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COMMENTARY: BOE opts to bypass social media

COMMENTARY: BOE opts to bypass social media


Social media is a prevalent part of the 21st century. Over the past 10 years, the way we communicate, read news, acquire information and interact with one another has changed significantly.

The Berlin Board of Education is committed to continuous improvement and with that commitment, we need to reassess and reevaluate how we communicate and engage all of our stakeholders.

We are working to find new ways to communicate with and inform our community, as well as share what’s happening with the board, the schools and the budget process. Engaging a community requires creativity, commitment and consistency. 

At the Jan. 28 Board of Education meeting, we had a lengthy discussion regarding the future usage of social media. We investigated whether the board should create our own social media pages separate from the district pages in order to further engage the community. 

The BOE explored the idea of creating our own social media pages with the intention of sharing all the work that we do as a board. The communication committee began a month-long process of researching social media. Members explored other boards of education that utilize social media, had conversations with experts in the field of communications and social media and looked at the trends of town pages and other resources.

The communication committee compiled all the information from that research and presented it to the board at the Jan. 14 BOE meeting. This gave the full board the opportunity to consider which options were best and return to the next meeting to discuss the possibility of incorporating social media to board communications.

There are several pros and cons to employing social media.

Of primary concern was the idea that a Berlin Board of Education social media page might cause confusion, given the potential for redundancy with the individual school pages in the district, and/or parents might look to the BOE page to find information that was housed elsewhere (e.g., school delays or closures).

Also, with three members elected every year, there is board turnover. Board members and committee assignments change yearly, therefore it would be a challenge for the BOE to stay consistent over a long period of time.

The BOE is a voluntary group. In order to run social media effectively you need to consistently develop creative and engaging content; this can be a very challenging task given our status and turnover.

At this time the Berlin Board of Education will not create its own social media account, but will continue to inform the community through The Citizen and in other ways.

In order to stay updated about events within individual schools and the district, the board recommends that you follow the individual school and PTO social media pages. Information about school district happenings can be found on the main webpage for district.

If you have any suggestions, reach out directly to one of the members of the communication committee – Julia Dennis, Jake Fisher and Tracy Sisti.

As always, we invite members of the community to attend our meetings. Upcoming meetings are: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m., at the BOE building (joint meeting with the Board of Finance) and Monday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m., at Hubbard Elementary School.

← Submitted by the Berlin Board of Education