Category Archives: internet security

Monitoring Service from Gaggle Protects Students from CyberBullyies

AscentiveInternet communication offers a rare window into the lives of students, which presents a tremendous opportunity to provide a positive environment for learning and development. Beginning July 1, 2012, Gaggle will include its Human Monitoring Service (HMS) as a part of its subscription service in order to better protect students and allow educators to focus on teaching.

The Human Monitoring Service puts the monitoring of blocked messages in Gaggle’s hands, eliminating the need for teachers to review questionable communications so they can concentrate on classroom instruction. The Human Monitoring Service greatly improves the safety and security of students, both online and in the real world. Gaggle’s HMS team has uncovered bullying, drug use, threats of school violence, teen depression, suicidal intentions, and abusive domestic situations. Detecting issues early allows parents and educators to intervene positively on behalf of students.

Director of Instructional Technology Cleon Franklin of Memphis City Schools, which currently uses the service, says the additional safety feature offers peace of mind. “The HMS team keeps the job of reviewing inappropriate content off our teachers’ plates,” he said. “An unexpected benefit of the system is the student safety situations that Gaggle has brought to our attention, even after school hours, allowing us to intervene and avoid potential tragedies.”

“Our top concern is student safety, and HMS makes it easier for teachers to protect their students in and out of the classroom,” said Shannon Sweeney, Cyber Security Agent at Gaggle. “Teachers don’t have to worry about monitoring the system themselves, giving them more time to devote to classroom instruction.”

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Patterson of Gaggle said, “This is the final puzzle piece that districts need to safely incorporate social networking into the classroom. Districts using HMS can be assured that communications are being constantly monitored and that safety concerns will be quickly addressed.”

Founded in 1998, Gaggle is a leading provider of safe online communication tools for schools. Gaggle hosts more than 3 million users in the U.S. and 23 countries. Based in Bloomington, Ill., the company is an expert in secure communications and offers proprietary technology and monitoring systems developed specifically for the school environment. Gaggle’s collaboration tools have won numerous education industry awards, including a prestigious CODiE Award in 2011 and Tech & LearningAwards of Excellence in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

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Strides To Stop Bullying Essay Event to Benefit the International Bullying Prevention Association

AscentiveInternet Safety News from the Ascentive team

Nancy Silberkleit, the seasoned anti-bullying and literacy advocate, is proud to announce the Strides To Stop Bullying Essay Event, a new anti-bullying initiative for 2012.  This inspirational event, open to students across the country, encourages youth to share their true stories and insight to raise awareness and stop the harm that bullying and cyberbullying can do.  Led by a panel including Former New York Governor David Paterson, Stan Davis of stopbullyingnow.com andNancy Silberkleit, the contest will raise funds for the International Bullying Prevention Association.  Selected youth will also have their story serve as the inspiration for a forthcoming educational, not-for-profit comic book written by Nancy Silberkleit. Selected essays may also be published anonymously in other ways.

Nancy Silberkleit, co-CEO of Archie Comics, is using her educational training and experience to inspire self-confidence and strength in children of all ages.  The Strides To Stop Bullying Essay Event was conceived by Silberkleit as a way to create an inspired community while also furthering her philanthropic reach. She is currently working on a series of educational comic book focusing on children’s issues such as bullying.  She aims to share her words of strength and inspiration with today’s youth.  She advises, “Never let anyone define who you are.  You know who you are.”

The Strides To Stop Bullying Essay Event, open to all students across the country ages 8-18, will be open for submissions February 1st- May 1st.  To enter, children must write a 250-word true essay on the topic of bullying. They may send their own true story about what made things better when they were bullied, or how they supported someone else who was bullied.  These essays will be used as the inspiration for one of Nancy Silberkleit’s upcoming educational comics.  For the first 200 essays sent in, Nancy Silberkleit will donate $5 per essay to the International Bullying Prevention Association.

“Creating a school environment free of harassment and discrimination has been a long term goal of mine,” says Governor Paterson.  “I’m proud to further align myself with causes such as this contest that encourage our youth to speak out and unite against bullying.”

Children are encouraged to enter throughout the submission period by emailing their 250 word stories and essays to stridestostopbullying@gmail.com.

