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Hear That Sound? Your Principal is Tweeting You

Red Bank Regional Principal Risa Clay is using Twitter to let parents and students know what's going on in 140 characters or less.

I knew there had been a shift in the social media landscape when my 19-year-old son friended me on Facebook not long ago but then balked when I tried to follow him on Twitter.

Principal Risa Clay is seizing on the growning popularity of tweeting and is getting the word out to parents and students 140 characters at a time.

"For kids, that's what they do," Clay said of teens' reliance on sites like Facebook and Twitter to keep up with and disseminate information. She's hoping that now they are back in school, students will start following her on the social media Web site where her handle is @PrincipalClay.

From reminders about an upcoming freshmen barbeque to pictures from the boys soccer practice to an article on finding great apps for kids to use, Clay has been busy tweeting pertinent information to her followers.

After Wednesday's board of education meeting, Clay told me that she was looking to find another venue other than e-mail to get information out to the school community. She said that there is no end to what is tweet-able, like activity schedules, articles on education and adolescent trends and coverage of the school by local media.

And sometimes, Clay just passes along some inspiration to her followers, like Friday's tweet quoting Goethe, "Whatever you do or dream you can do – begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it."

You can follow Risa Clay on Twitter @RisaClay.

Marjorie Smith September 08, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Maybe she will discern how her students can achieve a diploma in 140 characters or less. Kids can't read a novel these days because they have limited attention spans...140 characters or less. Educators should lead their students, not follow them.
Cassandra Dorn September 08, 2012 at 12:38 PM
As a high school teacher, I must disagree. Yes, kids' attention spans are shorter. Yes, educators face different challenges than we did in the past. But this week, my students handed in journals about the novels they read over the summer; not only did they read the books, they responded to the novels with deep insight and personal connection. Principal Clay is not trying to educate students through Twitter, she's using a modern tool to connect with and build the school community. Don't write off the next generation quite yet.
michele lombard September 08, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I must agree with Ms. Dorn on the increasing importance of valuing our young people and appreciating their new communication tools and styles. Technology advances have enabled students to access information at warp light speeds. Educators have a crucial role in providing students with fundamental communication skills, nurturing and supporting their development and facilitating their transition from childhood into adulthood. Our young people have mulitple styles and methods for learning and the new technology tools support the educational foundations that have hopefully been put into place since their early childhood. Technology is here to stay and now it is time for educators to effectively and positively use this technology with their students. I feel that Ms. Clay must be commended for her desire to encourage appropriate communication and community with her students. Appropriately communicating and connecting with students helps to nurture and support their development outside the traditional walls of the brick and mortar classroom. Best wishes for a wonderful school year everyone.
Marjorie Smith September 09, 2012 at 02:34 PM
I work in a small business and I see evidence on a daily basis that the distractions of technology are causing a decline in the quality of work product in all types of employment. People in general are more concerned about their next text message than satisfying their job requirements. I think there should be less nurturing and more demanding. As an employer, I make demands that need to be fulfilled...maybe one day by one of your students and I will not be understanding of their need for nurturing just as China, India, the European Union, and countless other nations who are turning out better educated students will not understand!

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