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Superintendents Take to Twitter to Kick Off School Year

From guest blogger Alyssa Morones

As school districts across the country kick off the new academic year, superintendents have been taking to Twitter to document, inform, and pontificate on all manner of education issues in this back-to-school season.

Superintendents are increasingly relying on social media tools like Twitter to communicate with their communities and connect with colleagues. One Twitter list of school district superintendents tallies the number of district chiefs who are tweeting at more than 500.

So just what are these district leaders tweeting about?

Many of them are showcasing the first days of school in their visits to classrooms, such as Hillsborough County, Fla., Superintendent MaryEllen Elia.

Others were using it as a platform to inform parents of changes or new services coming to the district this year. In Jefferson County schools in Louisville, Ky., Superintendent Donna Hargens tweeted about bus transportation.

Jim McIntyre, the superintendent of Knox County schools in Knoxville, Tenn., was tweeting to keep his district informed on the new common core standards that will be entering the curriculum this year and to express his support. Those tweets could be especially important in light of new polls revealing the public's relative lack of awareness of the standards.

In a follow-up tweet, he showed the standards already at work in the new school year.

In Miami-Dade County schools in Fla., Superintendent Alberto Carvalho was using Twitter recently to address the sensitive issue of testing. He told his Twitter followers that testing alone can't be the centerpiece for education reform.

And Joshua Starr—Montgomery County Md.'s superintendent and one of the first big-district chiefs to use Twitter regularly—was tweeting that schools need more positive supports, in addition to documenting scenes from classrooms as the new year got underway.

Houston superintendent Terry Grier also drew attention to an issue concerning all districts: waivers from the No Child Left Behind law. He tweeted his support for the eight California districts receiving NCLB waivers this coming school year, allowing them to pull the plug on outside tutoring companies.

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