A Pasco County principal is using Twitter to spark a virtual movement with real change
8:05 PM, Oct 30, 2013
5:38 AM, Oct 31, 2013
PASCO COUNTY - Between classes at Sunlake High School in Pasco County, chatter echoes through the hallways. Except, most of the communication barely makes a noise.
"That's Twitter worthy," one student laughed about a picture of her friend.
Christina Gogas calls Twitter an "addiction". She can't even count how often she's on the social media site.
"All the time," she smiled. "After school, before school."
So, her new principal, Steve Williams, decided not to fight it.
"I'd hand them my business card and say, 'Follow me on Twitter,'" Williams explained.
When Williams took over Sun Lake High School's reins, he noticed morale was low. He also noticed his students' regular use of Twitter.
The students may think he's just a cool principal, but Williams has a plan. He decided to use the virtual site to spark a real-life movement.
"Learning how to use it appropriately. Learning how to interact appropriately. Not just shutting it down," he said. "It just exploded."
There's even a YouTube video that explains the idea behind it called, Changing the Culture of a School with Twitter. ( Watch video below or click here: http://youtu.be/THrtZKuK_94)
He started tweeting moments that reflect the kind of school he wants Sunlake to be, trending with a #SLHSFTW, which stands for "Sunlake High School For The Win."
Williams also asked students to look for moments they're proud of, too.
"He connects with the students in a way not many other principals do," said Brendan Goiran.
Williams tweeted a "selfie" of him with Goiran and Kristen Solt after the two seniors won Homecoming King and Queen.
"That made me know this was real and how proud I am to be a SeaHawk," Solt said.
Williams is well aware of social media's dark side, but instead of cyberbullying, he's motivated students to cyber-celebrate, prompting Twitter's CEO Dick Costolo to send them a tweet: "Changing the culture of a school with Twitter."
"My ultimate hope is that we get a culture that celebrates wins," Williams said.