Media & Communications Policy
DUNECREST AMERICAN SCHOOL
MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS POLICY
Approved: August 30, 2022
SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this policy is to define the social media policy for “Dunecrest American School” and its community of parents, students, teachers and staff. The policy defines the guiding principles for the acceptable use of social media by the school community. Social media refers to social networking platforms including but not limited to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
All members of the school community should read this document carefully and be fully aware of its contents and guidelines. Parents/Guardians will all be requested to read the policy and sign the media consent form available within the Powerschool student management system.
Does this policy only apply to social media?
While online and social media are now the most common forms of media in the world, the same guidelines apply to traditional media such as print, broadcast (television, radio), outdoor billboards and banners.
Why do we use social media at “Dunecrest American School”?
To address the fast-changing landscape of the Internet and the way we communicate and obtain information online, school departments may use social media tools to engage with our school community and with a broader external audience. Where appropriate, “Dunecrest” encourages the use of social media to further the mission and vision of the school and the missions of its departments. Moreover, the school has an overriding interest in determining what is communicated on its behalf on social media sites.
What do we share and why?
From time to time, “Dunecrest American School” may publish student work and photos of students and staff involved in educational and extra-curricular activities, for educational, communications and public relations purposes. These materials include but are not limited to classroom activities, online classes, school events, concerts, plays, sports and training, school trips, regional activities or general testimonials. We may take photographs of students, faculty and staff to share all that “Dunecrest American School” has to offer. We may use these images to promote our school via school displays, print publications, school website and social media platforms, press articles, billboards and other promotional channels.
Due to the unique nature of our school and the programmes and initiatives we offer, from time to time, “Dunecrest” may also be visited by the media and external providers who may take photographs or video footage of a high-profile event. Students may appear in these images, and the images may sometimes be published in local or national newspapers and/or approved websites.
As an Esol Education school, “Dunecrest” may also share material with our managing organization, Esol Education, and our sister schools within the wider school network – to promote our best practices and school life at “Dunecrest American School” and Esol Education in all its forms. This may include academic learning, curriculum and extra-curricular activities in order to give viewers a deeper understanding of “Dunecrest American School” and all that comes with it.
Where do we share information?
Content may be used and/or posted by “Dunecrest American School”, Esol Education, its affiliates, and schools that are members of the Esol Education family of schools. This includes:
- School newsletters
- Reports and articles
- “Dunecrest American School” web-based and/or mobile applications which can be accessed and viewed by the “Dunecrest American School” community only
- The official school website
- The official website of Esol Education
- “Dunecrest American School” social media networks (including but not limited to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn)
- Local and international newspapers and magazines including print and online editions.
- Print publications and promotional materials, such as newsletters, brochures, etc.
- Advertisement platforms, such as outdoor and/or digital banners and billboards
“Dunecrest American School” may transfer the print material to Esol Education or to other service providers for processing the material and preparing it for final print publications specifically for purposes identified in this consent form.
Does this policy cover visiting partners?
From time to time, external education partners will visit the school and may request photo/video coverage of their visit, talks and presentations and/or student reactions. Teachers/administrators coordinating these visits should ensure that partners provide their own media consent form for parents of the respective grades to sign, or may use the template provided by Dunecrest American School.
SECTION 2: CHILD PROTECTION, PRIVACY, DIGITAL SAFETY
“Dunecrest American School” champions safe digital citizenship including, protecting our children’s privacy online and helping them maintain a responsible digital footprint. In this regard, we adhere to the following guidelines on Child Online Protection by UNICEF.
1. Integrating child rights considerations into all appropriate corporate policies and management processes
2. Developing standard processes to address inappropriate material
3. Creating a safe and age-appropriate online environment
4. Educating children, parents, and teachers about children’s safety and their responsible use of technology
5. Promoting digital technology as a mode for further civic engagement
Creating a Healthy and Safe Online Presence for our Students
Social media can be used for good: to share best practices, provide an authentic audience for student work, cultivate digital citizenship among their students, and build more connected school communities. To be responsible digital citizens, our students need educators who model positive, creative and responsible social media use. To this end, “Dunecrest American School” is dedicated to:
- Establishing transparent social media policies and communicating these to our entire community.
- Using parental consent/opt-out forms.
- Protecting students' personally identifiable information and confidentiality. This includes removing or blurring identifying information such as individual student names on post captions, certificates, name tags and handwriting and location.
- Protecting information such as grades, assessments, or any part of a student's educational record.
- Facilitating classroom discussion around social media posting.
