In their penultimate meeting before the 2018 municipal election Oct. 9, the board of trustees for the School District of Mystery Lake (SDML) discussed the prospect of setting up Facebook and/or Twitter accounts in order to better engage with the public.
Though he wasn’t physically present, trustee Ryan Land broached the subject over the phone and expressed frustration that past conversations about setting up official SDML social media accounts haven’t gone anywhere throughout the last four years.
“I feel like we’ve had this conversation around social media for the better part of the term,” he said. “Is there actually something preventing us … from creating a Facebook profile and a Twitter profile and putting our community report out there?”
Trustee Sandra Oberdorfer said one obstacle is the fact that they don’t have any staff dedicated to cultivating a social media presence.
“We haven’t had the staff resources in the past and we may or may not in the future,” she said. “I don’t want to promise that any new staff will be provided to do that. That’ll be up to the new board.”
Land expressed doubts about the new board’s ability to spearhead such a campaign, since he feels like “they’re going to be as risk adverse as possible.”
Co-superintendent Angèle Bartlett mentioned that concerns about students’ privacy are another reason why the board has been so hesitant to tackle this kind of initiative head-on.
“I know a high percentage of kids are in-care. That’s a concern, their identity being released,” she said. “I know it was a concern of mine when I was a school principal.”
Chairperson Don Macdonald pointed out that many schools already have their own social media accounts that garner parent engagement, especially when it comes to sports.
“I look at the RDPC Athletics Twitter feed all the time and I love it,” he said. “But nothing else really comes close to matching that activity.”
While the board didn’t decide on a concrete strategy moving forward, they did tacitly agree that it would be a good idea to release the SDML’s latest community report via their schools’ existing social media pages.
During question period, trustee Leslie Tucker said that Rob Pellizzaro had set up an SDML Twitter account during his tenure as the board’s chairperson. However, that social media presence quickly fizzled out after Pellizzaro decided to not serve on the board following the 2014 municipal election.
The trustees’ final meeting of their current term is Oct. 23, one day before the next board is voted in by the public.