See3C: Scheck Hillel Reinvents, Stays Connected

 

As a school who strives to be on top of the latest and greatest forms of social media, this year was the time for Scheck Hillel Community School to explore one of the most popular outlets used today: Instagram. With one click on the app, you can quickly see what is going on around campus and in classrooms. In the past, Scheck Hillel has used Facebook and Twitter to reach out to the community and share what is going on at school. Now we have taken the jump not only with a school account (@eHillel) but also individual classroom accounts to reinvent photo sharing, making it easy for families and students to stay connected. Instagram also links to other forms of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. This allows our followers to branch out and explore eHillel across the social media world.

instagram.jpgIn the classroom, Instagram has taken a different turn. Students as early as third grade are excited and eager to explore the social media world with their iPods, iPads, and iPhones. What better way to do it than linked to school! With followers in many grade levels, we are sharing our classroom with the rest of campus. Parents are slowly but surely starting to follow and engage in Instagram by liking and commenting on photos. Siblings and former students are among our greatest followers, and are encouraging their teachers to jump on the bandwagon.

photoclose.jpgAs a third grade teacher, I was unsure of how Instagram would impact my class. Would parents be interested? Would students want to follow their class?  My worries were quickly erased as I have only seen a positive response! Students are excited to be involved in writing captions, adding filters, and creating appropriate hashtags to share our photos. Another third grade teacher was persuaded to create a page when her students started to follow my class page @see3c. She found that her students were eager to get involved as well. Teacher Jennifer Cohn, @3bpics, says “Students are commenting on photos after school. It gives them a chance to go back and reflect on what was happening in school that day.” Scheck Hillel’s third grade was recently empowered with a couple iPads for each class, so the students can get involved with our Instagram page more easily. It has become a class activity and the students are deciding what is important to share with our friends in the community. We look forward to sharing our achievements as we engage more teachers and classes to connect to social media!
 

Jenna Kraft is a Grade 3 teacher at Scheck Hillel Community School in North Miami Beach, Florida. Taking a lead beyond the classroom, she recently co-authored Scheck Hillel’s Social Media Guidelines & Policy with the School’s Advancement department.

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.

 

Power of Pictures: Lessons from the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy

We knew before joining the Academy that Facebook could be a great way to reach our parent body, but we just weren’t getting the response we knew was possible! Our first step after joining the Academy was to switch our Facebook profile to a page so that we could garner more likes from our parents and the broader community. Then we started thinking about what content would create the most buzz…

It was obvious after a few weeks that posting pictures was a primary way to go – everyone loves to look at pictures of their kids! But in addition to drawing more traffic to our page from parents who want to see pictures of kids, pictures that capture kids also gave us the opportunity to showcase the program and events going on in school. We were able to choose the pictures that showed our beautiful campus in the background, or a Zionistic program, or an academic achievement or some other message we wanted to be projecting to our current and prospective parents. With catchy titles and questions to go along with the pictures, we were able to illicit responses from our Facebook friends. And by including current students in the pictures, we gave parents a reason to visit our Facebook page, and even more beneficial for us, we gave them a reason to share our posts on their personal pages. Allowing us to be seen by their Facebook friends as well meant that the messages we were transmitting about our school were able to reach a wider audience, and could entice prospective parents that we didn’t know were even out there.

Pictures also helped us reconnect to our alumni (we switched our alumni profile to a page as well shortly after joining the Academy). Once a week, on “Way Back Wednesday,” we posted archival pictures that alumni got excited about – and they not only reconnected with Westchester Day School, but also with classmates with whom they may have lost touch over the years. The feelings of nostalgia – “Can you believe how young we were?!” – put positive thoughts about Westchester Day School in the front of their minds. We also were able to re-post Westchester Day School pictures on our Alumni page. We learned that alumni were excited to see pictures of current-year performances and events that have been going on annually for years, and could comment on how well they remember their own “insert performance here.” It also allowed them a chance to see how much things in the school have changed and evolved since their time as a student.  

 

Allison Lyons is the Director of Admissions at Westchester Day School. Allison enjoys working on a beautiful 26 acre campus on the Long Island Sound.

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.