Facebook, Problem Solving Venue?

Recently, one of our SGI parents posted a question to the “Be Neighborly Springville” Facebook page. This question is about the location of the parent pickup/drop off line for Springville Middle School and the location of parent parking for Springville Elementary School.  Another parent tagged me in a comment asking for me to elaborate.

As a school superintendent, I use social media daily. I would guess I communicate as much as or more than most of my colleagues via this blog and Twitter. These blog posts then go to the SGI webpage and to our SGI Facebook and Twitter feeds too.

However, I didn’t respond to this Facebook thread. Why? Because as much as I like Facebook (to keep in touch with family, former students and colleagues), it felt like a slippery slope to respond to a question that also offered an opinion and then was followed by the opinions of 6-7 other residents. I worry that answering the question on Facebook would lead to our families using that more often to voice an opinion/ask a question AND that they would then expect an answer from me. I already check my voicemail and email incessantly so that I can be responsive, am I also going to check Facebook for questions? 

This was an innocuous discussion and the opinions offered were largely spot on. But I’m not sure that Facebook is the place where I should be problem solving and engaging in a conversation with our parents. Too much can be misunderstood. I think there’s often good reason to pick up the phone and call me or the principal or the teacher. Facebook is the place where we used to go to see pictures of everyone’s kids and to stay in touch. As a professional, that’s all it’s ever going to be for me.

It’s not the place for us to communicate clearly, for me to really listen and understand either the question or the concern. It’s not the place for our families to go when they need answers. Anyone can contact me via email at kmoritz@springvillegi.org OR via phone at 716-592-3230. I’m hyper connected to both of those and I’m committed to responding to people in a timely manner.  Nothing replaces a good old fashioned face to face conversation if our goal is to listen to understand rather than to listen to respond.

Back to that question that generated about 17-18 comments on Facebook.

so we can’t park in the back circle at SES, why is it ok to park in the circle at the middle school? it makes no sense

We have the parent drop off/pick up line for SMS in the District office parking lot to improve safety for our student bus drop off/pick up at SMS. Parents stay in their vehicles and our SMS students should be old enough to safely walk to and from their parents’ cars. I also see parents driving through the District Office lot in the morning at the back of SES for drop off. I’m actually watching the line of cars drive by my window right now!

But for parents parking for pick up/drop off at SES, we can’t have cars parked in this back lot other than in the parking spots. The district office is also our central supply area. We have deliveries here throughout the day, our food supply trucks come through this lot to deliver at the back of the middle school, and cars have to be able to get in and out of parking spots. The fire lane question is a good one–honestly, we shouldn’t have cars parked along the building side walks in what we consider the “fire lane” at any of our school buildings. I will ask our SRO, Ashley Vogl, to review all of our procedures.

Since my source of information for the conversation was a FB post, if I’ve misunderstood and got the question wrong–please CALL ME to talk about it. We’re always going to be better if we work to talk things through.


  1. Thank you for so concisely summing up how I’ve been feeling about social media in general, but important discussions on Facebook, in particular. Love this blog post.

  2. Kim,

    Thank you for being such an effective and honest communicator, for addressing issues head on, and for being so accessible to our SGI community. It has made a world of difference for our district, especially during both the good and bad times this year. Much appreciated.

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