Chief Storyteller

by Julie Vincentsen, Principal, Ruggles Lane School, Barre, MA

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As a Principal, I wear many hats. One of my favorites though is what I like to call, “Chief Storyteller.” We work hard each and every day at Ruggles Lane to create and to maintain a Respectful, Learning, Safe Community of learners (our school’s mission). As the Chief Storyteller, I consider it a privilege to be able to share our successes, no matter how small, with our school community. Our Instagram and Facebook pages, the Barre Blast (our newsletter) and our school blog are some of the vehicles used to share the story of Ruggles Lane with the community.

We live in a society celebratein which we are bombarded with negative news and the world of education is not immune to this negativity. When was the last time you remember hearing a story about the positive work a school is doing? As the Chief Storyteller for Ruggles Lane, I take seriously my role to share with our community the positive news that is happening each and every day in all of our classrooms. Our students and staff work hard, and that effort and dedication deserves to be celebrated!

As the Chief Storyteller, my goals are to:

  • Create a home-school connection in which all stakeholders are informed and have a voice
  • Celebrate our efforts to create & to maintain a #RespectfulLearningSafeCommunity
  • Provide families with conversation starters at home (What did you do in school today vs. I saw that your class did a sugar shake experiment – tell me about that!)
  • Model appropriate use of social media for children as many of them are following our social media accounts
  • Provide an opportunity for teachers to see what is taking place in one another’s classrooms
  • Create an opportunity for relatives near and far to share in the wonder of our learning community

At Ruggles, an additional goal this year is to use our communication tools to provide a forum for students to have a voice as story tellers as well. To this end, recently, a technology club was started during the 6th grade WINN block, our daily reinforcement/extension block. They have already written three blog posts to tell their stories and their goal is to publish at least one a week. This is also providing them an authentic vehicle to practice their writing. In addition, these students are beginning to post to our Instagram and Facebook accounts. Student posts contain the hashtag #RLSComputerChips. Throughout the year, I look forward to expanding this opportunity to other students as well.

As I look back on our Facebook feed for these first 30 days of learning, it has been a fantastic journey thus far and I look forward to continuing to share the wonders of our learning community with our school community and beyond. If you are interested in how you can begin using social media to tell your school’s story, feel free to reach out to me or come to Fall Conference as there will be a concurrent session on this topic. This will also be the topic of our learning on Monday, December 12th at MESPA for a day long presentation entitled Harnessing Social Media. Click here for more information!

NewProfileJulie currently works as a K-6 Principal for the Quabbin Regional School District in MA. She has been a school administrator for ten years and a connected educator since 2010. She is the Chair of MESPA’s Professional Development Committee and a Board Member. You can connect with Julie on Twitter @jvincentsen or on Voxer @jvince9309. She is the moderator of the MESPAChat on Voxer – if you are interested in learning more about this engaging collaboration tool, send her an email jvincentsen@qrsd.org.

Are you interested in sharing your ideas, insights and questions? If so, click here to sign up for a post. Are you interested but nervous because you’ve never blogged before and don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry – as long as you know how to use Microsoft Word you will be up to this challenge. We write for our communities all the time – this just changes your audience. You probably could even take a current newsletter you’ve written and repurpose it for your colleagues.

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