Once a daily tradition, the Announcements broadcast this year by ASB President Miller Brichan have finally returned for the first time in about a month. The announcements, which consist of the Pledge of Allegiance, along with information about sports games, schoolwide events, and more abruptly stopped about 3 weeks ago, and were just reinstated on Friday, November 15th. In the interim, announcements were replaced by the Dons Student Memo, a Google Doc sent out every week by ASB containing even more information from many different departments of Santa Barbara High School. Between these forms of communication and the new “ASB Events” classroom on Neo, many students were, ironically, left in the dark about ASB’s revamping of how it communicates with students and the reasoning behind these changes.
The initial decision to end announcements was made by Santa Barbara High School’s principal Dr. Elise Simmons, who challenged ASB to find new methods to reach more people. Dr. Simmons was receiving weekly complaints from teachers and students alike about the fact that the PA system does not reach all parts of the campus and that even in rooms that are reached, noisy students and poor audio quality make it impossible to hear. One alternate channel that was already in use was Student Square, the student analogy to Parent Square, through which email updates are sent out. Through this, ASB began sending out the weekly Dons Student Memo, which mirrored the longstanding Teacher Memo. Unfortunately, they discovered that only about a quarter of students were even signed up for Student Square. In fact, the greatest number of students that ever saw any particular memo was a measly 174 people. After a month of this new system, it was back to the drawing board, and Dr. Simmons met with the Sophomore, Junior, Senior, and Student Body presidents to brainstorm.
With the goal of reaching as many students as possible in mind, ASB and Dr. Simmons have decided that integrating many methods of communication is the best solution. Despite the shortcomings of the PA system, ASB has reimplemented the Announcements, which are also required to satisfy the California Educational Code’s requirement of a “Daily Patriotic Exercise.” Additionally a new Neo class called “ASB Events” has been created where Google Docs containing all of the information in the announcements will be posted. These docs will be much shorter than the Dons Student Memo and use a bullet point format rather than full paragraphs. Furthermore, Dr. Simmons is encouraging ASB to reach students through social media, a form of communication that they already use. ASB President Miller Brichan hopes that entertaining Bulletin-style videos and other fun projects will boost student engagement.
Both Brichan and Dr. Simmons have emphasized the importance of students being informed about events going on at Santa Barbara High School and news around campus. Dr. Simmons also believes that training students to read, write and reply to emails regularly is a valuable professional skill which will help them in working life. Between all of ASB’s ideas, hopefully the student body will finally be informed about events at Santa Barbara High School and for the near future at least, it seems we can look forward to many more days of Miller Brichan telling us to, “stay olive, stay gold, and stay up!”