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Virginia Journal of Education


Your Classroom


Watching Your Step
On Social Networks

Here are some social networking do’s and don’ts, courtesy of education associations from around the country:

Do:
• Make sure only your friends can view your search listing and profile. Under “Settings,” lock all options in “Privacy” to accept “Only Friends.”

• Remove yourself from Google search listings. Facebook profiles now show up in Google search listings, but you can opt out of search entirely to prevent your students from knowing you’re on Facebook. In “Privacy,” review the “Search Result Content” to limit the information people can see about you.

• Be vigilant about what others post about you. “Untag” photos of yourself that you don’t want students or parents to see.

• Before posting something, ask yourself, “Would I want my [principal, students, parents] to see this?

• Be careful about linking your Facebook with other social networking sites. If you update your status on a linked Twitter account, it will publish to Facebook where others might see it.

• Monitor what is being published about you. If you’re concerned that old friends or contacts could include you in online postings without your knowledge, try setting up a Google alert with your name, just to be safe. A Google alert will send you an email anytime you are published. Visit www.google.com/alerts and enter your name to be searched, how often you want to receive the reports and your e-mail address.

• Sort your friends by lists. If you’re friends with your fellow educators and principals, you may want to add them to a school list with restricted viewing abilities. Once you’ve created your list, go to “Settings,” and navigate to the Profile section. From there, you can select “Edit Custom Settings,” which will open a field for “Except These People.”

• Use common sense when you’re using social media.

Don’t:
• Don’t accept friend requests from current or potential students or their family members.

• Don’t accept anyone whom you do not know personally as a friend. Just like e-mail, information and photos from sites like Facebook are not fully protected and can be obtained.

• Don’t join groups that may be considered unprofessional or inappropriate, and leave any such group of which you may already be a member.

• Don’t post vulgar or obscene language, materials, photos or links that may be considered inappropriate or unprofessional. If you don’t want to see it on the front page of the local newspaper, don’t post it.

• Don’t post any negative information about your students, co-workers or school administrators.


Get the Health Scoop
From NEA’s Network

Working in a school has its own set of health issues. The NEA’s Health Information Network can provide educators with resources on a wide range of important topics, including:

• Curricula for dental health, including brushing charts, the Tooth Tally project, dental health lesson plans and the history of dentistry;
• A booklet entitled, Exposure to Blood on the Job: What School Employees Need to Know;
• The School Crisis Guide;
• Talking About Adult Vaccination; and
• The Stomach Bug Book.

For more information, visit www.neahin.org.


The Voices of Children

Hopeful Voices is a free educational curriculum supplement designed for social studies, language arts and other classes. It consists of 10 essays written by children from around the world who have had to confront significant challenges in life, such as child labor, violence, homelessness and abandonment. In their essays, the children share their stories, as well as their hopes, dreams and thoughts about life. Each essay ends with prompts for student writing and research assignments.

To learn more, visit www.hopefulvoices.org.


National Endowment for
the Arts Grants Available

A variety of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, in areas such as arts education; folk and traditional arts; music; literature; media arts; and theater, are available. They’re listed by discipline and applications are available at www.nea.gov/grants/apply/index.html.


Professional Growth
for Support Staff

Teacher’s aides, bus drivers, school secretaries, food service workers and custodians are just a few of the roles filled by education support professionals, who, along with teachers, need ongoing training to hone their skills. ESPs who want more effective professional development may want to read an NEA publication called “ESProfessionals: An Action Guide to Help You in Your Professional Development.” The free guide includes a list of skills that should be gained by all ESPs, a definition of “good” professional development, and other helpful information.

Download the Guide at www.nea.org/assets/img/content/ESPActionGuide.pdf.

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SLPs Ready to Help

Speech and language disorders can take many forms and can limit academic achievement, social adjustment, and career advancement. An individual may be born with a speech or language disorder, or it may be caused by injury or illness.

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are the professionals who treat all types of speech, language and related disorders. They hold at least a master's degree and are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. In Virginia, SLPs are licensed by the state, while school systems require a teaching license from the VDOE with endorsement in speech-language pathology. In addition, many school based SLPs choose to renew their license every three years to maintain their Certificate of Clinical Competency (CCC).

Speech-language pathologists work in schools, private practice, hospitals, clinics and other health and education settings. Public schools throughout Virginia have access to a SLP. Teachers should refer a student to a SLP if they suspect a student exhibits a stutter, a habitually hoarse voice, has difficulty following directions or putting words together to make his wants and needs known, or is difficult to understand. The SLP can evaluate the student and provide remediation if he or she is found eligible for special education services. Some school based SLPs in Virginia also work in Response to Intervention (RTI) programs, with students who have not been identified with a disorder, but are considered at risk. Below average speech-language skills are often an indicator for later reading acquisition problems, so early intervention is vital.

--by Linda Hollingsworth, a speech-language pathologist and member of the Loudoun Education Association

 


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