Penn-Delco: Tweeting favorite reads -- and more
Penn-Delco faculty, staff, and administrators have been utilizing Twitter to keep the wider community engaged and informed about what happens in the classroom and beyond. Whether it is celebrating million word readers, sharing visual arts projects, or demonstrating how students are using new learning tools, the district has encouraged their staff to share.
Recently, in celebration of Read Across America, Penn-Delco faculty and staff took to Twitter to share their favorite books with the entire community. The seven-day challenge encourages a tagged person to share the covers of their favorite reads with no comments, reviews, or other information. They then continue to tweet covers for six additional days, each day inviting another person to also share for a week.
Penn-Delco faculty have jumped at the chance to share covers with their colleagues, parents, and the larger community that follows them. It's just another way for Penn-Delco to connect with its parents and students -- and each other.
District Superintendent Dr. George Steinhoff has been pleasantly surprised at how his team has embraced his challenge to use Twitter to communicate more regularly. He even recognized some "power tweeters" recently at a teacher in-service event. The book challenge is simply another way for his staff to connect.
“I’ve been impressed with the quantity of our staff who take the time to spread informative, helpful, and often uplifting news via their Twitter accounts. Twitter images and real-life examples of the work happening in PDSD tell an unfiltered story that affirms the great things occurring in our schools," he said. "I encourage people to follow many of the Penn-Delco accounts – they provide a nice window into the day-to-day life in PDSD."
While school principals continue to leverage their regular email communications and websites to share information, Twitter offers a personal glimpse into some activities and accomplishments as they happen. Some teachers tweet weekly, others daily, while some choose to be selective about what they share and when. Regardless of their frequency, the Penn-Delco twitter feeds tend to be filled with inspiring and informative content that offer a true snapshot of the positive happenings in Penn-Delco schools.
Josh Leight, principal at Pennell Elementary, is a huge fan of Twitter and has encouraged his staff to increase the frequency of tweets to help tell the Pennell story. “There is no better tool in education than Twitter for the public sharing of good news,” said Leight. “As a school leader, Twitter allows me the ability to retweet and catalog all the wonderful things happening within our building for our families and other schools in Delaware County and beyond.”
Patrick Rafferty, Athletic Director at Sun Valley High School, relies on Twitter to communicate with the wider community as well. The recent success experienced by the cheerleaders, boy’s baseball team, and individuals on the wrestling and swim teams have required regular tweets about PIAA competition schedules and successes.
“For the athletic department, the use of Twitter is a great way to inform the students, staff, administration and local community on all of the good things that our student athletes are doing on the athletic fields,” he explains. “With the nature of high school athletics and events constantly changing, we use it to update fans on game scores and even alert the community to when events are postponed or changed.”
The most recent PIAA District 1 boys basketball championship at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia offered the perfect reason to keep the Penn-Delco community engaged. In fact, the Penn-Delco communication’s department often retweets information directly from the prolific AD’s tweets, as well as its coaches. Rafferty is pleased with the results:
“We have asked all of our coaches to have a Twitter account so that they can show off the accomplishments of each individual team. It’s a great way to highlight individual players and build excitement for important games. It really helps keep the whole Sun Valley community involved and interested in each particular sport.”
Whether it is school closing news, individual accomplishments, or interesting events, Twitter has become an important tool for the faculty at Pennel Elementary. Leight is a fan of Twitter as a way for teachers to share ideas and successes with each other.
“Teachers so rarely get the opportunity to witness each other’s greatness in the classroom,” he said. “Twitter allows us a window into each other’s daily professional lives. It allows us to borrow great ideas from one another as we share teaching strategies, project ideas, interesting articles and professionally develop one another in a way that feels more like “fun” than “PD!”
As for the reading challenge, Leight too has shared his favorites. “A few of my favorite reads I posted include Robert Galbraith’s (JK Rowling) The Cuckoo’s Calling and Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed,” shared Leight. “The #ReadAcrossAmerica 7-day book challenge took off at Pennell and across Penn-Delco. Pennell teachers were quick to challenge each other and their peers within district and across districts too!”
The level of participation is exactly what the Communications Coordinator at Penn-Delco likes to see. Lisa Palmarini is also a fan of Twitter, particularly because the feeds run live on the home page of Penn-Delco’s website. She also appreciates the opportunity to stay on top of the happenings in the district.
“We have news about four elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school to promote and share. Having access to regular tweets by coaches, schools, and teachers often sparks ideas for bigger stories to tell,” she said. “Dr. Steinhoff and the communication department often retweet what our faculty and staff are sharing to give it wider reach. It is another tool in our tool box to keep the Penn-Delco community and entire region, really, updated about happenings– or great books!”