Two years ago this week, Morgan Co. R-1 media specialist, Brenda Steffens decided to create a Facebook page, Stover Bulldogs: Morgan County R-I, to enhance parents, alumni and community communications. They initially started with a closed wall (meaning no one could post messages). Two years and 539 “likes” later, the wall is open for comments and parents, alumni and community members couldn’t be happier.
We decided to open the wall because parents and community members wanted to ask questions about games, activities, etc. and couldn’t,” Steffens said. “We opened it up to see how things went and it was the best decision we made. They now are able to ask questions immediately instead of having to call the school or wait and ask and we try to answer the questions immediately. Everything [they have] posted has been positive for the kids and the school. The community really likes that the wall is open and they are able to find out what is happening. We have had no misuse of the page.”
Morgan Co. R-1 uses Facebook to keep stakeholders updates on sporting events, scores and cancellations, and to share new photos. They send updates on student successes in other competitions, such as speech and drama, FFA, math team, academic team, etc. In addition, they have found the Facebook page to be an asset in fundraising, and post pictures of T-shirts for sale and other fundraisers being done by organizations.
All of the reactions are positive, even from the students.
“The students love having the Facebook page and seeing the information and posts about the school,” Steffens said. “They will come in and ask me to post items on Facebook and are always overly excited when I tell them I already have.”
For example, the Senior class hosts a senior breakfast each month in the library. Steffens took pictures and posted them on Facebook immediately.
“The seniors saw them within minutes and were totally surprised and excited that we celebrate all the events of the students,” she said.
The Morgan Co. R-1 teachers also really appreciate the Facebook page and are taking an active part in sharing information.
“Teachers ask me to make sure that I post activities about their organizations or events,” Steffens said. “We all believe our posts reach a lot more parents then the local newspaper.”
In addition to the official page, several other organizations, such as the library, girls soccer, cheerleading and FCCLA have created their own Facebook pages.
“I know more pages will be constructed in the near future,” Steffens said.
Steffens encourages other districts to consider a Facebook page to keep the community and students involved.
“The large majority of the patrons are on Facebook and almost all the students are and this is the best and easiest way to communicate with them,” she said. “Everyone loves to be recognized and this is the easiest way to do it. I would also like to recommend that you try it with an open wall so communication can go both ways.”
If you are interested in creating a Facebook page for your district or school and want some help, email Aurora or call her at 800-392-0532.