Digital Citizenship discussion
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
6:30 to 8:00PM
I would like to re-schedule our Digital Citizenship evening. The original date of Wednesday, April 22nd will be changed to Wednesday, April 29th.
Digital Citizenship discussion
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
6:30 to 8:00PM
This is a follow up to the blog I wrote about last month titled, “Digital Citizenship and the blog incident” and includes information for our community about Internet practices at QAE and the importance of the home/school connection. I am also including an update at the end of this post about the student blog incident to answer questions I’ve been receiving from our community.
Social Emotional Learning
I would like to begin my response by reiterating what I said at the auction--that every child in this school should feel safe, cared for, listened to, and valued.
Our school is at the forefront of Digital Citizenship. At a very young age our QAE students know the power and potential of social media. This ties so beautifully with their Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), particularly through experiences like class meetings where students learn to value the uniqueness of each classmate.
Training in the appropriate use of social media is critically important to us at QAE. Our staff has focused on these important skills and as issues arise they use them as teachable moments. In the classroom, teachers reinforce the appropriate use of digital tools, address issues preemptively, and foster an environment where students have a voice to contribute and shape classroom guidelines based on their own experiences.
As an example, students in Ms. Hunter’s class recently shared how they visualize the person at the other end of an email or comment that they are sending—so that what they write will be thoughtful, kind, and helpful. Others shared how they respond to a negative comment by realizing that the other person might be having a bad day and that they don’t need to take it personally. Additionally, they are developing the skills needed to respond to inappropriate material found or sent online. They also know how and when to tell an adult when they need further help. Our students are learning to be polite, kind, and appropriate in person and online in ways that will prepare them for the digital world that they are already living in.
Recently, a former QAE parent shared that at their new school, SEL is also taught and that while the new schools offers SEL curriculum, what makes QAE unique is that SEL is “in our teachers’ DNA.” I fully agree—it is our teachers who make this special.
This is our school ethos. This is who we are. This is what is taught every day in every grade. This is what is modeled for our students by our staff and they are learning along with us.
We will have a meeting on Wednesday, April 22nd to discuss digital citizenship and preview our QAE Student Internet Handbook and Family Resource Guide. More information about Student Internet Use will be coming home the week of April 6th. Please carefully review this information yourself and with your child.
David Elliott, Principal
I have received inquires about the blog incident. I hope you will find the information linked below helpful.
Blog Incident Update
You learn something new every day. That was true for me on Friday when Christa Brown asked me about having bees at QAE. I was a little taken aback until she taught me a little about Mason bees. My new learning, which I will pass on to you, is that there are social bees and solitary bees. Social bees sting because they need to protect the queen. Solitary bees do not sting, they're pretty zen in that department. You can learn more about the Mason bees here and here.
Now that you know just a tiny bit about Mason bees, a very important tiny bit, I will tell you we are going to hang a small hive for our friendly, pollinating, non-stinging, friends near our garden. The hive is pictured above and we need to get going on this because our Masons are sleeping in the staff refrigerator until I sent out this blog post.
Thank you Christa for all your work and adding this very cool enhancement to our garden. We'll all love this beautiful learning environment for our kids.
I know that for a small group of parents the auction is a year-long labor. Sometimes a labor of love, sometimes really just lots of intense labor. Many others work to make the actual night special--and it was special. It's a night when a portion of our community came together to make an impact on our entire community, every child. The people and programs that this supported have a direct positive impact on every child in our school and that makes it a very special event. That fun happened while we were together made it really nice. The 20's theme was great, our first theme that allowed for special dress-up and ya'll did it up. Who knew you could get a flapper dress at Amazon for under $40? Since I wasn't looking I obviously didn't but you actually can do that-I checked. It was a great night and your generosity continues to inspire me. With your support our staff can, and does, create a very special environment for learning and growing at QAE. A special thank you to the these leaders:
Auction and fundraising
The fabulous video
And lots of volunteers both before and during the auction to make the night special. Thank you all very much!
A note about Natalie Carlson--Natalie has been leading our fundraising for the entire time QAE has been in existence. That is a tremendous commitment of time and energy to support all our students and it's a very rare occurrence that someone is willing to give that commitment year after year. Thank you so much for that gift Natalie.
Another note--The race car picture reminds me to tell the story of our staff pulling together to buy the race car adventure for our amazing young College Tech, Alberto Pena. Turns out he has a "need for speed" and this would be a dream for him. Our staff collectively helped make his dream come true. Wahooty for Alberto and our amazing staff!
A while back I mentioned the Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series in Issaquah. The first race/run in the series, the 5.12 miler, is coming up on May 9th and I'd love a QAE contingent of staff/kids/parents/community to enjoy this beautiful, nearby place together. The information about the race can be found here. The online registration opened today. I am contacting the Seattle Running Club to see if we can get a special rate for our kids, particularly if they are running with parents. I'll keep you up on this.
With that in mind--let's go for a run this Saturday. I had intended to go to Cougar and show anyone interested the 5 Mile course, let kids get used to it, see where the hills are, and just enjoy this favorite place of mine. However, you can see the forecast for the area in the slide show above and driving to Issaquah to run in the (likely) pouring rain might be too much to ask. Therefore I propose Discovery Park, where we will find trails, hills, mud, and a quick drive home if running in a warm rain doesn't move you. Anyone who's interested--let's meet in the south parking lot, just off of W Emerson on Magnolia at 9:00AM for a lovely run, rain or shine. I'll try to get going by 9:15 and will use my Twitter (@mrelliottqae) feed to send out any changes. The loop is almost three miles but we/you can do much more or less.
Love to see you at Discovery Park on Saturday morning for a little fun together. I'll be there no matter what, so join if you wish.
