Morning announcements rule the school at Kiski Area Upper Elementary in Washington Township.
Forget the usual, no-frills audio announcements broadcast at most schools.
At Kiski Area Upper Elementary (KAUE), a morning video featuring multiple segments, colorful graphics, props and music kicks off each school day with a creative welcome, delivered and performed by sixth graders.
Sixth grade English and reading teacher Susan Feudale created the show a decade ago and serves as the producer.
Any sixth grader is eligible to sign up for the opportunity to participate.
Feudale said the demand to appear on the announcements has never been higher.
She has a list of 125 students waiting for their turn — a stark contrast from the handful of students when she first debuted the show.
About five students perform in each broadcast, based on a rotating list.
The show serves as a daily recap of important news and events going on in the district and on campus.
New this year are themes: Motivational Monday, Let’s “Taco Bout” KAUE Tuesday, Would You Rather Wednesdays and Wacky Wednesday Facts, Throwback Thursday and Fresh Friday Walk On KAUE Teacher Edition.
Joyce Hanz | Tribune-Review
Kiski Area Upper Elementary sixth graders (from left) Daeonna McNeil, Danya Hamilton, Chloe Redmond and Haley Will record a Tik Tok Tuesday segment Wednesday for the morning announcements.
Principal Brian Swartzlander said the program provides a positive message and beginning for all on campus.
“Morning announcements set the tone for the entire school day, and the ownership that our students take in this process is invaluable,” Swartzlander said. “Mrs. Feudale has taken morning announcements to the next level. We are so proud of this daily product that shows our school pride and commitment to teamwork.”
The two- to three-minute broadcast is watched on new interactive smart boards in each classroom.
Feudale made the transition from audio to video announcements three years ago. She uses her own phone to record, and later edit, the show using a program called WeVideo.
Logan McMeans, 12, has performed a few songs during announcements.
A musical theater fan, Logan said he enjoyed his recent moment performing in front of Feudale’s smartphone.
“I like being on camera because it makes me feel you’re out there and being seen,” he said.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Kiski Area Upper Elementary School student Logan McMeans reads the morning news with the help of teacher Susan Feudale during the announcements Wednesday in the school studio.
Cayden Drum, 11, of Washington Township has taped segments announcing the lunch menu and presenting the introduction.
“I wasn’t nervous. I wanted to do it to be on camera and have some fun. It’s been a goal since the fifth grade,” Cayden said.
The program is paid for with a $300 grant from Donors Choose and $300 from the school’s technology budget.
Props used by students during production include novelty hats, LED lights and microphones.
Brenna Katzen, 11, recently entertained during the joke segment of the broadcast.
“Why did the baker have a rash? … Because he made bread from scratch!” Brenna delivered during her segment, adding a robust, fake laugh, for added emphasis.
“It was weird because it was my first time, but I wanted to see what it was like,” Brenna said of choosing to perform.
Carley King, 12, of Allegheny Township is considering a career as an actress and recently presented the daily weather segment.
“I just felt nervous and sometimes have bad anxiety around people, but it felt fun,” Carley said.
Feudale noted the announcement buzz around campus has students taking interest in her program.
“The buzz is that it’s the cool thing to do. Even the shy students are doing it,” Feudale said.
Logan Smith, 11, of Allegheny Township also reported on the weather and recorded the first “remote” reporter assignment on campus.
Joyce Hanz | Tribune-Review
Here is a screenshot of the daily morning announcements presented by sixth graders at Kiski Area Upper Elementary School in Washington Township. The videos are viewed on WeVideo and broadcast schoolwide each morning.
She used her own phone to record and interview the principal for the “Let’s Taco Bout KAUE” segment.
“It went well. He talked about bus etiquette,” she said. “I feel like it’s a privilege to do this interview. Participating in this is a ‘must do’ for me.”
Feudale said the Tik Tok Tuesday dance segment is a big hit among students.
“I’m trying to release more creative control to the students,” Feudale said. “Just walking around the school each morning and seeing my work in every classroom. This is my baby. I’m so proud of it.”