In St Louis, our Jewel Box is just a vehicle or environment for growing things, year 'round. Like a communication tool is only as good as the effort we make to achieve successful communication. Is our message shared and received, or just shared? Things won't grow in there without care. Nothing is automatic!
At school we are easing into additional technological communication. Not to mandate but lead, model and practice, we began twitter accounts for everyone that wanted last year. Some were willing. Some were reluctant. Others were adamantly opposed. Regardless, we have found success, learned things and were able to apply some things to our classrooms, schools and districts.
This year, we are again progressing forward. Winfield Intermediate School and Winfield Middle School are building and publishing facebook sites to better inform our constituents. We are willing to join their preferred mode of communication to try and connect with even more of them. The facebook page will probably not be the sole provider of school related news but just another way to reach out.
Also new this year is the application called Remind101. From their website, a teacher establishes an account base of parents and students in their classes and can blast a text msg to the entire group. Sort of like a one way message. It works because teachers establish a bulletin board type account. They get a special phone number and access code. Then the teacher supplies the access code and phone number to the parents. The parents text the special code to the given phone number and its done. From then on, the teacher sends out a message to the entire class group, just like sending a text to a friend.
Twitter is still active. Our hash tag #onthemap has become # pieceofthepuzzle. We tried to assemble a puzzle that was missing a piece. Frustration and blame were the immediate outcomes. We considered our struggling students may share those feelings when they are asked to accomplish a task, even e when they are lacking a component necessary for success. Our positions as caring adults often give rise for us to be a piece in their puzzle.
Traditional methods are of course still available. Email, phone and written correspondence along with old fashion face to face still provide accurate and effective methods of communication. School is a place where we all work towards common goals, using various methods of communication. What works for some, may not work for others. Hence, variety is required. In all this variety, nothing assures us the message will be sent, received and interpreted correctly. Just like in the Jewel Box, nothing guarantees the plants will grow. Care and attention is necessary for successful communication and successful growth!
What does all this communication look like?
Web page, www.winfield.k12.mo.us
Press release, send to http://www.lincolncountyjournal.com/
School Reach calling service
Parent Portal for Grade Access, https://sdm.sisk12.com/WL/