As part of supporting the GRACE mission statement, teachers provide relevant and engaging instruction that is technology-saturated. Technology provides wonderful opportunities for students to connect with others, whether it be their own classmates or parents, outside students, and experts from around the world. GRACE believes we should encourage these connections in line with our mission to impact the world. However, these connections can also be misused, either by members of the GRACE family or those outside of it. Therefore, we have set some guidelines for social media and publishing use for the GRACE faculty, staff, and students.
- GRACE employees should not be using their phones and computers to respond to social media during the school day and faculty should not be distracted with texting or phone calls during lesson time.
- In all situations, GRACE employees will seek to honor Christ and His work at GRACE by behaving judiciously, kindly, and professionally. Employees should exercise caution and sound judgment.
- Images of students shared outside the GRACE community on social media will not be tagged with their names by GRACE or GRACE teachers. The student (or his/her parents) can choose to tag the images if he/she wishes to do so.
- Anyone sharing copyrighted materials on social media should properly cite the creator. If teachers are sharing student work, they should respect their students’ copyright and cite their students’ work after obtaining permission to post.
- GRACE teachers should consider creating professional accounts (separate from their personal ones) for social media interaction with their students. This is easier on some tools (e.g. Twitter, Instagram) than others (e.g. Facebook). Teachers may also consider using one tool for classroom/professional use (e.g. Twitter) and another for personal use (e.g. Facebook). Besides a privacy issue, this is also a practical one, as it can be confusing to fully interact with students and family and friends. All interactions with students on a social media tool should be public; teachers should not use the private messaging features in these tools to interact with students. Teachers should use school email or Talon for communicating directly with students. Staff should not engage in social media communication that cannot be documented or recorded (i.e. Snapchat).
- Students are not required to create separate school and personal accounts. However, students may choose to do so, especially since some social media tools do not allow students to choose who sees what is posted.
- While GRACE respects that a teacher or student’s personal accounts are not speaking for GRACE, it is wise for teachers and students to realize that even when not performing school-related work, posts may affect their school life. This is especially true for teachers. Teachers at GRACE are called to live godly lives all the time, and their social media posts should reflect this. Additionally, discretion should be used when conversing with parents of your child’s classmates and when posting on social media.
- When making personal, non-work-related posts to blogs, employees should not use their school email address in the message for reply purposes, as this may inadvertently and inappropriately imply approval of the message’s content by the school.
- Employees are asked to append the following to all blog posts: “The views expressed are mine alone and do not represent the views of my employer or any other person or organization.”
School-Related, Curricular Uses
- Teachers will use wisdom, prayer, and discussions with fellow employees, technology integration specialists, and administrators when deciding what level of social media engagement is appropriate for their class/grade. For example, here is a way that all levels of students could use blogging:
- Elementary: Kidblogs that are private and in-school or shared with specific other classrooms.
- Middle School: Kidblogs that are shared only with another class at GRACE or another school, a public blog where the teacher monitors the content regularly.
- High School: A public blog where the teacher posts content, blogs where the teacher is an administrator, or blogs where the teacher monitors each post.
- We encourage teachers to try to find the best tool for a project. That tool may be one of the fake tools, e.g. Fakebook or Twister.
- Teachers referring to students in a class use of social media or publishing should refer to them by first name + last initial (e.g. James G.). In elementary school, it is preferable not to name individual students at all but simply refer to them as a larger group (e.g. “my first grade class.”)
- Whatever the level of social media use, teachers will monitor the tool throughout the assignment and turn off comments and delete content as necessary. While we recognize that social media is never off and teachers should not be available constantly, we expect teachers to maintain a reasonable level of engagement with the tool and turn off access.
- Posts from students and teachers reflect on GRACE. Therefore, while there may be legitimate disagreement about an issue, students and teachers should never post material that is defamatory toward GRACE, its students or staff, or our core values in the context of an assignment. Posts of this nature should be immediately removed.