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RISD approves district social media use

School board president Alan Gedde and Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy speak during the Roswell Independent School District’s school board meeting last Tuesday. (Alison Penn Photo)

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The Roswell Independent School District’s (RISD) board of education voted last week to approve the utilization of social media platforms to improve communication and marketing district wide.

School Board President Alan Gedde, Vice President Ruben Sanchez, Secretary Dr. Kathleen Pittman and member Mona Kirk voted unanimously on the measure on Tuesday. Sanchez made the motion and Pittman seconded. Member James Edwards had attended some of the meeting telephonically, but was not on the phone when the vote was called.

RISD Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy introduced the item during the meeting, saying RISD needs to tell its own story as well as open lines of communication. McIlroy explained that Jerry Holm, a RISD photography and videography teacher, would oversee all the potential social media platforms.

After school members discussed the matter, McIlroy clarified that the vote on Tuesday would allow the district to establish RISD Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter accounts. By press time on Monday, no RISD social media accounts were active, nor have any launches been formally announced by RISD.

“We live in the social media world,” McIlroy said. “And many districts across the nation are utilizing social media markets exceptionally well. And, it does a number of different things. First of all, it makes you real to the community and it makes you real to your students because that’s the world that they kind of they live in. The second thing it does — is it enables us as a district to tell our story.

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“Typically, what happens anywhere is that the only people doing the talking are the ones with something bad to say … and what doesn’t happen is all of the wonderful things that happen on a daily basis in classroom after classroom after classroom across the district — those stories aren’t being told.”

McIlroy said that she had heard from the board that they want people to think “favorably and think highly of Roswell schools.”

“We need to start telling our stories and we need to do a better job of that,” McIlroy said.

McIlroy also said a social media presence could be a “great opportunity for recruiting” to attract potential teachers and other staff to the district, who may check the district’s social media platforms before the website.

Kirk questioned if Holm would stay in his current position and teach his classes while managing the district’s social media. McIlroy confirmed this and said in the next contract year the district will consider adding the position, which department it will be under and the costs associated during the budgeting process.

Though Kirk said Holm was “gifted and talented,” she said RISD is “beginning to get a little top heavy at central office” and that was her concern. Additionally, Kirk asked if the position was required to be posted by the district and McIlroy said an answer would be researched.

Kirk also said she would like to see assistant principals in the heavily populated elementary schools before other positions are added.

Gedde said he manages social media as part of his duties as a children’s pastor and that it “takes a long time” to generate, moderate and examine posts. He said for a district with 10,000 students “this could be a really big job.”

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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