How should superintendents use social media?

Posted by Ronald | March 9, 2015  |  No Comment

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn are the major social network in use by the average Internet user. As a result, today’s schools are being forced to use social media as their way of communicating to the public. Considering these social changes, the critical question to be asked is: How should superintendents use social media?

ImageSuperintendentsPresentation66_edited-1This article shares four superintendents’ thoughts on social media presented at the 2015 National Conference on Education in San Diego, Calif. They included Joe Sanfelippo of Fall Creek School District in Fall Creek, WI; Brad Saron of Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District in Chippewa Falls, WI; Bridget O’Connell of Palisades School District in Kintnersville, PA and Dan Frazier, Litchfield Independent School District in Litchfield, MN.

Superintendent Sanfelippo discussed the power of social media in our rapidly changing world and encouraged superintendents to use the appropriate social medium to accommodate their school districts’ needs. For example, if your parents are using Facebook, you should use it to communicate your school news. “Nobody is saying, I’m going home and look at your website,” said Sanfelippo. He said, “Use social media to build your social capital, tell your stories and connect instantaneously with the stakeholders in your districts. Never miss an opportunity to reveal something great about your school through these electronic means and avoid communicating with your constituents only when you need them.”

Superintendent Saron discussed how Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District developed a communication plan to promote the effective use of electronic technologies in the district. He said, “We wanted to build a culture of excitement where students enjoy coming to school. We wanted to establish our brand and instill the WOM (Word of Mouth) effect to create pride and enthusiasm throughout the district and community. We wanted to create an environment where everybody felt they belong and knew what was happening in the district via social media.” In doing so, we generated an atmosphere of open communication, dialog and camaraderie among all constituents.

ImageSuperintendentsPresentation45_edited-1With a need to prepare students for 21st skills, Palisades School District (PSD) Superintendent O’Connell highlighted the district’s readiness plan to ensure that all of its elementary, middle and high school students were career future ready through having a successful, personalized and digital learning experience. She said PSD focused on ubiquitous technology integration. To make this possible, PSD parents became the school’s greatest resource. O’Connell said, “They provided generous time and funding to support student achievement in academics, civic engagement, the arts and digital citizenship.” PSD uses social media to promote a positive image of the district’s programs, activities, services and achievements. They also use social media to lead a culture of collaboration, community awareness and support among PSD stakeholders.

Superintendent Dan Frazier closed the discussion on social media usage by saying, “It is not enough to send monthly newspapers to school stakeholders because, in this millennium, I am not sure if anybody reads them.” He noted that people want news immediately and want to react to or be a part of the news through social media. Frazier concluded by saying that technology has changed the way we do business and as superintendents, we also have to change in order to meet the expectations of the public.

Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of eight books, “Education Questions to be Answered,” “Current Issues and Answers in Education,” “How to Eradicate Hazing,” “Professional Career Paths” “Your Answers to Education Questions,” “How to revitalize the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.” “Completing the Dissertation: Tips, techniques and real-life experiences from Ph.D. graduates” and “Jacob’s Dream, A Story of Careers for Children.” He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper.  Holmes is a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at [email protected]

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