Santa Barbara High’s Multimedia Arts and Design Academy shared with parents the game plan for the upcoming academic year at a meeting Monday night.
This plan included some fresh additions to the MAD Academy team. The new co-directors AJ Henning and Brett Griffith will split the responsibility of being the contact point for students. While Mr. Henning serves as the contact for the younger half of highschoolers, Mr. Griffith will be the contact point for juniors and seniors.
Both have extensive experience in education, specifically regarding multimedia arts and design.
For example, Mr. Henning served both as the MAD Academy’s academic dean for a period of eight years before ascending to the co-director position. Mr. Griffith, on the other hand, came to Santa Barbara from the Bay Area, where he was the digital filmmaking and graphic design teacher at Palo Alto High School for about six years.
With these two leading Santa Barbara High’s competitive multimedia program, renewed hope seemed to be in the air Monday night. Parents who arrived at the meeting on a bit of alert left with satisfied looks on their faces.
Afterall, in addition to the experienced directors the program is bringing on, parents will also be getting a volunteer who will keep them in the loop about the program. Dana Valikai will be in charge of MAD Program’s communication, marketing and community outreach.
Ms. Valikai’s bringing her own expertise to the school. Her track record includes more than a decade of marketing experience that includes clients such as DirectTV, General Motors, Adidas, Nike and Coca Cola. At the meeting, she expressed that she wants to set up a Santa Barbara High student-run advertising agency that would take on “actual clients.”
With all the changes, Mr. Henning assured the crowd of parents that the MAD Academy curriculum will remain the same.
“There might be changes with us, but the classes that your sons and daughters are going to be taking is the same,” he said.
The MAD Academy curriculum is as follows: freshmen will take intro to media arts, which will be taught by Mr. Henning; sophomores will study digital drawing taught by Caroline Demachkie, Maren Lambe, and Christine Feldman; juniors will enroll in a photography class taught by Mr. Griffith and KC Thomas; and seniors will take film production taught by Mr. Griffith and Dean Dephillippo, who manages equipment and inventory of MAD Academy.
In addition to the classes, students will also go on field trips, and MAD Academy students may get to flex their multimedia muscles on one of these trips.
Santa Barbara High’s principal Elise Simmons told the crowd that on the high school’s annual field trip to Mexico this year, MAD Academy will “bring their skills of documenting and telling the story.” Dr. Simmons teased the parents, saying “More to come as we figure out those details.”
It is not just the MAD Academy that is getting a new team. Dr. Simmons is getting a new team as well. Her team consists of three assistant principals, one for seniors, one for juniors and another for the younger half of the high schoolers. The team also includes a dean of student engagement who will address attendance and drug and alcohol offences amongst other things.
Santa Barbara parents looking to meet the folks mentioned here can check out back to school night on Sept. 12.