Celebrating the Ultimate School District Success Story: Graduation
Graduation is a monumental step in the educational journey of high school students across the country, and an important celebration of their hard work and dedication. For communications professionals working with K-12 schools, graduation is also an opportunity to celebrate districts’ success in helping students cross the finish line.
To amplify communications efforts and raise awareness for the success of a district, there is no better storytelling opportunity than graduation. As communicators, we know that names and faces of real people are what resonates with parents, families and members of the community. Graduation season gives schools ample opportunity to celebrate the achievements of their senior class. It also reinforces within the community that education is a marathon, not a sprint, and student success is often achieved over the long haul.
Social media profiles are a great place to start. To get the ball rolling, schools can connect with graduating seniors to learn what their plan is after graduation, what they enjoyed most about school, and how their educational journey prepared them for what is to come. While the valedictorian is an obvious candidate for a profile, it’s likely that there are also many others who have overcome the obstacles or have unique stories to tell.
While brief content is advised on most social media platforms, we find these profiles to be an exception to the rule. Readers will typically indulge in two to three paragraphs if the human interest angle is compelling—as seen in the example from Niles Community Schools below. Tagging relevant organizations, like the university the student plans to attend and clubs they participate in, is a great way to ensure more members of the community see the content. These profiles can also be distributed to local media, including newspapers, radio programs and even TV shows to invite local journalists to feature graduating seniors in celebration of the season.
High school graduation also paints a larger, collective picture of success in the district. Perhaps 75% of a school’s graduating class received merit-based college scholarships or passed an AP exam; or the percentage of seniors earning their diploma has increased from one year to the next. Each of these data points can be used to tell the story of schools’ success, and for that reason, are critical stories to share with the community.
For schools, celebrating graduation through traditional and social media offers more than providing a well-deserved nod to hard-working young women and men – it ensures residents of all ages are reminded of the value the school brings to the entire community.
Clare Liening is a director at Lambert & Co.