The media and information technology classes at GILA are taught by Paul Apfelbeck, who brings to the program decades of experience with the use of information technology and associated software for publishing, printing, photography, video production, and web page design. Students enrolled in the media and information technology classes are held to high standards which prepare them for careers involving marketing, publishing, research, information systems management, and business.
Mr. Apfelbeck is highly qualified according to Alaska standards to teach computer science, language arts, and social studies classes. He earned his master’s degree in education technology from the American College of Education in 2011. In addition, he earned bachelor’s degrees in political science from American University and journalism from the University of Oregon. Before becoming a teacher, he worked as a newspaper editor in Oregon and a reporter on newspapers in Alaska and Oregon, providing him with expertise in design, use of word processing and publication software, and professional presentation. He also has had experience in broadcast radio and television, and operates his own family website.
He began his teaching career in Tuluksak in 1998, where he planned and operated a computer lab for junior high students. He has been with the Galena City School District since 2001, teaching language arts, social studies, and computer science classes before being named as the media and information technology teacher in 2012. Mr. Apfelbeck is the school photographer for Galena schools and has published the yearbook for the past 17 years. His son Joseph is a 2016 graduate of Galena schools. Mr. Apfelbeck is a member of the Alaska Society for Technology in Education.
Students in the media and information technology classes have the opportunity to earn certification from Microsoft Office Systems in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. More than 85 percent of the students in the advanced computer application class earned those certifications in the 2015-2016 school year. The program will offer certification in Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements starting in the 2017-2018 school year.
The media and information technology program works collaboratively with Galena community radio station KIYU to offer students the opportunity to broadcast over the air and online, help televise basketball games and events in the SHS gym, produce announcements, and gain real-life experience.
All classes except computer applications in the media and information technology program are tech prepped with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, allowing students the possibility of college credits by earning an A in the classes.
Communicating with families and communities
The media and information technology program is unique in that it is often the only way families and the communities of our students receive news, photos, and video of school events. The rural nature of our small Alaskan Bush town means student-driven efforts through the school newspaper and social media on our Facebook page are almost always the only source of this kind of information about our school. As a result, we provide real-life experiences for our students, providing them with the opportunity act with maturity and exhibit responsibility and sound judgment under the guidance of Mr. Apfelbeck, who brings decades of knowledge to assist students.
Work done by our students has been published in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and The Alaska Dispatch and shown on KTUU Channel 2 news.
Computer applications – This is the entry-level class for all students entering GILA, teaching students the basics of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel in preparation for their courses throughout the rest of their academic career in Galena and beyond.
Advanced computer applications – Students earn Microsoft Office Systems certifications in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Available for college credit.
Digital photography – Students go beyond the basics to learn expertise behind the lens, using Mr. Apfelbeck’s decades of experience as a professional photographer to bolster their knowledge of photography. Available for college credit.
Journalism – Students with exceptional skills in writing, photography, and documentary video put together the Hawk Highlights, recognized in 2013 by the National Association of Newspaper Editors as one of the outstanding student newspapers in the nation. Students use the state-of-the-art WordPress platform from Student Newspapers Online to publish the school newspaper. The Hawk Highlights prides itself on its commitment to covering the school community in a professional manner and providing students with the experience of presenting information to families and the communities with immediacy. Alaska Performance Scholarship qualified class.