Keeping up with Your School Via RSS

You may have heard that Maine 207 (my district) has been in the throws of financial problems - I mean - challenges this year. This has caused a great deal more media coverage of our schools this year. Keeping up with what is reported on us in the news is important. Watching for correctable information is essential.

This year I have really been using my
RSS aggregator (mine is Google Reader, but there are several others out there) to keep up with the news in local newspapers, blogs, and to monitor information on Wikipedia.

For local newspapers I have set up a search query in Google News. Our school district is Maine 207 and has 3 schools Maine East, South, and West. Separating our news from stuff in the state of Maine is somewhat difficult. So I went into Google News and set up this advanced news search:
  • "Maine South" OR "Maine East" OR "Maine West" OR "Maine Township"
  • Then I limit the location to Illinois
This allows me to usually only get stories that are related to my school district.

The next thing I monitor is local blogs, union blogs, or other related webpages that discuss district matters. Many of these come with an RSS feed, however others do not. I have started following these using Google's new feature that looks for changes on web pages. I then add that to the RSS feed.

The last big item I keep track of are Wikipedia entries for our schools. I follow the RSS feed for the pages and their discussions. I have had to make a couple of requests for changes to be made on our pages this year. You can see how this was done on the Maine 207 Discussion Page. I didn't make the changes myself because it would be a conflict of interest (COI) according to Wikipedia. In these cases a different editor came in and made some impartial changes.

Google Reader is my tool of choice for keeping up with the news on these sites (yeah I know you are shocked that I like a Google product). However the actual aggregator doesn't make a difference. Keeping tabs on the media climate is important and RSS feeds make it easier to do.


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