 

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Center for Safe Schools Launches Toolkit to help parents address Cyber-Bullying

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Internet safety tips from the Ascentive team

Center for Safe Schools has partnered with the Highmark Foundation to produce the Pennsylvania Bullying Prevention Toolkit that will help parents, educators and professionals serving youth prevent bullying and support children affected by it.

The toolkit is available in print and online and includes specific information about how to differentiate between bullying and conflict, how to respond to cyberbullying, and potential legal implications of bullying-type behaviors. In addition, it contains tools such as a step-by-step guide for connecting children to relevant assistance, a sample letter informing the school of a bullying incident, and a list of vetted resources on bullying prevention, intervention and support.

The new toolkit was supported with funding from the Highmark Foundation and developed by the Center for Safe Schools with input from an interdisciplinary group of stakeholders focused on identifying strategies for improving the availability of resources and supports for children affected by bullying. This group includes Pennsylvania Department of Education, PennsylvaniaCommission on Crime and Delinquency and Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General; along with other state agencies, nonprofit and public health organizations and parents.

 

“In addition to helping parents, the toolkit is especially valuable to schools that do not have bullying prevention programs in place and to agencies typically called upon in crisis situations,” said Center for Safe Schools Director Lynn Cromley. “It ensures that families and various agencies have a fast-track to assessing and meeting needs when a bullying situation occurs.”

The toolkit is a continuation of the Highmark Foundation’s commitment to bullying prevention. Through Highmark Foundation funding, nearly 400 schools and approximately 210,000 students in Pennsylvania have had access to the research-based Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. The toolkit extends the foundation’s public health strategy by bringing information and resources related to bullying and bullying prevention to communities.

“The Highmark Foundation appreciates its continued partnership with the Center for Safe Schools. By working together we are helping to ensure the health and well being of all students,” said Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook. “The toolkit will help achieve the Center for Safe Schools and the Foundation’s shared goal of placing more adults in a position to help children so they can intervene appropriately in bullying situations.”

“Pennsylvania leads the nation in the breadth and scope of its bullying prevention efforts. Together, the partners in this work are changing attitudes, behavior and practice through cultivating safe and nurturing schools and communities for Pennsylvania’s children,” Cromley added.

To promote the new resource, the Center for Safe Schools will offer a webinar providing an introduction, content review and suggested uses of the toolkit. Besides parents and teachers, the Pennsylvania Bullying Prevention Toolkit is designed as a resource for anyone working with youth – including childcare workers, healthcare professionals and coaches. The pre-recorded webinar will be available beginning January 23, 2012.

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CNCS promotes anti-cyberbullying efforts on MLK Day

AscentiveCyber Safety News From the Ascentive team

Momentum is building for the annualMartin Luther King Day of Service, as thousands of organizations across the country put the finishing touches on volunteer projects to bring Americans together to serve their neighbors and advance Dr. King’s dream of social justice and economic opportunity for all.

With the holiday just days away, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is urging Americans to visit MLKDay.gov to find volunteer opportunities in their communities and make MLK Day a “day on, not a day off.”

Projects will take place in all 50 states, including weatherizing homes, beautifying schools, serving meals, and supporting veterans and military families. Many organizations use the day as a springboard for year-round service, such as signing up mentors and tutors for at-risk youth.

A special focus of the 2012 MLK Day of Service is advancing Dr. King’s dream of economic opportunity.  In Philadelphia, a job fair will connect 500 people looking for work with prospective employers. In Dayton, Ohio, volunteers will offer help in job searching, resume writing, and interview preparation.  Members of AmeriCorps VISTA will fan out nationwide to raise awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit and offer free tax preparation services.

“Dr. King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and economic opportunity for all, and taught us that everyone has a role to play in making America what it ought to be,” said Robert Velasco II, acting CEO of CNCS.  “Now more than ever, we need to take heed of Dr. King’s teachings and work together to achieve his dream.  Volunteer service is a powerful way to strengthen economic opportunity. And when better to start than on the day we honor Dr. King?”

In 1994, Congress passed legislation encouraging the King Federal Holiday to be observed as a national day of service, and charged CNCS with leading this national effort.  This year, CNCS developed several signature initiatives, including a partnership with Scholastic to create and distribute MLK Day Curriculum for grades 3-5; new MLK Day videos and TV and radio PSAs featuring civil rights leaders; and working with faith, non-profit and community leaders to provide more than 2,000 MLK Drum Majors for Service awards to exemplary volunteers.

