SALEM — The Salem Public Schools have joined the social network.
A newly launched Facebook page is just one more way to distribute information and connect with the community, Superintendent Stephen Russell said.
The page — which is updated by Russell and several other staffers in the administration offices — has links to news articles, updates on current issues and events.
It's also a chance for community members to post messages and interact with the district — especially those who may not keep abreast of school issues through other more traditional channels, such as School Committee meetings or the fliers sent home in children's backpacks.
"The idea is to broaden our audience of people involved in the schools," Russell said. "If someone hears a rumor, we're able to address it. If someone wants to know what time the concert is tonight at the high school, or what's for school lunch, (we can answer through the Facebook page). It's intended to serve a variety of purposes."
The district has been focusing on community involvement and outreach as part of a districtwide turnaround process, after Bentley Elementary was declared a Level 4 "under performing" school by state authorities in November.
The idea for a district Facebook page was suggested by one of several community groups formed over the winter to come up with ideas to improve the schools.
Salem Public Schools' Facebook page was posted Saturday and received more than 100 "likes" — a nod from other Facebook users — within the first couple of days.
A link to the new Facebook page is posted on the district's official website, and vice versa.
"I'm hoping this is one more tool to get the word out about the schools," Russell said. "The challenge is to devote enough time to keep it up. ... The idea comes from the success Mayor (Kim) Driscoll has had with her own Facebook page."
Several school administrators and staffers from the technology department will work to keep the site updated, he said.
"It's a whole new crossroads for communication among all of us," Russell said. "In this case, we're going to where all the people are, instead of waiting for them to come to us."
Staff writer Bethany Bray can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.
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