Alan Wade, a mechanics teacher at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School tweeted this photo as students completed the engine compartment and suspension on this 1972 Triumph Thursday. Photo contributed

Twitter account showcases every day stories within Red Deer schools

“How was school today?”

You may or may not get an answer to that question.

Luckily, Red Deer Public School Division has found another way to keep parents, and the entire community, in the loop. Just check out Superintendent Stu Henry, Red Deer Public School, on Twitter.

A different staff member within the school district takes over the @SuperStuRDPSD account every school day to showcase what students are up to.

It was recently Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School mechanics teacher Alan Wade’s turn. His day entailed usual activities such as helping and supervising Grade 10 and 12 students as they worked on various projects, but it also involved tweeting.

“People can see into the school. They just see a building surrounded by students sometimes, but what happens inside the school? I think it’s a great way for people to see what happens inside the schools,” he said of the tweets.

Last week, he tweeted students’ work as they replaced the body on a Jeep, upgraded the suspension on a snowmobile, conducted major engine repair on a truck and performed brake work.

Wade said the account also motivates students to do more.

“Students are proud to see they’re getting seen by the public, that they can do things. They get the feeling like ‘look what we can produce, we’re not just kids, we’re productive people,’” he said.

The initiative will also help students when it’s time to look for jobs, Wade said, because the public has witnessed what they can achieve.

Stu Henry said the idea came to the division in late August, after he heard about something similar in Sweden.

“I heard about the initiative where they had given over their Twitter account for a number of years to a different citizen every day, and the whole idea being that who knows the country of Sweden better than its citizens, and it just got me thinking,” said Henry.

The idea was to share everyday stories within the division.

Although staff members usually tweet from the account, the division has also invited special guests to tweet, such as alumni and a local firefighter.

“It’s been beautiful. The course of a few weeks shows the diversity of programs and amazing opportunities in our schools,” said Henry.

A memorable day for Henry was when a member of the G.W. Smith Elementary School tweeted about a superintendent puppet.

“They made a puppet of me, and so the pictures and video featured this puppet of the superintendent running around,” he said with a chuckle.

The account helps connect schools within the district, as well as with the broader community, he said.

When Henry first started with the division about 15 years ago, it was easier to discover what was happening in schools. But the city has grown since.

“I worry we may be losing our sense of that community, so I love the more people we have connected to all these stories and know what’s going on.”

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Alan Wade, a mechanics teacher at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School tweeted this photo as part of a project students were working on Thursday. Photo contributed

Alan Wade, a mechanics teacher at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School tweeted this photo as students upgraded suspension, brakes and steering to modern equipment on a 1964 Impala SS Thursday. Photo contributed

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