TROY — Troy City Schools Superintendent Chris Piper addressed the board about the district’s social media presence and future policies at its meeting on Monday.
“We’ve done a lot of good work in the district in increasing our social media presence and communicating what we’re doing in the district, sharing the good news about the good work that is being done. But along the way, we’ve also have had some targeted discussions about how, who, when, where and why,” Piper said.
Piper said the district will begin using a “Social Media Site Authorization Form” next fall. The document will denote which social media platform the teacher or staff member is using, its purpose and will list all individuals with site account access and its user names and passwords.
“Any employee who works for the district that uses social media accounts in an official capacity will fill a form out that we keep on hand in the district office so we have access to that account should something arise,” Piper said.
Piper said administrators did an “audit” on the district’s social media presence with more than 50 varying accounts that the district is aware of on several platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
“Every sports team has an account, classrooms have an account, schools have an account,” he said. “This will be a good way to keep a handle on things, keep control of things and make sure things are appropriate.”
Piper said guidelines will be presented to staff members explaining the role of social media and the district’s expectations.
“I think our guidelines will go a long way towards helping staff understand what proper usage looks like and it will be a useful document,” he said. “Every employee will be required to sign off on that start of next school year.”
Piper said the district will continue to navigate what good social media “looks like” including postage times, number of posts and other analytic data. He said discussions have also included adding professional development in the area of social media. Piper noted students are more apt to use Instagram, with parents on Facebook and a mix of both on Twitter.
“None of us are social media experts,” he said.
Piper said he’s received good feedback from the public and noted there’s still more to be learned in the area, but the district is “heading in the right direction.”
Board member Tom Kleptz asked Piper what if a staff member didn’t want to give the district their passwords. Piper said there is a line between personal and professional, and the district doesn’t expect to have personal account information, but in such an instance, that staff member cannot use that platform to post school-related material.
“If you are going to use it as a coach or as Mr. Smith’s classroom, then we do need to have access to that account,” Piper said, adding that staff members violating those conditions would be considered insubordination.
“We have to have some protections in here for kids — things happen — so we are making sure adults use it appropriately and we’ve seen nothing that indicates anyone had done anything inappropriately, so we are just trying to be proactive,” Piper said.
Piper said he plans on addressing the issue with staff about the guidelines and social media use forms.
Board member Sue Borchers said some coordination would be helpful for the audience and planning content is a positive.
In other news:
• The district had to cancel its strategic planning meeting on Monday due to the weather. Piper said the district will reschedule that round of focus groups. Another focus group will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Hobart Arena Bravo Room.
• The board approved participating in the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission Expedited Local Partnership Program for new construction and major repairs since the school district intends to move forward with a ballot issue by May 2020.
• The board approved the 2019-20 and 202o-21 school district calendars. The 2019-20 calendar includes professional development days with no classes for students: Monday, Sept. 23, 2019; Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 (Columbus Day); Monday, Nov. 11, 2019; Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. The first day of school for students is Aug. 21, 2019.
• The board approved the high school’s 2019-20 course of study. Board members made various comments on the variety of classes the high school offers for all students.
• A coffee chat with Piper will be offered from 1-2 p.m. Feb. 26, at Tim Horton’s, 700 W. Main St., Troy. Join Piper, purchasing your own coffee, and get to know the new superintendent.