Updated technology helps HNS better communicate with students, community

The HNS Wildcats app is available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Market.

HARTINGTON — Hartington-Newcastle school officials are working to improve communication with staff, students and community members.
Hartington-Newcastle School Board members agreed last spring to redevelop their online presence.
A new phone app was developed and is available on both iPhone and Android. It’s expected the app will help spread easier communication to the public. The school website was redesigned, as well.
The app will be a great way to get information out quickly to people, HNS Supt. A.J. Johnson said.
“We will still be using our call service, but this app will be great to send out a notification if, say, a junior high football game is cancelled we can let people know using the app since that is probably not important enough for the call system,” Johnson said.
That example proved true on Tuesday, when a push notification was sent out saying a JV football game was cancelled.
Johnson said the call system will continue to be used for snow days. Johnson said he has noticed, however, that the push notification from the app appears almost instantly to people’s phones compared to the call system that may take a few minutes to be sent out.
The app has an updated calendar that will include changes that are made throughout the year. This feature will also be on the website. It is a large improvement compared to the PDF file of the year long calendar that has been on the website before, Johnson said.
The website and app also host a live feed of HNS activities that is connected to the twitter @HNS_Cats. It features updates from both Johnson and high school principal Corey Uldrich.
The website looks very clean and shows a rotating cycle of pictures from school activities, then has a drop down menu that features this months dining menu for the school, a staff directory, a documents page, and other general information.
An impressive feature on the website, is that in the top right corner, the language can be changed from English to Spanish. This is a very beneficial add-on for any students that have family members where Spanish is the first language.
Johnson said he has already received some feedback about the new improvements.
“It seems some people really like the design and ease of use on both the app and the website,” said Johnson. “I think they seem excited about being better connected and being able to stay up on things a little easier.”