Brand your school!

Has your school joined the 21st century? If not, it is time! Gone are the days of just making sure that the front of your school is warm and welcoming, paper newsletters, and hand written notes home.  It is time to create a presence on the Internet for your school. Beyond the requirements of what you should be putting on your school website, there are so many things to share with your community and the world! What parent would not love to see their child’s art displayed on the school website or shared on Facebook? Reach out and draw interest to your school!

 Growing Social Media
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Branding your school allows you to market your school to your potential customers (students and parents) while reaping many benefits. Just a few of those benefits are:

  • Parent communication/involvement
  • School Pride
  • Capture interest of great educators/applicants
  • Put a positive spin on public education
  • Make everyone wish they went to Brand ISD!

Tools to Brand Your School

There are many ways to brand your school. Of course, what is going on inside is just as important as what is being broadcast on the outside! To begin branding your school, I recommend a few key tools to get started:

  • School Website – Make sure that this is full of important content. This should be the go to place for basic school information, ways to contact teachers and administrators, and updates on the school calendar. The majority of pages will not constantly change, but there should be periodic updates and items to draw people to your site. If you are still using FrontPage to build your school website, it is time for an overhaul!
  • Facebook – Students may not spend a lot of time on Facebook, but their parents do! Facebook is a great place to share photos, quick updates, important messages, and more. Celebrate and inform should be your motto on Facebook. Be sure to have your school information, logo, and school pictures to identify and brand your school/district. Facebook can be managed by one person or shared with multiple account administrators.
  • Twitter – Students do spend time on Twitter. In 140 words or less, send out important messages, updates, and celebrations. Of course everyone in Texas wants to know the latest update on the football game but don’t forget other important information such as important dates, number of National Merit finalists, UIL winners, and more. Be sure that you are reaching all groups within your school to create the best brand!
  • Instagram – Students and parents are on Instagram. This is a great place to share pictures and informational graphics. Look for unique pictures or spins on events to capture the attention of parents and students. Don’t forget to post to your other social media accounts when sharing through Instagram.

Don’t Forget…

As you move into the 21st century, don’t forget to do a few key things to protect your students, staff, and school!

  • Check your policies. If you don’t have a social media policy, get one!
  • Make sure that your student permission forms are up-to-date and include the sites you will be using!
  • Check before you post! Can you post a picture of all of the students included? Can you include first name, first and last name, last name only?
  • Do your research! What is the best way to set up your website and social media sites? What are well branded schools doing? Who should be allowed to contribute?
  • Train your people! Before turning educators lose on social media, train them on the best ways to implement it in their classroom and/or school. Don’t assume anything! Make sure they know the policies, what can and can’t be done, and best practice. I have seen too many bad judgment calls on fellow educators social media sites. Don’t let your teachers be the ones making headlines!

It is time to get out there and Brand Your School! For more information, please feel free to contact me at

For the love of….education!

The last month has been a time of celebration and love as many celebrated Valentine’s Day and the euphoria surrounding the ideal of love. During the month, I spent a lot of time reflecting…not about how much I love my husband (which I do) but how much I love education!

When I set out for college and my career of choice, I was determined to be a powerful accountant for a large company. After graduating with my BBA and getting a great accounting job, I soon found that I wanted to make a difference rather than make a lot of money for someone else. I knew that I loved kids and cherished my education. After losing my job, I entered a Master’s program in education and the rest is history! In the last 10 years, I have spent many hours/days learning and researching as much as I could about education. While I believe great educators have mastered an art, I do believe there is much science that can be used to benefit the art.

Why do I love education?

1. I LOVE the ability to make a difference in the lives of children!
2. I LOVE the ability to make a difference in the lives of educators!
3. I LOVE working with teachers passionate about teaching children and making them better people.
4. I LOVE sharing things I have learned with others and seeing the light bulb come on and excitement generated!
5. I LOVE engaging in conversations regarding the improvement of our education system and providing a richer learning environment for students.

I am currently at a mobile learning conference that I will blog about soon. I have been surrounded by passionate educators and people that want to make a difference in education. To move past the rhetoric of what why we need to change, perhaps we should first reflect on the reasons we work in education! I hope you will share with me and others regarding the reasons you LOVE education! I hope this will not only serve as an inspiration for your day-to-day passion, I hope it will lead to deeper discussions regarding how we can embrace the students that are entering our schools today and help prepare them for their world!

Contests for Technology in the Classroom

With looming budget shortfalls and an increase need for technology in the classroom, we must share opportunities to continue to put technology in the hands of our students.  Below are two opportunities that I received today via email.  Good luck!

The Win a Wireless Lab sweepstakes

Who: Public and private school teachers, administrators, school technology specialists and district employees

What: Ninth-annual sweepstakes awards three grand prizes of 21st-century classrooms from CDW-G and Discovery Education. Some of the prizes include a $5,000 digital media grant from Discovery Education, 20 notebook or tablet computers, and three wireless access points.

When: January 3 through May 6.

Where: Online

How: Applicants can enter the contest once a day online at or from the entry page, where they can post about the contest on Twitter. The Twitter method doubles their entry each day.

Why: “Educators today are challenged to create digital learning environments that mirror how students interact with the world outside the classroom,” said Mary Rollins, vice president of education partnerships at Discovery Education. “The Win a Wireless Lab sweepstakes gives schools the chance to win the hardware, content and training that empower educators to meet today’s 21st-century students in the digital world in which they live and learn.”

The Follett Challenge

Who: Private and public school librarians who actively champion an information literacy-based school program for students

What: A contest that awards prizes to school libraries that do the best job of applying technology, content and creativity in ways that engage students and foster literacy and critical thinking.

Five prizes, including a $35,000 first place prize and a sixth $10,000 prize will be awarded. Prizes will be good toward Follett products and services.

When: February 1 through June 1. Video voting begins June 23

Where: Online

How: Complete an application and submit a 3 to 5 minute video describing the program

Why: “A library’s ability to improve student performance depends in large part on the resources made available to them,” said Chuck Follett, President and CEO of Follett Corporation.  “Through this challenge, we’re committed to drawing attention to the undeniable connection between well-run libraries and student performance to ensure that one of our most important educational resources receives the attention and funding it deserves.”