Camelot Education’s Phoenix Academy Uses Social Media to Strengthen the Student-Teacher Bond
Teachers and school administrators around the country have spent the last month rethinking lesson plans and adopting distance learning practices to bring their students the curriculum they need to continue learning. Camelot’s Phoenix Academy, in partnership with the School District of Lancaster in PA, has gone
a step further by considering another critical necessity: human connection.
“We all got into this industry to do what’s best for kids,” said Megan Misnik, Executive Director of Camelot’s Phoenix Academy. “To not be able to provide them with love and advice in that person-to-person context – we are just trying to fill that gap.”
With the help of Academic Coordinator Amanda VanLaar, Misnik and her staff transformed the spring Phoenix Spirit Week into a virtual experience. Beginning Monday, April 13, the Phoenix community took part in a daily theme to show their school pride. Staff and students snapped photos of themselves wearing the school colors, funny hair, or decked out in their favorite sports gear and posted the shots on the Phoenix Facebook page.
“We want to make sure we don’t lose the connection with our students. This virtual spirit week gives our kids a way to see our faces. We also want them to know we are going through this with them, together,” Misnik explained.
As Phoenix staff learned their in-person interactions with students were coming to an abrupt end, back in March, Misnik said their first concern was how to maintain their student-teacher relationships and show the kids they are still here to support them.
When distance learning began, the school immediately started weekly check-in calls to all students. Misnik says the virtual Spirit Week is an opportunity to deepen the connection with students because it shows off the personalities of the staff, and provides a small but meaningful distraction from the current challenges.
Using the Phoenix Facebook page for things like Spirit Week draws the kids in and allows staff to direct students to the academic content that is shared on social media each day.
Phoenix Academy plans to continue to foster the student-teacher relationships with more interactive activities and prompts on its Facebook page. Next week, the Phoenix Facebook page will feature teachers’ baby photos and their high school senior portraits.
“What’s great is if they are logging on to see the funny stuff, they’ll see the educational content too. Some [of the staff pictures] are hysterical, so I know the kids will get a crack out of that,” Misnik said.