Dr. Luvelle Brown, the Ithaca City School District Superintendent, joined members of the Cornell community Thursday to discuss ways in which the district is hoping to use social media and technology to communicate to teachers, students and other schools.
Brown focused the discussion on increasing the school district’s online presence through the use of social media, which he said can be a “tool to engage, empower and educate young people.
“The district has a YouTube, Facebook [and] Twitter [presence] and is going to be launching an improved website this summer,” he added.
Brown also emphasized the importance of connecting the school district with Cornell as it seeks to increase the efficiency of its communications.
“Everything we do has a connection to Cornell in some way. We have someone from Cornell come and help us with all our initiatives. It is very important for the ICSD and the University to work together,” he said.
Some of the biggest areas of opportunities and challenges for the ICSD, according to Brown, include managing its use of social media and its television presence.
“As a school district, we have a window of time right now to do some pretty powerful things that can then be used as a model for folks all over the country,” he added.
For instance, the district has started broadcasting its board meetings under Time-Warner Ithaca,” said Seth Peacock, first vice president of the ICSD Board oEducation.
“Brown’s commitment to communication has moved us forward,” Peacock said.
Members of the audience were given the opportunity to ask questions and give advice to Brown at the event, which was hosted by communicators@cornell, a network of Cornell staff working in the field of communications.
Ellen Hartman, a technical writer at the University, asked Brown about what methods of communciation the ICSD currently uses.
“It might be interesting to develop a communications representative from the school to get feedback,” she said. “Where are teachers getting their training to do more inclusive communication with the students?”
Responding to Hartman, Brown said the school district is working to promote effective communication between teachers and students through training sessions.
“This past January, we had a day-long session for everyone on inclusive practices and [hosted] multiple workshops. We have followed up with instructional coaching around this issue,” Brown said.
Cal Walker, outreach liaison to the ICSD for Cornell, said it is important for the school district and the University to maintain close communication as the district moves forward with its initiatives.
“We’re always looking to help connect resources at the University with the school district to collaborate in areas of mutual interest,” he said.
Brown said he thought that the collaborative discussion was successful.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to listen and learn,” Brown said. “The conversation is a perfect example of the collaboration that the school district is trying to foster with the University.”