Today I am following up on the staff presentation at the Feb. 4th PTA General Meeting regarding technology and our One to World program. That night we shared that we are working on a One to World Student Handbook and Family Resource Guide. This will be an important resource for students, staff, and parents because it will provide a framework for our program and our digital culture. One of the important concepts in this handbook is Digital Citizenship.
Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use. This practice has been a part of QAE since we first opened our doors, that it is our collective responsibility to teach and model appropriate behavior all of the time, including online. One of the three areas of focus for QAE is our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program. We emphasize this in our classrooms, on the playground, in the lunchroom; wherever we work together, and it naturally extends into our online lives and behavior.
A foundational belief at QAE is the importance of how we treat each other. Every student receives training through specific SEL curricula taught by Ms. Skoog or Ms. Meyers to develop the skills we believe will lead to citizens who are able to demonstrate their ability to be Kind, Safe and Fair in all parts of their day. In every classroom you can see social and behavior agreements that have been developed by the classroom community, and with the rollout of One to World, classroom communities are now adding technology components to those agreements.
Our focus on developing these resources, and communicating this information to parents in particular is particularly timely because of an incident involving a recent comment posted on a QAE student blog from a non Seattle Public School IP address outside of school hours. There were several inappropriate comments posted at the same time but particularly upsetting and concerning was one comment that made a physical threat. When this comment was discovered by the student’s family, Mr. Jeffrey and I were both contacted immediately. I strongly recommended that this be reported to the Seattle Police Department, which the family did. An SPD investigation into this matter has begun and we are cooperating with all requests for information that have been made so far by the investigating officer.
Last weekend Mr. Jeffrey changed the comment setting on all of the Weebly blogs to moderated. This means that a teacher must approve any comment before it can be posted. Additionally, our staff met yesterday to discuss that decision and discuss if there is anything further that we feel needs to be done. Our discussion focused on student safety and how this might be used to further our understanding of cyber bullying and citizenship in this realm. Further, our PTA-QAE Tech Committee met last night to discuss this incident and continue to develop our Handbook. It was a consensus among both groups that digital citizenship is taught clearly and often in our classrooms, in our library, and hopefully in our homes.
Transparency in this case has been difficult as there is an ongoing police investigation and a desire to protect the student from classroom discussions about the comments and threat. In any situation where a threat is made, whether a written note, a verbal threat, or a comment posted online, these same procedures would be followed.
I would like to clearly outline some information to help our community understand what has occurred so far:
I would welcome any dialogue on this subject, but do not believe email is the appropriate medium. If you wish to speak to me about this issue, we can set up a time to talk or meet as a group.
I love the auction. I love getting dressed up and having a party. I love being with our amazing staff for the evening. It’s a great time, it’s organized extraordinarily, the food is good, the drinks are abundant, and everyone is here for our school.
For our school, this is the big one. This is when we provide all the essentials for our kids that won’t get funded any other way. Those “essentials” are too many to list here but here’s a sample:
· Music with Ms. Stone
· Reading and math support with Ms. Cooper and Ms. Francisco
· Our amazing College Tech, Mr. Pena
· Tutors in kindergarten and first grade
· Our community events; Spaghetti Dinner, Family Game Night, and our awesome Talent Show
· Our volunteers who manage our Before and After School Enrichment Programs
· Our award winning website and social media presence
· Online learning software and curriculum; STMath, BrainPOP, Logic of English
· Material support for classroom learning; basically whatever teachers need to support students
The reality is that this just scratches the surface of what this event supports at QAE. The list is too long to write, or read, but is absolutely essential.
Here’s where you come in—We need some help to pull this off. We have a number of exciting opportunities for each and every one of you that are critical to making this auction a success.
Unique experiences that you cannot go buy at the store: Oyster and champagne tasting party, VIP tickets and backstage passes to a concert because only you have those connections, a coding camp for kids, and more that only you can provide
Vacation homes: Cabins or homes you would be willing to donate because your kids are on a team and you can’t get away. Someone would love to use your place and QAE is the beneficiary.
Restaurant gift certificates: Ask your favorite restaurateur today!
This is a call for all kids who love to run, jump, and throw things. The Queen Anne Quicksters is a local Track & Field Club that is currently recruiting. The club has been around for about ten years now and was co-founded by a Coe teacher when I was there. I've been to a number of meets and some of their alumni have gone on to participate in national events and are committed to this wonderful sport. I would encourage you to investigate their website here.
Do you remember when our students were raising money to feed kids at Dwankhozi Basic School during the "Hungry Season?" The pictures above show the heart stirring results of those efforts. Of our $3000 goal I believe our students raised about $2500 and that money went to provide food for school kids at a time of year when food is scarce and school attendance suffers. By providing food at school students not only get important nutrition but come to school. Genius. Thank you to all our hard working students and generous supporters. If you are interested in still supporting this effort or getting a head start on next year you may contribute at the Dwankhozi Hope website using the PayPal Donate button and in the space provided note "Raise for Maize."
We thank Moses Masala for sending the photos and the captions to us. What a thrilling partnership and labor of love from two communities half-way around the world from each other. Enjoy these lovely pictures.
I was so thrilled with our PTA General Meeting this last Wednesday. We had an excellent turnout, evidence of the effectiveness of constant badgering our community by means of all sorts of media. Thank you so much to those families who attended, I was thrilled to see so many of you. Our PTA has done an excellent job of recapping the evening and I'd simply like to ask you to go to this site for all that important information. There you will find:
Mr. Elliott’s Opening & Closing Remarks
Presentation from Meeting
Student Live Tweet
Student Live Blog Post
Submit Meeting Feedback & Questions
Please be aware of the Technology Vision Town Hall meetings that will be held the week of February 23rd throughout the city. This will be your opportunity to help shape the future of Seattle Public Schools technology vision. The informational site is here.