CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Some young filmmakers tackled a hefty issue on Charleston's West Side.
Students at J.E. Robins and Watts elementaries helped make a promotional video that was used to poll the community about whether a new consolidated school should follow a traditional or year-round calendar.
The children learned from the experience, and school officials apparently succeeded in their goal to get their parents' attention.
As for making the new Edgewood elementary a year-round school?
"No" was the resounding response.
Looking back at her time in the limelight, fifth-grader T'Quyiah Clark said she wasn't nervous.
But as her face popped up on a computer screen in the office of J.E. Robins Elementary School Principal Henry Nearman, the hand that covered her eyes told a different story.
"I was so nervous!" the 11-year-old admitted with a small smile on her face.
Despite a little stage fright, she was able to join several other students from Robins and Watts in making the video aimed at educating West Side parents about a year-round academic calendar.
The new school off the top of Edgewood Drive is scheduled to open in late 2013 or early 2014.
Instead of school officials deciding between a traditional schedule or a "balanced" one - the term now used by educators to describe a year-round curriculum - they decided to poll the community, said Bob Calhoun, director of elementary education for Kanawha County.
Calhoun said school officials have seen some academic success from the balanced calendar so they wanted to get as much information to parents about the concept as possible.
That led to several community meetings and recommendations from the Local School Improvement Councils at both schools to move forward with the balanced calendar, but Calhoun said the schools and central office administrators wanted more community involvement.
To get that, he said, a flimsy brochure was not going to be enough.
"They were afraid if we just sent home a flyer ... that parents would ignore it and not really read into it as much as they needed to," Calhoun said.
Thus the idea for a student-lead informational video was born.
During the seven-minute production, students pose as television news reporters on assignment for Edgewood Elementary News.