A student walks into class, hearing rumors of a snow day from students and staff alike. She opens her email only to find no update from administration. No email means no snow day but, with no update to clear up the rumors, the student has no idea how she should prepare for the days ahead.
Since the dawn of the COVID pandemic, MCHS struggled to communicate with students, staff and the wider school community. Though this issue mainly affects things such as upcoming events or days off, it can also affect the way that students and staff feel about the school.
“I have been out of the loop about every activity, closure due to weather, scheduling change, etc.,” states Thomas Rosegay, a senior at the Upper Campus. “I can’t understand the announcements anywhere in the school basically.”
Though the morning announcements come out of the Upper Campus intercom system each day, it can be hard to understand what they say when a classroom full of students is talking over them. In addition, announcements tend to be skipped on early release days, leaving students and staff uninformed on daily events through this channel.
Announcements are not the only way the school communicates, but they can be a vital part of keeping the community informed on a daily basis. MCHS is also known for sending out newsletters directed towards the wider community, as well as emails to teachers and parents.
Dean Roehrborn, a Social Science teacher at the Upper Campus states that the school tends to communicate very effectively with teachers and staff throughout the district. “From a teacher’s perspective, I feel like [the school] communicates very well,” he says. “I get a ton of emails every single day.”
Roehrborn notes that there isn’t a strong common goal between teachers, students and administrators. Each person in the school have different priorities or stakes to focus on, so communication is vital for keeping everyone equally informed on what’s happening around them.
“There’s a lot of moving parts inside of the school, whether it’s your administration, the teachers, or the students, everybody’s got their own kind of role play.” Roehrborn says, “I think communication is important in high school because it kind of focuses everybody in the same direction.”
Communication is an integral part of keeping a high school community safe and informed. This means clearing up rumors before they can spread, in addition to reaching out to students to ensure their needs are met, including mental and physical health needs.
Avery Riemann, a senior at the Upper Campus, notes how the school often picks and chooses when to communicate with students.
“I feel our school communicates only when it needs to.” Riemann says, ”They never go out of their way to make themselves known or show that they care. They’ll reach out when the weather is bad, or when someone gets an achievement, but they never appreciate the little things.”
It can be difficult for administration to keep tabs on over 2,000 students at once. Riemann believes that, if the school reached out every once in a while to check up on students’ mental and physical health, it could ease the minds of the community and raise morale in the district.
Additionally, basic communication can make students, staff, and local families feel like an important part of the school community.
“Communication is a beautiful thing, of course it is important for a high school community, it’s deadly without communication.” Riemann adds. “Students need someone pushing them forward. That’s what school is all about. We need someone advocating for us, telling us how good we’re doing, and how it’s okay to be a little late sometimes. I’m not sure about you but that would be cool instead of the automated emails and schoology messages.”
The student finally receives an email from administration. It notes the rumors about having a snow day, breaks down the weather report, and suggests what supplies students should bring home in the case of a snow day. The student’s mind is at ease knowing that her school communicated clearly about what she needs to do.