Imagine this: a school without a Facebook page! How could this be?
We asked ourselves the same thing, prior to joining the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy.With approximately 400 students ranging from 18 months – 5th grade, Temple Beth Am Day School is a large Reform Jewish Day School that is part of Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest, Florida. While the Temple had an already existing and active Facebook page, the School was overdue in its use of social media. Upon joining the Academy, we realized immediately that it was imperative for the School to have its own page. Upon starting the new page, we had 5 likes, which included two community members, the Temple Communications Director, the Campus webmaster, and me. We knew we had work to do! With the help of our exceptional coach, Jenna Silverman of Big Duck NYC, we merged our various groups, pages, and places to create a clean and efficient Facebook page. Voila! It was time to launch our “Like Campaign”. In just a few months, we acquired 158 “likes”, and counting. Our active page is the place to go for the most up to date photos and information from our school.
The shift was palpable in our administration, as well as our parent body. Parents delighted at the opportunity to share our posts with their friends and family. We delighted at the opportunity to break down the walls of our regular e-mail blasts, and use social media to engage our parents. I (as the Admissions Director) continue to delight in the opportunity to access a whole new group of prospective school families in a way that is sincere and direct!
Our very supportive school administration is constantly informing me of school “moments” or events that should be posted on our page, and linked back to our website. Our Communications Director “shares” relevant posts between the Temple and School pages to make for one consistent social media “thread” from our facility. This has allowed for an opportunity for School families to have knowledge of Temple happenings, and vice versa. We truly take pride in the social media collaboration that has evolved from this experience.
As our School evaluates how we will use technology in a way that is purposeful, meaningful and effective; the leaps that we have made in our use of social media are on target. We eagerly anticipate the future use of a School blog, Twitter account, and updated website. We also hope to create an alumni page that allows Temple Beth Am Day School alumni to be aware of all that is happening today on this vibrant campus. We have truly evolved in our knowledge and use of social media, and we are grateful for this transformation.
Cari Altman is the Director of Admissions at Temple Beth Am Day School in Pinecrest, Florida. A Pinecrest native, she truly appreciates the importance of the values-based education that comes from a Jewish Day School education.
The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy is an intensive program designed to help Jewish Day Schools advance their strategic use of social media in areas such as communication, marketing, community building, alumni relations and development. The 2012-13 nationwide cohort of 20 schools was generously supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation. Each of the schools will be sharing insights from their experience through blog posts here this spring with the tag #jdsacademy
The 2013-14 cohort is currently in formation. If your school or community is interested in more information, please contact Lisa Colton.