Lauren West is a freshman at Shawnee Mission East and is on staff as a page designer for her first semester. She enjoys playing basketball, binge-watching Netflix and hanging out with friends and family. Read Full »
On Sept. 21, 2014 Principal John McKinney uploaded his first “Welcome to East” post on Instagram. Four years, more than 1,500 posts and almost 2,000 followers later, the @Sme_Office instagram account is used to inform everyone from parents to students to faculty about upcoming events within the school.
In the past, building administrators in the district found social media accounts prevalent, but McKinney had the idea to reach out to his students.
“I was featured on the Sme_Office instagram as a new freshman, and it made me feel like I was involved and felt a part of East’s culture,” Freshman Megan Biles said.
Every Wednesday night, McKinney schedules a reminder to post about the free Dunkin Donuts iced coffee you can get on Thursday morning late starts, or his weekly inspirational quotes. He seeks help from the digital design and art programs at East to help create the posts for the account. When those departments aren’t assisting with posts, he turns to his two daughters, junior Maeve and freshman Stella.
“A lot of the time I edit his pictures for him,” Stella said. “ With captions, he will ask me if a teenager would understand what he is trying to say,” Stella McKinney said.
McKinney has expanded from East’s Instagram to Twitter and Facebook, and is currently navigating his way through Snapchat.
“I realized where my students were, and I followed them,” McKinney said.