Spring Lake Creates 'Student Messengers' with Online Tool

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"It is our goal to provide avenues for open and comfortable channels of communication in our building," said Paula Hoff, principal of Westwood Middle School in Minnesota, part of the Spring Lake Park School District. The district this month became the first in the state to deploy an anonymous online reporting system. "We want the students to know that we care about what is happening in their lives, and this is yet one more way to let them know we are invested in their academic, emotional and social success."

Spring Lake Park School District is deploying AnComm's Talk About It service as part of its school safety strategy. Talk About It is a hosted online system that allows students to report incidents of violence, threats, bullying, depression, and other issues to teachers and administrators anonymously. It also provides e-mail capabilities for students and other communications tools not directly related to safety and reporting.

Steven Price, school safety coordinator for Spring Lake Park School District, said the online system gives the district "an innovative way of reaching out to our students in a form that is familiar and comfortable to them--the Web. It also correlates well with a new student leadership group that was developed this year at our middle school [that comprises] 65 student leaders. This task force of students will be a critical part in the monitoring of our school environment. The students will become the messengers. It is the hope that the students will assist in creating and maintaining a climate of respect and cultural acceptance."

The system will be made available this school year for 1,200 grade 5 through 8 students in Westwood Middle School and Westwood Intermediate School.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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