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Katy, TX (May 31, 2016) Tom Wilson Elementary in Katy, Texas was recognized today as the 750th Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified School. Tom Wilson joins 146 schools in Texas and 17 others in the Katy Independent School District in Common Sense Education’s award-winning program that prepares kids to address critical issues related to using technology at home and at school — from creative copyright and protecting student privacy to cyberbullying and sexting.

Launched in 2012, the Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certification program helps educators, schools and districts create a coherent, community-oriented approach to teaching kids (and grown-ups) the dos and don’ts of the Internet. Common Sense’s K-12 curriculum corresponds to what kids are doing online at each developmental stage from kindergarten to high school and includes community resources for parent and caregivers in English and Spanish. Certified schools and districts are qualified by Common Sense and awarded the designation on an annual basis.

“Every time we hear about an incident with cyberbullying or basic privacy concerns, we are reminded that digital citizenship is an essential component to 21st century learning and student safety,” said Hailey Schmidt, librarian at Tom Wilson Elementary School. “By certifying our school, we are showing our community just how important this is, and enabling our students, families, and community members to make smarter choices. The material provides different ways for students to express their concerns and sometimes uses humor to help them manage the issues they deal with everyday.”

The Common Sense Digital Citizenship curriculum has been adopted by all 59 campuses  in the Katy School District, reaching over 70,000 kids, and is taught by school librarians or classroom teachers. Digital Learning Manager, Jay Sonnenburg, said: “In Katy ISD we encourage the use of technology in- and outside our classrooms. It’s our job along with the families, to make sure our students are productive, positive, and safe when working and living in this digital landscape.”

“By becoming a certified school, Tom Wilson Elementary has demonstrated an important commitment to the safety and development of their kids and communities,” said Rebecca Randall, vice president of Education Programs for Common Sense.  “As more schools integrate technology, often providing kids devices to take home through 1:1 programs, the responsibility of schools to teach digital citizenship continues to grow.”

Common Sense Education’s K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum was launched in collaboration with Dr. Howard Gardner of the GoodPlay Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2010. Instructional materials match the maturity and development of students and range from traditional hand-outs to online, interactive games, which engage kids in exploring the possibilities and outcomes of different online behavior. Over 109,000 schools are registered to use Common Sense Education materials. For more information about the Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certification Program for educators, schools and districts, visit: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/certification

Courtesy of Common Sense Education
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