Austin schools developing an online presence

Published 7:06 am Sunday, September 18, 2016

By Ryan Mayer

APS Technology Integrationist

In today’s fast-paced world, news and information move at the speed of light.

Ryan Mayer

Ryan Mayer

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Gone are the days when teachers communicate with parents solely through newsletters and telephone calls. Now, it’s not uncommon to see educators email parents about their students while also sharing exciting events and happenings in the classroom utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of an impressive array of social media tools.

To that end, Austin Public Schools has been working to develop a more dynamic online presence. Last year we introduced our new, mobile friendly website and we began building a social media presence to share some of the amazing things that Austin students are doing.

You can follow us on Facebook at, on Twitter at, on Instagram at, or on YouTube at

Over the past year, we’ve used these channels to share everything from important announcements and informational videos to videos about exciting projects and opportunities for students.

The feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’ve been able to establish connections with the community both in Austin and elsewhere. When our Ellis Middle School Social Studies department staged a Civil War Re-Enactment with water balloons, we were able to catch the attention of documentary film-maker Ken Burns, and our Woodson Dance Party Videos have reached nearly a half-million people on Facebook.

This year, we’re looking to expand on what we can do through social media through the #AustinIs initiative. Teachers and employees of APS will be sharing information through various channels and tagging their pictures, videos, and posts with one of several Austin Is hashtags. The tags (#AustinIsAcademics, #AustinIsEnrichment, #AustinIsActivities, #AustinIsArts, #AustinIsScience, #AustinIsTechnology, and #AustinIsAthletics) are designed to make it easy to search for and organize the good news being shared from around the district.

We’d like to invite the community to participate in the initiative as well. If you’re at a sporting event and take a video of an awesome play, consider tagging it with #AustinIsAthletics. If you’re at a concert and post something about how great music in Austin is, maybe use #AustinIsArts.

Our goal is to make what’s happening at Austin Public Schools more transparent and accessible for both families and the community. From award-winning science projects and exciting, outside-the-box lessons to field trips and technology use, there are some pretty incredible things happening at Austin Public Schools, and the #AustinIs initiative will allow us to share everything more effectively.