Mission Statement

Mission Statement : Ann Gilcrease


When considering which values would provide a solid foundation for structuring the digital realm my students and colleagues work in, the three that struck me as essential were integrity, communication and collaboration. Although they are by no means the most exhaustive of cornerstones, I believe they will provide form and function for creating online learning environments that are conducive to knowledge acquisition, compassionate and inclusive conversations, and promote problem-solving in the classroom, the district, and our diverse communities. 


ISTE Standards:

7a: Inspire and encourage educators and students to use technology for civic engagement and to address challenges to improve their communities.

7c: Support educators and students to critically examine the sources of online media and identify underlying assumptions.

Integrity lies at the heart of my goal to provide students and their digital communities with the necessary training to stay on the forefront of what will be needed in tomorrow’s world. The definition of integrity is having strong, moral principles and honesty in all endeavors, which is important in our conversations going forward as a district and nation. As a past Social-Emotional educator, digital citizenship has a natural entrypoint through that curriculum. By guiding our students character development amongst their peers and teachers, we 

It is also essential that we remain honest with ourselves, in data-driven ways, to recognize where the weak points are in our students’ equity in access to technology. As Selwyn wrote in his response to Jandric’s, “digital inequalities are as entrenched and important an issue as ever.” (Selwyn, 2020). There is a moral and ethical imperative to provide equal access to education in our schools. Just because we have not shone a light on the nearly 20% of teens who are reportedly unable to complete their schoolwork at home due to a lack of devices or connectivity does not negate our responsibility to their education (Anderson & Perrin, 2018). Our district leaders need to examine the challenges we face in our schools and our student’s communities to provide solutions to address the specific situations that many of our families and teachers find themselves in. 

As we work to solve the access issue with our students, we must also strive for clarity in our digital curriculum. What is it that we are needing to teach our students, and when should we be focusing on certain pieces of digital citizenship and technology literacy? With the rapid changes that technology goes through on a daily basis, how can we best prepare our young people for the future? We require visionary leaders on our technology integration teams who can identify underlying assumptions, critically examine where our students and staff are and provide solutions that take into consideration the tools on hand, the budgetary constraints, and the community and culture we are embedded in. Such people are needed not only at the district level, but on every campus in the district. This needs to be a concerted effort that combines a working knowledge of the tech world – its needs and wants – and the skills necessary for education delivery of such knowledge. If schools have Social-Emotional classes, or embedded advisory time, they can incorporate Common Sense Media’s Digital Citizenship and Social Emotional Learning guide as a starting point. 

This connects to why integrity in the process is so important. Honest and ethical decision making set on a moral foundation is the only way our leaders will be able to make budgetary choices the community can stand behind. When making the kinds of monumental shifts in school culture, there will always be pushback from the community. It is the visionaries ability to convince the public of the moral righteousness of their ideas that will lead to success or failure in their endeavor. We, as digital advocates, are no stranger to the realities of our time, but we are not the only ‘pig at the trough.’ We must find ways to bridge the divide between the haves and the have nots with regards to our student’s digital education, and we can only do that if we have successfully convinced the public of the importance of that education. If we cannot appropriately market the need for this societal ‘upgrade’, then we cannot be effective at making the necessary changes to provide for all of our students. Those who ‘have’ will continue to excel, and those who don’t will be left behind.


Anderson, M., & Perrin, A. (2018). Nearly one in five teens can’t always finish their homework because of 

the digital divide. Washington D.C.: Pew Research Center, 28 October. 

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/26/nearly-one-in-five-teens-cant-always-finish-their-homework-because-of-the-digital-divide/. Accessed 13 November 2020. 

Digital Citizenship & Social-Emotional Learning. (2017). Common Sense Media. 


Selwyn, N., Jandrić, P. Postdigital Living in the Age of Covid-19: Unsettling What We See as Possible. 

Postdigit Sci Educ 2, 989–1005 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-020-00166-9


ISTE Standards:

7a: Inspire and encourage educators and students to use technology for civic engagement and to address challenges to improve their communities.

7d: Empower educators, leaders and students to make informed decisions to protect their personal data and curate the digital profile they intend to reflect.

