Universal Studios Trip


On November 3rd, Impact students were taken on a field trip to universal studios to see the VIP studio tour. The trip was kindly paid for by the district to take about 40 students and 3 chaperons to the park to experience the magic of digital media and emphasize the art of cinematogrophy in a real work environment.

During this trip, the students got to see all of the sets in which universal studios has or will film. They also went to a huge warehouse where universal stores all of its props and costumes for future movies and T.V. shows. To enhance the experience the students also got to see the animations and special attractions such as the shark from JAWS, as well as, a King Kong and Fast & Furious attraction. 

It was a fun day filled with wild attractions, rides, and positive memories for students to stay inspired and see the tips and tricks of how they can perfect their own skills. 

 Students learning about all of the props and costumes at the warehouse.

Students learning about all of the props and costumes at the warehouse.

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 Students outside the city hall set of Back to the Future!

Students outside the city hall set of Back to the Future!

SkillsUSA Year Two : Chapter Kickoff


SkillsUSA is an career and technical organization in which students from all over the nation can compete in and are prepared for the world of work. Regional competitions begin at the end of January. 

This year our Indio High School chapter doubled in size and incorporated other CTE (career technical education) pathways such as Impact, Network Systems, Health Academy, and Robotics and engineering.

Our very own SkillsUSA chapter adviser (Tom Buck) and 5 of our chapter officers had an anticipated chapter kickoff during the month of October where students from every CTE pathway had the chance to meet one another and bond with team building exercises. 

Students reported that they had lots of fun and enjoyed the activities. It was definitely a great way to start the year off with a treat. 

Filming Undercover


Students from our very own impact pathway and that are part of our after-school club with Digicom have been working on a very special project with our superintendent, Scott Bailey, to create a comedic series of "undercover boss"

The idea of the undercover boss project is to take our superintendent and place him in all of the areas of work around the district so that he can know how everything functions. It is definitely something unique and shows just how much Mr. Scott Bailey is invested in our district.

While it can be challenging to film due to busy schedules, both our superintendent and our students have worked tirelessly to bring the story to life. Our students can greatly benefit from this experience by getting community service hours, as well as, adding to their extracurricular activities. 

Digicom After School Program


As the year began and we noticed students excel in the summer screenwriting workshop, Impact has decided to collaborate further with Digicom and develop an after school program here at Indio High School. The program offers numerous opportunities for students to create and pursue their passion for digital storytelling.

Recently, some students have been spending a few hours every tuesday after school with digicom to perfect their skills in digital media such as screenwriting, camera angles and shots, and so much more!

Students also have the opportunity to get community service hours by using their digital media skills to create projects for outside sources in the community with the help of digicom.

Why it works? 

"Developing Digital Storytelling skills (making short videos) enables students to create their own original videos. This process fosters critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration.  These skills are the first step in re-engaging students.

Learning the art of Digital Storytelling empowers students and enhances their sense of self, engages them in their learning process, and expand’s their ability to communicate with the world they live in. This completely revolutionizes the educational experience."    -Digicom learning

Working together with Digicom is  an enriching experience that tells a story about how we can continue to grow and impact our students. 

2016 - 2017 Recap: Year One!

Impact Tiny Logo.jpg

After an incredibly busy (and fun) inaugural year, it's definitely a good idea to take a quick look back and recap some of the highlights of Impact's first year at Indio High School.

In addition to developing new curriculum and furnishing studios with new equipment, Impact closed out the year as an Arts, Media, and Entertainment leader in DSUSD, collaborating with a variety of schools, students, and district personnel. Here are a few more vital stats:

  • More than 200 students enrolled in Impact
  • More than 20 community events and field trips
  • More than 400 experience and service hours
  • Student work recognized and featured at 3 DSUSD Board of Education meetings
  • Student work featured at Digicom X High School Film Festival

First-year Impact students gained experience producing short films, documentaries, animations, graphic designs, and more. 30 students played integral roles in launching a SkillsUSA chapter and competing in Skill and Leadership competitions at the Regional and State levels. 

