The Rural School Communications Gap

High Plains Community Schools is not uncommon in its Class D school setup. Like many consolidated rural schools across Nebraska, 12 miles of pavement separates the two school sites of HPC. The three communities of HPC – Polk, Hordville, and Clarks – form a small triangle in the heart of central Nebraska.  We are very proud of who we are and what we are about. We have a strong foundation built on progressive thinking, aggressive education, and opportunities for all our students to reach beyond the walls of our school building and dream big. Pretty awesome in my opinion.

The Social Media Experiment

While we have always been one school focused on our foundational beliefs, the 12 miles between school buildings has at times felt like separate worlds, each with its own unique stories, cultures, and unique happenings occurring each day, but often never leaving the walls of the building they were happening in. In the days prior to Class Intercom, those stories would have rarely made the 12 mile trip between our school sites and individual communities. The 12 miles of pavement had no lane designed for the fast-paced storytelling of social media. That is until we began the HPC Social Media experiment and the results have been a game-changer for our school culture and pride, student and staff participation in promoting HPC on Social Media, and the preparation of our younger students to be the primary flag carriers of sharing the HPC story.

The experiment itself has been simple – push as much content related to High Plains Community Schools out onto social media as possible and do it until our patrons say they can’t handle it anymore. Fortunately, that day hasn’t happened and the push for more content from HPC is real!

With the implementation of Class Intercom within our school, we now have more power than ever to share our story across multiple platforms.

In doing so we have seen not only has our experiment in social media been a success, but it has been the standard for how we tell and show who we are. School Pride and Culture are as important to any school as the content that is taught in the classroom. Through our use of Class Intercom, we have seen a huge increase in the pride that our teachers, students, and patrons are taking in the HPC story.

Sharing Your School’s Story

We are seeing teachers sharing their classroom activities and students now interacting and adding to the story of that event. Not only are we now creating content for those outside the walls of HPC but we have in fact closed the 12-mile gap between sites. Big brothers and sisters in Polk can now see what is happening with their younger siblings in Clarks. A teacher in Clarks can now follow the happenings of our HPC World Studies students as they try to complete a breakout box in real-time on social media. Our school culture and pride is better now than ever before at HPC. It is directly related to the impact that social media has had in bridging a gap between sites.

We have never forced our HPC teachers, staff, and students to use Class Intercom or any form of social media to share our story. As our online presence has grown we have seen a shift in the mindset and the buy-in across the school district. It is cool to share the great things we are doing at HPC! What was a once in a while thing is now the norm. Do something you are proud of at HPC and share it through social media. Do something you want others to see – bridge the gap and post it!

Investing in the future

Our future is very important to us and it is without hesitation that we are setting ourselves up for future success at HPC by establishing our content creators at a younger age than ever before. With the incorporation of junior high journalism as an exploratory option at HPC, we are developing the next set of media leaders within our student body. Their experience gained now will lead to great things as they move up the HPC ladder towards graduation. The more we allow them to share the HPC story at a younger age through Class Intercom, the more we ensure that the 12 miles between schools are never an issue again.

Cameron Hudson

Principal at High Plains Community Schools