CNCS awarded MLK Day of Service grants to six organizations to lead service activities on the day, supporting more than 300 projects nationwide to meet local needs:

HOPE worldwide is mobilizing thousands of volunteers across the nation, focusing on fire prevention and preparedness. Partnering with a number of local Red Cross branches, HOPE worldwide is hosting fire prevention fairs, canvasing to raise awareness of fire prevention, and conducting smoke alarm inspection and installation.

Points of Light is focusing its efforts on meeting the needs of veterans and military families, activating more than 185,000 volunteers through subgrantee projects. From MLK Day America’s Sunday Suppers focused on veterans and military members in local movie theaters in Central California to the nation’s largest MLK service project in Philadelphia with more than 85,000 volunteers. Americans are stepping up across the country to service to connect veterans and military families to jobs and training, education, housing and health care.

Service for Peace is mobilizing more than 25,000 volunteers with a focus on engaging and helping veterans and military families across the country, focusing on a wide array of issue areas, including leading the MLK Jr. National Food Drive, school clean ups, house rebuilding and promoting and restoring community garden art. Through the 40 Days of Peace campaign, Service for Peace will be working to reduce cyber-bullying, crime and violence across America from Jan. 16th to Feb. 24th.

Mobilizing nearly 12,000 volunteers on more than 65 college campuses across the country, Wisconsin Campus Compact and its partners will focus on education, healthy futures, economic opportunity and disaster preparedness with events ranging from working with area food banks to hosting a community breakfast for local leaders.

Youth Service America will engage at least 50,000 youth volunteers on MLK Day through partner and grantee schools and community organizations. Young people, ages 5-25, will serve as part of programs organized by 16 MLK Day Lead Organizers funded by CNCS as well as nearly 500 other YSA grant funded projects. Many of these grantees will use MLK Day as part of a Semester of Service™, an extended youth-led experience of at least 70 hours of learning and service.

Cesar Chavez Foundation is mobilizing more than 6,000 volunteers throughout the southwest and western region of the nation, focusing on education through digital literacy programs, community educational events and service learning projects.

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ABC’s 20/20 Episode Proposes a solution to Bullying Epidemic

AscentiveCyberbullying news from the Ascentive team

The ABC news magazine show 20/20 recently reported on what one school is doing to help combat the problem of in-school bullying and cyber-bullying. The Alliance School, an alternative Milwaukee public school, uses the Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program to teach students key lessons such as respect and conflict-resolution.

LifeSkills Training promotes healthy alternatives to risky behavior by helping students develop greater self-esteem and self-confidence and by enabling them to effectively cope with stress and anxiety.  Not only is LST the top-rated substance abuse prevention program in schools today; a recent study also showed that LST prevents physical and verbal aggression as well as delinquency and fighting in schools.

“Bullying is an epidemic that affects everyone—victims, bystanders, and the bullies themselves. An effective school-based prevention program can help build an atmosphere in schools so that kids feel safe, and when they feel safe, they learn better and thrive,” said program developer Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin. “I am proud that LST is an integral part of this.”

The Alliance School is a charter school of the Milwaukee Public School system that strives to provide a safe, student-centered, and academically challenging environment to meet the needs of all students. The 6th – 12th grade school, which opened in 05, teaches LifeSkills Training to help reinforce a safe and accepting environment where students are treated fairly regardless of sexuality, ability, appearance, or beliefs.

Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) is a highly effective evidence-based substance abuse and violence prevention program with more than 30 years of peer-reviewed research behind it. Studies testing its effectiveness have found that LST can reduce the prevalence of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use by as much as 80 percent. The program was developed by Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, professor of Public Health and Psychiatry at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College and director of Cornell’s Institute for Prevention Research.

LST has been used with youth in all 50 states, the District of Columbia,Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and in 32 countries around the world. LST is included in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) and has been selected for prevention excellence by numerous organizations including the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (part of the U.S. Department of Justice). Recently LST was selected as a Top Tier prevention program by the Coalition for Evidence-based Policy, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization in Washington, DC. Visit http://www.lifeskillstraining.com for more information.

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