Multiple industry professionals dedicated their time and talents to speaking and workshops in a variety of areas, and the KIHS Broadcasting moved into a new studio and began live streaming daily broadcasts in high definition via YouTube.

Even as summer break began, students volunteered their time to participate in a week-long Digicom Screenwriting Workshop and helped to build a new broadcast set from scratch.

It's almost a shame to take a break from all the fun, but the 2017 - 2018 promises to be filled with even more excitement and opportunity. Stay tuned!


Digicom Summer Screenwriting Workshop

During the first week of summer break, 10 Impact student from Indio High School along with 4 students from Shadow Hills High School participated in a 5 day screenwriting workshop lead by Digicom's Ruth Atkinson.

The workshop gave students the opportunity to explore scripts and short film narratives before beginning to develop their own concepts. The second half of the week was dedicated to having students develop their own original scripts that can be further developed and/or produced when school resumes after summer. 

In addition to learning the fundamentals of screenwriting and storytelling, the workshop helped students to build communication skills while gaining a sense of introspection and personal perspective. 



Live Streaming Graduations Across the District

 Impact KIHS Broadcasting students prepare for the La Quinta High School graduation stream

Impact KIHS Broadcasting students prepare for the La Quinta High School graduation stream

Not only was this the first year that each of the four comprehensive high schools in DSUSD (Indio, Palm Desert, La Quinta, and Shadow Hills) had live multi-camera high definition streams of their graduation ceremonies– the streams at each school were run by Impact KIHS Broadcasting students.

Students gained real-world live production experience through the setup and production of complex live broadcast streams using up to five separate cameras. The live streams allowed for graduating students to share the experience with friends and family who were unable to attend, and provides a simple way to look back and rewatch the ceremonies. 

 Students were able to control cameras and audio from a mobile control room behind the stage

Students were able to control cameras and audio from a mobile control room behind the stage

This large and complex project was made possible through support from the DSUSD Technology Department, which provided training, equipment, and support. As a result, Impact students are now able to conduct live multi camera broadcasts from just about any location– opening a wide range of possibilities for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. 


IMPACT students and work were featured at the 2nd Annual DIGICOM X High School Film Festival on May 24th at the Palm Springs High School Richards Center for the Arts. 

The festival included narratives, documentaries, and experimental student films from across the Coachella Valley. This was the first year that the festival was open to districts outside of Palm Springs Unified, and provided an excellent opportunity for hundreds of new students to express themselves through the medium of film and digital storytelling. 

Culturas Presents the 4th Annual Women Rising Event

On March 24th, 2017 Culturas Music & Arts hosted the 4th Annual Women Rising event at the Indio Performing Arts Center. The event provided a positive platform for women who are impacting culture, art, and music and featured performances, speakers, workshops, and more. 


Impact sophomores Miranda Hernandez and Steven Martinez were on hand to document the day and work alongside representatives from the organization to gain a better understanding of the purpose and future of Culturas. 

KIHS Rajah Report Live on YouTube!


In January 2017, KIHS Broadcasting (produced by Impact) moved into a new state-of-the-art studio with all new equipment, replacing and aging temporary "studio," and out of date/non-working decades old equipment. 

This was a massive upgrade, but delivering the broadcast to the school and community in a reliable manner has continued to be a struggle...until now.

As of May 2017, Indio High School's live daily broadcast, The Rajah Report, will stream live via YouTube in high definition every morning. The KIHS Broadcasting YouTube Channel will also feature special segments, shows, and packages. 

CBS Local 2 Spotlight Grant, Digicom, and Impact!

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Pierce/CBS Local 2

On Wednesday May 10th, Digicom Learning was awarded a $25,000 Spotlight Grant from the H.N. & Frances C. Berger Foundation. Representatives from the foundation, Digicom, CBS Local 2, and DSUSD were on hand as the grant was awarded in the Impact Production Lab. 

