Letter to 7th Grade Parents

Students in 7th Grade Tech class were given a letter to bring home. On the off-chance that it never made it, I have posted a copy of it below.

Dear Parent,

I am writing this letter to introduce myself and to let you know about what your child will be doing in tech class. My name is Lydia Leimbach. I am the Technology Integrator for Hall-Dale High School and Middle School. As part of this job I have the pleasure of teaching middle school technology classes. I am currently teaching 7th graders.

The focus of my curriculum for middle school students is online safety and responsibility. To this end, I use the tools that students use in their everyday lives- but in a monitored way.

We begin with email. Your student will be using a school email that is controlled by me. This means that I have access to their accounts and their passwords and can check what they are doing. Having said this, I don’t often go in and read student emails unless I already have concerns about their online behavior. I would encourage you to ask your student for their password so that YOU can monitor their activity. If this is a problem, please contact me and I will change their password and give you access.

I also use a social networking site that is similar to Facebook- with one LARGE exception. This is a private network that is administered by me. Only 7th grade students are allowed in. If they ask someone else in, the person has to be “accepted” by me. I will only let students in my classes have access. Parents can also have access if you like. If you would like access, please go to http://mrsltech.ning.com/. It will ask you to put in an email address so that I can invite you to join. Please indicate who your child is in the invitation request. I ask that parents remember that this is a classroom tool- please don’t use it to communicate with your child during the school day!

We use this site for two purposes. First, it serves as an online classroom. I place assignments and rubrics on it so that students have access to classroom materials at all times. Secondly, it gives them a chance to practice acceptable online behavior. Students can’t post photos without approval from me. I am able to see the photos they try to post, and this often leads to very good conversations about privacy. I am also able to monitor comments and general online behavior.
At the end of the trimester, I disable this site.

I also write a blog that has a segment specifically for parents. The address is https://rsu2teachertech.wordpress.com. There are some excellent resources there- including some tips on managing your child’s laptop at home. In addition, I am offering a series of “laptop trainings” for parents in both the middle and high schools. Next month’s training will be on Oct. 21st in the library from 6:30-8:00. We’ll be covering how to monitor what your child is doing with their laptop. You can learn to check internet histories, pictures, music, and general activity. This class requires no pre-registration- bring your child if you like and their laptop.

I am always willing to answer questions as they come up. Please feel free to contact me at lleimbach@halldale.org or at school at 622-6211. I’m looking forward to a great trimester with your children.

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