Lincoln principal using social media to increase achievement

Originally published Oct. 1, 2012.

It's the information age.

Thanks to WiFi, social media outlets and smart phones, the world has grown accustomed to instant information.

We want it fast, and we want it now.

Huntington is keeping up - specifically, Huntington's schools. Even more specifically, Adam Drummond, principal of Lincoln Elementary School.

Drummond is using Twitter, a social medium that allows him to share "quick snippets" of information with students, teachers and parents.

The website is "a tool," he says, and that tool is "increasing student achievement."

Twitter allows Drummond to update anyone who is an approved follower of the school's tweets, which can be found on Twitter at @LincolnEx cel.

He keeps the followers apprised of the goings-on at the school by spending time in classrooms, taking photos and uploading them to the site.

A typical tweet looks something like this: "Writers write about what they know," and is accompanied by a photo of students in the classroom, writing.

Drummond also tweets daily attendance numbers and information about after-school activities such as the school carnival.

"It is an alternate way to communicate the language of the school," he says. "It is an easy way to publish what is going on inside the school, and it promotes good things."

Additionally, he says it allows parents who may not be able to be physically present at a school function to stay informed and involved.

For example, he says, he and several of Lincoln's teachers used Twitter to share photos and experiences students shared at their annual 1861 Day.

"Parents can be following when they can't attend," says Drummond.

He explains that Twitter can be accessed from a smart phone, iPad, laptop or home computer.

The Internet access rate, which measures how many of Lincoln's students and their parents have access to the Internet at home, is "very high," says Drummond.

So far, the school's Twitter account has 71 followers, and 78 tweets have been shared.

He says for any parent without Internet access at home, the school will accommodate their needs.

"If a parent has a want, we'll make it happen," he boasts. "As far as I am concerned, education is a service."

He offers alternatives for those without Internet access at home, pointing out Internet access is available for anyone with a library card at Huntington City-Township Public Library, and he notes many area businesses offer free WiFi to anyone with any device that has wireless capability.

"It all comes down to promoting a community of excellence," he says.

Drummond says he is doing "anything I can do to overcommunicate our achievements."

In addition to the Twitter feed, he also sends out an email every Friday to the school's families. He uploads a video blog to the school's YouTube channel, LincolnExcel, and embeds the videos on the school's website. And, keeping up with more traditional forms of communication, he sends a monthly newsletter in the mail.

Through these efforts, Drummond believes he is promoting achievement.

He points out the school has seen a 10 percent rise in its language arts test results and a 13 percent rise in math.

"I believe this is a direct result in our staff and community working together," he says.

Drummond typically updates his Twitter feed twice per day, and he says he has roughly nine teachers who also use the social medium in their classrooms.

Every Twitter account associated with the school is secure, he says.

Only approved followers can see the tweets from Drummond or the school's teachers, and students' last names are never used on the site.

He says the students enjoy using the tool in the classroom and sometimes even write their own tweets about what they are learning that day.

To request to follow the school on Twitter, search for @LincolnExcel and send a request by clicking the "Follow" button on the page.

Complete caption: Lincoln Elementary School second grade teacher Jill Slagel (right) helps Noah Bruce (right, seated) with his writing workshop activity, as principal Adam Drummond (standing, left) takes a photo with his iPhone to share on the school’s Twitter account. Bruce, Steven Wilson (center) and Brandon Vogleman (left) were busy Wednesday morning creating WOW words to share with Slagel.