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Schools further engagement

Prince Edward County Public School (PECPS) officials reported on growing efforts to engage parents and members of the community during the division’s school board meeting last Wednesday.

Dr. Barbara Johnson

Executive Director of Instruction and. Curriculum Dr. Julie Gilliam offered a report about the efforts from newsletters, social media and community involvement in bringing awareness about the schools and their programs.

The efforts have been headed by Family and Community Engagement Liaison Jennifer Kinne, who was hired in August.

Gilliam described the growing activity from the division’s website and social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

In August, the Facebook page analytics reported yeided a total of 10,284 likes, comments and shares.

Gilliam noted that the shares are particularly important.

“If you think about it, each time one of those people (clicks) share, it goes to all of their contacts,” Gilliam said. “It snowballs.”

The PECPS Twitter account has reached approximately 14,300 people, and approximately 15,000 users have seen posts by PECPS on Instagram, Gilliam said

Jennifer Kinne

The Twitter account had averaged new four new followers a day in August, Gilliam said.

“I am very proud to say and that I appreciate very much all that Ms. Kinne is doing to keep the posts coming,” Gilliam said.

Division Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson said the Facebook page has been a better source for parents, while more students have recieved information from Twitter and Instagram activity.

Gilliam said the schools send out automated phone calls to parents.

Johnson said PECPS has been sending more automatic calls to engage parents in addition to social media efforts.

“The goal here is to make sure that we will stay informed (and) that we increase our communication. Because that was a concern when I first came here,” Johnson said.

Gilliam said Kinne has been attending numerous community organization meetings to represent PECPS, including helping with this year’s Heart of Virginia Christmas Mother, the Virginia Children’s Book Festival and Longwood Center for the Visual Arts.

Gilliam said PECPS is creating a divisionwide volunteering program and is in the process of  partnering with the Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity.

Gilliam noted that Kinne has sent monthly newsletters that are delivered to parents and community organizations.

Prospect District representative Darin Thomas said the newsletters he’d received in the mail had been in poor condition. Board members and administration said they would make sure to prevent it from happening again.

Board Chairman Sherry Honeycutt praised Kinne’s work toward greater engagement with the county.

Kinne credited the PECPS and wider community for making the efforts possible.

“I am not doing it alone,” Kinne said. “(There are) a lot of parents and community members and teachers who are helping to make all of this happen.”