Last Spring, our entire school was deep in the work of recreating our school brand, having just completed our new vision and mission and a newly designed school logo and mascot. We were also becoming increasingly connected as a community of learners within our team and beyond our school walls. One of the ideas that arose from our School Branding Task Group, a voluntary group of Taylor Mill Leaders who are passionate about clarifying and strengthening who we are and what makes us unique, was a school Twitter hashtag. After tossing around a couple of ideas and doing some quick searches for existing hashtags, we quickly decided on #TMGenius.
#TMGenius was something we were all excited about (we call all of our students Taylor Mill geniuses… more on that in an upcoming post) and so the next task at hand was to get others inspired and connected to it. That’s when I saw a post from Matthew Arend, a principal from TX in my PLN, on my Twitter feed.
It was closing day of school last Spring and our Branding Task Group was gathering for a quick planning meeting. I tossed the idea out to them, wanting to gauge whether they thought others would be interested in it. “A Summer Selfie Challenge?” I asked. I explained the idea and asked some follow-up questions. Will others be too tired over the summer to want engage on Twitter? Will they think it is cheesy? (Although they know me by now and probably expect that.) Will we have fun with this? Will this help us connect, build our brand and our community? I was met with an enthusiastic, “Yes, let’s do this!”
Thankfully, Matthew had been generous enough to share all of his resources, so I did what any great educator, with permission, would do. I copied. I personalized the directions and the board and sent it out to our entire team. And then nervously waited to see what would happen.
What we all witnessed last summer, and more importantly, felt a part of, was each of us going through our summer days, celebrating, rejuvenating, and sharing with one another all of those fun, special moments. We got to know one another better, our families and friends became surprisingly and passionately involved. We engaged in friendly competition. And, oh yes, we built our school brand. This challenge really was the tipping point in how #TMGenius has become a very integral part of our school brand, what makes us who we are and how we communicate and connect with others. Go ahead, do a quick search for #TMGenius on Twitter. You’ll see the awesomeness that is shared daily in our school community. Pretty nifty, right?
So this summer, today actually, we kick off our second annual #TMGenius #SummerSelfieChallenge. I’ll be sending out the directions to our team and will tweet the official board from our school Twitter account. And then we’ll watch the connections, celebrations, and #TMGenius fun abound!
As I tell our team, being a Taylor Mill Leader (we call all staff members Leaders) is not who you are when you step foot inside the school door. It is just who you are. We are building our school culture every day, even in the summer.
How can you amplify your school culture during the summer months? How can you take advantage of technology and inject some fun to inspire and connect your team? Most importantly, what are you waiting for? Join in the fun!