By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT
Rutherford County Schools

In life and, in this instance, education, paths or pathways randomly cross.

At Smyrna High, students enrolled in the new video production pathway and the second-year construction pathway are preparing for the opportunity to pursue two very different careers.

The two popular career and technical education pathways intersected this past summer.

Kyle Dietz, video production instructor wanted to hit the ground running this school year and developed a creative solution to the need for a simple, yet professional, set for the debut of Smyrna Today. Dietz reached out to Bryan Pitts, instructor of CTE Fundamentals of Construction Mechanical Electrical Plumbing, whom he met as part of the Educator Preparation Provider program through Rutherford County Schools, and mutually agreed to “barter services” between the two pathways.

Pitts and his construction students built a set platform and a desk for Smyrna Today, while Dietz and his students — 71 of whom make up three introductory level courses and one advanced senior class of four — will produce a promotional video promoting the construction pathway.

“We’re going to work on that over this year,” Dietz said. “So, we kind of bartered services back and forth and it worked out well.”

It was a great lesson for the students when it comes to making them aware of how people with different skillsets and interests can work together to better accomplish their goals. After drawing up plans, the two second-year instructors bought the materials, and the construction students finished the summer project in two-weeks-time.

And finding those creative workarounds, especially when funding is an issue, is as important in the classroom as it is out in the real world.

“It definitely goes to show you how they can work together,” Dietz said.

He talked about wanting students to know what “really professional environment” felt like when they walked into a studio as opposed to just another classroom.

Smyrna Today provides schoolwide announcements on Mondays and Tuesdays and again on Thursdays and Fridays.

“We try to keep it under five minutes,” Dietz said, “and we’re going to start adding — in addition to announcements — some of our news features and different stories that the students are going to do about what’s happening around school.

“We’re going to start adding short segments of news into those announcements.”