Back-to-school time marks the start of a new school year, bringing both excitement and nervousness for students, parents and educators alike. As your school welcomes students back, leveraging social media and digital tools can foster a warm and inclusive environment that sets a successful tone for every student.
You can use various social media and digital tools to create great hype for the year ahead and help new and returning students feel welcomed. Here are ten creative ways to create a better back-to-school experience for your community.
Virtual Welcome Messages from Faculty and Staff
Heartfelt video messages from teachers and staff warm hearts and calm new-school-year jitters before your school doors actually open. These personal videos can convey enthusiasm for the upcoming year, introduce new faculty members, and help students become familiar with the faces they will see in the classroom. Keep them short and film teachers and staff in their classroom, office, on the football field, etc.–wherever their “school home” is. Use graphics to show their name, title, favorite school tradition and fun fact (a great ice-breaker).
Interactive Virtual Tours
To help students navigate their way around the campus, consider conducting interactive virtual tours. Try out tools like your mobile device’s 360-degree photography and video walk-throughs to showcase classrooms, the library, gym, dining hall, club spaces and more. Panoraven offers an easy-to-read tutorial on “How to Take a 360 Photo with a Smartphone.” If video is your choice of media, here’s a great article that explains exactly how to make 360 videos using your mobile device. Interactive maps also help students and parents explore the campus virtually at their own pace.
Back-to-School Digital Orientation Materials
Create digital orientation packets that can be easily accessed and downloaded from the school website or distributed via email. Include:
- The academic calendar
- School policies
- Contact details for key personnel
- Details about extracurricular activities
- All back-to-school events in a separate PDF (with times and locations and dress code, if you require a uniform)
By emailing your families this comprehensive information in a colorful and school-branded digital format, parents and students can access it conveniently and refer back to it throughout the year rather than searching for it on the school’s website.
Welcoming Hashtags and Challenges
Launch a back-to-school hashtag and challenge across social media platforms to encourage students to share their excitement about the upcoming academic year. For instance, you could create a challenge where students post photos of themselves engaging in a favorite school-related activity using a hashtag such as #My(School Name)Vibe, #(School Name)AcademicAntics or #(School Name)SpiritShowdown. Reward participation with online shoutouts, small prizes of spirit swag or recognition during a live assembly when you officially welcome your students back to school.
Social Media Contests
Organize fun and educational contests on social media to stimulate engagement and anticipation. Contests could include a “Guess the Teacher” challenge, where students guess which faculty member is described in a series of clues or a “School Spirit” photo contest. Be sure to promote these contests well in advance to generate enthusiasm among the school community. (Promote them in the digital orientation packet, too.)
Live Q&A Sessions
Host live Q&A sessions on social media with school administrators, the athletic director and counselors. You might include your IT director, as many new and returning families have IT questions. This interactive approach allows students and parents to ask questions directly and receive immediate responses. Address common concerns about the upcoming school year, clarify any doubts and provide helpful tips to ensure a smooth transition.
Virtual Meet-and-Greet Sessions
Schedule virtual meet-and-greet sessions between students and their new teachers before the school year begins. Informal sessions can take place through fun and informal video chats on platforms like Zoom, Skype and Google Meet, where students can introduce themselves and get to know their teachers in a relaxed setting. Raffelpress.com offers 17 social media contest ideas including details on how you can create a winning contest. These interactions will help students feel more at ease and build a positive connection right from the start.
Digital Icebreaker Activities
Kick off the school year with some digital icebreaker activities to foster a sense of camaraderie among students. You can create online polls or surveys to learn about students’ hobbies, interests and favorite subjects. Share the results with the entire school community to help students discover common interests and form connections.
Digital Back-to-School Welcome Kits
Develop digital welcome kits for students that include useful resources such as school calendars, study tips, time management guides and digital tools for academic success. Consider collaborating with educational apps or online learning platforms to offer students exclusive discounts or free trials. Be sure to post these guides on your website, too.
Sharing Success Stories
Use social media to showcase success stories of students who have achieved significant accomplishments in academics, sports, arts or community service. Scroll through last year’s student news to repurpose content and reach out to your rising seniors to see what they’ve accomplished over the summer. Highlighting these stories not only motivates current students but also showcases the school’s commitment to nurturing well-rounded individuals.
By leveraging these digital strategies to welcome your students Back-to-School, educators and administrators can set the stage for an enriching and enjoyable learning experience for all students and a great year ahead.
Is your school making the most of social media and digital technology to welcome students back? Drop a comment and share how you’re using these awesome tools to kickstart the new school year in the best possible way.