Last week, first graders in Marie Baird's first grade class took their learning to a new dimension...
In Provo City School District, social media has been embraced as a valuable communication tool. Each school employs a content manager to manage its own website and social media sites. Perhaps more than any other school, Timpanogos Elementary School has implemented social media as a valuable tool within their school, using it as a catalyst to establish a parent-school interaction online and broadcast the positive aspects about their school to the community.
Kate Pace is the content manager for Timpanogos Elementary. Her goal with these social media pages is to “have a balance between the fun part of social media and also letting people know that we are doing good things, that we have great teachers that are doing innovative lessons”. Getting content can be a challenge for a content manager but Timpanogos consistently ranks among the highest in the district for amount of content and engagement on social media.
Kate does a great job maintaining communication with her teachers and finding little things to post each day. Kate places an emphasis on participation in weekly PLC meetings, interaction with teachers regarding content and paying close attention to the school calendar to stay informed of activities and lessons going on in her school . Even on days where she may not have any content to post, she finds something minor, such as a photo of the lost and found, to post that day. Kate also captures random moments of students, teachers and staff to save for a “rainy day” so that she always has something to post. No matter what, Kate strives to post every day, which is part of what makes Timpanogos’ social media pages so successful.
By fostering a strong social media presence, Timpanogos has found unique ways to keep busy parents more connected with the school and is strengthening connections between parents, students and teachers. In turn, the education Timpanogos students receive is also strengthening.
According to Kate, Timpanogos has a high number of working parents, whether it be single parent homes or homes where the parents are working several jobs. For these parents, connecting through social media has evolved into a way for them to be involved. Kate says, “we have a lot of working parents in our population– a lot of parents who might not be able to get into the school to volunteer and this gives them an opportunity to see what is going on inside their child’s school. It can also help parents to start up a conversation with their child about what they were doing at school that day. I would hope that this could be a tool to help children communicate with their parents too.”
Recognizing that parents are turning to social media to better understand what their child does in school, Kate tries to not just post about a learning activity, but also about the meaning behind the activity. This allows parents to better know topics their students are learning and help facilitate discussion and continued learning at home.
Regardless of work schedules, parents are able to see their child enjoy school and thrive in the classroom. There has been tremendous positive feedback from parents following these pages as it has become a outlet for them to become informed of important events, see what their child is doing during the school day and connect with their student by becoming involved in their education.
For Timpanogos, social media has also become a great way for the parents to communicate with the school. Many times, parents have utilized Facebook messenger to inform the office that their child will be absent that day.
Kate says that her driving force behind maintaining the social media pages is to show the community the great things about Timpanogos. She says, “If we don’t tell our story, then other people tell it for us and we might not like what they have to say. We need to let people know about the good things that we are doing and that Timpanogos is a great place to be – the kids are in safe hands.” Social media has become an important tool, which allows Timpanogos to not only tell their own story, but also improve the connections between parents, students, teachers and the school.