Facebook has become just as common as the cell phone. The majority of the country has an account and some even have an account through their employer. But what about the use of Facebook within the schools? I have a friend who works at an elementary school in Seattle and she’s told me horror stories of her colleagues being fired for inappropriate Facebook “posts” and “status” updates. Most teachers are advised to be careful as to what they post on their Facebook page because of their connection with a particular school. I myself, and others working in the TM Office, were advised while attending college about the importance of “posting” appropriate content on our personal Facebook pages. But just because these schools are so strict with their teachers and their use with Facebook doesn’t give them the excuse to be so strict on the school’s image itself.

Facebook is a great way for any organization to actively engage its local community and inform fans—or in this case parents and students—about upcoming events. But what specifically are some things schools could be doing with Facebook, but may not be currently doing? We must remember to protect the students of the school, but also increase engagement of the school’s students, parents and teachers.

Before a school decides to create a Facebook page for themselves, there are certain protective measures that need to be taken into consideration. You need to first make sure that you receive consent from parents as to what, if anything, will be posted about their child. This relates to videos, the use of their names, school work samples, etc. It’s recommended by experts to not use the last names of students within a school’s Facebook network.

Once all the safety protections are in place, it’s time to start creating a Facebook page for the school. So, what should you be talking about on your page? Let’s start out simple. Facebook is a great way to stay connected with families and students and also a great way to find out up-to-date information regarding the school. If a school is consistent with providing this information, it’s likely that families will go directly to the Facebook page when inquiring about school news, especially if the school doesn’t already have a website of its own.

Next, share information about what’s happening at the school. Is there an upcoming football game? Band concert? Choir concert? Facebook is running 24/7 and can be utilized at any time. It’s always fun to take pictures of events going on around in the school, too. Think of a pep rally for example. You could take photos, post them to Facebook, and let students’ families see how much school spirit their children have.

Another great idea is to share information about upcoming events and official school announcements. You can create event pages and have students and families RSVP right there, which will also help you to get a proper head count.

Finally, updated information about snow days would be perfect for teachers and students. If a snow day were to occur, then everyone who was a fan of the school’s Facebook page would be notified before anyone else. It’s a great way to maintain the communication between the school and the families directly connected with the school

What do you think about this issue? Leave us some comments about your stand on schools and Facebook. Do you think Facebook is a good thing for the schools? Or do you think that Facebook will only be detrimental to the educational institutions?

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