While high school students are constantly bombarded with a refrain saying to stay off their phones, Cottage Grove High School is looking to utilize this screen time to create school spirit.
“Kids are always on their phones and I’m a big proponent of going to where your clientele is,” said Chris Wells who has a number of roles at CGHS including a focus on media.
And this was the key idea to the school using an app called Spirit. The app acts as a glorified calendar that lists all of the school sponsored events that are taking place; from outdoor club to a soccer game, everything is listed.
Students and staff are then instructed to check-in to these events so that they get points for them personally and for their class. To check-in, the app has to see that the individual is physically at the location of the event for them to be awarded points. At the end of the year individuals and the class that does the best will be awarded for their school spirit.
“The overall goal is to give a sense of connectedness and you know kind of put our school in the pocket of every kid so they can see who is going to what, what’s going on, how they can interact with the school,” said Wells.
The idea was pitched to Wells by a junior on student council who heard about the app at a conference with student councils from around the state. From there the school signed up and create events through it.
While smart phones are booming in popularity, Wells and the team were aware that not all students have access to these devices.
“We kind of anticipate some equity issues around it and we acknowledge that not every kid will have a phone and we can still run the system through other devices like our computers and stuff like that… We’re trying to be really mindful about our kids and what they come to school with,” said Wells.
The ultimate goal is to promote the school and to get students involved in activities around campus.
“We’re trying to really make it worth it for kids to take their time and enjoy their school because the statistics behind it, the more kids interact the more they are around each other the less chance they have of being bullied or being bullies,” said Wells.