If you ever turn on channel 15 on a Sunday afternoon, there’s a good chance you are viewing WHRO’s longest running locally produced program. School Talk Monthly, hosted and produced by Angie Callahan, WHRO’s Director of Children Services, is now in its fifteenth season. “The show began in the early days of the World Wide Web,” Angie explains. “The Internet was still very new, and we wanted teachers to be aware of sites they could benefit from.” Today, School Talk features websites and video clips for teachers that are correlated to Virginia’s Standards of Learning – but that’s by no means where the show stops.
Every episode of School Talk recognizes four local schools (elementary, middle, high and independent) as Schools of the Month. Schools are chosen based on academics, community service, and extracurricular activities, and are recognized on the show for their accomplishments. Angie also conducts one-on-one interviews with area superintendents, asking each to discuss the successes and challenges they face.
School Talk includes a wide variety of special guests and on-location segments. In its first field production, the show traveled to Tangier Combined School on Tangier Island for a Virginia Company performance. Since the only way to get there is by ferry (there are no cars on the island), a golf cart was used to carry the production equipment from the ferry to the school. “I remember it was pouring rain on the ferry ride,” Angie says. “Our Production Manager, Greg Carter, joked we needed to strap life jackets around the cameras.”
School Talk traveled to New York City at the turn of the millennium; to Washington D.C., following Northampton High School students showcasing a new website before the Senate; and to the Chesapeake Bay, recording classes taking place aboard the Baywatcher. Guests who have appeared on the program include Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, which is concerned with protecting chimpanzees and other primates; Ken Burns, director and producer of documentaries including The National Parks; and Ray Suarez, broadcast journalist.
With a mixture of internet tips, informative interviews and featured events, it’s easy to see why School Talk is turning fifteen this year. Not only teachers, but students, parents and regular viewers benefit from the knowledge shared through the program, and through all of the quality educational programming WHRO provides.
School Talk Monthly airs on the first and third Sundays of every month from October to May at 2:00 p.m. Archived episodes can also be accessed via live streaming at www.schooltalk.org. The website also includes previous Schools of the Month and links that are highlighted on the show. It’s a great place to visit to find out more about WHRO’s educational programs, products and services.