Galena Park Independent School District (GPISD) prides itself on providing a first-class education to all students. “It’s an easy commute from Galena Park to downtown Houston, the energy corridor and the airport. Housing is affordable. The real reason people live here, though, is the hometown feel,” explained Instructional Technology Specialist Charlotte Rogers. “A lot of families have made their home here for generations because of the small town feel in an urban area.”
One of the ways GPISD builds a sense of community among its students, teachers and staff is using The Scholastic Network private broadcast network. “At first, we were using the Network to display pictures of the kids and what they were doing around campus. They were always losing their class schedules and asking us to reprint them, so we displayed information on how they could access their schedules online. We reminded them of holidays, club activities, and displayed messages about character education,” said Ms. Rogers.
“Now, kids create a lot of the content. They create videos about what their clubs are doing, and slides announcing important campus events. The content the kids like the best – I mean they will stop whatever they are doing and watch it – are the videos of sporting events. They loved the video of one of our girls scoring a goal to win a soccer game. We were the state football champions last year and they showed video clips from that game. The network allows us to build school culture and pride.”
One point of pride for GPISD is the focus on preparing students for life after graduation. “If you’re a Galena Park student you know you can be anything you want to be,” said Ms. Rogers. “You can graduate with college credit and certifications in anything from architecture to agriculture and business to health science to welding and cosmetology. Our students regularly attend Tier I and Ivy League Universities across the nation.”
The messages from The Scholastic Network post-secondary sponsors, which are displayed between school and district content, reinforce the district’s focus on college and career. “The information provided by the network’s college and career partners helps educate our students. They love to watch the clips from the colleges and universities. If they are wearing a shirt from a college that’s on the screen, they’ll stop and point to it. It inspires them,” said Ms. Rogers. “One of their favorite video clips is of a Marine rescuing someone. The sponsor messages also encourage them to participate in our CTE programs.”
One of the features GPISD likes best about The Scholastic Network is the ability to live stream events as they happen. “We live stream important national events like [President] George Bush’s funeral. We live streamed the Astros game when they were in the World Series,” explained Ms. Rogers. “We did an all day eSports tournament with Microsoft and we used The Scholastic Network to live stream that event. We couldn’t have done it easily any other way.”
The network is ubiquitous throughout the high schools, displaying the same or different messages on the over 20 monitors that hang in the hallways, front offices, principals’ and counselors’ offices, teacher collaborative areas, cafeterias, and general assembly rooms.
“The TVs are everywhere,” explained Ms. Rogers. “There is no way I could manage all those TVs without The Scholastic Network. It’s the showcase of the buildings. People are always asking about it. I like that you can display different content on each screen. I also like that I can interrupt all the TVs and put up one critical message if there’s an emergency. And I can do this from anywhere. I can do this from my phone! You can’t ask for anything easier than that.”
“When we first started working with TSN, the Network offered so much more than we thought it would,” said Ms. Rogers. “Before we had TSN, we had to go around with flash drives to load content on all the TVs in our buildings. The 9th Grade Center was the first campus to adopt the Network. Michael [Michael Broyles, CEO for The Scholastic Network] trained us in less than 15 minutes. We were blown away. We said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t believe it does all this stuff!’”
As one of The Scholastic Network’s first customers, Ms. Rogers is an important advisor, recommending changes that allow the network to evolve to meet her needs and the needs of other network customers.
“He [Mr. Broyles] adds features and content to the network all the time,” she said. “He is awesome. He’s super responsive. They monitor the network and I see him in my building fixing a problem even before I know anything is wrong. The Network is super reliable so we don’t need help very often. But, if we do, I know Michael and his team are there.”
Like the students at GPISD, The Scholastic Network’s CEO and his team are treated like family. And, like the families who make the district their home, TSN plans to stay.