Community Communication Is Key to District Success
Award-winning superintendent encourages social media use in her district
Awards have a different meaning for different people and institutions, but if you see a pattern of related awards for a specific district and superintendent, it usually means they are onto something special.
Such is the case in Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) in southwest Florida. It is a large district spanning over 2000 square miles and boasting 50 schools. As superintendent, Dr. Kamela Patton understands the importance of open communication, not just between teachers and students, but with everyone in the entire community. In order to keep the community aware of what is going on in all the schools, Dr. Patton has embraced social media, and it has taken off.
It began three years ago when all fifty schools in the county opened Twitter accounts. While the initial fears of appropriate use and privacy concerns were present, three years later the program is considered a success, providing a daily window into the schools to anyone interested.
A year after launching the Twitter initiative, all fifty schools in the district set up a Facebook page to attract communication with the parent demographic, mostly ages 30s and 40s.
The most recent tool for the district to embrace has been Flipgrid, a video platform used for student engagement and formative assessments. “It’s been very popular for our students, what they’re able to exchange back and forth,” says Dr. Patton in this interview. “As a matter of fact, we recently had the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and our local Congressman Rooney. They came into a room where the kids were using Flipgrid. They actually became part of that lesson. They were able to show them how they can see each other’s classmates.”
With all this engagement and communication, the awards have been pouring in. The district’s Communications Department received 12 awards including a Gold Medallion from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce honored the district with its Excellence in Industry Chairman’s Award, and the Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT) and the School Media Technology Division (SMT) of AECT awarded the district its Richard B. Lewis Memorial Award for its outstanding utilization of technology.
Collier County is doing great things, and people are noticing.
About Dr. Kamela Patton:
Dr. Kamela Patton is the Superintendent of Collier County Public Schools (CCPS). She joined the district in June of 2011.
During her tenure, Dr. Patton has enhanced existing programs, instituted new technological tools, improved internal and external communications, and initiated new programs that increase student achievement. Under Dr. Patton’s direction, CCPS has improved its ranking to 5th in the State from 33rd. During her tenure, students have increased performance on state tests as evidenced by an increase in the percentage of students exceeding the state average to 91% from 30% between 2011 to 2017.
While academic success is the key focus of the school district, under Dr. Patton’s leadership, the district plans to be debt free within 10 years, a time period which includes building a new high school.
As part of the second three-year strategic plan created under Dr. Patton’s direction, the school district is focused on early childhood education, providing a college or career pathway for all students, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM), a high-quality staff with a strong succession management plan, fiscal responsibility, and communication.
Follow Dr. Kamela Patton on Twitter.