It is my mission to provide clarity for students on the implications of their digital profiles. Although today’s typical young adult has been interacting online for the majority of their life, they may not be able to yet recognize when they are being taken advantage of as a consumer, or how to best curate their digital profile for future success. Digital literacy is the umbrella term that represents “the habits of mind that enable individuals to effectively evaluate and critique information and its use in the digital age.” (Educause, 2019). It is the social intelligence mentioned in the article that our students may be lacking, and I would like to focus my communication mission around.

From parents to student, teacher to student, and society to student, there is a disconnect for learners who have never lived without technology, of the repercussions of posting something online. In Chapter 5 of Disconnected: Youth, the New Media, and the Ethics Gap, the author speaks to the a specific rape case where the perpetrators and bystanders posted videos and images all over social media. The results were irrefutable evidence against the men who performed the heinous acts against the young woman, but it was also a ‘wake-up call’ that can be used to address the very real issues that are often swept under the rug in our society. It is the information age that we are living in that can, as the quote at the beginning of the book states, help us find a better balance – even if it is only between our online presence at the realities of the world around us. 


7 Things You Should Know About Digital Literacies. (2019, July 29).  EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. 


Carrie James, Disconnected: Youth, the New Media, and the Ethics Gap (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT 

Press, 2014), esp. chapters 1 and 5


ISTE Standards:

7a: Inspire and encourage educators and students to use technology for civic engagement and to address challenges to improve their communities.

7b: Partner with educators, leaders, students and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology.

It is my mission to act as a liaison between educators, students, and technological innovation. To help connect technological enhancements with practical applications in the classroom at a level that does not overwhelm, but rather takes work off of the teacher’s plate so they can find balance in their lives. In order to facilitate that learning, we must foster a culture of respectful online interactions through direct teaching. Our students may have grown up with technology as an ever-present force in their lives, but that does not mean they know how to use it in the social, or work, realms. 

In their book, After the Digital Tornado, Frischmann and Selinger speak to a need for a reframing of the concept of what it means to thrive in this new digital age. They believe that “a commitment to pluralism requires building worlds that allow people to pursue diverse paths towards their conceptions of flourishing” (Frischmann, p. 155). By recognizing that each of our students is on a unique path towards success, we can, as teachers, organize their interactions in ways that rely more heavily on the so-called ‘soft-skills’ that will enable them to work within the rapid changes that technology is bringing every day. It is those soft skills that we can use to build a culture of respect online, as well as help them find ways to create a healthy balance of being ‘on’ and ‘off’ (Frischmann & Selinger, 2020). 

In the new conditions due to the coronavirus that moved education online, many students are struggling with how to stay distant, but remain connected. Having the requisite technology and access to the internet is one thing, but creating spaces in distance learning that builds emotional ties between students and teachers outside of the classroom is quite another. With so many students struggling on the autism spectrum, as well as a myriad of behavioral and social disconnects built into our society already, it is more important than ever that we address the character of our students in our online classrooms. Common Sense Media has created a Digital Citizenship and Social-Emotional Learning packet to help educators and parents role-play through scenarios that are scaffolded and chunked to help incorporate each lesson into as large, or small, of a learning space. 

The International Baccalaureate Programme has long had Alternatives To Learning, or ATLs, that they have incorporated into their project-based framework. They have an ATL workbook that I believe could have wide-reaching usability in incorporating specific skills into various lessons across the curriculum both vertically and horizontally. These are just some of the many options when building in healthy online interactions. A student will not be able to see the negatives in plagiarism if they do not have integrity. We must build character traits into our students so that they have healthy online, and offline, interactions.


Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger, “Why a Commitment to Pluralism Should Limit How

    Humanity Is Re-Engineered,” in After the Digital Tornado: Networks, Algorithms, Humanity, ed. Kevin 

Werbach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020), 155-173

Digital Citizenship & Social-Emotional Learning. (2017). Common Sense Media. 


Walsh, M. (2016). MYP ATL skills student workbook. Lance King and Print and Marketing Services (Vic) 

Pty Ltd. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_90ZZLQ3GyfVivZ7S5ZBpfyK3Z8RBI9U/view?usp=sharing

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