School district’s video shows off people, facilities

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 14, 2002

[06/14/02]The Vicksburg Warren School District has a new marketing video to show off district people and facilities.

Several copies of the 12-minute production, in the works since August, are being distributed to businesses and organizations to increase awareness of the district’s assets.

“We didn’t have anything that you could hand to a CEO of (a business) and say, This is an introduction to our school district,'” Superintendent Donald Oakes said.

“We hope that when people see (the tape) that their interest is piqued enough that they’ll call and ask questions or come visit and see what’s going on,” he said.

Plans for the tape began when Oakes, through visits with Vicksburg, Warren Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation meetings, realized the significance of the district to potential businesses in the area.

“If they’re going to move their businesses and their management people in, they’re going to want to know something about the school district,” Oakes said. “One of the first questions asked about is education.”

Oakes pitched the idea of the video to Susan Landrum, the district’s librarian and media specialist. Landrum, who has been instrumental in the project, has worked since October filming and photographing clips to be incorporated into the video. Working along with Landrum has been Jason Hopkins of Hopkins Photography, whose duties include combining the clips and storyboard and adding special effects, as well as reproducing the tapes.

The district allocated $1,500 to the effort.

Copies have been supplied to the Chamber of Commerce board of directors and will also be given to Realtors, civic clubs, EDF members and other local organizations, Oakes said.

Exactly 100 tapes will be distributed, along with CD-ROMS of the material. In two weeks, a brochure will be available that will accompany the tapes in “newcomer” packets available through the Chamber of Commerce.

The video includes clips from each of the district’s schools, and focuses on the technological advancements in computer software available to students, special programs, opportunities in athletics and other aspects of the district. The video begins with an introduction including a voice-over by actor Morgan Freeman, who had been authorized through a contract agreement with the state Department of Education to do an introduction for a state educational video.

“I’m ecstatic about it,” said Landrum. “I think someone coming into the district will be interested in seeing what the district has to offer and will have a guideline as to what is available.”

Landrum said the video should not only be aimed to those coming into the area, but also to the local community.

“I want the community to get excited about what we have here. Each school is unique in what they’re doing and in what they’re accomplishing,” she said, noting such programs as kinder-kitchens, outdoor classrooms, robotics and mock trials.

“Activities in the regular classroom are not like they used to be,” she said

Oakes described the tape as a “marketing tool.”

“We don’t think in terms of marketing because that’s not a traditional role of the school district,” he said. “But I think the school district has to become a key player in a community as it attempts to market itself to bring in business to new people.”

Mike Smith, chairman of the Education Committee, viewed the video for the first time last week.

“I was impressed,” he said. “I was proud to say I’m part of the Vicksburg system.”

The Vicksburg Warren School District is the result of the consolidation of the Vicksburg Municipal and Warren County Districts in 1987.