DCPS launches back-to-school social media

It is the last week of summer vacation for public school students in the District.

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Kids head back to class on Monday, but with some added help this year. DCPS is launching a new online outreach to make the transition easier, for both parents and students.

The school system is directing parents to a new website, that provides online resources for all things back-to-school.

"This year is the most ramped-up we've been at the beginning of school using technology," said Peggy O'Brien, the chief of Family and Public Engagement for DCPS.

Parents and students can find everything from enrollment forms and applications for free and reduced meals, to immunization requirements and school supplies lists.

There are also links to the school system's YouTube channel.

From now until the first day of class on Monday, the school system is posting new information videos in both English and Spanish.

Updates and news are also available on the DCPS Twitter feed and Facebook page.

"This is just one additional venue through which we can reach out to parents," said Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. "It's not the only thing we rely on but a lot of people are relying on social media."

Parent and teacher Tiffany Brown appears in one of the registration videos on YouTube. She -- along with school leaders -- also insists the online outreach is an excellent way to communicate with parents.

"A lot of parents don't necessarily get their mail, or check their mail on a timely basis, so it's a good way to get the word out," Brown said.

"Lots and lot of people are online and if they're not online at home, they're online at work or at the library or local community centers," O'Brien added.

But while school officials tout the advantages of the web and social media, they also underscore the importance of parent involvement through more traditional means of communication.

"You totally need to send notes home with kids," O'Brien said. "Parents still need to be digging through the backpacks and finding all that stuff, but we need to use all the tools available to get to as many parents and families as we can with the most accurate information."

The DCPS First Day website has links to all of the information.

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