Emma Newman co-editor-in-chief
Students spend 288 minutes in class on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays learning about a variety of subjects. However, this year, for five minutes, students learn about campus events and updates by watching the Norman Connection.
The Norman Connection, which is overseen by ASB advisor Nickolas Henggeler, features four different types of videos per week. On Mondays, teachers show their students the Norman Update, which is created by KBEV. On Tuesdays, classes watch videos created by either the College Center or NormanAid. On Thursdays and Fridays, ASB showcases their videos, which feature announcements and PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) recognitions of students and teachers who have engaged in positive behaviors.
The district office and administration wanted ASB to create the Norman Connection in order to educate students about what is happening on campus, as well as to acknowledge student accomplishments.
“The idea was for us to put five minutes into the bell schedule for students to learn about what’s going on at the school [and] for us to celebrate students,” Henggeler said. “There were a lot of lofty goals, and I think we’ve actually managed to achieve them all, so it’s been great.”
When formulating the setup for the Norman Connection, Henggeler first thought to include the Norman Update because it “made the most sense.”
“We set up Monday as KBEV day where now we actually have five minutes where teachers are expected to show the Norman Update,” Henggeler said. “Previously, it was really at the discretion of the teacher. I will be honest: I used to not show it in my classes. Now, I have a set five minutes built into the bell schedule where I get to show the Norman Update, which is great.”
Because the Norman Update has existed for several years, the creation process for these videos has not changed as a result of the Norman Connection. However, according to KBEV assistant associate producer junior Sarah Hoorfar, KBEV’s collaboration with the Norman Connection has increased the amount of people who watch the Norman Update.
“Now, teachers are…showing it to their class, so I really like that because it makes everyone aware of what the schedule is going to be for the entire week and it also lets people see our work, which I really appreciate,” Hoorfar said.
KBEV producer and director senior Aria Damavandi is also happy with the Norman Connection’s showcase of the Norman Update, specifically because of the praise he has received.
“I like how they put a portion of the bell schedule to show the video for the class and I’ve gotten, actually, a lot of people recognizing the work, [saying] ‘Oh, great job. Great job on the video,’ so it’s nice to get the recognition,” Damavandi said.
For Tuesdays, Henggeler decided to have the College Center and NormanAid make their own videos and rotate every week. College counselor Casey Barneson, who is the creator of the College Center videos, believes that the Center is vital to the idea behind the Norman Connection.
“Nick Henggeler, [the] ASB director, had this concept of including key programs and things that were going on in the school in the Norman Connection so that every day, students would be able to get information and feel that sense of connection to the school. The College Center is a really big piece of that,” Barneson said.
When making bi-monthly Norman Connection videos, Barneson tries to make sure that she includes information that all students find useful.
“Part of my role is to really think about not just presenting the information and the events that are happening on the weekly basis, but maybe adding a tidbit or resource that would appease all audiences,” Barneson said. “Of course, we have seniors applying to four-year colleges, but there’s also younger students that might be interested in the information, and then also trying to think creatively about students who might not be applying to college.”
According to Barneson, the Norman Connection videos have resulted in more students coming to the College Center, specifically students who might not normally utilize College Center resources.
“I have had students come in throughout lunch, consistently. We always have students coming in [during] lunch with quick questions…but I’ve seen younger students coming in or students who are applying to community college that think that they don’t need to access the Center until towards the second semester of senior year,” Barneson said. “The [Norman] Connection has been really helpful in terms of getting foot traffic to us.”
On Thursdays and Fridays, ASB creates their own videos with information that they gather from various programs, clubs and individuals on campus. Henggeler is in charge of creating the content for these videos, although ASB members are the ones presenting the information.
The videos broadcasted on Thursdays tend to focus on announcements, which range from club meetings to job opportunities. Friday videos, on the other hand, feature PBIS student and teacher recognitions and athletes of the week with a few announcements “sprinkle[d] in,” Henggeler said.
When Henggeler first started creating these Norman Connection videos, he would have trouble collecting enough content, a problem that he no longer faces.
“We put in [the videos], ‘If you have anything you want, email us,’ and people actually do, which has been great,” Henggeler said. “At the beginning, our videos were two minutes and 30 seconds and now every week, we’re struggling to get it under five, which is a great problem to have.”
Henggeler believes that the increase in material for the Norman Connection videos is the result of reaching a large audience.
“I think that a lot of teachers and students have seen the effects of the Norman Connection–that it’s working, that people know what’s going on,” Henggeler said. “I think that it’s been a team effort that almost every teacher is showing the Norman Connection every day and that students are actually retaining the information that’s being put out into the school.”
Barneson also believes that the videos have been effective in terms of informing the student body, as well as “bring[ing] the entire campus together.”
“The Norman Connection is a very easy, creative way for everyone across the campus regardless of grade level, regardless of what department or classroom you’re in, to be able to hear what’s going on,” Barneson said.
To Henggeler, the videos have the power to create a more involved student body and bring the school together in a way that it hasn’t been in past years.
“Building a school culture and community and school spirit [is] going to take time,” Henggeler said. “We have been…lacking in those areas for a long time, so I’m excited to have this as an opportunity to create moments that we actually get to remind people, we get to celebrate people, we get to plug all of the awesome groups on this campus. I really hope that we keep it for as long as we need it, and I think it should stay here permanently.”