The grant will be used to help with Digicom outreach, which will directly benefit the Impact pathway, beginning with a 5 day intensive screenwriting workshop for students this summer. After summer, Digicom Learning will also assist Impact with the development of an after school filmmaking program and building a strong pathway with the FAME Media Pathway at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. 

Digicom will also be featuring Impact student work at the Digicom X High School Film Festival on May 24th at the Palm Springs High School Theatre. 

SkillsUSA State Conference

From April 20th through 24th, 16 students from the Impact and Engineering pathways at Indio High School competed at the 50th Annual SkillsUSA California State Conference.

In 2016, SkillsUSA California had just over 10,000 student members. In 2017, that number grew to over 20,000– a 100% increase in a single year! As a result, every competitive event increased in difficulty as nearly 3,000 students from all over California came to compete in San Diego. 

All competitions involved skill, leadership, and professional development components. Students and teams were evaluated by industry professionals volunteering their time to act as judges and coordinators. Competitions were scored on a 1,000 point scale with the top three scores earning Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals (Gold medalists advance to the National Conference). Here are the results for the Impact & Engineering students. 

Audio/Radio Production
Team G (Miranda Hernandez & Jayme Villacres) 
5th place out of 9, score: 709/1000

Team F (Johnny Castro & Steven Martinez)
6th place out of 9, score: 684/1000

Broadcast News Production
Juan Bailey, Kim Lopez, Leeanna Rivas, Lannette Villarino
6th place out of 14, score: 898/1000

Digital Cinema Production
Markus Clipper & Jose Romero
6th place out of 18, score: 915/1000

Engineering Technology & Design
Team H (Zenaida Flores, Alfredo Ruiz, Raymond Sarmiento)
9th place out of 17, score: 720/1000

Team I (Erika Perez, Jada Pina, Perla Vidaña)
11th place out of 17, score: 685/1000

Job Interview
Miranda Hernandez
7th place out of 16, score: 860/1000

Pin Design
Steven Martinez
10th place out of 13, score: 305/1000

The next step for SkillsUSA at IHS is to select chapter officers for next year as students begin to consider which competitive leadership and skills events they'll take part in. We'd like to thank DSUSD for their support in bringing SkillsUSA to our district and helping to ensure that each student had access to materials and events. 

A special thanks also goes out to the DATA SkillsUSA students and staff from Cathedral City High School for their constant support at SkillsUSA events throughout the year as IHS students navigated the organized chaos for the first time. 

DIGICOM Narrative Symposium

On March 29th, 35 IMPACT students were able to participate in the first ever DIGICOM High School Narrative Film Symposium with students form 11 other high schools at the Camelot Theatre in Palm Springs. 

Students were treated to a screening of four indecent short films produced in collaboration with Project Involve. After each film, students were given the opportunity to participate in Q&A sessions with the writers and producers. 

Project Involve is a free, intensive, nine-month annual program that offers 30 up-and-coming film professionals from under-represented communities the opportunity to hone skills, form creative partnerships, utilize free or low-cost production resources and ultimately gain the industry access necessary to succeed as working artists.

DIGICOM is a program that involves training teachers and students across all areas of K-12 curriculum how to make videos in order to demonstrate literacy and communicate in the 21stCentury. 

DIGICOM empowers young people to share their learning experiences and to give voice to what they think and what they believe through the process of making videos.  By developing the skills of digital storytelling and enabling students to create original products, DIGICOM fosters critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration, the cornerstone of the Department of Education’s Common Core State Standards.

IMPACT is excited to find news ways of partnering with DIGICOM in the future as the organization expands to serve the greater Coachella Valley.


Multi-Age Project Collaboration with Parker Jacobs!

Students from IHS IMPACT, Jefferson Middle School, and Palm Desert High School with Parker Jacobs and his wife Jennifer. 

