LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's that time of the year again -- more than 100,000 students will soon return to the classrooms of Jefferson County Public Schools as the 2016-17 year officially begins. 

I've never been a educator or a teacher, but I have strictly covered the education beat since I first began my professional journalism career in 2002. Fourteen years later, I haven't looked back or regretted my decision to be an education reporter -- first in Mississippi, then in Alabama and now in Kentucky.

As we get ready to start another school year, I wanted to do something a little different. Those of you who know me and have followed my work know that visiting schools is by far the BEST part of my job. A lot of times, I just schedule visits or call a principal one morning and ask if I can drop by and spend some time in their school. 

Yes, I must also cover the big stuff, such as how the district funds its $1.4 billion budget or changes to policies and procedures, like the student code of conduct. But it's also my job to get to the stories that might otherwise go unnoticed – and that is where you (those inside the schools) can help!

Here are four tips for how you can help your schools -- and the work you are doing to help students -- get noticed this year.

1) Social media. This seems like a no-brainer, but there are still a lot of teachers and principals who have not yet set up a social media account (or they set up an account but rarely use it). If you are reading this column and have not yet set up a Twitter or Instagram account for your classroom or school, stop what you are doing and do it now! And while you are at it, give me a follow: My Twitter account; my Instagram account and my Facebook page.

I have been using social media for over 10 years to connect with teachers, principals, students and parents, but the reason I am encouraging you to jump into the social media world is not for me -- it's for you. No one else can provide a quick glimpse of something exciting you are doing inside your classroom better than you can. Your parents and community want to see the great things you are doing, let us see and hear it! This leads me to Tip No. 2....

2) Don't be afraid to let the news media in. Yes, we have to report the stories about test scores, student behavior and things that may not portray your school in a positive light. I have to report about all the stories -- the good, the bad and everything in between. And I promise you, the majority of my stories are about things that are either informative or positive. Perception can be a tricky thing -- people tend to remember the negative stories more than they remember the positive stories. But that does not keep me from writing/reporting about the positive things.

3) Think ahead. One thing I have learned about teachers is that they often don't think that what they are doing on any particular day is exciting. When planning your lessons, think ahead about letting your public information office and or media know about anything unique or different you might be doing that week. 

Is there a new way you are going to teach a lesson? Are you going to have your kids measure tree trunks outside as part of a lesson about circumference? Let me know! Are you challenging your kids to read books and include a March Madness theme? Let me know! Do you have a local farmer coming in as a way to introduce urban city students to real farm animals? Let me know!

The key here is to try and let people know in advance, so we can visit and see it for ourselves. Sometimes you can't plan when something amazing happens, but you can still let me know. Shoot me an email or tag me in a tweet or social media post. I love to share those kinds of stories with my readers and social media followers! 

4) Brag on yourself and your kids. You are a teacher and you have 20-30 kids in your classroom each and every day. Is there a student who has come a long way since the beginning of the year? has he or she overcome some great odds or a struggle to succeed? Have you overcome some great odds (as a teacher) to succeed? Don't be afraid to brag about it.

I attended some teacher professional development sessions this summer (Teachers create, attend inaugural 'EdCampJCPS'JCPS hosting first ever institute for teachers new to priority schools) and the number one thing I saw is how much teachers love to hear about what other teachers are doing. If you don't brag on what you are doing to get noticed by the media, do it so it gets noticed by other teachers.

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Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.