Margaret Raymond Driscoll is a nine-year Melrose School Committee member who is passionate about excellent teaching and learning for all public school students, and considers it a privilege to collaborate with others who share that passion. You can also follow her on Twitter at @MargaretDrisc. Just to be clear - opinions expressed here do not represent those of the Melrose Public Schools, the Melrose School Committee, or the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials - they are hers alone.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Communication and Media

Multiple panel sessions at the MASC conference on this topic as schools become increasingly engaged in reaching out to their communities in evolving ways. After attending “How to Blog/How to Tweet” (featuring @MAStewartMA, @TracyNovick, @Dr_Rodriguez21 and @MASC_Mike), “Social Media: How to Manage it Without it Managing You” (with Andrew Waugh, Esq. and James Toomey, Esq.) and “Media and Working with the Media” (featuring Chris Horan, President of Horan Communications), it’s clear that meeting people in cities and towns where they are is especially important – and with busy schedules it’s often on social media.

Here are some key tips:

* Schools and School Committees need to do a better job telling communities what is going on in schools and how their tax dollars are being spent.
* There needs to be clear understanding about what constitutes responsible digital citizenship for all stakeholders so that we are acting appropriately and within our roles.
* All forms of communication (blogs, tweets, Facebook, etc.) and the writing contained therein must be purposeful and clear, and posts should be often enough but not too often.
* School districts need clear policies around digital citizenship and social media.
* Most case law pre-dates new technologies and apps so much is uncharted ground, but knowing some of the key pitfalls is helpful.
* Carefully consider who is responsible for communicating what (district vs. teachers vs. School Committee, etc.).
* Always be conscious of the need for student and/or staff confidentiality - in many cases involving the media, the district can't discuss issues by virtue of the law.

Feedback welcome, readers! You can comment on this blog, e-mail me at margaretdriscoll49@gmail.com (or mdriscoll@cityofmelrose.org for School Committee related issues), or find me on Twitter at @MargaretDrisc.