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La Cañada Unified explores new ways to communicate with public

A new committee will use Twitter, Facebook to spread school district news and information.

January 18, 2012|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com
  • La Canada Unified School District school board member Ellen Multari talks with then school board member Jeanne Broberg at a community 9/10/11 celebration in Memorial Park in La Canada Flintridge on Friday, September 9, 2011. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
La Canada Unified School District school board member…

La Cañada Unified may soon venture into the world of hashtags and Mark Zuckerberg.

The district is assembling a public relations and communications committee that will explore using, among other mediums, Twitter, which uses hashtags, and Facebook, created by Zuckerberg, to communicate directly with its families — as well as the wider community.

“The whole purpose is just to make sure we have as many lines of communication as possible available to anyone who is interested in hearing from us or speaking to us,” said school board member Susan Boyd, who with fellow board member Andrew Blumenfeld will serve as co-chair.

Boyd proposed the committee in December, noting that in the past the board has largely relied on traditional forms of communication such as newspapers to deliver its message to the public.

The committee will include several administrators and teachers, as well as parents. It is expected to be in full operation by summer, although some communications might start as early as next month, Boyd said.

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Blumenfeld said he’d like a Facebook page and an electronic newsletter implemented quickly. They could serve to preview and summarize board meeting agenda items, as well keep the community abreast of other district news, he said.

Sensing a need from community members, Blumenfeld launched his own electronic newsletter during the school board election last year and said he now has just under 200 subscribers. People can be selective about what they read, he said, but it is the district’s responsibility to put the information out there.

“I have no qualms about people who want to sign up and then delete most of the emails,” Blumenfeld said. “From a communication standpoint, my philosophy is you want to be creating as many opportunities for learning about your organization as possible, and as many opportunities for receiving feedback on your organization as possible.”

While noting that San Marino Unified has an electronic newsletter and that several members of the Los Angeles Unified School District school board maintain Twitter accounts, Blumenfeld said La Cañada will not be looking at any one district as it develops its strategy.

One of the committee’s priorities will be to set rules and guidelines for use of the mediums, Blumenfeld said.

“It is becoming much more common for there to be standard codes of conduct and guidelines for social media,” Blumenfeld said. “Between what is out there and the groundwork we have already laid in the district, we have more than enough guidance.”

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