An analysis of the core curriculum results report demonstrated the effectiveness of the school counseling program and classroom activities, and informed me of improvements that need to be made for the following school year. A disaggregation of data detailed the effectiveness of the use of the Common-Sense Media (CSM) Digital-Citizenship curriculum. Perception data showed growth when comparing the percent of students that perceived they were being good digital citizens from 67%(pre) to 81%(post) overall. This growth in understanding by students led to the decrease in the number of infractions leading to indoor suspension from 111 infractions in 2015-2016 to 24 infractions in 2016-2017.
The lessons from the CSM-Digital-Citizenship curriculum are designed to empower students to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in the digital world. The curriculum can do this because it helps students realize that their ability to create a caring, supportive and encouraging classroom community is linked to their ability to balance their mental, physical, and emotional well- being with both being necessary to achieve academic success. This foundation closely embodies the ideals articulated in our school counseling vision and mission while supporting student achievement of identified program goals and selected Mindsets & Behaviors. Additionally, aligning the lessons to the Values Matter Miami Initiative and dividing the lessons among the grade-levels provided the opportunity to build on concepts and ensured me that I was delivering equitable support to every student.
The sixth-grade, “Digital Life 101” lesson focused on the importance of media connecting us in more social interactive ways than ever before, how important it is to carry out online relationships responsibly, and how using words and actions can help create a classroom atmosphere of encouragement and support for success. When comparing pre-and post-perception data results, I saw a growth in students that could identify the different uses of digital media from 50%(pre) to 58%(post), and a growth in students that could describe digital media as an interactive tool from 63%(pre) to 70%(post). However, the number of students that could describe digital media by using the term 24/7 stayed the same at 86%(pre/post). These findings illustrate that a comprehensive school-wide approach to delivering the lessons offered an opportunity to insert into students’ daily activities meaningful and sustained ways to positively effect outcomes not only academically but social/emotionally as well.
The seventh-grade, “Cyberbullying: Be Upstanding” lesson objective is understanding the differences between being a passive bystander versus a brave upstander in cyberbullying situations. Perception data results were encouraging because the core curriculum action plan was developed for the digital-citizenship lessons to build upon concepts, attitudes, and skills from one grade to another. Growth was shown among students when comparing pre/post data. For example, an average of 81%(pre) compared to an average of 86%(post) of students knew what it meant to be brave and stand-up for others. As more lessons were delivered and evidenced by the outcome data, we saw a school-wide shift in students’ mindsets and behaviors. For instance, it became common practice to witness Student A step in and intervene and accompany Student B to the office to show support as he/she reported the mean and hurtful comments posted online by one of his/her peers.
The eighth-grade lesson “Safe Online Talk” allows students to acknowledge the benefits of safe online talk and messaging, and consider scenarios in which they may encounter inappropriate behavior on the Internet. Perception data results were encouraging when comparing the average of students who believed that it was unacceptable to flirt and answer personal questions online from 76%(pre) to 84%(post). My findings led me to confirm that a comprehensive school-wide approach to teaching students’ strategies for recognizing and responding to risky online interaction is essential in shifting students’ mindsets and behaviors as they prepare to enter the competitive higher level of secondary education. However, in the future the answers to the questions used to collect perception and outcome data for this lesson need to be kept short and unambiguous.
In review, the delivery of the lessons using Nearpod engaged students and provided opportunities for students to collaborate and share ideas on digital-citizenship. What’s more, the implementation of this curriculum was key in creating and fostering a caring and safe school culture. In the future, I will continue using the CSM Digital-Citizenship curriculum for all grade-levels with an understanding that educating staff, parents and community stakeholders will further impact the school culture, and allow us to become a CSM Digital-Citizenship Certified School.