Learning Module Five


The Content Generation Academy logo which is a simple outlined illustration of a building with a traingle roof and three pillars.

Step One

Read the Lesson

Schools and districts play important roles in their communities not only as educational institutions, but also as hubs for problem solving, civic engagement, and other discourse.

Great content—great storytelling—evokes strong emotions in the audience and incites them to action. This is the root of community building through social media. The content produced by and about your school should evoke feelings of connection from community members. You want community members to feel proud of the work being done by both students and educators. You want community members to feel compelled to actively support and participate in the great work being done. Above all, you want that work to resonate with people who consume this content.

The Power of Connection

Use your social media as a vehicle to break down the long standing siloes separating the inner workings of schools from the community right outside. Keep in mind that many of the safety measures implemented by schools over the last two decades have also created more separation for parents and community members who used to be welcomed into school buildings without having to buzz in, walk through a metal detector, or complete a registration form before visiting. Social media helps us to safely welcome these people back into our school community.

In one such example, students from a high school in the Midwest proudly posted photos of its students participating in a welding class using equipment to learn and gain experience. They never imagined a local machinery company called Tenneco would donate up to $50,000 to upgrade the equipment in their shop! A company spokesperson for Tenneco noted that they aim to hire local students into their training and career programs. In making the donation, they aimed to not only support the local school, but to ensure that future recruits would have access and exposure to equipment aligned with industry standards. The school was thrilled to provide state-of-the-art equipment, but never imagined that simply telling an authentic story could lead to such generous support.

In another instance, a district launched a campaign to help promote the why behind the community service graduation requirement. Using the school’s mascot as inspiration, the district dubbed the effort: “The Bluejay Way,” and looked for opportunities to instill service as something second-nature to students and staff within its schools. With community service hours soaring, they created the annual Bluejay Way Community Service Day to honor and recognize the importance to service work. In response to the campaign, a local donor stepped up and provided funds to honor three students per year with a $500 community service scholarship.

These are just a few examples of the ways social media storytelling can invite parents/caregivers, businesses, civic leaders, and other community members into the seemingly one-on-one moments happening even in classrooms. And when these different community members are able to see and engage with what’s happening in their schools, they often develop an interest in following and supporting it in more meaningful ways.

Fostering Productive Discourse

When school social media is presented and moderated thoughtfully, it can also be a powerful place to host productive community discourse. Social media has certainly earned a bad rap for bringing out the trolls and complainers. And yet, there are many Facebook groups, Twitter chats, and even Instagram communities where ideas and encouragement are shared safely and respectfully. Establish clear community guidelines and consistently enforce them, and you’ll find that, for the most part, the conversations happening within your communities remain civil and productive.

For one Arkansas school district, creating and implementing established policies and community guidelines for social media pages and groups was a top-down effort. The district’s communications lead started with a universal social media policy that clearly stated the guidelines and expectations for those interested in communicating on the school’s social pages (both internal school faculty and students as well as external community members). The policy was published on all social profiles for the district, creating a stated expectation for comments and discussions on posts and other shared information. At the same time, the district designated moderators across its buildings. Referred to as “push people,” these folks were expected to review content collected and curated by users (including students and staff) across their buildings within the Class Intercom app and determine when and how it would be scheduled and published. Push people also moderated comments and discussion happening on their school social media pages within the guidelines set forth in the published policies–making it easier to maintain a civil and productive environment.

Retention Advantages

One area of community that schools often overlook is talent recruitment and retention. LinkedIn is an especially useful channel for schools in this area. Although it may not be the first thing you consider, recruitment is actually a core piece of community building. According to a 2022 piece in the Wall Street Journal, some 300,000 teachers and school staffers left the profession between February 2020 and July 2022. Fifty-five percent of educators polled said they would leave the profession earlier than they previously planned.

What does that mean for you and your district? It means that community building and recruitment must be an integral piece of your social media strategy if you want to mitigate the impact of this mass exodus in your school or district. When schools can capture and share everyday moments, challenges, and experiences they’re facing with their communities, community members start to follow along. And, as is often the case when we start to follow something, we get engaged and invested in its wellness and success. When communities know their schools better, they tend to take better care of their teachers, creating a cyclical effect that translates into better support for teachers and staff, as well as students.

Step Two

Explore Additional Resources

Dive deeper on this module’s materials by exploring the additional resources below. 

Representing Education on LinkedIn

Blog; 5 minutes

An overview of LinkedIn for schools with insights into why schools should use it and how to do so effectively.

Five Crucial Reasons for Data-Informed Social Media

Blog; 5 minutes

A dive into the data and analytics that can help inform school social media programs.

Wisconsin School District Owns Its Narrative, Rebuilds Community Relationships, & Stays at the Top of a Competitive Region with Class Intercom

Blog; 8 minutes

The Sheboygan Falls School District uses Class Intercom’s social media management platform to help empower students and faculty to capture moments and share school stories.

Sourcing Social Media Content for your School or District

Webinar; 60 minutes

In this webinar, lifelong educator Dr. Jill Johnson and social media guru Ben Pankonin tackle this seemingly complex challenge with practical tips and insights for gathering, curating, and sharing content across school communities.

Using Social Media for Real World Learning & Community Engagement

Podcast; 26 minutes

This episode of the Content Generation Podcast features  Kyleigh Kumm, a computer science and technology integration teacher at Harlan Community High School in Harlan, Iowa. Listen as she shares innovative insights on student involvement, championing student voice, real world learning, authentic assessment in practice, and more.

Step Three

Reflection Questions

Use these self-guided reflection questions to consider the preceding material in the context of your school or district’s current or planned school social media program. Considering these questions in the context of this learning module will also prepare you for the authentic assessment at the end of this module.


In the Storytelling Module, you were asked to reflect on the words or sentiments you want your community to use to describe your classroom/school/district. Now that you’ve studied Community more closely, make adjustments to your responses in the interest of making them more community-oriented.


How do you decide which social media content will be posted to what platform?

  • Do you push all content to all platforms at the same time, or do you differentiate based on target audience?
  • How do you make these decisions?
  • What changes might you make in order to better reach and target the various segments of your audience?

In what ways is your school using LinkedIn as part of its social media strategy?

  •  Even if you are not directly involved in talent recruitment for your district, brainstorm how you might better support the efforts of those who are through your social media strategy.
  • How might you communicate the advantages of an intentional social media strategy that considered recruitment and retention among its goals? List three key points below.

Step Four

Authentic Assessment

It’s time to put your new skills and knowledge into practice. Choose one of the following prompts below, then use Class Intercom to execute the task.

Go to Class Intercom

Option 1

  • Create a LinkedIn profile for your school/district. Connect with local businesses and community leaders. Draft a post that would show that your school/district is a great place to work. Be sure to include a strong caption, visual representation, and appropriate tags. Also, be sure to use the appropriate brand guidelines including font and color.


Option 2

  • Create a personal LinkedIn profile. Be sure to include why someone would want to hire you. Already have a LinkedIn profile? Do some research and follow or connect with at least people or companies that would be a good fit for your personal brand. 


Option 3

  • Outline a basic plan for involving the community. This could include highlighting community service activities or engaging local businesses in advertising on your social media pages with student-generated graphics and/or video.

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