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With the start of the 2022-2023 school year, students at Northwest Classen High School and Frederick Douglass High School were the first to participate in a pilot program to introduce a Film Production course, in partnership with Film Education Institute of Oklahoma (FEIO). Branded SCISSORTAIL STUDIOS, this program launches a commitment by the district to provide OKCPS students the opportunity to learn and experience the critical role film production plays in the making of movies, television shows, documentaries and other content.

Says OKCPS Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel, “With each year of this new program, students will gain valuable knowledge and experience, positioning them for job and career opportunities in one of Oklahoma’s fastest growing business sectors. We are excited to help unlock new opportunities for our kids while helping Oklahoma strengthen its position in this fast-emerging industry.” Added McDaniel, “Our intent is to pilot the program at these two high schools and apply those learnings to a district-wide high school rollout in August 2023.”

A strategic partnership between OKCPS and FEIO, SCISSORTAIL STUDIOS will consist of three core program elements. 

1)  Classroom Curriculum – A custom curriculum taught by a combination of OKCPS and FEIO instructors, with classroom film kits and industry-specific activities for hands-on learning, 

2) SCISSORTAIL STUDIOS Film Lab at Douglass High School – A dedicated space equipped with state-of-the-art industry equipment and resources, designed to provide a comprehensive film production experience for program participants from across the district.

3)  SCISSORTAIL STUDIOS Mobile Film Lab – Take learning to the streets! This mobile film lab will visit OKCPS school sites, support school events and participate in community activities – allowing students to experience firsthand what a job in film production might look like. 

Says FEIO Executive Director Austin Taylor, “FEIO was established in 2020 as a local nonprofit to help train and develop local film production personnel to help meet the demand for jobs brought to Oklahoma with each film production. This opportunity to align FEIO’s mission with OKCPS and create a sustainable pipeline of future industry professionals in Oklahoma will be key to accelerating our state’s growth in this space. On behalf of our FEIO board, resource partners and growing supporter base, we applaud OKCPS leadership for their vision and passion to give students every opportunity possible.”

Matt Payne, Co-CEO of Prairie Surf Studios and FEIO board member added, “As we continue to bring new film projects to Oklahoma, the need for trained and experienced crew members will grow with each new commitment. To see OKCPS invest at this level to unlock future job and career opportunities for students in this high demand field is much appreciated. We’re excited to support this effort.” 

OKCPS Board Chair Paula Lewis stated, “It’s a major win any time we can introduce students to new job and career opportunities that ignite a passion for learning. This SCISSORTAIL STUDIOS investment will go a long way toward keeping students engaged and excited about going to school.” Added Lewis, “Utilizing available ESSER (Elementary Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds to build out a robust workforce development initiative while providing OKCPS students hands-on learning opportunities, is another significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to provide the best education experience possible.”

Oklahoma City community leaders offered these thoughts:

“The film industry is growing fast here and our young people will increasingly see the potential of a film production career right here in OKC.  Oklahoma City Public Schools and its partners deserve credit for bringing this opportunity to our city’s young people, and I’m excited to see where it leads.”  

 – OKC Mayor David Holt

“As a private investor committed to supporting the growth of the film industry in Oklahoma, Echo is thrilled to see OKCPS engage in this strategy to grow future workforce in a way that gives young students the opportunity to learn about film production from the inside out. I’m especially excited to see what they create along the way.” Added Kanady, “Echo will find ways to support this project and I encourage other private funders to do the same. There’s plenty of opportunity to go around and I know OKCPS will appreciate the support.” -- Echo founder Christian Kanady

            For questions or more information about how you can support this program, please contact Dot Rhyne;

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