Not So Undercover Sup: Episode 2!

On June 2nd, 10 IMPACT students and 10 DSUSD employees from the Transportation Department collaborated with DIGICOM Learning and DSUSD Superintendent Scott Bailey on the second episode of "Not So Undercover Sup". 

The crew braved the hottest day of the year so far (108 degrees) and a rigorous 10 hour production schedule, but the results were worth it. In this episode, Bailey (in disguise) gets an insiders perspective of how the DSUSD Transportation Department operates as he learns to drive buses, maintain the vehicles, and how much work goes into keeping things rolling smoothly. The episode will premiere before the start of the 2018-2019 school year, as IMPACT students and DIGICOM staff will work together on the post production process over the summer. 

The inaugural episode had Bailey undercover in the Nutrition Services Department, and premiered this past March.

Zero to YouTube Hero!

On May 31st, IMPACT Industry Partner Heather Ramirez of Sharespark Media hosted a "Zero to YouTube Hero" community outreach workshop for Coachella Valley residents of all ages who are interested in sharing their stories via YouTube. Zero to YouTube Hero seeks to help people creating thriving channels, even if they've never uploaded or made a video before. 

Attendees ranged in age from 7 to 77, and all had different concepts for their potential channels. The workshop focused on the essential questions to ask when starting a channel as well as many of the under-appreciated benefits that come from YouTube (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, technical skills, etc.).

The workshop also highlighted and showcased the IMPACT pathway as well as several IMPACT student YouTube channels.


The 10th Annual DIGICOM Film Festival was held on May 17th in the Palm Springs High School Theatre. 

This was the first year that the festival included submissions from schools outside of Palm Springs Unified School District, and IMPACT lead the way, representing Indio High School and DSUSD with two student projects, After and Before and the inaugural episode of Not So Undercover Sup featuring DSUSD Superintendent Scott Bailey. 

IMPACT students were called on stage to receive recognition for their efforts, and IMPACT senior Anissa Arriaga received a $1,000 scholarship, making her the first DSUSD students to receive a DIGICOM scholarship!

After and Before: An IMPACT Short Film

Students from IMPACT, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and Palm Desert High School collaborated on a live action/animated short film project developed during a two day storytelling workshop lead by Parker Jacobs last spring. Jacobs is the Art Director for Yo Gabba Gabba and has a long career working with The Aquabats, Vans, Paul Frank, and many more. 

Working together, the students created a story that reflects on how the present is determined by the past and how the decisions we make now will affect the future. The film, After and Before, will also be part of the 2018 DIGICOM Film Festival.

IMPACT Instructor Named District Teacher of the Year!


On May 10th, IMPACT Instructor/Coordinator Tom Buck was selected as the high school Teacher of the Year for the Desert Sands Unified School District. Tom will now represent DSUSD in the Riverside County Teacher of the Year selection. County Teachers of the Year will have the opportunity to potentially be selected as a California State Teacher. 

Most importantly, the recognition exemplifies the impact that Digital Media has on students and education. As a relatively new pathway, IMPACT has grown to offer a full four-year selection of rigorous A-G approved courses and adaptive to the individual needs of students. With digital media literacy being as important as reading and writing literacy, providing students with the skills and experience needed to not only succeed but survive in the modern world is a serious responsibility. 


IMPACT & The City of Indio

IMPACT at the Indio Block Party

Over the past several weeks, IMPACT students have begun to work with officials from the City of Indio on a variety of media/marketing projects to promote and revitalize the city.  This includes redesigning street sign banners,  storefront window wraps, and other prmotional materials. 

Bill Schinsky gives a tour of the CV Art Center


Students were also able to participate in a walking tour of the city, which included Downtown Indio, the CV Art Center, City Hall, the Indio Performing Arts Center, and more- giving students a new appreciation nad insight into their hometown. 

IMPACT students were also given the opportunity to have exhibition space at the Indio Block Party/Tachevah Music Festival on May 5th, where they interacted with the public, showcased work and projects, and set up a selfie station for everyone at the event. Renae Farias filmed and edited a recap montage on site during the event:

SkillsUSA 2018 State Conference!

From April 19-22, 50 students from Indio High School's IMPACT, Engineering, Network Systems, and Health pathways competed in more than 15 competitions at the 51st Annual SkillsUSA State Conference in Ontario, California. 

SkillsUSA California is the fastest growing group in the country, growing from 2,300 to 35,000 members in less than 8 years. 

Steven Martinez earned a Bronze medal for Pin design and Elpidio Poblano earned a Gold medal in Internetworking and will be representing the state of California at the SkillsUSA National Conference this June in Louisville, Kentucky!

"Not So Undercover Sup" Premier!

IMPACT students from the DIGICOM After School Club celebrate the "NSUS" premier.

As part of the DIGICOM After School Club at Indio High School, students worked in conjunction with DSUSD district administrators to produce the first episode of Not So Undercover Sup. 

The episode follows DSUSD Superintendent Scott Bailey as he goes "undercover" in the Nutrition Services department to see how the district provides meals for more than 30,000 students every day. 

IMPACT students planned, filmed, and edited the project along with DIGICOM Instructors. Students are currently in the preproduction stages of episode two, which will focus on the Transportation Department. 

