The social, emotional, and online welfare of our students is one of our top priorities at Streetsboro City Schools. Our mission – to partner with families and communities to provide a personalized education that inspires and empowers students to be lifelong learners and productive members of our global society – doesn’t just matter in the classroom, or on the playground. It matters online, too.
Keeping kids safe online is one of our expanded missions at Streetsboro, and we do everything we can to best prepare our students for what lies ahead.
Online Safety Education at Streetsboro
Throughout a child’s career at Streetsboro they engage in many formal sessions on online safety, harassment prevention, cyber bullying, and other strategies for keeping them safe online.
We have dedicated classes in our elementary, intermediate, and middle school buildings, and the curriculum progresses through the appropriate levels of learning about these sensitive topics. At our high school, we revisit these topics in annual seminars with all students.
All of our technology curriculum is aligned to, and supports, the recently revised and approved Learning Standards for Technology from the Ohio Department of Education.
In addition, we invite guest speakers and consultants to visit with our students on these topics, along with other programs like D.A.R.E. and other proactive approaches. We hold daily conversations with students around topics of physical, social, and emotional health.
Staff Training to Keep Kids Safe
However, one conversation, once or twice, isn’t enough. We recognize that by continuously monitoring our students well-being, and keep watch for behavior that may indicate the need for an intervention, referral, or contact with law enforcement.
As educators, we strive to prepare our students for an unknown tomorrow, and work hard at making sure we (the entire school district) are as prepared as we can be for a complex set of variables. Training our teaching and support staff on how to detect signs for the latest threats such as cyber bullying, stalking, grooming, and online harassment has become par for the course.
Our training cycle includes annual sessions on recognizing signs related to change in behavior, patterns, and activities – all of which can indicate something else is taking place, threatening the social, emotional, or physical safety and well-being of a child.
A Safe Online Environment
On the technology side, we take precautions and proactive steps to keep the networking environment as safe as we can. Email and Drive accounts (through Google Apps for Education) are issued to each student as they join us at Streetsboro, and each account is reviewed automatically for a variety of behaviors that may trigger an alert to a building administrator, or to the district team.
Software platforms that are used with instruction are vetted against a series of criteria to make sure they are safe and effective for use, and are aligned with the design process for learning.
Active classroom management and engaging lessons help our staff and students stay focused, and encourage responsible use of our many resources including iPads, Chromebooks, desktop PCs, and other connected devices.
We have developed and approved a new Acceptable Use Agreement for all staff and students to operate under, and it provides clear and concise language on what is appropriate use of technology while at school.
What Role Can Parents Play?
The responsibility for the welfare of our children and students shouldn’t stop when they leave school for the day.
Conversations at the dinner table about what’s appropriate and what’s not is a great way to extend the learning from school, and helps reinforce what we all believe – a safe and rewarding childhood and educational experience for all kids.
We are all responsible for our students’ safety. Most staff at a school district are mandated reporters for child abuse, and online threats and unacceptable behavior falls into this category.
If we see something, we have to say something. Help us extend our reach by actively talking to your kids about their use of technology. Ask them what websites they visit, and what apps they use. Ask to see their mobile devices, and inspect their photo library once in a while.
Having an open and honest conversation about safety and online well-being, instead of falling prey to fearmongering and vitriol, will successfully help you and your student navigate the complex new challenges we all face every day online.
If You Need Help…
If you have questions, comments, concerns, or need help with talking to your kids about technology and their social, emotional, physical, and online safety – reach out to one of the many professionals at Streetsboro City Schools.
You can contact us directly at (330) 626-4900, or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Together we can make a difference in the lives of all children and all of our students, and successfully see them grow up to launch a few rockets of their own!
Director of Technology
Streetsboro City Schools