March 13, 2019
Vinnie Roberts - The Barry County Advertiser
Wheaton Schools recently made a major advancement in both their web presence and communication with the community. The school has recently re-launched their website and with it have created a smartphone app that will allow for better lines of communication between the school and the public.
In addition to a changing gallery of photos adorning the homepage, the website was changed to allow for easier navigation as well as making it a more efficient means of receiving up-to-date information on happenings within the school.
“The app utilizes a very user-friendly platform for navigation,” said Stephani Leverich, Wheaton High School business teacher and FBLA adviser. “A notable feature, from the perspective of school leaders, is that we can send out information through the Thrillshare platform on a mobile device from anywhere, in a quick, efficient manner. This pushes out content to a ‘Live Feed’ on the app, and allows the option to post to Facebook and Twitter, as well. It makes it much simpler to share information without having to log into and post information to numerous platforms.”
Thrillshare is a school-focused app that allows users to post updates through multiple platforms and handle social media maintenance from a single site.
This change will allow users to get information about things happening within the school, such as school closings, calendar events and updates on sports and other academic clubs.
In keeping with the simplicity of the new website and app, Wheaton also consolidated all of its various Facebook and Twitter feeds devoted to specific events in the school into one account for each social media platform. All news related to the schools posted on social media can now be found under the singular Wheaton Schools page.
Leverich was brought on to the app project in a consulting role and helped dictate its functionality changes to better assist the community.
“I was asked to assist the administrative team as a consultant of sorts,” said Leverich. “I have a fairly good perspective on what teachers, students and patrons might need from a district website.”
The application component of the site was a change brought about for the sake of convenience, according to Leverich.
“We really wanted to better serve our patrons,” said Leverich. “Most of our community members will spend more time with their smartphone than with a computer. By supplying students and patrons with this simple means of interaction, we have improved district communication and public relations.”
The new site and app launched on January 22 and cost the school approximately $10,300, according to Wheaton Schools superintendent Lance Massey.
Responses to the new site have been mostly positive. According to Leverich, many users have complimented not only the improved looks but the improved usefulness of the site.
“Community members and students are loving the ease of use,” said Leverich. “Students are using the app for upcoming events, checking breakfast and lunch menus, and athletic schedules. Parents and community are getting a chance to show their support by ordering school apparel, yearbooks and attending special events they might not otherwise have known about.”
Marketing the site to the students and the community was also a large component of website's new success.
“While in the development process, we began showing students how the site would look and perform,” said Leverich. “By building up enthusiasm throughout the design process, there was an increased anticipation for the website's launch.”
Wheaton’s new site can be accessed at www.wheatonschools.org. The application is available now through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store under the name Wheaton R-III Schools, MO.