Headlines

 

A Message from the Head of School

MONDAY - DECEMBER 4, 2017

 

Dear ECFS Community,

I am particularly proud of the trailblazing work of our Technology Department, a team of dedicated professionals empowered by the the leadership of Technology Director Jeannie Crowley. Jeannie views her role and the work of her team through an ethical lens, from procurement to education. In sourcing hardware and software, they evaluate the manufacturing and labor practices of companies and their commitment to sustainability. She and her team ask challenging questions of our school community, pushing us to be responsible stewards and users of both personal and school-owned technology resources. ECFS has a longstanding reputation of being at the vanguard of important progressive educational initiatives. Historically, this was true in our approach to service and service learning and in our vision for interdisciplinary and place-based curricula as well. Where technology and ethics intersect, our technology team is at the forefront of the field today, not just for primary and secondary schools, but among colleges and universities as well.

I am delighted to feature a message from Jeannie Crowley, Technology Director at ECFS, in my Headlines column this month:

Rarely does a day go by without a news headline featuring an unanticipated consequence of our use of technology. While the profound benefits of technology have been well documented, we are only just beginning to understand how technology impacts our bodies, our society, and our planet. With this growing awareness comes the responsibility for technology professionals to abandon ed tech models that focus on the benefits of technology without acknowledging--and actively mitigating--the costs of using technology. To adapt to this new demand, the Academic Technology Integrators at ECFS have been working over the past three years to frame technology learning experiences through the lenses of diversity, identity, human rights, environmental sustainability, and wellness. Helping our students deeply understand the technology systems they use is critical for them to be fully informed and fully empowered global citizens.

To reflect the growth and focus of the team, I am pleased to announce Felipe Cocco, Kim Deveaux, Kenny Graves, and Ingrid Sabogal will have the title Ethics & Technology Coordinators. This title emphasizes the work they have done to develop technology learning experiences grounded in the mission of the school. In this role--unique in the nation--they will:

  • Work closely with school counselors and specialists to support social emotional learning and health and wellness as it relates to technology;
  • Partner with the diversity and ethics departments to offer community professional development;
  • Plan parent, student, and faculty/staff workshops relating to contemporary ethical issues in technology such as screen time, addiction, information literacy, privacy, student wellness, identity, diversity, civic engagement, environmental justice, access, human rights, civil rights, security, and sustainable practices;
  • Participate in divisional student support and disciplinary meetings when relevant to technology use (or misuse);
  • Work with faculty, department chairs, grade-level teams, and curriculum committees to identify cross-curricular opportunities to integrate technology and ethics topics into their courses and subjects;
  • Recruit and manage student volunteers for repair tutoring centers;
  • Provide direct support to classroom teachers to integrate technology into classroom activities in a manner that is aligned with the school's ethical mission; and
  • Emphasize student well-being, environmental sustainability, labor rights, privacy, security, and other ethical considerations when developing classroom activities with teachers.


I've included a few of their projects below, and I encourage you to reach out to the Ethics & Technology Coordinators in your divisions to learn more about their work and how we are working as a team to support both students and adults in their use of technology. I am always available and eager to discuss the vision of our department, so please contact me with any questions at jcrowley@ecfs.org.


A note from me about the spirit of giving at ECFS during the holiday season:

At this time of year, I am keenly aware of the generosity of the community and the desire of families to show their appreciation to faculty, staff, and administrators in a variety of ways. I want everyone to know that the School and the P+T are collaborating this year (and moving forward) to give each person who works at ECFS an appreciation gift. Principals will also host divisional celebrations, and I will host an all-school party before the holiday break as a way to celebrate and nurture camaraderie among school personnel. If you or your child wish to thank a particular adult in the community who is important to you, considering doing so through a note or card; please do not purchase gifts. This practice creates inequities that undermine the spirit of community as all families cannot afford to give gifts, lavish or not, however much they may wish to do so, and not all faculty, staff, and administrators are remembered in the same ways, so the disparities can be hurtful.

I wish all the joys of the holiday season upon our school community and each individual who makes ECFS such an extraordinary place in which to learn and to teach--whether you are a student, a parent or guardian, a faculty or staff member, or an administrator.

Peace and blessings,
Jessica

 
 
 
 
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Ethical Culture Fieldston School

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3901 FIELDSTON ROAD • BRONX, NY 10471 • (718) 329-7300

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