NKCPS Earns National Achievement Award

NKCPS Earns National Achievement Award
Posted on 05/19/2023
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NKCPS Earns National Achievement Award for Changing Public Perception Through Social Media

New Kent County Public Schools has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for their program Changing Public Perception Through Social Media. The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services and community for residents.

NKCPS created a new position of Technology Trainer/Digital Content Creator with the intention to harness social media as a powerful marketing tool to improve the perception of and community engagement in their public schools. In this position, Ashlee Meredith developed a programming guide for the district’s social media. In July 2022 when this transition began, NKCPS only had a Facebook account, so other accounts were added. Then, a consistent program of posting was established. The program closely follows the regulations of FERPA, FOIA, and IDEA while communicating more effectively with parents, students, and community partners; sharing insight into students’ daily activities; highlighting and recognizing staff members; and spotlighting students with good citizenship.

photograph of Ashlee Meredith
Ashlee Meredith, NKCPS Technology Trainer/Digital Content Creator

Additionally, New Kent High School student interns Brett Lookhart, Campbell Proffitt, Serra Swartout, and Margaret Winters were trained for this program, providing the students with work experience and the program with student voices. Along with other content, Meredith and the interns collaborated to create innovative original content featuring Lil Nichols, a doll-like replica of Superintendent Dr. Brian Nichols. The county has experienced many unquantifiable positives with this program, but also measurable improvements, which have been demonstrated in comparisons of Facebook analytics from the 90 days after the program was implemented to the 90 days prior.

photograph of Brett Lookhart, Campbell Proffitt, Serra Swartout, and Margaret Winters in graduation regalia with Lil Nichols doll
NKCPS media program interns Brett Lookhart, Campbell Proffitt, Serra Swartout, and Margaret Winters pose with Lil Nichols in their graduation regalia before the NKHS graduate walk.

“We are so proud and impressed to receive this award from NACo. This is the first NACo Achievement Award that New Kent has received but certainly will not be the last,” said NKCPS Executive Director of Technology Shawn Terry, who oversees the program. He continued, “The work being performed by our digital content creator is transforming the way we communicate throughout the district. Community engagement has grown, and the positive feedback we have received from our citizens, students, and staff members has been amazing. We can’t wait to see what is next!”

Each year, NACo’s Achievement Awards are given in 18 categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement, and more. Launched in 1970, the program is designed to recognize innovation in county government. Each nominated program is judged on its own merits and not against other applications.

NKCPS NACo Achievement Award Certificate
NACo Achievement Award Certificate

“The Achievement Awards demonstrate excellence in county government and the commitment to serve our residents every day,” said NACo President Denise Winfrey. “This year’s winners represent some of the most innovative and collaborative efforts we have seen in over 50 years of presenting these awards.”

To see the program in action, follow @NKCPS on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

For more information about NACo’s Achievement Awards, click here.