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Upper School Blog

Freedom and Responsibility in a Digital Age

As an educator, I have long been thoughtful about the delicate balance of freedom and responsibility bestowed on us at different ages and stages of life, by society, our parents, teachers, and the institutions of which we are a part. As parents and as educators, we are constantly trying to define and adjust the appropriate balance at each developmental stage to allow appropriate autonomy for our children and to maximize their learning potential to develop essential skills and confidence through experience. Striking the appropriate balance can feel a bit more like an art than a science, especially in a rapidly changing world.

The freedom and responsibility that each of us has at our fingertips in today’s digital world, for instance, is astronomical. We have been thinking a lot about the positive power of the internet and social media and all the ways our students can use these tools to their advantage and to the advantage of their communities. The increasingly public nature of our social media use, as well as the digital footprint that is left behind, makes this topic an educational imperative.

We are very excited to partner this year with The Social Institute and its founder, Laura Tierney, to explore how we as faculty, parents, and students can embrace the many positive outcomes that can come from the effective use of technology and social media and to take an active role in combating the potential negative outcomes from its misuse. Laura will lead a parent workshop on Thursday, November 2 at 6:00 p.m. in the McIninch room, titled “How To Help Your Child Win at Social Media.” On November 3, she will lead sessions with faculty and with 6-9th grade students throughout the day. When she returns in April, she will again lead a parent workshop on April 24 and spend the next day working with 9th-12th grade students in grade level sessions.

Here is a brief explanation of the sessions she will facilitate with Upper School students in April:
  • 9th - Play To Your Core: Does my social media reflect my true character and strengths?
  • 10th - Cyberbacking vs. Cyberbullying: How do we, as a grade, stand up to cyberbullying?
  • 11th - LinkedIn MVP: Why do I need LinkedIn and how can my profile best represent me?
  • 12th - Rookie to MVP: How can we encourage students to use social media positively?
We hope that you can come to one or both of the parent sessions scheduled for November 2 and April 24.

Ben Dougherty
Head of Upper School
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  • tony Introcaso
    I learned two simple rules that have carried me far in this life. 1. Never write anything that you would not want printed on the front page of the NY Times. 2 Never say anything that you would not repeat to your 4 year old daughter. Of course a kind word spoken from the heart will always serve you and the recipient well. May we have peace in our hearts.

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