Common Sense Education Certifies Tom Wilson Elementary as 750th School in Award-Winning Digital Citizenship Program

Katy, Texas, Elementary School Commits to Helping Kids Be Safer and More Responsible Online

Common Sense Media
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Tom Wilson Elementary in Katy, Texas, was recognized today as the 750th Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified School. Tom Wilson joins 146 schools in Texas and 17 others in the Katy Independent School District in Common Sense Education's award-winning program that prepares kids to address critical issues related to using technology at home and at school, from creative copyright and protecting student privacy to cyberbullying and sexting.

Launched in 2012, the Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certification program helps educators, schools, and districts create a coherent, community-oriented approach to teaching kids (and grown-ups) the do's and don'ts of the Internet. Common Sense's K–12 curriculum corresponds to what kids are doing online at each developmental stage from kindergarten through high school and includes community resources for parent and caregivers in English and Spanish. Certified schools and districts are qualified by Common Sense and awarded the designation on an annual basis.

"Every time we hear about an incident with cyberbullying or basic privacy concerns, we are reminded that digital citizenship is an essential component to 21st-century learning and student safety," said Hailey Schmidt, librarian at Tom Wilson Elementary School. "By certifying our school, we are showing our community just how important this is and enabling our students, families, and community members to make smarter choices. The material provides different ways for students to express their concerns and sometimes uses humor to help them manage the issues they deal with every day."

The Common Sense Digital Citizenship curriculum has been adopted by all 59 campuses in the Katy School District, reaching over 70,000 kids, and is taught by school librarians and classroom teachers. Digital learning manager Jay Sonnenburg said: "In Katy ISD we encourage the use of technology in and outside our classrooms. It's our job, along with the families, to make sure our students are productive, positive, and safe when working and living in this digital landscape."

"By becoming a certified school, Tom Wilson Elementary has demonstrated an important commitment to the safety and development of their kids and communities," said Rebecca Randall, vice president of education programs for Common Sense. "As more schools integrate technology, often providing kids devices to take home through one-to-one programs, the responsibility of schools to teach digital citizenship continues to grow."

Common Sense Education's K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum was launched in collaboration with Dr. Howard Gardner of the GoodPlay Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2010. Instructional materials match the maturity and development of students and range from traditional handouts to online, interactive games, which engage kids in exploring the possibilities and outcomes of different online behavior. Over 109,000 schools are registered to use Common Sense Education materials.

For more information about the Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certification Program for educators, schools, and districts, visit:

About Tom Wilson Elementary School
Katy ISD is a flourishing suburban school district that encompasses 181 square miles in southeast Texas. Its eastern boundaries stretch to Houston's energy corridor approximately 16 miles west of downtown Houston and extend along Interstate 10 to a few miles west of the city of Katy.

In the 2014–2015 school year, student enrollment has grown to more than 70,000 served by 60 schools, including seven four-year high schools. Given the highest possible rating by the Texas Education Agency, Katy ISD offers an outstanding instructional program with facilities, equipment, and materials that are among the best in the state.

About Common Sense Education
Common Sense Education provides teachers and schools with free research-based classroom tools to help students harness technology for learning and life. Our K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum and interactive games teach students how to make safe, smart, and ethical decisions in the digital world. Our educational ratings and reviews platform helps educators discover, use, and share high-quality digital products that propel student learning. Common Sense Education works with more than 300,000 teacher members in over 100,000 schools to help ensure all children have the opportunity to thrive in the 21st century.

Common Sense is the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families and educators thrive in a world of media and technology. To see all of Common Sense's education resources, visit /educators.


Press contacts:
Jennifer Kriz
Manager, Education Communications
Common Sense Media

Denisse Cantu Coffman
Director of Communications
Katy ISD Communications
[email protected]