Teacher Feature April 2023: Mitch Schwartz

Each month, we spotlight and celebrate a teacher in our community.

Mitch Schwartz is a Journalism Teacher at Dominion High School in Sterling, Virginia, and continually works to bring broadcast journalism to every school in his county. As Mitch puts it, his “teaching career of 24 years can easily be summed up by pre-SRL and post-SRL.” His passions have grown into the podcast realm in the last few years thanks to listening to an episode of Serial one day on the way to work. Beyond teaching, you can find Mitch coaching his 8 and 10-year-old boys in soccer, basketball, and baseball… which is why you will also find Mitch at his local coffee shop a lot. His proudest moment was when his then 8-year-old son during Covid wanted to record an answer for a rapid response and he made the NewsHour montage.

Learn about Mitch’s favorite StoryMaker lesson, pro tips, and what his biggest pet peeve is in our Q&A below. 

How long have you been using StoryMaker or SRL resources in your classroom?

I have been using SRL resources since 2017. 

What’s your favorite StoryMaker lesson?

In-Camera Edit is my favorite. It is a great introductory project for students to get up and out of the classroom to have some fun. I always have my students do it twice so they can watch and learn the first time before reshooting so they can see their growth. Plus there are always fun and funny activities to give students specific to your school.

What’s a media-making tool you can’t live without? 

My favorite is Premiere Pro. I love tackling new parts of the program and trying to learn it at a higher level. Also, my youngest son used it at home to make a video for 2nd grade Show and Tell on Ronaldo so that was awesome to teach him.

Links to your students’ work:  DHS Press, @dhspress 

What’s a dream story you’d like to report on OR a person that would be a dream to interview? 

For myself to interview it would be Bill Simmons, creator of The Ringer. For my students, I would love to see them explore either the idea behind the craze of AP courses needed for college acceptance or an examination on personal impacts social media has on students at our school. 

Piece of advice for teachers and educators just getting started on StoryMaker:

It is totally ok if you feel overwhelmed or like you aren’t ready to tackle this. I always share my inexperience and failures with my students when trying something new. It empowers them to feel confident to fail, learn and grow as well.

What are you currently listening to?

The Reformed Sports Project Podcast

Fun fact about you?

The last 18 years of my teaching career have been in the same windowless classroom. My classroom walls have multiple whiteboards with my pet peeves listed, including my #1, “What?”

You can reach out to Mitch directly to learn more about how he’s adapted StoryMaker into his classroom. Email him at: Mitchell.Schwartz@lcps.org