Social media has dramatically changed the way we communicate as a society. Like any tool, it can be argued that the change is good or bad, depending upon how it is used.
District 90 embraced the evolution by increasing the use of our Facebook and Twitter accounts over the past couple of years. We enjoy sharing good news, pictures of our students, and updates regarding important calendar events or decisions.
As a superintendent, I find social media tools very helpful, because it only requires a few seconds or minutes to post a timely piece of information. The posts can then be shared with a larger audience, for example, when parents enjoy sharing a post of their children’s achievements. In many ways, social media offers a window into the great things happening in District 90 every day.
One of my favorite posts is one in which I shared the story of our “Lunch Bunch.” The Lunch Bunch is a group of community members who anonymously donates money each month to help pay off lunch fees for families who don’t qualify for waivers but are struggling to make ends meet for one reason or another.
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We have been touched by the tears of gratitude the parents share when they learn someone wants to help them. One mother commented that she didn't know there were such kind people in the world, as she explained how she and her husband have full-time jobs but were recently overwhelmed with medical bills they were struggling to pay. They aren't used to taking handouts, but unexpectedly found themselves in need after being saddled with significant medical expenses. The mother said knowing someone could help lift her family out of their financial struggle has inspired her to someday pay it forward to others. What touches our hearts the most about this story is the "Lunch Bunch" wishes to remain anonymous. They don't know the names of the families who receive their generosity, nor will the families ever know who these generous community members are. This story was shared and “liked” more times on our social media platform than any other post. What a beautiful illustration of the kind hearts among our community, and the desire for others to hear stories such as this.
Social media is a powerful tool for communication. Just as with any other tool, there are downfalls to the technology. Sometimes it is more effective to pick up a telephone than to post on social media. A phone call/email can be sent to the person who is in the best position to address the concern. That may or may not be the case with a social media comment. We encourage families to use social media, but also to continue to communicate directly with our staff.
I’ve heard parents say, “But I didn’t want to bother the principal/teacher with this since it’s not a big deal.”
Communication isn’t a bother for us; rather it is helpful to have conversations before minor issue becomes larger. The staff also enjoys hearing good news or ideas. We try to survey parents and staff regularly, to seek input, but please don’t hesitate to email or call if you have concerns, questions or ideas. We’d love to hear your ideas for using social media, or share your stories of the great things you see in D90.
Follow us on Facebook (@OFallonDistrict90) or Twitter (@ofallon90). We look forward to communicating with you.