Lewisville ISD Named “Common Sense District”
Common Sense, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families and educators navigate a digital world, has recognized Lewisville ISD as a Common Sense District. LISD’s commitment to teaching and emphasizing the importance of digital citizenship led to the coveted distinction. To date, nearly all of the district’s elementary and middle schools have been recognized as a Common Sense School.
LISD is one of 63 districts across the country, and one of only nine in Texas, considered a Common Sense District. The Common Sense District honor is a two-year distinction the district must maintain.
“Becoming a Common Sense Recognized District is a great accomplishment, but what is even more important is the learning that has transpired with our teachers, the lessons our students have experienced, and the parent support and learning that has been shared by our recognized campuses,” said Michele Jacobsen, LISD Director of Digital Learning. “Our plan is not to end with this distinction, but to continue to interweave digital citizenship conversations and learning with our students, teachers, and parents.”
Jacobsen and LISD Digital Learning Administrator Brandie Harycki said credit must be given to the teachers and staff across the district for this recognition as they continue to teach and stress to students the importance of being a good digital citizen.
“Like any culture change, there is never an ending but a continued opportunity to grow and learn,” Harycki said. “It starts with each of us taking a moment to ask permission of others involved before posting something online, understanding why posting personal information isn’t safe and thinking critically about what we read or experience online.”
She added, “These are our students and we don’t want to create a digital footprint for them. We want the parents and students to be able to make those right decisions together.”
Although digital citizenship education is included in Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards and is also a federal mandate, LISD takes the focus a step further. The district, committed to building these skills for all students, has both standalone curriculum and integrated lessons for digital citizenship.
In LISD, the road to digital citizenship begins in kindergarten where lessons are required through grade 3. Curriculum and lessons become even more focused in grades 4-7, when students begin to opt into the district’s 1:X program. At that point, students learn extensively about topics such as intellectual property, digital footprint and identity, and cyberbullying, digital drama and hate speech.
“Our students use technology to access their digital instructional resources, but we also know they use technology outside of their day-to-day learning - creating their own personal digital footprint,” Jacobsen said. “Learning about digital citizenship is essential to help our students navigate their online experiences where they can be advocates for themselves.”
As the years go by, technology also continues to advance quickly. Today, there is more accessibility as well as a plethora of apps on the market for students to explore. In fact, the pandemic forced schools, businesses and more to go virtual, opening up even more digital avenues for students.
“Technology and technological access isn’t going away,” Jacobsen said. “We know our students are active online, accessing social media, and using technology resources to get their news. LISD students have to be prepared to navigate the online landscape while they are our students, as well as once they graduate.”
So while LISD wants students to have as many opportunities and experiences as possible, the district is also committed to ensuring students are equipped with the tools necessary to make good, responsible choices while online.
“Whether it is connecting online with a virtual teacher or creating and coding their own programs, our students’ daily lives are surrounded by technology,” Harycki said. “As a district that believes in preparing the whole student, we want to make sure that our students understand the responsibilities of going online.”
Receiving the Common Sense District recognition tells Jacobsen and Harycki that LISD is headed in the right direction when it comes to helping students thrive in a digital world.
“This is not something that we can do alone,” they said. “This takes all of us, including the community to understand the impacts of digital footprints, fact checking and how to seek help when in an uncomfortable online situation.”
LISD and its schools are among more than 80,000 schools across the country that utilize Common Sense Education and its resources. To learn more about digital citizenship in LISD, visit LISD.net/digitalcitizenship.
Lewisville ISD’s Digital Learning Team is made up of Instructional Technology Specialists, Technology Facilitators, Eduphoria and Library Media Specialists. The team supports the use of technology in creating 21st-century learning environments, while ensuring students develop the skills necessary to be future-ready. Learn more about Digital Learning in LISD, join the Lewisville ISD family by enrolling today or visit Best Schools in Texas for more information about the district.