Social media can mobilize an organization to action, but how can you use social media to reinforce your school’s (or system’s) commitment to serving students? As school public relations practitioners, we are in the service industry of supporting those who take care of people’s most precious possession each day: their children.
Social media gives parents (and grandparents) a peek into the classroom. This transparency can help families develop relationships with the inanimate objects of schools and school systems. As school public relations practitioners, we train and support our schools in developing their brand, this is probably a novel concept when it comes to schools.
One of my schools, Central Elementary School, has taken the ball and run with it, by developing their own hashtag #CES360. But more than a hashtag, it is about impacting culture. The hashtag isn’t lip service to what goes on inside the building, but rather a showcase of it.
Credit goes to the principal, Dr. Monte Linebarger, for seeing the connection between communication and culture. He defines #CES360 as the school’s method for creating a positive environment to help close the achievement gap by focusing on five different areas: attendance, discipline, partnerships, academic achievement and leadership.
Like any great PR plan, evaluation is needed, and Dr. Linebarger has measured the impact of this work and is seeing positive change. The school is presently undergoing major renovation work, and as a result of their branding work, we are having to adjust our construction plans. The school will need a larger parking lot to accommodate all of the volunteers it now has as part of its efforts to move the needle towards excellence for students.
Their social media stream is just a reflection of it. Just follow #CES360 to see it for yourself.