Hawk Talk 2
Tuesday Feb. 16th, 2010
A new website, HighSchoolTownHall.com, aims to create a place where students, teachers, and community members can find out about what’s going on in the high school and with related extracurricular activities.
There are many clubs, classes, activities, sports, and teachers here at Bozeman High School. The number of options available to students are numerous, and sometimes it can be hard to find out the inside story on these things.
Tom Bosche, creator of the site, said “I wanted to create a site that provides a lot of information about the high school that was written by regular people that are involved in the school.”
The goal of the site is to let people, whether that’s teachers, parents, or students, write about things that are relevant to the high school. Alumni can write about which AP classes they liked or saved them time in college, or students can write about what’s going on in their clubs, or which classes and teachers they like. The site can also be used to post videos and photos from these activities.
“My hope is that people will use it to write about interesting things that people are doing in the high school,” said Bosche.
The site’s content will be entirely generated by regular people; it’s designed to be a place were anyone can log on and post something interesting that he or she is doing – and share that with others.
“Anybody can input information on anything they want,” said Bosche, “It will be able to give you an accurate picture of what’s going on in the high school.”
This is just what school district administrators as well as teachers and staff have voiced concerns about. When Bosche first approached administrators and teachers at the high school about the idea, he received a cautious response. Similar sites in the past have usually degenerated into a free-for all message board that doesn’t actually tell anything useful about the school.
“The general response I felt from Bozeman High School’s teachers and administrators was ‘cautious optimism’,” said Bosche.
With HighSchoolTownHall.com all posts are first screened by Bosche before being posted. The reason for moderating the site is not to avoid contentious issues or to make sure that teacher reviews are positive; it’s only to make sure the site isn’t being used for personal attacks on students or teachers.
Another interesting aspect about the site is that it can be used by the community to reach high school students. Local businesses can post internships that are available to students, or local volunteer groups could post opportunities for students to get involved with the community.
“The site can be an easy way for students to find internships or volunteer opportunities that they’re interested in,” said Bosche.
Since the site relies on users to post content it will need participation from a number of people. To encourage students to write on the site, a scholarship will be given at the end of the year to the student who is the most valuable contributor. Bosche is also discussing with administrators the option for students to do an internship for the site and earn credit. They could be photographers, videographers, or writers interested in reporting on high school activities.
Bosche says, “In any case, it would certainly give the students an opportunity to build their portfolios, the ability to publish almost immediately, and make the site more complete, all at the same time.”
If the idea works for our high school it could potentially be expanded to high schools across the country. “For the site to be effective people will need to contribute,” said Bosche. Be sure to visit HighSchoolTownHall.com to see what is going on with our local High School.