GREEN (Growing Responsible Educated Electronic Neighborhoods)

Creating a community committee dedicated to arming parents and students with positive digital citizenship resources & information.

Photo of Amy Shepler
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During the summer of 2017, our school district, Caroline County Public Schools, realized that our community (including our students) needed some resources for making responsible choices with regards to social media. We also realized that this was going to be a huge task and we couldn't do it alone. So we partnered with several community agencies including the local Sheriff's Office, the State's Attorney's Office, Recreation and Parks, Social Services, and the Public Library. We named our committee GREEN (Growing Responsible Educated Electronic Neighborhoods). After several meetings, we decided that hosting 4 parent nights across our district would be the best way to kick off our campaign. In each location, we opened up the conversation about the legal implications of using social media, the meaning of a "digital tattoo", how students and parents are using social media, where to find helpful resources and much more. 

After reviewing some feedback, we know that our community is very interested in several social media-related topics including privacy, talking with strangers online, and understanding digital footprints. We plan to host a couple of privacy sessions this Spring and we have a speaker lined up to talk to our secondary students about sexting. Through this committee, we have also secured funds from outside the school system to provide a speaker in September 2018 about being civil online.

By forming a community social media committee we have accomplished so much more than our school system could do alone. We are finding resources to spread the word about positive digital citizenship and we are all sharing the same message to community members no matter where or when we encounter them. We also feel like it is important to include parents in on the conversation and give them resources so they can have conversations with their kids at home.

Please take a look at our resources uploaded here. We've shared our first community night presentation, our school district instructional snapshot, a digital citizenship committee planning night, and some digital citizenship  parent resources (handout created by one of our media specialists for distribution at our community night).

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

In our community, we have noticed a lot of social media-related incidents have occurred that have impacted our schools. We also noticed that other community agencies have been dealing with social media issues in their offices. Several key stakeholders in our community go together and realized that we could spread the word about digital citizenship faster and louder if we all work together and so GREEN was born!

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Photo of Jason Breed
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Amy Shepler Great work in getting parents activated. We see so often that parents want to provide devices and access to help give their children a "leg up", but don't understand the inherent risks. If the effort of community and to help keep the plane flying as you build it, I offer to your our Parent Academy approach. This was designed for parents by digital experts, law enforcement and educators and has been taught to well over 20k parents now. Access the presentations, videos, speakers notes, activities, etc here: certify.dfinow.org then sign-up. The parent academy is completely free and we updated it annually. Additionally, here are some resources that you are welcome to use for your parents: http://www.dfinow.org/parents-tools-and-resources.html

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