While social media can get a bad rap, it can be instrumental in promoting your school in a positive light and engaging students. In fact, social media is the perfect platform to promote student leadership and student success. When students are lauded for their service to their school and community through social media, it often motivates them to serve more, positively impacting their school and their community.

Integrity, Kindness, and the Power of Publishing

Despite the negative attention often associated with social media applications, principals should look for ways to use them to promote community service and student success. Touting student accomplishments in this way actually helps to model responsible use of social media. When a student group completes a task to benefit the community, use social media attention to highlight the integrity of the student group and illustrate the kindness demonstrated by the student body. Not only will this service be seen by the local community, but by other schools and groups as well. In this way, schools learn ideas from one another, and they share ways students can positively impact society. Student leadership is about building confidence. When students see themselves on social media in a positive light, they become addicted to that positivity and seek to continue contributing to the school and the community in similar ways.

Work, Fun, and Social Good

Schools should aim to display visuals and statements about student work in the classroom and the community on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever platform they choose. Posting pictures of students engaging with content, with one another, and with teachers promotes a student-led environment. Outside of a focus on curriculum and learning, showcasing students having fun with one another, displaying smiles and laughter, and sharing joys and successes helps to bring a student body together. Every social media post should include something associated with student leadership. These stories are the reason educators feel a sense of pride and success.

Most important, publicizing student accomplishments and leadership on social media encourages students to serve regularly in their community. Particularly at the high school level, community service and work-based learning are critical aspects of education, producing well-rounded students. Modeling by publishing the significance of social good showcases a school and community with students at the helm. These stories lead our schools and communities to become better each day.

For an example of a story we like to share via social media at Apalachee High School, see Promotion in Action below.

Jennifer Martin is principal of Apalachee High School in Winder, GA.

Sidebar: Making It Work

Here’s how principals can promote their schools and communities with student leadership as a focus:

  • Model appropriate use. Illustrate moments of integrity and kindness by displaying the successes of students in the classroom and community on social media.
  • Publish with power. If you have student leadership success stories and you share them via social media, you cultivate ideas that other schools and communities can use to improve their student-leadership initiatives.
  • Promote social good. When students see the power of their service published on social media and the positive comments associated with their work, they become addicted to service and seek further leadership opportunities.

Sidebar: Promotion in Action

Apalachee High School students in Winder, GA, participate in the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy. This organization promotes student leadership with a monthly curriculum and conversations about servant leadership. Students are expected to make an impact on their community with specific service projects. Students spend time fundraising and executing their service after sessions of planning.

When engaged in community service, the students use social media to tell their story. In this way, our local community feels the impact of students’ work and supports them with words of encouragement. In addition, our students are regularly achieving success as they perform and achieve academically and artistically. When we promote their success in academic achievement, fine arts, and athletics, we are celebrating their accomplishments and bolstering their confidence as contributors to both their school and community. Their pictures, their work, and their impact become the story we share about our school and community.

Twitter Talk

Want to find out more about connecting with the community?

You can tweet Jennifer Martin @evemartin7247.