Yik Yak– Not District Endorsed

For those of you who are unaware, Yik Yak is an anonymous social media application, that is available for both iOS devices (iPhones, iPads) and Android devices.  It is designed to allow for local communities of users (within approximately a 10 mile radius) to share anonymous “chat” types of commentary on virtually any topic.  Many students in District 228 frequently use Yik Yak.

There have been reports nationally that this app has been misused in cases of cyber-bullying.  Some users like the appeal of the anonymity.  We want to discourage misuse of such an app.

District 228 has requested what is called a Geo Fence to restrict use of Yik Yak inside all of our schools.  However, as we know, many instances of cyber-bullying occur from home or at a friend’s house, etc.

Please talk to your child about their Internet and “app” use if they have devices that can access these social media programs.  Your support and training of appropriate use of these types of technologies is extremely important, and reinforces the training that you and the schools try to teach as it relates to all type of communications and interactions– whether it is communicating through speech, text, notes, letters, emails, Tweets, etc.

It helps all of us to be mindful of kindness and civility when using social media.  Thank you for increasing awareness in this area, and please keep an eye out for any Yik Yak misuse.

cyberbullies

ProjectLEAF will move forward!

Yesterday’s election to approve $16.5M in bonding authority to complete construction repairs, improvements and additions to all five of our district schools is indeed significant.  This approval, as part of a $36.5M facilities improvement plan, demonstrates that there are many more people than just our faculty, staff and parents who live our mission of “TEACH-LEARN-CARE”.  As it has in previous years, our District 228 School Community showed their commitment to support education and to provide for the youth of our schools.

Even if you were not a supporter of this referendum directly, we hope that over time you will see the tangible improvements to our facilities and the desired outcomes that recreate 21st Century School learning centers.  The Board of Education strives to connect with the community in as many ways as possible, and it is hoped that you were “heard”–  throughout the ProjectLEAF community engagement process, through questions and comments in the weeks leading up to the April 7th vote, and now through the results of the vote itself.  It would diminish the comprehensive good these next steps can make for children should individuals be concerned that “I didn’t get what I wanted.”  Part of consensus and compromise rests on meeting at a place most believe is the right direction.  That’s what the Board of Education tried to present as the “package” of ProjectLEAF.

Please remember that you are part of a unique school community, one that is blessed with opportunity and hope where others have lost much optimism and tradition.  So on behalf of the Board of Education, faculty, staff, administration and students of Geneseo Community Unit School District #228, thank you for your support of ProjectLEAF.  Stay tuned for information on next steps as new phases unfold.

Cyber Safety ALERT

To the Geneseo School Community: The administration of District 228 and the Geneseo Police have been made aware of several instances where female students have been contacted inappropriately through “Snapchat”. There is an open investigation presently and it is hoped that the perpetrator will be identified and apprehended very soon. Here are some ways that you can help:

1. Please have a conversation with your child about sharing with you any suspicious or inappropriate contact they may receive digitally on their laptop, phone, etc.

2. Should you or your child receive any inappropriate communication via Snapchat or any other apps, please be sure to contact a school official and/or the Geneseo Police.

3. This is a good opportunity to monitor the communication your child uses online, particularly middle school age children, to help them understand both the value and the dangers of the digital world.

The Geneseo Schools remain vigilant supporting the ongoing investigation, and we will be available to students who wish to report any information related to this case. We must work together to keep lines of communication available to the police and to keep our children safe from these types of predators. Thank you for your assistance and persistence in this manner.

We ask that you SHARE this post to boost access across the District. Thank you

Illinois and Next Generation Science Standards

Illinois is one of 26 states who have been working on a Common Core-like framework for science curriculum.  Eight states have already fully adopted the standards, but the Illinois State Board of Education did not adopt and determine that all schools in Illinois will be expected to follow this curriculum until February 2014.  Schools will be expected to be implementing the new curriculum for the 2016-17 school year.

The states who have been involved with the process have been partnering with Achieve, Inc. who is a major reform group with these contributors.  Unquestionably the ACT Benchmarks in science have been the standard most difficult for students, both in Geneseo, and across the country, to reach.

The district will be taking a careful look at the why, the what, and the how of the Next Generation Science Standards appropriately serve our students.

There is also no understanding yet of how students will be tested on this curriculum, whether something will be added to the PARCC testing cycle, or a separate battery of tests will be administered, but most certainly we should expect with the folks we can already see “involved” with NGSS, there will be some type of accountability measure in place.