Each year, #SocialSchool4EDU recognizes the top social media efforts from K12 schools in our annual “Golden Gribble” awards. You can learn all about the 20 winners from 2023 in this blog post.
But with more than 270 different submissions, you can imagine so many more schools, videos, posts, and unique ideas deserve mentioning! That’s why this year, I just had to share some of the entries that were so close to earning that coveted thumbs-up trophy. 👍
So sit back, relax, and get ready for another dose of inspiration to start the 2023-24 school year.
🏅 Teacher-Student Connection Recognition – Anchorage Public School, KY – Adrienn Carman
Who knew a simple “Who am I?” game could gain so much attention? Anchorage Public School shared this short video of Mrs. Robinette guessing her students’ names using only the sounds of their voices. It received over 500 views and multiple comments, which is HUGE for this small district of roughly 400 students.
🏅 Innovative Staff Retention Recognition – Mountain View Whisman School District, CA – Corinne Mitchner
In collaboration with the City of Mountain View, Mountain View Whisman School District is building an affordable staff housing facility to ensure they can keep their high-quality staff in a city with a high cost of living. This informative video provides background on the facility for community members. It showcases footage of construction to retain existing staff and draw new employees to the district. This was a really unique idea that I just had to share!
🏅 School Commercial Video Recognition – Harmony Public Schools, TX – Sadan Gunonu
Harmony Public Schools is a system of 62 public charter schools in Texas. With over 38,000 students attending their schools across the state, they serve a diverse population of students and families. This well-crafted video is geared toward their Spanish-speaking families and highlights the hands-on learning opportunities students receive when they attend HPS.
Here’s the English translation of the video:
“Our children deserve everything, beginning with the best possible education in Harmony Public Schools. We are committed to a welcoming and family-centered environment where our students feel inspired, motivated, and challenged. At Harmony, we encourage our students to innovate and tackle real-world challenges as they prepare to become the future leaders of our community.”
Check out Harmony Public School’s Youtube channel to see even more examples of high-quality videos they have created to promote their schools and the products of their education system, their students.
🏅 Outstanding Short-Form Video Recognition – Santa Ana Unified School District, CA – Theresa Cisneros
Santa Ana Unified School District underwent a major revamp in how they collect video this past school year and have seen promising results. Instead of using large, heavy camera equipment to record and produce lengthy horizontal videos, they considered their digital audience and adopted a “social-first mindset.” They equipped their social media staff with iPhones and more than doubled the size of their filming staff, from 2 to 5, because of this simple switch to accessible recording devices.
Their staff now records videos in a vertical format so they can easily repurpose the footage for reels on Facebook and Instagram. These steps have helped them to be more relevant and better engage with their online community. While change may not always be easy, this proves that adapting your methods to the new technology and social media around us can be worth it.
Take a look at Santa Ana USD’s Youtube shorts, which they also shared across their other social media platforms throughout the year.
🏅 Outstanding Short-Form Video Recognition – Saint Edmond’s Academy, DE – Jill Fella
Timing is everything! When the Phillies made the 2022 World Series, students wore their fan gear to cheer on their nearby team. After recording this fun video of students dancing to music at lunchtime, Jill considered her audience and strategically posted it to TikTok shortly before the evening game started. She hoped it would make it onto TikTok’s #fyp page, and it did!
The result of this mastermind move? 9,058 likes, 589 shares, and it has been viewed more than 85.7K times! Now that’s how you hit it out of the park!
🏅 Outstanding Short-Form Video Recognition – Dalton Public Schools, GA – The DPS Communication Team
Being in the right place at the right time can make all the difference. This video from Dalton Public Schools went viral on TikTok when two students were caught “walking” in the halls. It has over 168K views and produced great engagement.
It’s hard to believe DPS has only been on TikTok for one year because they already have over 2,500 followers, and their page is exploding with great content that has increased student engagement exponentially.
🏅 Outstanding Short-Form Video Recognition – Otsego Public Schools, MI – Holly McCaw
Have you ever heard a song play on the radio and thought, “Oh! What a perfect song for my next reel!”? If so, you are not alone. Holly from Otsego Public Schools heard “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” by Panic! At the Disco and knew it would be a perfect fit for a graduation reel, and I couldn’t agree more! I especially love that she planned ahead and knew the video shots she wanted to get in order to capture the “feeling” of graduation.
🏅 Outstanding Short-Form Video Recognition – Eastpointe Community Schools, MI – Caitlyn Kienitz
I love when schools align their communication efforts with their district’s mission, vision, and motto. Your staff, students, and community members should know what your district does and why you do it (mission statement), your high-level goals for your students and their future (vision statement), and the district’s motto that encompasses it all. Social media is a great way to convey these values to your community!
