Schools Embrace Social Media to Create Culture and Community
Until the beginning of 2015, Central Kitsap School District (CKSD) — an 11,000-student district in the state of Washington — employed virtually no social media in its efforts to reach parents and staff, not to mention reap its benefits for new styles of learning.
To communicate, staff relied on emails (which many parents don’t often check), newsletters (mainly in elementary grades), and notes home to parents (which rarely made it to their destination). Despite all of these methods of outreach, parents frequently complained they didn’t know what was going on at school and were disconnected from their child’s education.
In 2014, the administration made a commitment to embrace social media, engage parents, and create a sense of community. By early 2015, CKSD adopted a social media policy with the expertise of new hire Angela Dice, the district’s web and social media content developer. With the gradual adoption of Facebook, Twitter, and redesigned websites, school success stories are now reaching more people than ever with two-way conversations emerging between schools and parents.
Social media allows administrators and teachers to give parents updates, news, and information. They are able to share photos highlighting school events, club activities, sports, and more — a practice that’s popular with parents. Not only are parents briefed in real time, they also get fuel to spark daily dialogue with their kids about what’s going on in their lives. Social media is also playing a part in promoting — and incentivizing — learning. One Kitsap middle school recently launched a hashtag to celebrate reading anywhere, anytime. The initiative, #fairviewreads, stirs excitement as teachers, parents, and students continually post photos of readers in action.
Strong Social Media Policy Includes Archiving
All 50 states have public records laws modeled after the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to ensure public access to data. Some state public records laws encompass social media and many states have issued specific guidance for preserving social media records. The Washington Public Records Act requires that public schools preserve public records regardless of physical form — including digital records created through social media and the metadata behind those records.
ArchiveSocial simplifies the preservation of social media posts for state public records law compliance, which was appealing to CKSD. The company’s cloud-based software continuously archives all posts, tweets, comments, and videos produced and received on the school district’s social media accounts, leaving school administrators with zero worry about adhering to state law.
“As we were writing our social media policy, we knew we needed to meet public requests law,” says Dice. “We researched a variety of organizations offering archiving services to comply with the Washington Public Records Act — ArchiveSocial offered all the features we needed and at an affordable cost. We knew we were going to have many social media accounts and ArchiveSocial’s pricing structure is based on a post limit, not the number of accounts.”
For Dice, taking screenshots of social media posts was never an option since doing so would not capture metadata — a key component of the state public records law. Metadata provides the information behind the post (such as who posted it when and from where) and is crucial to verifying the authenticity and origin of the record. ArchiveSocial captures this information automatically and includes it with the record.
Most importantly, ArchiveSocial helped the district achieve its goal of creating a more engaged school community. “We really want to reach parents where they are most accessible, and we know that social media is the way to do that,” says Dice. “It’s a part of our school district’s continuing efforts to listen and connect with families to build a strong school culture. ArchiveSocial’s platform allows us to do this with minimal effort — so that we have the time to be more effective at keeping our kids interested in learning, wherever they are.”