Joe Clark did not expect to hear his name called. He knew his students' video project was good, but felt they deserved more credit than he did. However, when organizers of the 3rd Annual California Voices Film Premiere announced the 2011 Instructor of the Year Award, the Multimedia Sound Engineering teacher for the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) found himself accepting the honor.
On May 25th, 2011, the Center for Multicultural Cooperation hosted the premiere at the Crest Theatre. Over 600 students, parents, community leaders, partners, and elected officials gathered together to celebrate and recognize the hard work of more than 150 local youth filmmakers. The event showed documentary films created by students at 12 schools in the Sacramento-area and showcased youth issue videos where students identified and shared their perspective on issues in their community.
Mr. Clark received the award for a video produced by students in his Regional Occupational Program (ROP) at the LINKS Academy at Marian Anderson, a community school program operated by SCOE. The video, titled "Decisions," focused on the hard decisions community school students must make on a daily basis.
"I was very surprised at winning the award as I thought our students' video was good, but we had wanted to do even much more with it," Mr. Clark said. "I think it shows the potential our students have, even though so many dismiss them as 'unteachable.'"
In addition to teaching the highly technical subject of sound engineering, Mr. Clark works with at-risk students in grades 9-12 in areas of career exploration and work preparation practices such as developing resumes and completing job applications.
"Joe's Multimedia Sound Engineering class is cited by many students as the reason they come to school," said Principal Philip Moore. "Joe is one of those rare individuals who truly enjoys his work and the creative process of offering new and interesting opportunities to our students."
The California Voices program is supported by: Sacramento City Unified School District, Sacramento County Office of Education, The California Endowment, My Dream My Life Academy, California Center for Civic Participation, Sacramento Regional Foundation, City of Sacramento Teen Services, and Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center.