Evesham Township School District wins public relations award for social media content
In 2012, the Evesham Township School District decided it needed to be a little more social.
It was that year the district embarked on its Goals 2017 Strategic Alignment Plan to set broad guidelines for the district for the next six years, included in which were directions to research and explore social media options for the district’s future.
After investigating how other large school districts were using social media, analyzing the district’s prior forms of communication compared to social media and ultimately evaluating potential benefits and risks, the main result was the establishment of a district Facebook page.
That page, currently sitting at slightly more than 1,500 “likes,” has now led to the district being honored at the New Jersey School Public Relations Association’s 2015 School Communication Awards with a second-place award in the social media category.
“It all stems from goals 2017, our strategic plan, and expanding into social media, and Facebook was where we expanded,” Superintendent John Scavelli Jr. said.
According to the NJSPRA, the organization holds the annual School Communication Awards to recognize outstanding print and electronic materials in educational communications programs throughout the state.
The NJSPRA received more than 30 nominations from 13 counties, with this year being the first time schools were able to compete in the new categories of video and social media.
According to the NJSPRA, the awards also work to recognize district communications that do more than just announce important information to the public.
Scavelli described the district’s Facebook page in a similar manner.
“Basically, it was to display the kids’ achievements and activities in the schools and a way to get that information out to the public and promote our children and our staff,” Scavelli said.
In the last half of this year alone, in addition to postings about when the district would be closed for inclement weather or when PARCC testing was to occur, a large portion of the district’s posts detailed, through text and photo, the activities and projects of its students in the classroom.
The posts showcased author visits, charity drives, students assuming the role of superintendent for a day, elementary school science fairs and science nights, Earth Day projects, chick egg hatchings, school color runs, the district’s art show, a visit from the Phillie Phanatic, middle school graduations and more.
Scavelli said he believes the page has been developing over the years and has gone well.
“It has a good following and our followers are increasing little by little, and it’s just another avenue, another vehicle that a lot of people use and it’s a way to reach them and get information out to them so it’s been good,” he said.
Scavelli credited the work of district director of curriculum and instruction Danielle Magulick, who he said handles much of the social media operations in conjunction with district’s public relations firm Laura Bishop Communications.
“I’d say overall it’s been a very positive experience and it’s well thought out,” Scavelli said. “It’s not random. We really want to put the good information out there, and they do a nice job.”