Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy’s Social Media Journey

Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy is grateful to be participating in the JDS Social Media Academy to advance the social media initiatives of our school. Hillel's Facebook page has been updated with a new image congruent with the current branding of the school. Extensive efforts are underway to reach out to our current parent body, generations of Hillel alumni, and the greater Hillel community of supporters to create a culture whereby use of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will become the new norm. 

By using Facebook to publicize and promote upcoming events we have been able to generate increased traffic to our page. With the guidance of the Big Duck coaches and extensive evaluation of best practices in use of social media in a K-8 school, we are working towards finding a balance between keeping the site current while maintaining the integrity of our newly established social media protocols.

Postings photos of our students have generated much enthusiasm and positive feedback. Posts and comments are overwhelmingly requesting more photos at increased frequency of a wider cross section of our student body. As we increase the quantity of photos posted, we anticipate that Hillel's friends will increase exponentially.  We have received many requests to post videos as well, and are currently in the process of creating our very own YouTube channel. It is our hope that prior to the start of the 2013-2014 school year, Hillel's YouTube channel will be fully functional.

The goals of our social media venues are multi-tiered: 

  • It is an opportunity for Hillel's teachers to share the excitement in their classrooms with parents as well as other teachers for collaborative curricular development.
  • It also empowers our students to use current technology such as iPads to integrate traditional learning with the language of their contemporaries under the auspices of Hillel's administration.
  • It provides the school a place to highlight special events and share accomplishments and milestones with our parent body, alumni, and supporters.

Hillel now has several faculty members tweeting. Through our new efforts using Twitter we've been able to share live updates from students' adventures from all over the world. Looking forward, we are considering using Twitter for real time updates during Hillel's sporting events and field trips. Hillel has benefited tremendously from our involvement in the Sharefest experiences, coaching calls, and ongoing support from experts, AVI CHAI, and the other schools involved with this program. Although the official program will soon end, we believe there is great benefit in continuing this partnership as we advance into the 21st century.

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.


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