Pennsauken School District Launches Facebook Page
By the Pennsauken Board of Education: Nick Perry, President; Allyson Meloni-Scavuzzo, Vice President; Cheryl Duffy; Michael Hurley; Diane Johnson; Leona Moss; Jennifer Slattery; Orlando Viera; and JoAnn Young
As social media takes on a more prominent role in our society, the Pennsauken School District has looked into increasing its social media presence over the last few years. While there is currently no district-wide social media page, several departments have used social media to highlight Pennsauken students and their accomplishments. A perfect example is our high school’s athletic department, headed by Eric Mossop. You can find Pennsauken Athletics on both Facebook and Twitter.
Social media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, provide opportunities for school districts to share a variety of information. For the most part, this form of communication is well received. However, social media threads can devolve from helpful to uncivil very quickly.
Over the last several years, there have been a variety of articles discussing the pros and cons of school districts utilizing social media. The major strength of social media is that it allows us to be better connected to the community and increases opportunities for transparency. It also establishes a platform to highlight school initiatives and acknowledge the accomplishments of outstanding students. Of course, there are numerous challenges as well. In the last several months, for example, threats posted to school district pages in Penns Grove and Gloucester Township have caused certain schools to be put on lockdown. Though lockdown procedures are a necessary part of security, they do cause disruptions in the educational environment and can increase anxiety for students and staff. Additionally, some districts have reported issues with individuals posting inappropriate material, such as false claims about staff and students, or negative comments that could potentially be harmful to the district and the surrounding community.
The Pennsauken Board of Education, in conjunction with Superintendent Tarchichi and other members of our administration and staff, have monitored the challenges and strengths that social media has offered in other districts. We already have in place policies that address appropriate use of social media between our staff and students and use of social networking sites. After a great deal of research, Pennsauken School District has decided to embark on creating a Facebook page. In order to dedicate the appropriate time and resources to managing this page and ensuring that it follows our policies, the Pennsauken Board of Education has hired Frank Sinatra as our part-time District Communications Liaison. Mr. Sinatra will not only maintain content on our Facebook page, but also Pennsauken.net, the District’s web site, which was re-launched last year. A 40-plus year resident of Pennsauken, he serves as the public relations consultant for Pennsauken; maintains the Township’s web site; and is editor of All Around Pennsauken. He has almost 20 years of experience in advertising, marketing, public relations, journalism, and technology. The Board believes his experience makes him uniquely qualified to do this job. As one of Mr. Sinatra’s first tasks, he has established the Pennsauken School District Facebook page, which was officially launched on March 6.
The Pennsauken Board of Education is hopeful that we can utilize social media to highlight our extraordinary district. While the District faces a wide variety of challenges, there are many positives things happening in our schools. We believe that we can use our Facebook page to increase awareness of all of the wonderful accomplishments of our students and staff, which will hopefully help to create a more balanced and accurate depiction of the amazing community in which we live.
Board Bit Of The Month
Seventy-one percent of American teens and 79 percent of American adults use Facebook. With such high usage of this social networking site, the Board of Education believes it can facilitate communication within the Pennsauken School District and the Pennsauken community.