The episode was premiered at the DSUSD District office in March and will be featured during the 2018 Digicom Film Festival.

2018 Youth Town Hall Speaker Series

For the second year in a row, IMPACT students covered each of the 4 Youth Town Hall events held in conjunction with the Desert Town Hall Speaker Series. 


The students were responsible for condensing each event into a concise clip with interviews and b roll footage to be shared across social media by the sponsoring organization. Even though it sounds simple, this is a challenging project that helped students to better understand marketing to specific audiences across different platforms while simultaneously meeting the needs of a client.

Most importantly, being able to attend the Youth Town Hall events gave students front row seats to world renowned speakers, authors, politicians, and personalities, helping them to understand their roles within a larger world. 

2nd Annual Digicom Symposium

On March 7th, 50 IMPACT students were invited to attend the 2nd Annual Digicom Narrative Filmmaking Symposium at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. 

The event included screenings of multiples short films/series followed by Q&A sessions with the filmmakers from Project Involve.

Two IMPACT students, Renae Farias and Bexy Campos were selected to lead two of the Q&A sessions in front of 500 local high school students and teachers. 

Educating for Careers 2018: Do What You Can't

IMPACT Instructor/Coordinator Tom Buck led a 70 minute workshop/session during the Educating for Careers convention in Sacramento. More than 100 educators from across the state attended the presentation titled, "Do What You Can't: Empowering Students with Digital Media".

Don't worry, it was actually a fun experience.

"Do What You Can't" takes a page from YouTube Filmmaker Casey Neistat's iconic video and applies the idea to how educators approach interacting with students and building their Digital Literacy skills. The main takeaway from the presentation is the idea the teachers must be actively involved in their subject matter and willing to take risks when trying new methods/strategies, with applications across all grade levels and content areas. 

Mobile Live Streaming!

With support from the DSUSD Technology Department, IMPACT students are now able to conduct multi-camera live streams from any location with a network connection. The primary goal was to provide coverage for the high school graduation ceremonies in June, but students can now also stream games, events, and performances. 

The setup, production, and teardown of a live stream setup also provides invaluable "real world" experience and problem-solving/communcation practice. 

IMPACT Goes to 3rd Grade!

On February 1st, a team of IMPACT juniors and seniors presented the CTE pathway to all of the 3rd graders at Gerald Ford Elementary School. The presentation tied in to a unit on Technology currently being studied by the elementary school students, and helped them to begin thinking about what they might be interested in studying when they arrive at high school.

During the presentation, IMPACT students explained the pathway, showed examples of their work, and senior Zephaniah Neri led a branding workshop where the 3rd graders worked together to create a logo for an imaginary comic book company. 

Disney Animation Workshop!

On January 12, 50 IMPACT students in grades 9-12 traveled to Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure for a day dedicated to animation. Students spent several hours in an intensive animation workshop where they learned the essentials of Disney's animation philosophy along with the history of the medium. 

The workshop also focused on developing students' storytelling abilities, which are closely linked to key communication and critical thinking skills needed in college and the workforce. 

After the workshop, students were able to enjoy access to both parks for the remainder of the day, where they could have fun and get to know each other outside of the classroom/studio environment. Fun is good. 

PSIFF Student Screening Day

For the second year in a row, Indio High School and IMPACT played host for the DSUSD screenings of the Palm Springs International Film Festival's Student Screening Day. More than 400 students from across the district were able to view two film screenings, with Q&A sessions after each, giving them a firsthand insight into the filmmaking process.

"In 1950, amidst the ravages of the Korean War, Sergeant Süleyman stumbles upon a half-frozen little girl with no parents and no help in sight. Frantic, scared and on the verge of death, this little girl captures the heart of Süleyman, who risks his own life to save her, smuggling her into his Army base and out of harms way. Not knowing her name and unable to communicate with her, Süleyman names her Ayla, in reminiscence of the moon on the fateful night during which they met. The two form an instantaneous and inseparable bond, and Ayla, almost effortlessly, brings an uncanny joy to the Turkish brigade in the grip of war. As the war comes to a close however, Süleyman's brigade is told that they will be returning home. Süleyman cannot bear abandoning Ayla, and does everything within his power to take her with him. After repeated failure, he is forced to give Ayla to an orphanage, but doesn't give up on the hope of one day reuniting with her. "

This documentary film followed the story of Will Lautzenheiser when, in his 20's, he suddenly became ill and had to have both his arms and legs amputated.

Students talk with Will Lautzenheiser after the screening of his film, "Stumped".

"Taking an unconventional approach to therapy, Will begins to perform stand-up comedy, a creative outlet that helps Will cope with his losses.

As Will begins to accept his new life and adjust to profound challenges, news breaks about an experimental surgery that offers Will new hope to reclaim his independence. Putting his life and health on the line, Will risks it all to undergo a double-arm transplantation at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Within this medical drama is a deeply personal story in which Will, with the support of his partner Angel, his family and a world-class medical team, redefines his identity and forges a new path. Filmed over four years, STUMPED explores themes of adversity, creative courage, as well as the life-changing potential of pioneering medicine."