The sound of a bell has prompted high school students to move to a new classroom for generations. However, times are changing for students and faculty at Daviess County High School. Since the school-wide renovation last year, students are cued to change classes by snippets of a broad range of popular songs.
In an effort to create and sustain a positive school culture – and since the technology is in place – principal Matt Mason decided to be creative with the bells and use playlists he creates.
“It takes about two hours to create a playlist from scratch for all the bells during the day,” Mason said.
At the beginning of the 2017 school year, students made their way to class with the sounds of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” in their ears. Mason was hoping students would sing along, and he got his wish.
“In the chorus, I noticed almost every kid in the lobby was singing along with the song,” Mason said. “It’s all about creating a positive school culture.”
Students used to walk through the halls with earbuds in, not paying attention. After using songs for bells, the administrators noticed a positive difference in the hallways between classes.
“We saw more smiles and kids not plugged in” Mason said. “I try to change it up: we have Halloween-themed songs, Christmas music, and even create a playlist for club weeks, like FFA week.”
It’s nothing to hear and see students humming or singing along with the hallways between classes.
“As a teacher, it’s enjoyable to see students enjoying the music. The songs can also be used to connect with a student in a way that’s not necessarily related to the classroom,” Ryan Jones, a DCHS math teacher, said.
Positive school culture comes down to creating and maintaining good relationships between students, staff, and other stakeholders.
“When I first heard them I was walking with one of my friends and it actually woke us up a little bit. It really makes the school a little more lively,” Bailey Hurst, a senior at DCHS said.
Since the genres vary from country to rock and classics to musicals, there’s something for everyone.
“I think it’s pretty rad and makes a big difference in atmosphere,” Hurst said.
Adding to this atmosphere of positive school culture, students from the art department have painted murals on interior walls of the school, and the upbeat songs during passing time adds to the visual aesthetic.
This school year, Mr. Mason has also started a daily habit of reading corny jokes as a part of the morning announcements.
“It’s the little things we can do to improve school culture,” Mason said.
“Although they’re pretty corny, I enjoy them,” Jacob Crabtree, a junior at DCHS said. “His laugh is the funniest part of it, though.”
Incorporating music throughout the school day, walking by student-created murals in the hallways and listening to a silly “Dad” joke in the mornings make DCHS a positive place.
“I want to do the little things to make it better for students and staff. Music does a lot for our lives.” Mason said.