Texans Can Academies
Social Media Policies
Dos & Don’ts
These are the social media guidelines as an employee with Texans Can Academies. If you’re an employee contributing to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of social media both on and off the District network, these guidelines apply to you. We expect all who participate in social media to understand and follow these guidelines. Failure to do so could place your employment with Texans Can Academies at risk. These guidelines will continually evolve as new technologies and social networking tools emerge, so review the policy periodically to make sure you’re up to date.
Texans Can Academies realizes that part of 21st century learning is adapting to the changing methods of communication. The importance of teachers, students and parents engaging, collaborating, learning, and sharing in these digital environments is a part of 21st century learning. To this aim, Texans Can Academies has developed the following guidelines when participating in online social media activities to provide direction for instructional employees, students and the school district community. Whether or not an employee chooses to participate in a blog, wiki, online social network or any other form of online publishing or discussion, that is at one’s own discretion. Free speech protects educators who want to participate in social media, but the laws and courts have ruled that schools can discipline teachers if their speech, including online postings, disrupts school operations. Texans Can Academies social media guidelines encourage employees to participate in online social activities. But it is important to create an atmosphere of trust and individual accountability, keeping in mind that information produced by Texans Can Academies teachers and students is a reflection on the entire district and is subject to the district’s Acceptable Use Policy. When accessing, creating or contributing to any blogs, wikis, or other social media sites for classroom or district use, you agree to abide by these guidelines. Please read them carefully before posting or commenting on any blog or creating any classroom blog, wiki and/or podcast.
These guidelines suggest best practices of the publication of and commentary on social media by employees of Texans Can Academies. For the purposes of these guidelines, social media means any facility for online publication and commentary, including without limitation blogs, wiki’s, social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube. These guidelines are in addition to, and complement any existing or future policies from Texans Can Academies regarding the use of technology, computers, e-mail and the internet. Texans Can Academies employees are free to publish or comment via social media in accordance with these guidelines. Texans Can Academies faculty/staff are subject to district policy to the extent they identify themselves as a Texans Can employee (other than as an incidental mention of place of employment in a personal blog on topics unrelated to Texans Can Academies). Publication and commentary on social media carries similar obligations to any other kind of publication or commentary. All uses of social media must follow the same ethical standards that Texans Can Academies employees must otherwise follow.
Social Media Guidelines for Faculty & Staff
Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, Digital Images & Video Personal Responsibility
- Texans Can Academies employees are personally responsible for the content they publish online. Be mindful that what you publish will be public for a long time—protect your privacy.
- Your online behavior should reflect the same standards of honesty, respect, and consideration that you use face-to-face.
- This policy does not purport to address every possible issue involving social media use.
- Employees should always use good judgment and act prudently when using social media.
- All other Texans Can Academies policies apply to employee social media use. This includes policies regarding discrimination, harassment, confidentiality, diversity and privacy.
- Employees should identify themselves as a Texans Can Academies employee before posting any information, photographs or video that could be construed as an endorsement of Texans Can Academies.
- Employees should avoid criticizing any competitors.
- The use of company equipment and any internet activity (including personal or school use of social media) may be monitored by the company in the normal course of business.
- When posting to any social media sites be sure you disclose that the information is representative of your views and opinions and not necessarily the views and opinions of Texans Can Academies.
- Remember that blogs, wikis and podcasts are an extension of your classroom. What is inappropriate in your classroom should be deemed inappropriate online.
- The lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred in the digital world. By virtue of identifying yourself as a Texans Can Academies employee online, you are now connected to colleagues, students, parents and the school community. You should ensure that content associated with you is consistent with your work at Texans Can Academies.
- When contributing online do not post confidential student information.
- Assistance in setting up social media accounts and their settings can be obtained from Texans Can Academies’ Technology Facilitator.
- It’s perfectly acceptable to talk about your work and have a dialog with the community, but it’s not okay to publish confidential information. Confidential information includes things such as student information, grades, or any other confidential information that would identify individuals. We must protect and respect the privacy of our students, staff, parents, and school community.
- Privacy settings on social media platforms should be set to allow anyone to see profile information similar to what would be on the Texans Can Academies website. Other privacy settings that might allow others to post information or see information that is personal should be set to limit access. Be mindful of posting information that you would not want the public to see.
- If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so. If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as their copyrighted material or a defamatory comment about them), react quickly.
- Make sure that blogging or other social media outlets do not interfere with your job or use of other commitments to Texans Can Academies.
- Use a spell-checker.
- The best way to be interesting, avoid errors, and have fun is to write about what you know. There is a good chance of being embarrassed by a real expert, or of being boring if you write about topics you are not knowledgeable about.
- Many social media users include a prominent disclaimer saying who they work for, but that they’re not speaking officially. This is good practice and is encouraged, but don’t count on it to avoid trouble.
- Texans Can Academies employees must include disclaimers within their personal blogs that the views are their own and do not reflect on their employer. For example, “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent Texans Can Academies’ positions, strategies, opinions, or policies.”
- This standard disclaimer does not by itself exempt Texans Can Academies employees from a special responsibility when blogging.
- Classroom blogs do not require a disclaimer, but teachers are encouraged to moderate content contributed by students.
Copyright and fair Use
It is critical that you show proper respect for the laws governing copyright and fair use or fair dealing of copyrighted material owned by others.
A hyperlink to outside sources is recommended. Be sure not to plagiarize and give credit where it is due. When using a hyperlink, be sure that the content is appropriate and adheres to Texans Can Academies Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).
Respect and protect your audience and partners, the public in general, and Texans Can Academies’ staff and community. This includes no ethnic slurs, offensive comments, and defamatory comments, personal insults, obscenity, etc. as well as proper consideration of privacy and of topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory.
