fueled a fire that was ready to burn.
Long, a Perkins County graduate (Grant, NE), wasn’t always pursuing a teaching career. He started out in insurance in Omaha. He figured out that teaching was his passion and got his teaching credentials and then student taught in Blair, NE. He took a teaching position clear across the entire state in Mitchell as the business teacher and is in his fourth year there. Additionally, he has become the ‘Media Design and Production (Striv)’ teacher. The actual distance across the state he has taken may not compare to the journey he has set Mitchell High School on.
Mitchell and it’s high school is built on small town values. Being ten minutes from Scottsbluff, Mitchell doesn’t flourish with businesses. However, what is in Mitchell is like a big family. ‘Businesses support the school and the school supports the businesses.’ The town thrives on the supporting nature of itself as well as the tight-knit feel that everyone shares.
The school and its staff and administration continually try to build on the ‘winning culture’ and to do that the proper way with good attitudes and work ethic.
The culture is being exemplified first with the administration, faculty as well as teachers like Long. He went to the Nebraska Career Educators Conference and his interest in live streaming was sparked. He did his research and it was at a Bridgeport/Mitchell volleyball game where Long watched the game being streamed on Striv.tv and he thought, ‘that’s awesome!’.
From there, he got Mitchell’s AD on board right away and moved to presenting the idea to the administration. They were also very supportive of the endeavor and Long decided that having a class, opposed to an after-school program or club, was their school’s best option for implementing Striv. He had to do the final step to begin the journey and that was to see if the kids were interested.
Registration began in Spring and Long was pleased with ‘plenty of interest’ that was shown from the students. He ended up starting the class with 13 students. He actually did have to cut off the enrollment and says that the class is small, but growing.
His willingness to take on the new class did not bring any nerves for him. His main objective was to name it, which he decided on ‘Media Design and Production (Striv.tv)’. From there it was planning out how to get this class up and running. There was concern as to if the students would stay busy with this new, year-long class, but Long says, ‘There is always something going on; generating ideas for the production, reviewing and working with equipment, editing, streaming, interviewing, there’s plenty.’
The class does a weekly show that the school has truly embraced and the class takes a lot of pride and ownership in. Teachers throughout the entire school take time to make sure that every class gets to watch the show so the team that puts it together really gets some gratification out of what they do every week.
The show they produce; a sample can be seen here:
The Tiger Vision show, is a culmination of super creative pieces that the students really want to do. Long had a ‘game changing’ idea to give complete authority over these productions to an appointed (by him) Executive Producer(s). These students would have ownership and responsibility over the show. Segments came from the students alone and all the ideas are generated in class by them and all of it is just ‘ok’d’ by Long. From there, they film, edit and own all of their stuff. Then, the Executive Producers put it all together along with credits and that’s a wrap.
The idea of choosing Executive Producers has really changed the dynamic of the class. He hopes to move through the class so every student gets the opportunity to have this undertaking and experience. ‘New leadership cultivates new ideas’ he says.
Tanner Long traveled the ‘extra mile’…or more to go from Blair to Mitchell; a 477.5 mile trek to be exact. But he is really making an impact in this community and these students’ future with the ‘extra mile’ he is putting into creating new opportunities for them. He comments that he gets on StrivU for ideas all the time to better himself and the class. He researches what other Striv schools are doing to see if that would be a fit for Mitchell. He applies for grants, wants to improve equipment and gain more equipment that will aid in editing and then some. He wants students to eventually take ownership in acquiring and introducing sponsors and advertisers, which will further their future successes by being able to go out and talk to the community.
He does so much behind the scenes work to make this class great, but what he does most and most importantly; he empowers the students by giving them opportunities they didn’t know they would have and maybe didn’t know they could do and excel at. He is giving the name ‘teacher’ it’s meaning and it’s purpose. He, himself, is taking ownership in the idea of teaching kids ownership and it is rewarding to watch a teacher teach at it’s finest.
His humble advice is this:
“It’s a no-brainer…Giving kids an extra opportunity that they didn’t know they could do; or know they can do it but never have been given opportunity to try it out…I look forward to this class everyday.”
He feels that what his class is producing ‘brings the whole school together’. He gets so much positive feedback and thanks for enabling viewers such as dads that are overseas, past Mitchell teachers that are in El Salvador currently, grandmas and grandpas, alumni and so many others the opportunity to watch as Mitchell High School share their story!
Class Picture (above): Back Row – (Left to Right)- Javier Conde, Dustin Thompson, Dimitri Newens, Marcus Carrillo, Kielan Carlson, Ethan Einfelt, Peyton Krahulik, Tanner Long (Teacher); Front Row – (Left to Right) – Caymon Knotts, Andrew Franco, Lexie Funk, Mark Lamp, Allysa Cramer, Mayra Panduro