PELHAM, N.Y. -- Superintendent of Pelham Schools Peter Giarrizzo recently received an Award of Excellence from the New York School Public Relations Association for engaging the community through using Twitter.
Giarrizzo wanted to connect with all stakeholders in his first year in a “fun and playful” way that balanced his seriousness of purpose. He found Twitter could make this happen. It allowed him to reach his constituents in a personable and meaningful way, whether they were faculty and staff, parents, students or residents. He tweeted about a new study relevant to faculty or parents. He also tweeted about snow days, which quickly caught on with students. Giarrizzo also used Twitter to cheer for an athletic team on its way to a game or the Forensics team competing upstate. “I can present a total composite of who I am and in a way that is important and relevant to my audience," said Giarrizzo. "And I can do all this in a matter of minutes." The submission to NSPRA was three consecutive tweets regarding one of three “Snow Day Challenges” he created for students when school was cancelled due to inclement weather. “My goal was to offer students something that stimulated their interests,” Giarrizzo said.
The three challenges were: • Feb. 3 – Most creative LEGO design • Feb. 5 – How Do We Love Pelham – Let’s Count the Ways (Build, write, draw or perform it.) • Feb. 13 - Will Wonders Ever Cease - Create a physical model of one of the following: the Mayan pyramid Chichen Itza; Eiffel Tower; Empire State Building; Great Pyramid of Giza; Great Wall of China or Golden Gate Bridge.
Students and parents both submitted entries.
Students acknowledge Giarrizzo readily at events or in the hallways, recognizing him from his tweets about all the things in which they are involved.
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