It is recommended that blogs be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Profiles and Identity
- Remember your association and responsibility with the Texans Can Academies in online social environments. If you identify yourself as a Texans Can Academies employee, ensure your profile and related content is consistent with how you wish to present yourself with colleagues, parents, and students. How you represent yourself online should be comparable to how you represent yourself in person.
No last names, school names, addresses or phone numbers should appear on blogs or wikis
- When uploading digital pictures or avatars that represent yourself make sure you select a school appropriate image. Adhere to Employee handout book guidelines as well as your AUP. Also remember not to utilize protected images. Images should be available under Creative Commons or your own.
Do not blog anonymously, using pseudonyms or false screen names. We believe in transparency and honesty. Use your real name, be clear who you are, and identify that you work for Texans Can Academies.
Personal Use of Social Media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
- Texans Can Academies employees are personally responsible for all comments/information they publish online. Be mindful that what you publish will be public for a long time—protect your privacy.
- Your online behavior should reflect the same standards of honesty, respect, and consideration that you use face-to-face, and be in accordance with the highest professional Standards.
- By posting your comments, engaging in online conversations, etc. on social media sites you are broadcasting to the world. Be aware that even with the strictest privacy settings what you ‘say’ online should be within the bounds of stated Texans Can Academies professional discretion.
- Before posting photographs and videos, permission should be sought from the subject where possible. This is especially the case where photographs of professional colleagues are concerned.
- Microblogging (Twitter etc.) Comments made using such media are not protected by privacy settings as witnessed by the high profile cases in the UK with sports stars being disciplined for tweets expressing personal views. Employees should be aware of the public and widespread nature of such media and again refrain from any comment that could be deemed unprofessional.
- Texans Can Academies employees are required to obtain authorization to have instant messaging programs downloaded on their school computers.
- Texans Can Academies employees also recognize this same authorization is required for access to instant messaging programs that are available through web interfaces with no download.
- Avatar images and profile information should follow the same guidelines as the above Profiles and Identity section.
- A written request must be submitted to the district Chief Information Officer for approval.
- When submitting a request to the CIO please include your name, building, grade level, and provide a statement explaining your instructional purposes for using the program.
- It would also be beneficial if you can tie your request to state curriculum standards or the student or teacher National Educational Technology Standards.
Requests for Social Media Sites
Texans Can Academies understands that 21st century learning is constantly changing technology and that many sites that are currently “blocked” by Texans Can Academies internet filter may have pedagogical significance for teacher and student use.
- If you would like to request that another online site be accessible to use for teaching and learning, please fill out the Social Media Request Form and submit it to the district Educational Technology Specialist for review.
- Requests will be reviewed and the district social media guidelines will be updated periodically throughout the school year.
- A description should be provided of the intended use of the site and what tools on the site match your needed criteria.
- Policy violations will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination for cause in accordance with Texans Can Academies policies.
Social Media Guidelines for Students
- Be aware of what you post online. Social media venues including wikis, blogs, photo and video sharing sites are very public. What you contribute leaves a digital footprint for all to see. Do not post anything you wouldn’t want friends, enemies, parents, teachers, or a future employer to see.
- Follow the school’s code of conduct when writing online. It is acceptable to disagree with someone else’s opinions, however, it must be stated in a respectful way. Make sure that criticism is constructive and not hurtful. What is inappropriate in the classroom is inappropriate online.
- Be safe online. Never give out personal information, including, but not limited to, last names, phone numbers, addresses, exact birthdates, and pictures. Do not share your password with anyone besides your teachers and parents.
- Linking to other websites to support your thoughts and ideas is recommended. However, be sure to read the entire article prior to linking to ensure that all information is appropriate for a school setting.
- Do your own work! Do not use other people’s intellectual property without their permission. It is a violation of copyright law to copy and paste other’s thoughts. When paraphrasing another’s idea(s) be sure to cite your source with the URL. It is good practice to hyperlink to your sources.
- Be aware that photographs and other artwork images may also be protected under copyright laws. Verify you have permission to use the image or it is under Creative Commons attribution.
- How you represent yourself online is an extension of yourself. Do not misrepresent yourself by using someone else’s identity.
- Blog and wiki posts should be well written. Follow writing conventions including proper grammar, capitalization, and punctuation. If you edit someone else’s work be sure it is in the spirit of improving the writing.
- If you run across inappropriate material that makes you feel uncomfortable, or is not respectful, tell your teacher or any adult right away.
- Students who do not abide by these terms and conditions may lose their opportunity to take part in the project and/or access to future use of online tools.
Parent Social Media Guidelines
Classroom blogs and other social media are powerful tools that open up communication between students, parents, and teachers. This kind of communication and collaboration can have a huge impact on learning. Texans Can Academies encourages parents to view and participate by adding comments to classroom projects when appropriate.
Parents are required to adhere to the following guidelines:
- Parents should expect communication from teachers prior to their child’s involvement in any project using online social media applications, i.e., blogs, wikis, podcast, etc.
- Parents will need to sign a release form for students when teachers set up social media activities for classroom use.
- Parents will not attempt to destroy or harm any information online.
- Parents will not use classroom social media sites for any illegal activity, including violation of data privacy laws.
- Parents are highly encouraged to read and/or participate in social media projects.
- Parents should not distribute any information that might be deemed personal about other students participating in the social media project.
- Parents may not post products or services for sell in social media projects.
- Parents should not upload or include any information that does not also meet the Student Guidelines.
District Recommended Social Computing Sites
While Texans Can Academies recommends the following sites, it does not guarantee all of the content found on the sites may not be found objectionable by any person. Parents, teachers, educators and students are urged to notify a teacher or parent of any material found that is objectionable.