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February 2022

You’ve been thinking about it for a while, but now, you’ve finally decided to start a Social Media Team at your school. The first step is to get organized!

How will we organize our team? 

The first step is designating the primary integrator. Although the superintendent or principal may be the person responsible for purchases, an assistant principal, technology integrationist, or teacher leader may be the primary contact. Having more than one adult in each building fully invested in the implementation of the process will ensure a systematic approach to this implementation rather than it being person driven. This approach also ensures that if someone changes roles or leaves the district, the team approach continues in a systematic fashion.

Completing the User Organizational Flowchart for each brand not only helps to know who is filling What role and how many users will be in each role, but also the timing of bringing additional members on board and training them. Empowering 2-3 people as Class Intercom Administrators as well as having at least one Primary Integrator for each brand/building will help ensure stability even with staff turnover.

Social Media Team Administrators are responsible for maintaining the system, adding users, and ensuring content is being created and shared in a consistent and timely manner. Be sure to have at least three people, who have a vested interest in ensuring this project succeeds, designated as administrators.

  • Key Integrator #1: ______________________________
  • Key Integrator #2: ______________________________
  • Key Integrator #3: ______________________________

Social Media Team Moderators will be responsible for approving content for publishing. Moderators might include school administrators, teachers, or school public relations professionals. Moderators can determine if changes need to be made to the content as well as when it will be published. They will also ensure the content stays on brand with appropriate verbiage, hashtags, color, graphics, etc. Administrators may empower any number of Moderators and grant them approving rights.

Internally, you should designate who will take the lead for different types of content. For example, the Principal may want to approve all items authored by the front office staff, while the Activity Director approves all content being pushed out about extracurricular activities. The Curriculum Director may take ownership of approving all classroom related posts. Each of these leaders will want to remain up-to-date with the ever-changing landscape of social media, so be sure they are registered to receive the monthly newsletter from Class Intercom.

  • Moderator: ______________________________
  • Moderator: ______________________________
  • Moderator: ______________________________
  • Moderator: ______________________________
  • Moderator: ______________________________

Social Media Team Content Creators will be able to do just that! The designation of Content Creator means you are allowed to create content and submit it for approval; however, the content will not be published until it is approved by one of the appropriate Moderators. This unlimited number of users will be designated internally to create specific types of content. For example, teachers may be asked to share stories from their classrooms while the School Lunch Program Director is asked to highlight happenings in the lunchroom to promote quality changes being implemented in their building. One student may be asked to create graphics for sports updates while another student is specifically responsible for giving live updates from the speech meet.

  • Content Creator: ______________________________
  • Content Creator: ______________________________
  • Content Creator: ______________________________
  • Content Creator: ______________________________
  • Content Creator: ______________________________
  • Content Creator: ______________________________
  • Content Creator: ______________________________

How will we select our team members

A wide variety of team members will be helpful in telling a robust story. Every school is organized in a unique way, and you want to select team members who are passionate, or at least interested, and helping tell your school’s story. By empowering a variety of content creators, you are more likely to tell a more authentic story.

School leaders must be invested in this process for it to survive and thrive. The beauty of a moderation system is that no one needs to or should have personal social media accounts connected to the school social media accounts. Monitoring, approving, retweeting, sharing, and commenting may all be done with the moderation application.

Classroom teachers should be encouraged to share the great work being done in their classrooms. Most people tend to believe they’re experts in education because they attended school at some point in their lives. However, these are not the people we want telling our stories. If we want our parents and community members to know about the amazing changes in education over the past ten, twenty, thirty years, we need to be showing and telling them what we are doing.

Students are one of the most underutilized resources in our schools. Not only are our students the ones living these stories, they are also well equipped to tell these stories as the primary users of social media. By empowering them to generate content for your school social media sites, you’re also giving them the unique opportunity to share their creations (e.g., text, pictures, videos, graphics) with an authentic audience. This experience is also a hands-on way to teach digital storytelling and digital citizenship, giving students college and career preparation for a wide variety of industries.

Front office staff members or administrative assistants are great resources for taking care of the informational post. This might include such items as school picture day, early release days, and parent-teacher conferences. These people are often the heart and soul of a school and know what people are asking; therefore, they know how to anticipate what questions are going to be asked. They are an incredible resource in sharing information in advance.

Parents or community members may seem like an unconventional choice, but remember you have a moderation system in place, so nothing will be published without the approval of a moderator. Parents are a great resource for posting information for the PTO or Foundation as well as live updates from activities taking place outside of the district when school personnel or students are unavailable to do so.

With most initiatives, schools will have early adopters: in this case this probably includes those who are personally engaged in social media use along with those who understand the importance of proactively sharing information in a positive format. Some districts will encourage every staff member to participate, but I would advise leadership not to spend their energy on those not wanting to participate; instead, focus on those who want to be part of a positive movement. The others will follow when they see the impact of sharing positive stories on social media; this may come in the form of increased enrollment in elective courses to the deepening of in-person relationships because of a more informed understanding of what is happening inside and outside the school. For instance, when staff members follow classroom and extra-curricular updates on social media, they will have increased opportunities to share in the cultural experiences of students by asking more informed questions.

How will we train our team?

Once you have different roles on the team defined and the initial team members in place, you’ll be ready to train those team members for their designated role. Depending on your moderation system (see part 3)–which is essential in our world of FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests, archival, and security. Class Intercom recently released a free training program for all clients that includes short tutorial videos with instructional information for using the platform. Users can watch the videos at their convenience and when ready take a short quiz to become certified as a Class Intercom content creator.

My biggest piece of advice: keep it simple. Focus on accuracy and content, spelling, grammar, and visuals. All users should be given access to any branding guidelines such as colors, fonts, and logos. Depending on your specific school policy, Moderators will need to be aware of any students who have opted out of having their likeness displayed on any social media sites.

An easy way to share “rules” for social media posts is to create a must-do | might do | don’t do graphic for all users. This can be easily updated as issues arise.

As your content generators begin to evolve, you will want to provide them with additional guidance. These resources:

will support new users and help them grow in their craft. After they make a few posts and receive positive responses–which they will–they will soon be making more and better posts from a variety of content areas. In the Class Intercom platform, feedback may be given directly in the “Notes” section.

The biggest challenge in training will be inspiring your staff members to “Toot their own horn.” Educators by nature are humble to a fault. School leaders will need to model the storytelling. This is also a great way to build school culture. Principals spend a large majority of their time in classrooms, gyms, and hallways. Amazing stories take place here and they need to be told. Unless we want the vast majority of our community members thinking our students are eating Tide Pods for lunch or participating in Tik-Tok challenges constantly, we need to share the good things happening in our schools!

Jill Johnson

Over her 30 year career in education, Dr. Jill has served in various roles including secondary ELA teacher, professional development consultant, and high school administrator. After completing her doctoral study, Technology Leadership Qualities in Secondary Principals in Nebraska who Support Student-led Social Media Teams, Jill began her tenure as Class Intercom President.