Dear Edwina Junior
The middle school students at St. Augustin School had four performances of Dear Edwina Junior last week. The main cast spends five weeks practicing after school. The remainder of the students (extras, backstage, and light/sound booth) spend one week of half-day musical practice and three days of full-day musical practice to perfect the performances. Wow! They did such an excellent job! On Friday, after a fairly chaotic week, I got home around 9:00pm… All I wanted to talk to my husband about was how proud I was of all of my students. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you selected the perfect field to “work” in.
Throughout the week, while watching students rehearse the play and working on my branding project, I could not help but think of all of the “extra” things we do at St. Augustin School to make our culture and community so special. It would be so simple to brand the school by all of the fun, exciting and extra-curricular events occurring in our classrooms. This made creating a branding plan more meaningful…
The components of my school branding project included: a professional development session introducing teachers to the advantages of utilizing Twitter and Facebook pages, and a PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate the importance of branding (used during the PD session). To make the use of social media manageable, I created schedules and groups for teachers to post on social media, and then teachers can somewhat select which weeks and what to post.
I found some interesting resources to include in the professional development session including:
- http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2012/jul/26/social-media-teacher-guide This is an article about the use of social media for schools… One specific component of this article and I really appreciate is the examples and links to school social media sites. I also like that it discusses potential risks or detriments to each of the sites.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THrtZKuK_94 This is a video about a principal who utilizes Twitter to reach and connect with his high school students. Some of these practices would be effective in the middle school setting at St. Augustin School.
The PowerPoint presentation I created for the professional development session includes some memorable quotes to encourage teachers to discuss branding. Some of these quotes include:
- Reputation can be built over a lifetime and destroyed in an instant.
– Mark Reardon
- The school districts that will thrive will be the ones using social media to engage their community, and aggressively enhance and protect their reputation. The ones who do not will find themselves playing defense with an unengaged public and a healthy number of skeptics who may question the value of public education in their community.
– Joel Gagne
- If we do not tell our story, someone else will. Unfortunately, more often than not, the story that is told about schools is negative and ignores the many great things happening within and beyond the walls.
– Eric Sheninger
Lastly, I spent my extra planning time during rehearsals preparing for Monopoly May-pril. During April and May, all of my students participate in a mini-economy competition. This does not replace class time – usually we spend about ten minutes twice a week on Monopoly. Each student is assigned to a company (and stock) and must manage their initial income ($10,000) and earnings responsibly. They can invest in the stock market, combine companies with other students, and participate in a lottery. I teach students about investing in the stock market; its risks and rewards.
Monopoly May-pril also encourages students to be responsible (especially at the end of the year) as they are fined for being tardy, missing/late assignments, and being unprepared for class. Students can earn extra money by receiving tickets (part of our PBIS program) from teachers for making good decisions/being helpful/etc.