On February 23rd and 24th IMPACT hosted designer, artist, writer, musician, and all around good guy Parker Jacobs, who lead a Film/Animation/Storytelling workshop with 50 students from IHS IMPACT, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and Palm Desert High School. The two day workshop gave students a firsthand look into the Arts, Media, and Entertainment industry as Jacobs guided them through the development of an original project that combines live action and animation.

Jacobs may be best known for his role as Art Director for the hit Nick Jr. show Yo Gabba Gabba! (which ran 4 seasons and several national live show tours), but his lifelong career spans nearly every side of the Arts, Media, and Entertainment industry– through a variety of film/television studios, Paul Frank Industries, The Aquabats!, Vans, Goon Holler, and many many more. 

Jacobs began the workshop by giving students a brief history of a not-so-brief career, including the many ups and downs that come with the territory, and the challenges they may face when entering a creative field. Through it all, Jacobs made it clear that success comes not only from talent and hard work, but from pursuing passion and surrounding yourself with the best possible people.

The rest of day one was spent brainstorming and developing concepts for a multi-faceted short film project. By the end of the day, notebooks and whiteboards were overflowing with ideas. Day two saw those ideas get pared down into a streamlined concept as students defined roles and entered into the preproduction phase. With Jacobs' guidance, students were able to develop a concept that spans a variety of styles while still retaining meaning and a focus on purpose. 

And now, after two days of hard-thinking, all 50+ students and three teachers from three different DSUSD school sites will collaborate to create an ambitious short film project with elements of live action and animation! Stay tuned...

SkillsUSA Regionals (Skill Competitions)

On Saturday, January 28th 19 SkillsUSA students from IMPACT and The IHS Engineering/Robotics Pathway journeyed to San Bernardino Valley College for the first round of SkillsUSA Regional Competitions. Students demonstrated technical and professional skills in a variety of areas, interviewed with judges, and came away as champions.

The following students earned medals and/or the right to advance to the SkillsUSA State Conference in San Diego this April:

Engineering Technology and Design (Gold Medal, advancing to Sate Conference)
Raymond Sarmiento
Zenaida Flores

Engineering Technology and Design (Silver Medal, advancing to Sate Conference)
Jada Pina
Erika Perez

Broadcast News Production (Silver Medal, advancing to Sate Conference)
Juan Bailey
Kimberly Lopez
Leeanna Rivas
Lannette Villarino

Audio Radio Production (advancing to State Conference, no medals awarded)
Steven Martinez
Miranda Hernandez
Johnny Castro

The SkillsUSA Regional Leadership Competitions were held on Saturday, February 4th at Granite Hills High School in Apple Valley. 



Job Interview (Gold Medal, advancing to State Conference)
Miranda Hernandez

Pin Design (Silver Medal, advancing to State Conference)
Steven Martinez

Congratulations to everyone who competed, and thank you to SkillsUSA Region 6 Coordinators Ryan Ostlie and Brad Williams!

IMPACT at Youth Town Hall

Every year the Desert Town Hall Speaker Series brings world renown personalities to the Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells. The 25th Speaker Series season kicked off on January 16th with Astronaut Scott Kelly, who returned to Earth last March after spending an entire year aboard the International Space Station. Of course, IMPACT students were on hand to capture the evening's happenings.

Before the main event, Desert Town Hall speakers participate in a Youth Town Hall forum with students from all 10 Coachella Valley high schools. Youth Town Hall gives students the opportunity to hear incredible stories and participate in questions and answer sessions with the featured speakers. 

IMPACT students will be on hand at each of this year's events to create short promotional documentaries featuring event overviews and firsthand accounts through student interviews. 

IMPACT cameras roll as Captain Scott Kelly addresses high school students at the first Youth Town Hall of 2017.

