Your School’s Online Presence

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I recently read a blog post written titled Apparently My School Sucks where Greg Miller writes how his school fared on the Fraser Institute rankings based on their Provincial Achievement Tests that are given to their Grades 3 and 6 students. As the title hints, you can guess that they didn’t do so well!  At the end of his post, Miller links to a great video about his school and the wonderful initiatives they are taking part in, showing that his school is a much better place than what the Fraser Institute presented.

This got me thinking about the current online presence of our school. I hope it is not simply a Fraser Institute ranking. When people are Googling our school, what are they seeing?

Almost two years ago, when I was told  the name of the school where I was to be the new Vice Principal, the first thing I did was look at our district website. Here, I was able to see the school’s student enrolment, address, teachers, and presentation of self through a dull boring photo of mostly a parking lot (yawn).  Then, I went to Google.  Here I found a video of a girl (presumably a student at my school) running around our field screaming (woo hoo some excitement), some old pictures on Facebook that ex students had posted (future blackmailing possibilities), AND the Fraser Institute ranking…

A parent last year told me during Kindergarten interviews that she and her husband moved from another province with no ties to the community and decided on living in the north area of our district because it was close to her husband’s work.  Before they bought a house, they looked online and found that the Fraser Institute ranked our school as one of the highest scored school in the area (which isn’t that high, believe me!).  So, they proceeded to buy a house near our school and register their children here. That’s it!. (Boo hoo to all the other schools in the north who lost out on a great family just because the only info this family could find online was the Fraser Institute’s!). I was shocked that they made their decision as a result of one source. But, as she explained, they knew no one, they had never been here and had no idea of how to find more information.  They wanted their children to start school in September and were on a tight schedule, so there you go.

Where can people look for the other valuable information that we like to hold up high? Where can people find how dedicated our staff is; how happy, engaged, and safe our students feel; and how we celebrate successes and overcome difficulties?…

I believe that we are on our way to providing a more rich online presence now that we have blogs, a class website, photos of our celebrations, and our school plan easily found through our district’s website, but I can’t help feeling that we need to do more.

A new set of Kindergarten parents are trickling in to register their children at our school for September. This is such a great opportunity to put our best foot forward, not only in person but online. I don’t want parents to rely on the Fraser Institute results to help them decide what school to send their children to. I want them to see that we are more successful than that!

What is your school’s online presence?