With a new school year on the horizon...


It was such a shock to go walking the other morning and see a youngster standing on the corner with a back pack and a lunch pail.  What was this?  Could it really be that school was starting up again already?  Wow.

Given the news of the last couple weeks, it looks like it’ll be another very interesting year for educators and school administrators.  (As if we needed another one of those!) In my work with school leaders one of the challenges I hear discussed more and more frequently is the impact of social media on the school community.  Of course the first concern is the students.  How do we educate them to use these new media wisely?  To avoid cyber bullying?  To quell addictive tendencies?  Then there is the question of those who work in Catholic schools.  How to best manage the line between professional and personal identities and boundaries?  A newer topic of conversation: Parents.  What can we ask of school parents regarding their behavior on social media?  Parents are considered their children’s first educators, and in the social media world that implies being their child’s first “friends” who model what good citizenship online looks like.  How can we help parents prepare for this role?  And what can we ask in terms of their relationship to the school?  Are there boundaries we’d ask be honored regarding commenting on teachers? Administrators? Other families in the school?  These are tricky questions.

Over the course of the summer, I worked on facilitated conversation guide to accompany #Rules_of_Engagement particularly designed for use with school parents.  It includes prayer services and discussion questions, as well as a process for school leaders to collect input from parents on some of these sticky issues before crafting school policy on the topic. (Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the web page when looking for this resource.)

If you are a school teacher, administrator, or PTO member, I invite you to download the resource for free from the Ave Maria Press website.  And please feel free to share the link liberally! 

(PS – Please note that there are two resources available:  one for parents and one for the person who will be facilitating these conversations with parents.)