Eastpointe Community Schools, a 2023 Golden Gribble Facebook Standout Award winner, recently established a new mission, vision and motto for their district. They utilized Facebook and Instagram Reels to showcase why these new statements were important to their district. Caitlyn created a 7-part video series that asked students of all ages questions focused on some key descriptors.
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- What does it mean to be part of a community?
- What does it mean to empower others?
- How do we show that we care about others?
- What does success look like to you?
- What is your vision for the future?
Since publishing the videos, Caitlyn has received amazing feedback from staff and community members, and it was a fantastic way to let their students’ voices be heard.
And if you want to see how one school in northern Wisconsin has taken its mission statement and motto to the next level within its schools and community, head over to this blog: “Your School Mission: More Than a Statement.”
🏅 Outstanding Short-Form Video Recognition – Troy City School District, NY – Jason Laz
This next honorable mention is an excellent example of how sometimes the best social media content will smack you in the face, literally! What was intended to be a video of the football team running onto the field turned into an accidental takedown from the offensive/defensive lineman and the highest-performing content EVER for Troy City School District’s Instagram account. With the perfect background music and humorous text, this video has 72K views and nearly 10K likes, and according to Jason, it was all worth it!
Kudos to you for making lemonade from lemons, Jason, and being such a good sport! My advice for anyone trying to capture a football run out this fall? Wear a helmet!
Jason also received a Golden Gribble for Outstanding Photography. To see his award-winning photo, head over to the blog here!
🏅 Outstanding Short-Form Video Recognition – University School of Nashville, TN – Sierra Smith
It’s no surprise that TikTok and Reels have become such powerful, engaging platforms on social media. Sierra jumped on the bandwagon at the University School of Nashville and has found great success. She uses TikTok to combine photos and videos into one post, chooses popular background music to engage students, and likes to incorporate organic footage of teachers and students participating in trending dances. She also repurposes some of the content into Reels, highlighting classroom projects that otherwise lack a visual component.
She put together this video to showcase a senior tradition at their school.
I have several helpful resources if you want to learn more about Reels and how to use them to grow your reach! Check them out!
- Blog: Ignite Your Instagram with These 10 Reels Ideas
- Podcast Episode 136: Making “Reel” Connections with Students Through Instagram Reels with Megan Renihan
- Podcast Episode 147: TikTok, Reels, and Consistent Storytelling for Your District with Breanna Hensley
- Free Downloadable Resource: 25 Reels Ideas for Your School
🏅 Outstanding Short-Form Video Recognition – Dancing Moose Montessori, UT – Elizabeth Cribbs & Sarah Adams
If Dancing Moose Montessori sounds familiar, it’s probably because they won the Instagram Idol Award two years in a row in my Best of Social Media Awards! Their branded color-coding and immaculate organization doesn’t stop at their Instagram Highlights. It also extends to their Instagram Reels, which is why they have earned a spot on my honorable mention list.
Each reel has a consistent cover photo and is labeled to allow people visiting their page to easily navigate to the reel they are hoping to see. They also utilize the “pinning” feature, so their three favorite reels are pinned to the top of the page, influencing people’s first impressions when viewing their reels. Brilliant!
🏅 Outstanding Short-Form Video Recognition – St. Gabriel’s Catholic School, TX – Amanda Finlaw
Amanda is a rock star in creating entertaining video content for social media. We have not one but three stellar examples from St. Gabriel’s Catholic School to share with you. These examples illustrate how you can use Reels to engage your audience, thank your community, and celebrate your students.
- Spike, the school’s mascot, frolics around campus and thanks the community for participating in their one-day annual fund campaign, Operation 10-4.
- Second-grade students and the school security officer are featured in this video to thank a family who donated “The People Mover,” which helps facilitate crowds at their events and cross-campus activities.
- When mother nature gives you rain, go splash in the puddles!
🏅 Outstanding Short-Form Video Recognition – Chequamegon School District, WI – Chad Patzkill
If you receive my free e-newsletter, read my blog, listen to my podcast, or follow me on social media, you know how much I love when districts tap into the creative energy of their students to produce high-quality content for social media.
Chequamegon School District empowers a talented team of students to produce Reels for their Instagram page. Their students recorded and edited this video to promote a fan bus to their basketball team’s regional game. After watching, you’ll see why they deserve the Outstanding Short-Form Video Recognition for this student takeover.
🏅 Outstanding Long-Form Video Recognition – Atchison Public Schools, KS – Lindsey Hansen
When a student started a fundraiser so others could eat hot lunch at his elementary school, Atchison Public Schools never anticipated it would morph into such a large event, raising over $1,000! They created this 60-second news clip, which features interview footage with the student and a well-scripted voiceover, to send to their local TV stations. The local newspaper even picked up the story! The student received a Community Service Award at a School Board meeting for his efforts to support his peers. Well done!
