Cinnaminson Township Public Schools join Facebook and Twitter

The district wants to connect more with parents

In mid-December, Cinnaminson Township Public Schools launched its first Facebook and Twitter pages. While the school district may be a little late to the game, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Stephen Cappello says there are some advantages to the late start.

“We didn’t want to start a social media feed that we couldn’t maintain regularly,” Cappello said. “We took a look at what our neighbors were doing and looked at best practices.”

It was Cappello’s idea to start a Facebook and Twitter page for Cinnaminson schools. Since Cinnaminson will be able to learn from the mistakes of other districts who joined social media earlier, Cappello is hoping the pages will be successful.

“Social media makes it so easy to get stuff out there with the smaller and more exciting things that are happening in the classrooms every day,” Cappello said.

Cappello was the director of technology in the Maple Shade School District until he became the principal in 2014. He says Maple Shade was one of the first districts in South Jersey to have a social media presence.

“We found that we got a lot of value out of it,” Cappello said. “Parents were receiving information on their phones, on their tablets … that’s where they were spending their time.”

Last year, Cappello joined Cinnaminson Township Public Schools as both the director of curriculum and instruction and the anti-bullying coordinator.

Cappello added when he created social media pages in Maple Shade eight years ago, social media was very new, so he had to establish policies. He plans to use similar policies in Cinnaminson.

“We make sure we’re going into it on a well-thought-out manner and we’re approaching things in the right way,” Cappello said, adding the district is dedicated to protecting its students and making sure students have permission to be identified on the district’s social media pages before posting anything.

Cappello says the main goal for creating social media pages is to connect with parents, which is why he chose to start with Facebook and Twitter — that’s where the parents are right now. He also wants to use the pages to highlight special accomplishments by students in the district, spread information about upcoming events and fostering a relationship between the schools and the community.

“Schools have become synonymous with the use of social media,” Cappello said. “This is a way to have an official presence as a district to celebrate some of the great things that are going on.”

Cappello will also take into consideration all feedback that comes from the social media pages, including likes, comments and the ability to see how many people are viewing the posts.

Cappello has no concrete plans to create additional social media pages and is going to use this year as a metric for success to see where Facebook and Twitter goes. He believes his experience in his previous district has fully prepared him for knowing what makes appropriate posts as well as balancing sharing information while not oversharing.

“The Cinnaminson community is so positive. Our message that we’re presenting is really highlighting a number of great things coming out of the schools,” Cappello said.

Cinnaminson Township Public Schools is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CinnaminsonSchools/ and on Twitter at twitter.com/CinnaminsonBOE