Gerald Hernandez | Principal | E.E. Miller Elementary
As a classroom teacher I lived by the quote, "Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care," by John C. Maxwell. As a building administrator I find it just as important building relationships with all stakeholders I serve. The majority of our families have access to social media and use it throughout their day. As a new building principal, I knew clear communication would be key in my success. This year E.E. Miller Elementary has utilized Twitter as a forum parents can turn to for school news and photos of the latest happenings within our building.
Twitter has proven to be beneficial in branding our school and letting the community know about the great things happening in our building on a daily basis. Every teacher has the opportunity to use the hashtag @EEMillerElem and celebrate their classroom successes. As a School of Choice, this has allowed us to reach a larger audience and promote our Spanish Immersion, Global School, and Year Round programs. This year I made it a routine to conduct my classroom evaluations using the NCEES rubric, but would simultaneously deliver real-time information on classroom achievements by Tweeting about the great things I saw happening in the classrooms I was observing. Without evening realizing, Twitter became an opportunity for professional development where everyone’s a teacher and everyone’s a learner. Teachers were seeing amazing things happening in one another’s classroom and began implementing the same great things in their own classrooms. As we met as a School Improvement Team and reviewed our goals, we brainstormed ways to reach our goal of scheduling time for classroom teachers to observe each other. We discovered a way to motivate teachers to visit each other’s classrooms by creating a challenge that incorporated Twitter. This is how the Bulldog Challenge was born.Not only did teachers learn from their peers, but they celebrated each other. This was key to promoting a positive climate! Parents and personnel from other schools enjoyed seeing teachers highlight one another on social media. A comment that we look like a happy school family was made. This was another example of how social media helped us promote our wonderful staff this year! As a new principal, I have found it particularly beneficial in networking with other principals from across the nation. I would tell my teachers at staff meetings about great ideas that I had seen on Twitter. I shared that during late evenings, from the comfort of my own home, for just a few minutes each night, I partake in professional development. I have created a Professional Learning Network where I manage my own learning based on my own interest and needs. I simply see something amazing and begin following that person on Twitter to see more amazing things. I’ve noticed several of my own teachers doing the same thing. Social media has quickly evolved into the resource families go to for updates and to connect with the latest happenings that are taking place at E.E. Miller! Social media is about building relationships with all stakeholders and not putting up walls.