I'm proud to teach in Howard County Maryland, the 3rd most wealthy county and school district in these United States of America.
But, for some reason my school, ever since I was on the opening team in 1997, we have always fought a bad reputation.
Warning, this post might load slowly because of a lot of embedded cool social media!
Being Fabulously Diverse Since 1997!
You see, we're literally on the other side of the railroad tracks of our fancy county. Laurel, Maryland is on the southern outer edge of our district closest to Washington DC.
Our kids are delightfully multicultural and come from diverse family backgrounds. Some kids live in 500K houses, and some live in apartments, townhouses, homeless shelters and mobile homes. We have 35% free & reduced lunch- one of the highest in our county.
Before Social Media I used to say we were the best kept secret in Howard County. Because, when people visit from the other side of the county, they're always amazed at how shiny, beautiful, bright, and of the positive school vibe that's a palpable atmosphere in the hallways! Now, because of social media, we don't have to be a secret!
When Sharing on Social Media Remember to:
Be Positive &
A few words of wisdom when professionally sharing on social media. Never vent about school frustrations via social media! Don't Tweet yourself out of a job. This changing the world, changing a mind means to be positive at all times!
I LOVE the vibrant and rich tapestry of of our school, with many interesting cultural threads that include kids from many nations and living experiences! My kids are bright, inquiring, daring, and decidedly FUN!
But somehow, someway, from the very first day we opened, we've gotten reputation in our district as being a "rough" or "tough" school compared to the other affluent zip codes and schools in our county. I prefer and celebrate diversity!
Social Media Can Shift Minds. And it's FREE.
I passionately believe that part of our job (as educators and librarians) is to sing the praises of the great things that our kids do, and the amazing things that go on every day in our schools.
Using Twitter, Vine, Instagram, whatever suits your fancy, just share! I do this for our Daring School Library Media Center, but I also applaud and try and show the other great things that I see throughout the building. We all have our cell phones handy, don't be too shy to share! And it's FREE! Doesn't cost a dime!
Here are some of our kids at the farm!
@hcpss_mhms students working a day at the Hensing Hill Top Acres Farm! @HCEDA @HCPSS pic.twitter.com/riU2widTBX— Murray Hill MS (@hcpss_mhms) September 15, 2015
Leverage the Power of Social Media
I blogged about this before, Say YES! To a School Instagram. But, no matter what you do or which social media avenue you choose - share the amazing, varied, and great things that go on every day in your school! Shout out often the positive!
The More the Merrier!
Try and encourage as many teachers as possible in your school to
positive, the better for the kiddos and the school! Parents love to see positive. The community needs to see the positive, so don't forget to hashtag your district! (I forget this sometimes!) Ours is #HoCo, or #HCPSS - UPDATE 9/16: Now this amazing, oh so positive, & smart #CelebrateHCPSS hashtag celebrating all great things our district!
Don't forget to Tag your PTA, tag your subject area, tag your Superintendent, and Tag your principal or school!
I confess, I always get SO excited and honored when my principal Mr. Josh Wasilewski retweets, favorites, or mentions on of our shares or something about our Daring School Library Media Center!
And it's also nice to thank some AWESOME PTA parents who make an splendid lunch for you!Delicious luncheon! Thank you so much! pic.twitter.com/8hjOlrw1QR— Mrs. Ceglia (@MrsCeglia) September 16, 2015
"We have the power to shift the mindset of those in the public sector if we shout out the great things that kids do in our schools" everyday. --from The Power of Branding: Telling Your School's Story by Tony Sinanis, Joseph Sanfelippo
I found this amazing quote and was SO inspired by it, through a great presentation called Social Media for Schools by Silvia Tolisano (@langwitches)
I was inspired also to write this blog after an earnest conversation with one of our amazing parents and MHMS PTA President, Mrs. Thalia White. Thank you for your generosity towards our school, your commitement to our kiddos, unflagging support & enthusiasm.
Your turn! I invite you to give your ideas in the comments!