WGDR’s 'Indie Kingdom' Wins Prestigious Third Round Funding From Vermont Community Foundation’s Innovations And Collaborations Grant; Expands with Partner Big Heavy World

Words and Photo by WGDR, Goddard College.

Indie Kingdom is the expansion of GDR’s general offering to its local youth for training in the arts and sciences of radio programming. Partnering schools and orgs will collaborate with GDR on the design of syllabi for area youth to learn media literacy, by meeting both radio station and classroom objectives/needs. Expansions to our prior offerings focus on the arts and science of producing compelling audio reports, creative communication skills and the trainer/teacher collaboration on production themes.

Trainer and teacher design curriculums that work similarly to a menu, offering schools a way to build unique programmatic outcomes (and durations) that meet state and common core standards. The big picture goal is to develop a curricular model that can be used and implemented by college and community radio stations and their area schools, regionally and nationwide. For this expansion Goddard sought funding from the Vermont Community Foundation through its Innovations and Collaborations initiative.

In year one (2015), we created and piloted in our partner schools a written, standards-based curriculum, offering professional guidance to teacher-partners in customizing and integrating IK into their pedagogical goals. WGDR staff worked with partnering schools, including Cabot School, Montpelier High School, and Randolph Union School to help their students learn about, create, and broadcast high-quality recordings of stories from their communities.

In year two we continued to implement the program in our partnering schools, and: 1) created a packet of materials, such as letters of agreement/memoranda of understanding (MOUs), lists of materials and necessary infrastructure, and samples of work, to more easily replicate this experience with schools and other community and college radio stations; 2) developed and strengthened relationships with other new potential partners, such as Big Heavy World, Vermont Public Radio, Vermont Community Arts Access, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

With this third year of funding (2017), we will partner with the respected Big Heavy World and with Savi Learning, the creators of the Launchpad app, to expand to Burlington. Big Heavy World seeks to engage young Vermont volunteers in the creation of live and recorded music. Music provides a sense of place and a platform of shared values and experiences that are the foundations of community. BHW’s programs include WOMM-LP ‘The Radiator’ 105.9 FM, a listener-supported media center whose programming fosters civic engagement and multigenerational technical education and empowerment. Savi Learning is an educational partnership that has developed LaunchPad, a powerful web app that helps teachers and students design relevant, engaging, real-world projects.

Alongside BHW and Savi Learning, WGDR hopes to advance our licensee’s mission of individualized life-long learning through the creation and implementation of credited, ethical youth journalism programs while developing a new generation of public media listeners. Also, we want to build innovative retention value for community and public radio stations by disseminating a successful model for partnership with their local schools.

“The public nature of radio adds a level of accountability and authenticity that is often hard to find in traditional class assignments. The result is that students’ individual investment is strengthened, pushing them to dig deeper in order to truly understand the information and make connections. Their questions in the interviews, attention to detail in the translations, and clarity in their presentation of the information were all notably improved over previous years’ work. Finally, the students take pride in their work!” – Colleen Purcell, AP Spanish Educator, Montpelier High School.

For Additional Information please contact Jackie Batten at Jackie.batten@goddard.edu or at 802-322-1686.

Photo of Indie Kingdom students interviewing Paul Thea, Cabot, VT.