The world is shaped by two things — stories told and the memories they leave behind.” —Vera Nazarian
Stories are memorable. Stories create connections. Stories matter.
That’s why the best way to stand out on social media is to tell STORIES through your posts!
And the best way to give your community stories they will remember is by highlighting students.
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What Stories Should You Find?
There are great moments happening all of the time at school. Molly winning the spelling bee…Damien earning a scholarship…Kai getting a 100% on his math test.
Those moments are absolutely worth sharing, but I’m pushing you to find real, heart-warming stories to share.
Think of perseverance, determination, grit, or overcoming an obstacle. Which students have shown these characteristics? We want to tell their stories!
And that story doesn’t have to be a novel. Don’t think that you need to write a long, elaborate story. Or that you need to create a lengthy, highly edited video. I’ll share several more examples at the end of this article, but let’s start with one story.
Tara Adams, the Communications Coordinator for Lakeside School District in Arkansas, shared this highlight of Aaron. Aaron was diagnosed with autism at a young age and is nonverbal. He also has a fighting spirit and loves the game of basketball. What a treat to see Aaron accept his position as Student Assistant for the LHS Boys Basketball team! Check out the engagement on the post.
How to Find Great Student Stories
The only way to discover the stories is to start looking! You should start with your staff. They have close relationships with the students and should be able to identify some ideas.
Here are a few ways to communicate with staff:
- Announce that you’re looking for stories at the cabinet or leadership level. Principals may be able to identify some students to highlight.
- Attend the in-person staff meeting at the building level. If you can speak directly with staff, that may be the best way to ensure that they understand what you’re looking for.
- At last resort, you can send out an email explaining what you’re looking for. I give this as a last resort because you never know if your staff will read your email!
If you struggle to find options with staff, you could open up your request to your community. This could be done via a social media post with a form included, which will allow you to easily collect submissions from your followers.
Because of the sensitive nature of some of the stories, you may need to get approval from a parent or guardian. Don’t skip this step! A simple phone call followed up with something in writing will be enough.
How to Share Student Stories
The first decision you should make after identifying your story is how you will share it.
- Will it be written, and so you’ll need photos to go along with it?
- Will you put together a video, where the interviews will be shared?
- Will you do a live video to share the story?
Once you know how you’ll share the story, you can conduct your interviews. I recommend direct interviews with the student, staff, and/or family involved. If you choose to do a video, you’ll want to record your interviews. If you want to write a story, you still might consider recording the interviews – at least just the audio. Direct quotes will help your story come alive!
I don’t think you need to pressure yourself to share these types of stories on a weekly basis. I would rather set a goal for one story per month. These stories will positively impact your school and community, so they are worth the extra effort!
Examples of Great Student Stories
Here are some examples to get your creative juices flowing! Please take note of the images used along with the writing style. It all matters in conveying your heartfelt story.
This sweet story about Emi comes to us from Oostburg School District in Wisconsin. Two years ago, Emi lost her lower arm and hand in a lawnmower accident. She has been on an incredible journey of strength but has been resistant to wearing “Ariel” (her prosthetic). Read about her perseverance in this post.
This story reached over 10,000 people and had 22 comments and 51 shares! The photos, along with the short, three paragraphs of text, are the perfect combination to tell a beautiful student story.
Short stories are great, but sometimes your story will warrant more elaboration.
Lauren Boettcher, Manager of School & Community Relations at Lakota Local Schools, shared this Facebook post highlighting Arju. She is an amazing student who is new to the district, is blind, and is learning to read music in braille! She summarized the story for the Facebook post but then linked to the full story on their website.
Naugatuck Public Schools in Connecticut found a very unique way to highlight a student’s special talent. Laraine Weschler, the Communication Specialist, went on Facebook Live with Javier as he responded in real-time, identifying the day of the week of any date in history. If given a movie, he also could tell you the date it came out. Skip ahead to about 2:50 in the video, when the audio was fixed.
Liz Robbins, the Communications Coordinator at Tipp City Schools in Ohio, was thrilled at the response to this short story of adoption! Check out all of the engagement. Liz was just so excited about all of the warm, loving responses. The story led to media coverage, too. It just proves that the world needs the stories of our students!
This final social media story example comes from a school I work with – a small Wisconsin school district! Cheyanne is a classmate of my youngest daughter and recently celebrated her final chemotherapy treatment. I reached out to her mom so that we could share the great news with the community that has supported her throughout her journey.
Now it’s your turn! I just can’t WAIT to see the stories you share on your school pages! Please share a link below so that we can see even more incredible examples of student stories.
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