🏅 Outstanding Long-Form Video Recognition – Monroe Local Schools, OH – Adam Marcum
The next video to receive the Outstanding Long-Form Video Recognition is a tear-jerker, so grab your Kleenex before pressing the play button! Adam created this touching video to highlight the important work of Monroe Local Schools’ transportation staff and shared it on their social media for National Bus Driver Appreciation Day.
Adam spent the morning riding with Miss Aimee to capture the special everyday moments between her and the students who ride her bus. This video is an honorable mention stand-out because of the story it tells, the included interviews with Miss Aimee and the students, and the top-notch editing and background music that complement the heartwarming feeling of the overall video.
This video was loved by the community, too. There were over 40 comments shared on the post to thank Monroe’s transportation staff – a school board member even left one!
🏅 Outstanding Long-Form Video Recognition – Putnam City Schools, OK – AJ Graffeo
School public relations professionals are some of my favorite people. We all have different backgrounds, career paths, and skill sets that have landed us in the roles we serve today. AJ at Putnam City Schools used his unique career path – law enforcement officer turned middle school teacher turned Multi-Media Communications Specialist – to create this video spotlight about Officer Figueroa, one of their resource officers at the middle school.
The video was AJ’s first project in his new role for the Communications Department and the first video in their “Go Boldly” video campaign series. The video does an incredible job highlighting the vital position resource officers have in our schools, and my favorite moments were those where you could see Officer Figueroa interacting and making connections with the students. It’s clear he is a trusted individual and makes a difference.
You can watch the second video in the campaign here, which features Mr. Lance, a 5th-grade teacher and archery team sponsor.
🏅 Outstanding Long-Form Video Recognition – Gresham-Barlow School District, OR – Athena Vadnais
To celebrate Career Technical Education Month, the Gresham-Barlow School District’s communications team spotlighted four of the district’s programs through video. This video about the Automotive Program introduces the community to a student benefiting from the program and the automotive instructor. With 6.6K views and a reach of 10.8K, it was a hit with the community.
In addition to the video, the caption is also something I’d like to point out. It gives a fantastic program overview and a link for followers to learn about the district’s CTE Program offerings. Great idea!
🏅 Outstanding Long-Form Video Recognition – Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District, TX – GCISD Communications
The next Outstanding Long-Form Video Recognition goes to the GCISD Communications Team for several reasons. Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District’s rendition of the song “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” titled “Rockin’ Around GCISD,” was a true district-wide effort, calling upon their schools, students and staff to pull it all together. It even features the vocals from their High School’s Mustang Jazz Choir, who was asked to sing the rewritten lyrics!
Another unique aspect of the video is that it highlights the transition from one superintendent to the next, which occurred at the start of the new calendar year. This project was a creative way to honor their superintendent’s 13 years of service before his retirement and welcome the incoming superintendent to the district. It brought the community together by showing the positive news and good things happening in the district during the transition.
Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District also received the 2023 Golden Gribble Staff Highlight Award.
🏅 Outstanding Long-Form Video Recognition – Bellingham Public Schools, WA – Andrew Forhan & Bellingham Public Schools
If you want to recognize individuals in your district and community who support students and are key partners in education, look no further than Bellingham Public Schools. Each year, their Promise Awards program recognizes the exemplary achievements and contributions of staff and volunteers connected to The Bellingham Promise, their district’s strategic plan.
Nominations for the awards are reviewed and scored by a committee. Then, the superintendent surprises each recipient with a visit to their place of work. Their communication efforts also include a written announcement and, finally, their much-anticipated annual video.
The video is an excellent storytelling tool as it recaps the recognition of the great people and partners in supporting their students. I love that Bellingham Public Schools is mindful of its audience when putting the video together. They make sure it provides a summary of the honorees and avoids using too much academic jargon, making it easier for viewers to understand.
The effort, time, and thought put into creating the annual video is well worth it! It spreads awareness for the Promise Awards and contributes to numerous new nominations yearly.
🏅 Outstanding Long-Form Video Recognition – Delavan-Darien School District, WI – Ashley Duchemin
Student enrollment among schools can be competitive, especially when your state allows students to enroll in any school they’d like, which is the case in Wisconsin. Delavan-Darien School District put together this video to showcase their five schools and used it to attract students and families to open enroll in their district.
The process of creating this video was well planned out. First, Ashley brainstormed what sets their district apart from others and knew the items on this list would be the areas to cover within the video. Then, she identified the staff, students, and classes to be featured. Finally, her team spent an entire day, approximately 10 hours, taking videos and photos to capture enough information to use and showcase their schools.
The final video shared on social media has 25K views! It’s also posted on their website and referenced within other print materials to promote open enrollment and encourage others to make Delavan-Darien School District their school of choice.
Congratulations to our 2023 Golden Gribble Honorable Mentions! And don’t forget! If you want to win a coveted thumbs-up trophy from our Best of Social Media Awards, watch for our next round of self-nominations in February. We have a feeling the 2024 Golden Gribble Awards will be the best yet! 👍