Maintaining effective communication with all stakeholders is a continuous process for campus leaders. Our stakeholders are adapting more rapidly to new communications systems while campuses and districts continue with traditional practices of communication. Even when an innovative district or campus considers utilizing Twitter, Facebook, or other connection tools they are delayed by the policy development process.
In Fort Bend ISD (@fortbendisd), Associate Principal Ronnie Edwards (@Ronzo40) of Travis High School has been using twitter to connect with stakeholders for the last three years, beginning with his tenure as an assistant principal at Clements High School. He is the subject of this week’s edition of 5Q by www.texasprincipal.org.
How are you using twitter to interact with stakeholders at Travis High School?
We have integrated Twitter into our communications plan as a means providing instant updates to stakeholders. We primarily use Twitter to inform students, parents, community, and local media of events and updates of events. Twitter provides a cost effective and efficient way to provide instant information to stakeholders.
We started by developing an Events Calendar which is derived from our Building Use Calendar. We use Google Calendar as a means of getting the events compiled in one place. You can also link Google calendar to automatically tweet reminders of upcoming events. We use Tweetymail (http://tweetymail.com/ )to auto-tweet from our calendar.
We also have developed a Weebly website (http://www.weebly.com/ ). Our site is www.fbtravistigers.com. You do not have to know html code to use the website; it is basic drag and drop functionality. We have linked our site to our twitter account using a free service called Twitterfeed http://twitterfeed.com/ . This allows us to efficiently communicate the positive things going on in the school.
What are some benefits you see in using Twitter to keep stakeholders informed?
Twitter has allowed us to connect with parents and students. I would say the premier benefit is the ability to make everyone aware of the variety of events and successes taking place at the school. I consider it a means of marketing our school. Twitter allows you to positively shape public opinion of your stakeholders by giving them instant and accurate information.
What are some of your lessons learned as you have been using Twitter in this manner?
As I have mentioned earlier, it is essential to have a comprehensive events calendar. I have also told our staff, "Whatever they do, be it good or bad, is being tweeted by their students." We are using Twitter to promote the great things our students and teachers do.
How is your audience divided between students, staff, and parents?
I would say at Travis we likely have mostly students and parents. We have just started this school year and are up to 316 followers and growing daily. I previously came from Fort Bend Clements High School where we had close to 700 followers in less than two years.
What advice would you have for anyone wanting to do what you are doing at their school?
I would begin by checking with your upper administration and your community relations department to share your vision of improving communication for stakeholders. I would also develop a communications team to flatten the process in order to be more efficient. I would seek out those on your campus who are knowledgeable in these areas and would be willing to help. I would also develop guidelines of what could and could not be tweeted. Finally, I would only have one person in charge of doing the actual tweeting.
How do you use Twitter to communicate with campus stakeholders?