Monday, March 02, 2009

Washington School Empowering Students and Parents

On Friday, February 27, 2009, I had the pleasure of returning to the Union City Public Schools in Hudson County, New Jersey to provide presentations to over 300 students, parents and educators at the Washington School. This was a continuation of numerous educational initiatives for administrators, security personnel, school crossing guards, parents and students throughout the district.

The students met in the gym for a presentation on Social Networking Technology Concerns. Following the presentation, I visited several classrooms to continue discussion on why character is important and to encourage the students to use technology in a positive way.

Social networking technology includes:

  • Instant Messaging, email, voice connection and web cams
  • Online Community websites, such as MySpace and Facebook
  • Media sharing websites, such as YouTube, Picasa and Flickr
  • Cell Phones for voice, text, picture and video sharing

Event highlights:

  • Focusing on what it means to be a student which includes personal responsibility, reaching one’s full potential and achieving greatness by making sacrifices. Students discussed the importance of encouraging one another and avoiding negativity and criticism.
  • Honestly confronting problems at home and school.
  • The importance of working together and being involved with the community including family and friends, church, community organizations and school.
  • Developing personal leadership especially through the quality of character.
  • The use of a Secret Power: "You have the power to change the world by helping each other do what is right."

We then explored the dangers of inappropriate content, including:

  • Misinformation
  • Pictures / Videos
  • Language
  • Gangs / Criminal Activity
  • Bullies / Cyberbullying
  • Predators

All students were encouraged to get involved, making "Character: The Heart of the Matter," as inspired by Rachel Scott's Challenge:

    by looking for the Best in Others
    Set Goals—Keep a Journal
    Input Determines Output
    Small Acts of Kindness = Huge Impact
    With Family & Friends

Vincent Bove on Character (0:11)
Rachel's Challenge (4:01)
<a HREF="">Play the clip on YouTube</A>

Earlier in the day, a presentation took place for parents and educators of the school titled Technology Concerns for Parents and Educators: Social Networking, Cell Phones, Instant Messaging. To accommodate the diverse members of the Washington School community, the presentation was delivered in both English and Spanish.

Parent and Educator Agenda

  • Why Are We Here?
    • Primary Role of the Parent
    • Foundations of Self-Esteem
    • Family Stress Factors
    • Community Support
  • Technology Benefits
  • Technology Concerns
    • Why Parents Must Care
      • Exposure to / Posting of Inappropriate Content
      • Online Predators
      • Cyber-bullying / Cyber-threats
      • Criminal Conduct / Sexting
    • What Parents Can Do
      • Signs That Your Child May Be At Risk Online
      • Tips For Fostering Positive Use Of Technology
      • Family Contract For Online Safety
  • Technology Basics
    • Overview
    • ‘Net Lingo
    • Social Networking Sites
    • Cell Phones
    • Instant Messaging
  • Call To Action
  • In Remembrance: Honoring American Military
  • Conclusion

Washington School is to be highly commended for this initiative that encourages students—supported and guided by parents and educators—to reach their full potential, wisely using the tools of the computer age, helping one another, developing personal character and enhancing a sense of patriotism.


Rachel's Challenge Click here to visit site
Character Education Partnership Click here to visit site
Sacred Honor: Police Officer, Soldier, Patriot Click here to visit site

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