Tennessee School Systems View Social Media Differently

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Middle Tennessee school districts are taking different approaches to social media. While one has halted their use for official school business, another is building a fan base.

The popularity of Facebook among students and adults is prompting school officials to define its place as a communications tool between schools and parents.

The Wilson County Board of Education recently amended its policies to prohibit any representation of the district on social media sites without the school director?s approval.

Sumner County Schools, on the other hand, recently started a Facebook page to communicate with parents, and it already has about 2,000 ?friends.? District leaders are encouraging individual school leaders to set up pages, too.

?I would love to have more of our school?s stuff on Facebook, because I check that first,? said Sibyl Reagan, a Hendersonville mother of two Nannie Berry Elementary School students. ?A reminder that it?s Grandparents Day on my Facebook at 7 in the morning would be great.?

Three-quarters of all seventh- through 12th-graders say they have a profile on a social media site, according to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Many of their parents have set up profiles so they can follow what their children are doing, said Joey Strawn, social media strategist for Paramore | the digital agency.

Whether school districts realize it, conversations about schools are already taking place in the social media sphere, through student, parent and personal teacher profiles, Strawn said. He recommends that schools join the conversation.

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