A new generation of threats to children has created a need for a whole new curriculum in the schools.
In Worthington, the curriculum is called iSafe, and its lessons are being taught at all grade levels.
“There are more lessons than anyone can teach,” Martha Mickey told the Worthington Board of Education at its Sept. 26 meeting. She is librarian at Colonial Hills Elementary School.
For $3,000 a year, the district subscribes to iSafe, which provides resources including video clips for students and for teachers.
The company continually updates materials, allowing the district to be up to date in a constantly changing world, said Jennifer Wene, director of academic achievement and professional development.
“Issues not an issue two weeks ago are a big issue now,” she said.
Librarians are in charge of the program, though it is also taught in other classroom settings, including high school freshman English classes and in speech classes.
The idea is to teach students early how to beware of Internet threats and how to use the internet safely and productively.
Board member David Bressman asked if the impact of the course can be measured.
Thomas Worthington librarian Lori Poleway said students fill out surveys about their experiences with the lessons.
The company that produces the program has also researched the lessons and found students have a long retention rate of what has been taught, Wene said.
“When they’re away from their parents and teachers, they know what they’re supposed to do,” she said.
Bressman said he is always surprised that parents are often unaware of the dangers on the Iinternet until it is too late.
Poleway agreed. Cyber bullying can go on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is done by children who would not have otherwise been brave enough to physically bully another student, she said.
“It increases exponentially because of the technology available,” she said.