How Districts Should Be Using Social Media

Chad OstrowskiBlog, Engage Better, Innovate Better, Lead Better, Tech Better

In this Post :

  • Social Media is a way to connect with more then just other educators, but your stakeholders too!
  • Send out Daily/Weekly Updates
  • Consider hosting your next Staff Development opportunity on a new platform
  • Don’t just read morning announcements, post them for others to read too!
  • A connected community is a supportive one

We talk a lot about how teachers can use social media to enhance their classrooms and connect more fully to both their students and stakeholders. Something you may have not considered though is how your district can also use the same platforms to better connect to the community around them. Here are a few ways your district can use social media to engage and connect with the community, students, staff, and stakeholders!

Daily / Weekly Updates:

While newsletters and emails can be useful, the truth is that many get lost in backpacks, never looked at, or deleted from inboxes. One of the primary differences for social media is that you’re where your audience is already looking. They can be as active or as passive as they want as they scroll or click on your latest update, but it is right there for them to see.

Sharing updates more frequently, or in real time, is a great way to gain community support too! Imagine a concert or school function being shared via a private facebook live feed, or posting updates minute to minute with pictures on twitter. This allows your school or district to directly connect to parents who now don’t need to ask “what did you do at school today?” Instead, they can ask “how was the concert I saw pictures from?” These are two very different conversations, and when parents feel connected and know what’s happening at school, they are more likely to support it.

A connected community is a supportive one. #TeachBetter Click To Tweet

Staff Development / Twitter Chats:

Schools are always looking to keep their staff up to date on practices and continue developing their capacity for implementation of best practices in the classroom. This can be difficult when scheduling meetings, and there are a lot of other reasons these initiatives can fail.

One way you might be able to streamline the continued support and dialogue around district level work is using twitter chats. Simply set up a time or span of time where the staff can respond to a certain hashtag like “#ourschooldistrictname” or “#ourschoollearns” and you can document and support an entire staff remotely. This also provides a way for teachers to share pictures, images, thoughts, and ideas from the implementation. Parents can even chime in if it is shared. This can help all participants in the process connect and share feedback and progress without the need for “extra time” or meetings.

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Morning Announcements:

Traditionally, announcements happen in schools daily. The problem is, they happen IN SCHOOL. Many times there is information that you want parents to have or maybe even paperwork that is no doubt going to get lost in a backpack or locker somewhere. By using features like Facebook LIVE, Pariscope on Twitter, or Stories on Instagram, you could do live broadcasts that can be shared to classrooms AND the community at the same time. More importantly, they can be stored for future reference. This can take your announcements to the next level by both adding a visual components as well as making them more accessible.

Safety Information / Alerts:

Like I’ve already said many times, sometime we try to let parents know information by means that may not reach them. Social media provides a single location they are (for the most part) already on. This is also a great way to share school safety information. This makes it easy to share and spread the word about any issues in a district or school, as well as things like snow days or cancellations of after-school events.

There are a lot of other ways you can embed social media into the plan your school or district uses to connect and inform the community around it. I hope you at least think about using some of these ideas to improve your connection. A connected community is a supportive one.

About Chad Ostrowski

Chad Ostrowski is the co-founder of the Teach Better Team and the creator of The Grid Method, but he is a middle school science teacher at heart. He now travels the country sharing his story, working with teachers, schools, and districts to help them to reach more students.