PSIFF Student Screening Day at Indio High School

Last October, Nikki Gordon from the Palm Springs Film Society arranged for filmmaker Jacob Chase to visit IMPACT as a guest speaker. 

Through collaboration with the IHS Drama Department, the Palm Springs Film Society was able to host the Desert Sands Students Screening Day for the Palm Springs International Film Festival at the Indio High School Performing Arts Center on January 10th. 

The event hosted 420 students and featured two films: A Man Called Ove, who's title character's personal philosophies unwittingly helped him to create an extremely unique life story, and My Life as a Zucchini, a stop motion animation that follows a young child through the loss of his family and the discovery of a new one. 

Claude Barras, director of My Life as a Zucchini was on hand after the film for a question and answer session with students in which he explained the unique methods used to create his film, and gave advice to aspiring filmmakers and students still searching for their passion. 

Claude Barras discusses his film, My Life as a Zucchini

The biggest result of the event was the overwhelmingly positive reaction from students in attendance. Students from a variety of programs at all DSUSD high schools were able to come together to engage with film as not only an art form, but a means of communication and expression. IHS looks forward to hosting Student Screening Day again in 2018!

IMPACT's New Lab & Studio!

Students film a scene coverage project on the first day in their new studio. 

As Indio High School begins to wrap up an 8 year construction project on a new state of the art campus, the IMPACT CTE pathway was finally able to move into a new permanent studio space over the Winter Break.

The new studio and lab space is specifically designed to meet the needs of an Arts, Media, and Entertainment pathway, with areas specifically designed for production, broadcast, audio, and post production work. IMPACT is also home to a brand new, full 45 station Mac lab, which is also the first Mac lab to be fully integrated with the DSUSD network– meaning that students now have full access to powerful creative tools used by industry professionals every day. 


Students produce the first live boradcast from the new KIHS studio. 

With all new equipment and a fantastic new environment, IHS students have everything they need to be successful in finding passion and creating excellence through the type of hands-on experience that Career Technical Education programs provide for college and career readiness. 

IMPACT at DSUSD 50th Anniversary

IMPACT juniors Jonathan Idelfonso and Alfredo Ruiz gather footage at the Coachella Valley History Museum. 

On November 17th and 20th, DSUSD hosted its 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Coachella Valley History Museum in Indio. The events featured food, displays, music, games and more. Students and teachers from all across Desert Sands pitched in to help make the event a huge success.

Senior Juan Bailey and sophomore Miranda Hernandez interview DSUSD Public Information Officer Mary Perry

IMPACT students Juan Bailey, Miranda Hernandez, Jonathan Idelfonso, and Alfredo Ruiz were on hand to capture the festivities and gain firsthand production experience in a real-world environment interacting with the community. Back on campus, the students spent hours cataloging and editing footage together into a short documentary that tells the story behind the event. DSUSD Public Information Officer Mary Perry met with the students beforehand to help prepare them and plan the production process.

Check out the finished mini documentary on the IMPACT Vimeo:

SkillsUSA at Indio High School!

After weeks of planning, preparation, and organization, IMPACT has officially launched a SkillsUSA chapter at Indio High School!

SkillsUSA is a national student leadership organization that seeks to build technical and leadership skills in a wide variety of vocational and leadership areas. Students in SkillsUSA have the opportunity to compete in contests at the Regional, State, and National Level. 

IHS IMPACT students will be competing in 5 Skill competitions and 5 Leadership competitions over the 2016-2017 season. IMPACT SkillsUSA has also joined forces with the IHS Engineering and Robotics CTE pathway to branch out into several STEM contest areas.

All SkillsUSA students will gain valuable leadership and professional development experience. Regional competitions will take place in January, with students who earn Gold, Silver, or Bronze medals earning the right to advance to the State Conference in April. Any students who earn a Gold medal in the State Conference will represent California at the National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky next June.

Be sure to check the IMPACT SkillsUSA page for contest prompts updates, and a calendar of events!