Jackson Hole Middle School podcast

Jackson Hole Middle School Principal Matthew Hoelscher interviews science teacher Amy Manhart on Thursday morning for the school’s weekly podcast. Hoelscher started doing the podcasts at the beginning of the school year.

Once a week Jackson Hole Middle School Principal Matt Hoelscher becomes an audio aficionado and podcast producer in his (very little) spare time.

“The impetus was just better parent communication and engagement with outside stakeholders,” Hoelscher said. “It’s another avenue to find out what we do.”

The “Colt News” podcast — named after the school’s mascot — began this fall and covers a variety of topics that might interest parents. Episodes include what goes on day to day in the school, new programs being offered or educators explaining what they teach in their classrooms, like grit.

Last week Hoelscher interviewed eighth-grade science teacher Amy Manhart to talk about positive behavioral intervention and supports, known as PBIS in educator lingo.

Episodes are short, about 5 to 10 minutes, tops. He uses a basic audio program, Anchor, to add in quick fades or transition music — something assistant principal and tech guru Diane Woodard showed him.

Hoelscher usually records an episode in one take, bringing in new educators to keep things fresh.

“It’s nice to hear another voice,” he said.

Manhart and Hoelscher seemed like naturals during last week’s recording session. The conversation flowed.

Manhart quickly brought listeners up to speed on PBIS and what it looks like in a classroom, explaining that it seeks to shape positive behavior, rather than be punitive, by using reinforcement.

Each episode usually includes a parent tip, so Manhart told parents they could praise their child when they pick up their socks rather than yelling at them when they don’t.

Hoelscher still sends out parent newsletters, but he said it’s hard to know how many people read them. He ran into the same problem at first with his podcast.

“The seven hits were probably my mom,” he said. “For a while I thought my mom was the only one listening.”

He also just loves podcasts, period.

“I’m into podcasts,” he said. “I love listening to them. I do a lot of driving in Wyoming with my kids because they play sports, and podcasts keep me trucking.”

Episodes can be found at TCSD.org/3/Home as well as through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor, Breaker, Castbox, Overcast, RadioPublic, Pocket Casts and Stitcher.

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Contact Kylie Mohr at 732-7079, schools@jhnewsandguide.com or @JHNGschools.

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