WELLSBURG — The Brooke County Board of Education has agreed to use an app and other Internet-based technology to advertise its schools and programs.
On Monday, the board approved a one-year contract with Mobility 360 calling for the Weirton business to establish an app through which school officials may communicate to parents and others, redesign the school district’s website, create an overall brand for the district and other measures to raise awareness of its schools’ offerings and accomplishments.
The contract involves the board paying $8,500 for setup costs and $3,000 per month afterward.
Superintendent Jeffrey Crook said the branding will involve streamlining the public image of the district, noting many of the schools currently employ divergent letterheads, without abandoning symbols long associated with it.
Crook said since coming to the school district, he’s learned “you don’t touch the B” found on football helmets and at the center of the football field.
“And you don’t mess with the old Bruin,” he said, referring to the high school’s bear mascot.
Brooke school officials, past and present, have cited declining enrollment as the reason for the closings of school buildings and cuts to staff not funded by the state.
Crook said he hopes the measures will help the district to retain and attract new students as it prepares to face the new challenge of charter schools.
“We don’t want to be outdone by anyone, and I think we have a lot to offer,” he said, adding Brooke County Schools offer career technical and advanced placement courses and a pre-school program not found everywhere.
Board member Chris Byers said he’s aware of private businesses employing an app but not public schools.
He asked how the board will know the return on its investment.
Crook said, “We will maintain or gain on enrollment. That’s the return.”
Jake Young, president of Mobility 360, said parents considering moving into a school district often turn to the Internet for information, including reviews posted by people living there.
Young said he will track the online reviews and report on changes in their tenor.
Crook said since the board has emerged from the state’s financial watch list and students are returning to five days of classroom teaching after the pandemic forced them to receive virtual instruction, he’s felt a more positive vibe in the district.
“We want to be able to put the negativity behind us and focus on the positive,” he said.
In other business, the board:
– Recognized Brayden DeMaria, a senior Brooke High School wrestler who placed first in …….