Hashtags From the Heart
Calera schools recognize students and staff on social media
Story By Amy Jones
Scroll down Calera High School’s Facebook page, and you’ll notice almost every post is followed by a hashtag: #whatyoudomatters, #eagleseverrising or #thankyouthursday.
Those aren’t just random phrases — they’re part of the high school’s social media campaign, intended to bring positive attention to the accomplishments and goals of students, faculty and members of the Calera educational community, says Calera High Principal Joel Dixon.
“It was originally intended to be a tagline at the end of each day’s announcements. I started tagging posts about service projects and kids doing the right things on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #whatyoudomatters. Then it just took off,” he says. “The #thankyouthursday is just an opportunity to recognize kids and teachers who go the extra mile in some way, big or small, that positively impacts those around us. This idea was much more of an intentional effort geared toward social media after seeing the success of #whatyoudomatters.”
The hashtag #eagleseverrising marks specific accomplishments or events, such as a reception for new Calera High football coach Andrew Zow or a photo of Calera students who won ribbons at the Special Olympics.
“(The campaign) is about positive messaging. With the current political climate, it seems that schools, teachers and students are too often under attack from both sides,” Dixon explains. “While I’ve never met a teacher that doesn’t see a need to continue to grow personally and professionally and to find new ways to reach kids, it’s easy to lose sight of the tireless, profoundly important and self-sacrifice work teachers and kids do every day.”
Posts are made on the school’s Facebook page, which is linked to the @CaleraHigh Twitter account. Dixon and one other teacher have access to the Facebook page, but they field information, stories and photos from all across the school community.
They highlight service projects, campus beautification efforts and athletic and academic successes, but “it’s also about smaller, less seen things. The daily choices that lead to those big successes,” Dixon says.
The students and faculty have “really bought into” the campaign, he adds.
“I hear kids saying it to one another — sometimes seriously and sometimes tongue-in-cheek — but they’re echoing such an important message that can help them the rest of their lives,” he says. “It really is the one thing — whatever your level of ability is, what you do with it is what shapes the course of your life — it’s what matters. I look forward to seeing kids work up through our feeder schools with this message ingrained early on.”
The social media campaign is across all of Calera’s four schools — Calera Elementary, Calera Intermediate, Calera Middle and the high school.
“It’s everywhere at all four schools. Daily announcements, wall signs, agenda books. It’s everywhere,” Dixon says.
Dixon intends to make sure he keeps those hashtags — and all of the things they represent — in mind as he continues to lead Calera High School.
“The #whatyoudomatters slogan, as well as #thankfulthursday, begin with me. They are reminders of all our impact, responsibility and efforts,” he says.
To check out the posts, visit @CaleraHigh on Twitter or Facebook.com/CaHSeagles.