MCPS Launches New Digital Citizenship Education Program
MCPS has launched a new partnership with Common Sense Education that will provide students with the resources and information they need to behave safely and responsibly with technology and social media. Digital citizenship, the practice of being safe, smart and ethical while online, has become an area of focus for educators and families as the 24/7 digital lifestyle becomes increasingly pervasive at school and home.
The curriculum, which covers issues such as privacy, cyberbullying, internet safety and other digital dilemmas, is being offered thanks to a partnership with Common Sense Education and a generous grant from the Delaney Family Fund. The program is being offered in all middle schools this year and will extend to students in all grade levels over the next three years.
The MCPS/Common Sense partnership will help students and families with all aspects of media and technology use. The program:
- Will include four hours of digital citizenship instruction for students each year as part of their regular academic curriculum, implementation training for educators, and resources for families.
- Will be phased in over a three-year period, using Common Sense’s resources.
- Will begin in middle school in 2016. It will extend to grades 3-5 and 9-10 in 2017, and be available to grades K-2 and 11-12 beginning in 2018.
For Students: The instruction will cover at least eight different hot-button topics in technology and social media, including—
- Internet Safety; Privacy and Security; Relationships and Communications; Cyberbullying and Digital Drama; Digital Footprints and Reputation; Self Image and Identity; Information Literacy, and Creative Credit and Copyright
For Families: The digital citizenship program will engage the whole family by—
- Helping families manage screen time and other areas of conflict or anxiety from media and technology in the home
- Spurring families to have conversations at home about technology and media use, using resources such as Common Sense’s guide to ‘Device Free Dinners’
- Offering tip sheets to parents that are tied to lessons their children received
- Holding a multi-school parent event later this year
The partnership is being funded by a donor gift from April McClain-Delaney and U.S. Representative John Delaney (D-MD). McClain-Delaney, a communications attorney, serves as Washington Director of Common Sense and as a member of the organization’s Board of Directors. The Delaney family has long supported Common Sense in its education outreach and digital literacy efforts, both in Maryland and nationally.
To learn more about Common Sense Education’s Digital Citizenship Curriculum and how students, families and educators will benefit from this partnership, please visit: www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/digital-citizenship.