By the time you are reading this first edition of the FOCUS for the 2015-16 school year, we will have completed our thirteenth day of school! While still early in the year, it is no less a cause for celebration that our students have made the transition to their new grade level in fine form. Students are busy getting about the business of school, learning and growing, supported and nurtured by our dedicated staff. It is exciting to write to you in this shared PTA newsletter for the middle schools. Throughout the year we will join forces and write a single letter with updates and information that represents both Springman and Attea.
With the freedom to access a wide variety of information at their fingertips, we must do everything possible to help children with the responsibilities of navigating the good and, unfortunately, the bad. We have a number of reliable resources for adults to use as we educate and inform children about safe and responsible technology behavior. The information below comes from Common Sense Media and reminds us of the need to teach, talk, and check-in with our children about their digital habits on a regular basis.
5 Back-to-School Rules for Cell Phone-Carrying Kids (and 1 for Parents)
Essential tips to help keep the peace. Source: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/5-back-to-school-rules-for-cell-phone-carrying-kids-and-1-for-parents?utm_source=082815%20Parent%20Default&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly
Whether your kid is heading to school toting a brand-new device or is already a cell-phone pro, it's important to make sure everyone is on the same page about what "responsible use" means. You can keep an eye on kids at home (kind of), but at school, they're on their own. As with any kind of boundary setting, these conversations can be tense. Fortunately, there are only five rules for them to remember -- and one for you, to show that you're all in this together. (Tweens and teens can also play an animated, interactive Digital Compass game to pick up digital-citizen skills.)
Here are our key guidelines for cell-phone carrying kids:
1. Respect the school's rules. Some schools permit students to use their phones at certain times: between classes, at lunch, on the playground, even occasionally in class. Abusing this privilege could jeopardize your classmates' freedom. They'll be mad at you, and your parents could rightly suspend your phone use.
2. Pick up when it's Mom or Dad. Ugh, it's the parents calling again. Well, guess who's paying for your phone? When your mom, dad, or caregiver call, it's probably very important, so don't send it to voicemail.
3. Ask permission before downloading anything. Even if you have your own app store account, get sign off on any apps you download. If something has in-app purchases, those costs could wind up on your parents' bill -- so they need to know what extra charges a download may incur. They also need to make sure it's age appropriate and reasonably good for you.
4. Don't flaunt it. Owning a cell phone is a privilege that not every kid has access to. It's OK to be proud of your phone -- it's an expensive piece of equipment for which you've been given responsibility -- but showing off could make other people feel bad. Also, it could get stolen.
5. Use your phone for good, not evil. You'll see all kinds of misbehavior and mischief regarding phones in school. Set an example for others by being respectful and responsible with yours. Ask permission before taking someone's picture. Take a moment to consider whether a text or video could hurt, annoy, or embarrass someone else. Turn off the phone when you're supposed to. Don't let the phone be more important than someone standing right in front of you.
And here's our essential rule for parents:
Don't text your kid during the school day. Unless it's a real emergency -- like, you're going to the hospital -- resist the urge to text your kid during the school day. Kids have survived for many, many years without talking to their parents while they're at school -- and they need to be allowed independence. And if your kid texts you, make sure he's not breaking any rules to do so.
Need more guidance? Attea and Springman Middle Schools are partnering once again with Glenbrook South High School to present “Turning Points for Middle School Parents.” This presentation will be offered twice this fall: Tuesday, October 6th at 9:15 a.m. at Springman Middle school and again on Thursday, October 15th at 7 p.m. at Attea Middle School. The presentations are open to all middle school parents in District 34. Your middle school principals, along with Lauren Fagel, Principal of Glenbrook South High School, and Lara Cummings, Asst. Principal at Glenbrook South High School, will share tips and strategies for raising a safe, healthy, and happy adolescent. Please join us for this important and valuable conversation.
Your positive support and encouragement is much appreciated. We look forward to greeting you during your curriculum night visit, and also at a Turning Points presentation!
Ms. Allyson Thorne, Acting Principal, Springman Middle School
Mr. Mark Richter, Principal, Attea Middle School