A recent article in Great Schools presented a great suggestion for the control of cell phones and electronic devices. Establish a digital curfew! Studies continue to confirm that using “smartphones” late at night, particularly visits to social media sites, has a direct link to depression, reduced self-esteem, and poor coping skills. Without question, we have seen this played out at St. Michael’s with our students, particularly those who are not able to put their devices aside or impose their own boundaries. One survey even found that 1 in 5 teens regularly woke during the night to check their messages. The result of sleeping with phones and checking them often is that sleepy, tired students come to school and struggle to be attentive throughout the day.
So how do we help our young smartphone users get better sleep and unplug for the night? The idea of a digital curfew makes perfect sense. Establishing the habit of turning off and turning in devices for the night might just come as a relief for kids who just don’t yet know how to say “no”. Perhaps, even collectively, everyone in a household could turn off all devices before turning in for the night. And for those who say, “But my cell phone is my alarm clock”? Most drugstores sell simple alarm clocks for $10 or less!
The complete article, “Does Your Teen Have a Digital Curfew?”, can be found on the website www.greatschools.org.
The end of the school year is right around the corner, and this means it is time to turn in iPads for the summer. Seventh and eighth grade students will be turning in their iPads and charging cords on Thursday, May 25th. Devices must be turned in that morning in order to go to the class party that afternoon. If you are planning to be absent the last two days of school, please make arrangements with your homeroom teacher to turn the iPad in early.
In addition to the iPad, eighth graders must turn in both pieces of their charging cord or they will be billed $20 per piece. Both pieces should look like this:
Seventh grade students will be assigned the same iPad next year and will not turn in their charging cord and box next week unless they will not be returning. They must turn their iPads in for summer maintenance though.
Each student will fill out a form describing any damage to their iPad, and homeroom teachers will verify it before it gets turned in. Please take a look at your child’s iPad before it is turned in so that you are not surprised if billed over the summer for repairs.
We are pleased to announce that St. Michael’s has been named one of Arizona’s few Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Certified Schools for the second year in a row! There are numerous criteria to fulfill before applying to become a Common Sense Certified School. This is an annual certification, and criteria must be completed during the current school year.
“Whether it’s cyberbullying, students divulging too much personal information online, or online issues creating classroom-management issues, schools across the globe are navigating the behavioral and social issues that stem from students’ online lives. To help students harness technology for learning, all schools, particularly those integrating technology into the classroom, should be working to help students learn how to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly with technology.” – Common Sense Media
St. Michael’s takes this responsibility seriously, and we teach digital citizenship K-8!
As a public service, the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences will present Conversations on Privacy in October and November. The first program, “Kids Online: Relationships and Privacy in a World of Twitter and Tinder,” will be presented on Wednesday, October 19, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress Street. For more information and to reserve tickets, go to www.sbsdowntown.arizona.edu.
Outside of word-of-mouth advertising, Facebook is the number one way to spread the good news of our school. Our student reporters and staff members post something about St. Michael’s just about every single day during the week. From special programs, information on our stellar teachers, and activities within our classrooms to special reminders of admissions and other school events, Facebook helps us to spread the word. We are almost at one thousand “likes.” If you are not on Facebook, would you please consider joining? If you have not “liked” our page, please do so today. Sharing the St. Michael’s page with your friends helps us to extend our web to a much wider community. Just hit “like” and “share”!
During a recent visit to the La Encantada Apple Store, I was given two new recommendations from Apple regarding increasing the lifespan of Apple devices. The store employees had just been informed of these the prior week.
1. Every device should be turned off completely at least two times per week for fifteen minutes each time. This applies to iPads, iPhones, computers, etc. Many of us are in the habit of almost never turning off our devices, but not giving them time to “rest” can cause problems over time. Our recommendation is that student iPads be turned off each night before bedtime.
2. There is a lot of conflicting information on this topic, but Apple is now recommending that you only charge your device until it reaches 100% and then unplug it from the charger. Overcharging can decrease the lifespan of the battery and cause additional problems. This one may be especially difficult to follow because many of us charge our devices overnight. Our recommendation is that student iPads be charged in the afternoon/evening while at home. Plug in a charging cable at the student’s desk, so that the iPad can be charging while homework is being completed. Use an overnight charge as a last resort if there wasn’t enough time spent at home that evening to do it then.
Word of mouth continues to be our best marketing tool by a landslide because our parents are wonderful ambassadors for the school. Your positivity has a large impact on admissions and marketing. In addition to all the situations in which you find yourself sharing the good news of St. Michael’s, here are three ways you can reach out to your friends and the public on Facebook:
1. Share the occasional St. Michael’s Facebook post on your own timeline – Even just liking our posts will show up on some of your friends’ news feeds, but sharing them will reach a larger audience. Don’t overdo it though. Even just a monthly share can go a long way.
2. “RSVP” to our Facebook events such as the Musical and the Gala by saying that you are Going – Our events traditionally have very large attendance, but currently you wouldn’t know it by looking at the Facebook event! We don’t actually use this information as a formal RSVP, but once again, your Facebook friends will see that you are attending, and anyone visiting our Facebook page will see a better representation of our events’ popularity.
Common Sense, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of digital media and technology, has recognized St. Michael’s School as a Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified School. St. Michael’s is the first and currently the only school in Arizona to receive this recognition.
“We applaud the faculty and staff of St. Michael’s School for embracing digital citizenship as an important part of their students’ education,” said Rebecca Randall, vice president of education programs for Common Sense Education. “St. Michael’s deserves high praise for giving its students the foundational skills they need to compete and succeed in the 21st-century workplace and participate ethically in society at large.”
St. Michael’s began using Common Sense Education’s innovative and research-based digital citizenship resources when we implemented our 1:1 iPad program four years ago. The Common Sense curriculum was created in collaboration with Dr. Howard Gardner of the GoodPlay Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The resources teach students, educators, and parents tangible skills related to Internet safety, protecting online reputations and personal privacy, managing online relationships, and respecting creative copyright. The free resources are currently used in more than 90,000 classrooms nationwide.
The middle school teachers will be collecting all middle school iPads at the end of the day on Thursday, December 17th. iPads will remain at school over the winter break and will be returned on Monday, January 4th. If you know you will be absent on Thursday, December 17th, please turn your iPad in to Ms. Greynolds earlier in the week.
Sixth grade students will be advised by Mr. Roberts as to how to store their Science Fair data in such a way that it can be accessed from a home device if needed over the break. iPads will be turned in without their chargers but in their cases. Please try to arrive at school that day with a fully charged battery. We will power down all of the iPads as they are turned in, but they will not be charged over the break.
If you haven’t visited our Facebook page lately, or you’re not a fan yet, now’s the time! This year Ms. Greynolds is working with three middle school students to develop frequent posts about all aspects of St. Michael’s. These students are responsible for investigating, writing, and photographing the details of each post.