Digital Citizenship and News Literacy

Dear community member, 

A digital citizen is a person who develops the skills and knowledge to effectively harness the internet and other digital technologies to participate in civic activities. One of the most important civic activities in a democracy, of course, is voting. 

In recognition of Digital Citizenship Week, and in advance of the upcoming midterm elections, we’ve been sharing resources and support for students and teachers to use technology to seek and evaluate news and information. While the voting age is 18 and most of our students are ineligible to vote, there are many ways to actively participate: pre-registering to vote at age 16, volunteering as a poll worker, and learning to seek and evaluate reliable sources of information.

Earlier this week we were pleased to launch a new partnership with a local news outlet, Lookout Santa Cruz, which is offering a free year of membership to their news site to high school students. Santa Cruz City Schools and COE students will receive information automatically via email, and all Santa Cruz County high school districts who wish to will be able to opt in. We are fortunate to have several other quality local news outlets in our county covering our elections as well as many excellent statewide resources. I invite all of our students and educators to learn out more about Lookout Santa Cruz’s student program and other available resources by watching our News and Media Literacy event (using the button below) or by viewing the presentation slide deck.

Developing these skills is only becoming more important. We have all seen how quickly misinformation, as well as accurate information, can spread online. That leaves the onus on us as educators, students, and parents, to ensure our youth have the tools and training to seek and sort through this ever-widening digital firehouse – and harness it to carry out our civic responsibilities.

Yours in education and equity,
Dr. Faris Sabbah
County Superintendent of Schools