It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, as you can tell from the post just before this one…lots has changed for me professionally since the last post. I continue to serve as Instructional Technology Coordinator in my 10-school district in York, South Carolina, but I added the role of Public Information Officer about a year and a half ago. Due to retirements in the district the position opened up, and I was working to coordinate our district’s AdvancED accreditation process, so I asked to take on that role as well to consolidate efforts.
The Public Information Office role has been a lot of fun, but a challenge to keep up with along with the other responsibilities. Being a PIO is a full-time job in all but the smallest districts. Our district is just on the fringe of the Charlotte media market, so we are able to “avoid” attention for some situations, but are frequently looped into stories involving Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools as well as the other districts in our county. Often times it is a “this happened there, what does York do?” type of story, which doesn’t take much to respond to. Occasionally it is a significant story involving our district, which requires all of my time and focus.
My real goal in the PIO role is the same as other PIOs throughout all organizations: Tell the story of our students and staff. I’ve been successful in that quest a few times recently, including the always-tear-jerking Military Reunion I was able to video just before the Christmas holidays last year. A York graduate returned home a day earlier than expected and surprised his sister in her classroom. That video is here:
I’ve captured the Teacher of the Year announcement, student projects including t-shirt launchers constructed in a Physics class, and many more events in schools that only begin to tell the stories inside the walls of our campuses.
I’ve also been lucky enough to be working with PIOs in the other districts in my county who I have leaned on for support and guidance, taking advantage of their knowledge and training. The state’s branch of the National School Public Relations Association is also extremely generous with their time and resources, and like classroom teachers, love to swap war stories when they get together.
I’m going to try to blog more frequently over the next few months, in part to help tell these stories, as well as some personal talk, including products that I’ve bought and like to use, and probably some other random stuff. As with other bloggers, drop me a note and let me know what you think or what you’d like to learn. I’m @tcooper185 on Twitter as well.