Keeping the attention of the typical teenager for more than a few seconds is a challenge. But for Heritage High School in Littleton, Colorado, catching and keeping the attention of 1,600 students for several minutes AND providing them with important information has become a daily routine.
So what’s the magic bullet that keeps students at Heritage High tuning in instead of tuning out? Digital communications, of course. For a generation whose eyes seem permanently glued to the screens of their phones, computers, and televisions for entertainment, that same technology can also capture their attention and help them take notice of school announcements and useful information.
Installing digital screens throughout the campus was the students’ own idea. In 2009, a graduating senior class raised money to purchase the first screen which they hoped would help engage their fellow classmates. Heritage now boasts five screens.
These displays had the immediate benefit of answering frequently asked questions from students and visitors who came to the school, without interfering with the flow of the main office’s operations. Another advantage of the screens that school officials recognized: marketing.
Heritage operates under a Colorado state law that allows for open enrollment in school districts. Students may attend a school by choice through application, rather than attending a school based on residency within district boundaries. This means that every year Heritage must vie with other area high schools for new students. The new digital signs are a way for Heritage to stand out and impress prospective students.
Heritage High School Office Manager Kathy Smith says the inclusions of the screens make sense. She is in charge of updating the screens, and says she enjoys the new aspect of her work. She says the system is “…very simple, very user friendly. It is very easy for me to go in and update things.”