The Only Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified School!


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.

To learn more about the criteria St. Michael’s met to become certified as a Common Sense Certified School, visit


February Digital Citizenship

2nd Grade: Writing Good E-mails: Students learned how to communicate effectively by e-mail, taking into account the purpose and audience of their message, and the tone they want to convey.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-effectiveemailcommunication

3rd Grade: Advertising Detectives: Students learned to recognize five different kinds of on-line ads prevalent on children’s sites. They learned how to distinguish advertising content from other content on a website.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-evaluatingwebsites

4th Grade: Picture Perfect: Students learned how photos can be altered digitally. They considered the creative upsides of photo alteration, as well as its power to distort our perceptions of beauty and health.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-boysgirlsmediamessages

5th Grade: Group Think: Students will identify actions (this Thursday) that will make them upstanders in the face of cyberbullying.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-cyberbullying


December and January Digital Citizenship

Over the last two months, students have learned about the following digital citizenship topics:

1st Grade: Using Keywords – Students learned that keyword searching is an effective way to locate information on the Internet. They learned how to select keywords to produce the best search results.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-smartsearching

2nd Grade: Show Respect On-line – Students explored the similarities and differences between in-person and on-line communications and then learned how to write clear and respectful messages.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-effectiveemailcommunication

3rd Grade: The Key to Keywords – Students learned strategies to increase the accuracy of their keyword searches and made inferences about the effectiveness of the strategies.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-smartsearching

Whose Is It, Anyway? – Students learned that copying the work of others and presenting it as one’s own is called plagiarism. They also learned about when and how it’s O.K. to use the work of others.  k-5-familytip-respectingcreativework

4th Grade: You’ve Won a Prize! – Students learned what spam is, the forms it takes, and then identified strategies for dealing with it.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-onlinesecurity

How to Cite a Site – Students reflected on the importance of citing all sources when they do research. They then learned how to write bibliographical citations for on-line sources.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-respectingcreativework

5th Grade: Selling Stereotypes – Students explored how the media can play a powerful role in shaping our ideas about girls and boys. They practiced identifying messages about gender roles in two on-line activity zones for kids.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-boysgirlsmediamessages

6th Grade: Cyberbulling:  Be Upstanding – Students learned about the difference between being a passive bystander versus a brave upstander in cyberbullying situations.  Family tip sheet: 6-12-familytip-cyberbullying

7th Grade: Which Me Should I Be? – Students learned that presenting themselves in different ways on-line carries both benefits and risks.  Family tip sheet: 6-8-familytip-selfexpressionandidentity

8th Grade: Cyberbulling:  Crossing the Line – Students learned to distinguish good-natured teasing from cyberbullying.  Family tip sheet: 6-12-familytip-cyberbullying

November Digital Citizenship

This month, the Lower School learned about the following digital citizenship topics:

Kindergarten: Sending E-mail – Students explored how they can use E-mail to communicate with real people within their schools, families, and communities. Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-digitallife

1st Grade: Follow the Digital Trail – Students will learn this Friday that the information they put on-line leaves a digital footprint or “trail.” This trail can be big or small, helpful or hurtful, depending on how they manage it.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-privacyanddigitalfootprints

2nd Grade: My On-line Community – Tomorrow students will explore the concept that people can connect with one another through the Internet. They will understand how the ability for people to communicate online can unite a community.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-digitallife

3rd Grade: The Power of Words – Students considered that they may get on-line messages from other kids that can make them feel angry, hurt, sad, or fearful. Students identified actions that will make them Upstanders in the face of cyberbullying.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-cyberbullying

4th Grade: Digital Citizenship Pledge – Students worked together to outline common expectations in order to build a strong digital citizenship community. Each member of the class signed a We the Digital Citizens Pledge.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-digitallife


5th Grade: Privacy Rules – Students learned that children’s websites must protect their private information. They learned to identify these secure sites by looking for their privacy policies and privacy seals of approval.  Family tip sheet: k-5-familytip-privacyanddigitalfootprints

In Our Community

During the first trimester, members of our faculty have been busy attending conferences.

  • Mrs. Divijak attended the Emerging Leaders Workshop put on by CalWest Educators in Los Angeles October 17 & 18.  This workshop serves to develop and cultivate future leaders in our independent schools.
  • Arizona Health and Physical Education State Convention sponsored the “Let’s Move Arizona” convention in Phoenix on October 17-18.  Both Coach Beckelman and Coach Santucci attended.
  • The Southwest Association of Episcopal Schools conference is this week in San Antonio on November 14-16.  Mrs. Moore, Ms. Garcia, Mrs. Schultz, and Mrs. Stout will be attending.  Mrs. Stout will be presenting her “Digital Citizenship” materials.

October Digital Citizenship Topics

Kindergarten: Keep it Private – Students learned that many websites ask for information that is private and discussed how to responsibly handle such requests.  k-5-familytip-onlinesecurity

1st grade: Screen out the Mean – Students learned that children sometimes can act like bullies when they are online. They explored what cyberbullying means and what they can do when they encounter it. k-5-familytip-cyberbullying

2nd grade: Things for Sale – Students examined product websites and understand that the purpose of the site is to encourage buying the product. Students learned methods used to promote products on these sites. k-5-familytip-evaluatingwebsites

3rd grade: Private and Personal Information – How can you protect yourself from online identity theft? Students thought critically about the information they share online.  k-5-familytip-onlinesecurity

5th grade: What’s Cyberbullying? – Students explored how it feels to be cyberbullied, how cyberbullying is similar to or different than in-person bullying, and learned strategies for handling cyberbullying when it arises. k-5-familytip-cyberbullying

6th grade: Digital Life 101 – Students were introduced to the 24/7, social nature of digital media and technologies, and gained basic vocabulary and knowledge for discussing the media landscape.  6-12-familytip-digitallife

7th grade: A Creator’s Responsibilities – Students reflected on their responsibilities as creators and users of creative work.  6-12-familytip-respectingcreativework

8th grade: Identifying High-Quality Sites – Students explored the idea that anyone can publish on the Internet, so not all sites are equally trustworthy. They need to carefully evaluate the sites they use for research, and then decide which ones they can trust.   6-12-familytip-researchandevaluation

September Digital Citizenship Wrap-Up

During the month of September, students in grades K-5 learned about the following digital citizenship topics.  Please see the attached document for families in order to continue the conversation at home.

Kindergarten: Going Places Safely (k-5-familytip-talkingsafelyonline)

1st Grade: Staying Safe Online (k-5-familytip-talkingsafelyonline)

2nd Grade: Powerful Passwords (k-5-familytip-onlinesecurity)

3rd Grade: Rings of Responsibility (k-5-familytip-digitallife)

4th Grade: Strong Passwords (k-5-familytip-onlinesecurity)

5th Grade: Talking Safely Online (k-5-familytip-talkingsafelyonline)

Digital Citizenship

This is our second year teaching a digital citizenship curriculum to all grade levels.  In lessons that happen about once per month, we cover topics related to Internet safety, privacy and security, relationships and communication, cyberbullying, digital footprint and reputation, self-image and identity, information literacy, and creative credit and copyright.  You can see the scope and sequence here: Common Sense Media’s K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum.

We also use an Internet filter at school that does its best to filter out inappropriate websites.  If you are looking for one to use at home, here are some suggestions:

If you have any further questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Angela Stout
Director of Technology