- Promoting safe digital citizenship.
- Using our learning management systems to share extensive classroom work in a private forum accessible by parents only.
Adapted from guidelines published by Common Sense Education®.
SECTION 3: DUNECREST POLICIES & GUIDELINES
“Dunecrest” encourages the responsible use of social media. The responsible use of social media can be positive for learning, teaching and the cohesion of the “Dunecrest” community. These guiding principles should be adopted by any member of the “Dunecrest” community who wishes to either represent or post about the school online.
1. When using social media, our community members are expected to follow the principles below:
- Nominate content creators who have demonstrated sound judgement and responsible decision-making, and ensure that they post content that reflects the values of the school community, enhances the school’s reputation, and respects audience sensitivities.
- Prioritize child safety above all else
- Focus on communicating and celebrating our school’s mission, vision, pillars, core values and educational offerings
- Celebrate our school’s core values and sustainability in all forms
- Respect the rights and confidentiality of others
- Do not impersonate or falsely represent another person
- Do not bully, intimidate, abuse, harass, or use offensive language towards others
- Do not make defamatory comments
- Do not post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic or incites violence against others
- Do not harm the reputation and good standing of “Dunecrest Americanl School” or any member of its school community
- Adhere fully to the UAE Government’s Federal media regulations
2. Parents or guardians should communicate with students about the appropriate use of social media so that students understand and follow the guiding principles listed in this document.
3. The following persons comprise “Dunecrest’s” management team for social media:
a. The school’s Communications Manager is the primary person in charge of social media management, with the school’s Senior Leadership Team serving as an advisory body.
b. The responsible teachers or staff members for sub-accounts, as referenced in section 6, are also part of the school’s management team for social media.
4. All persons undertaking to represent the school on social media will undergo an E-Safety Training Course specifically written for teachers, schools and the education sector. This e-Safety course introduces online safety and social media, raising awareness of key issues including online risks, dealing with incidents and how to use social media for parental engagement, teaching and learning. The course fulfills the safeguarding training outcomes as specified by the UK Government’s Office of Standards in Education, Children’s Services & Skills (Ofsted UK) and equivalent inspecting bodies.
5. The intellectual property rights for “Dunecrest American School” and Esol Education are protected and cannot be used without written permission by external parties such as partners, suppliers, students, parents and activity/social groups run at the school.
a. This includes but is not limited to the names and logos of “Dunecrest American School” and Esol Education.
b. Any party seeking to create or manage the school’s sub-accounts with page names containing “Dunecrest” or “Dunecrest American School” (with the intention of sharing content related to the School), or Esol Education, as well as the use of logos containing the school’s brand design, must seek written approval from the school’s management before they can be created or used.
6. Where photography is permitted in school, parents may take photographs or video of their own children and use such content at their discretion. However, should the content be published on social media or elsewhere, parents must ensure that no other children are recognizable in the content. If any other child is recognizable, it is the parent’s responsibility to obtain the permission of the parent to publish the content.
7. Rules for school social media sub-accounts
a. A social media sub-account is any account that is not the school’s official social media channel i.e., a secondary account that represents a particular department, class, or club at school. Content from sub-accounts may occasionally be shared on the school’s main social media channels.
b. Any person intending to create and manage a school sub-account should seek written approval from the school management. Approval is subject to evaluation of the objectives of creating a dedicated account, benefits to the community, type of content that will be shared and intended audience.
c. The manager of any school sub-account should be a member of the school community, and each sub-account should have a teacher or staff member as an advisor to the manager.
d. If the account owner is a student, his/her parent or guardian should use the school consent form (Appendix 1) to provide written permission for the child to own and run the account.
e. All sub-accounts should be created using an official school email address on the domain “@dunecrest.ae” and username and credentials should be registered with the school’s IT and Marketing departments.
f. All sub-account names should start with the name “Dunecrest”, e.g. “Dunecrest Chess Club.”
g. All sub-account managers should reach out to the school’s communications department for a custom-designed logo/profile image and may not alter or use the school logo in any way.
h. If the manager of a school sub-account leaves or graduates from “Dunecrest,” they should contact the “Dunecrest” Marketing Department for account handover, and the “Dunecrest” Marketing Department will temporarily have custody of the account until another appropriate person can assume the role of manager.
i. Sub-accounts will be reviewed annually by the school’s management, which may maintain or discontinue sub-accounts as appropriate.
8. Breaches of this policy will be investigated by the school’s management. If certain online activities are deemed illegal or defamatory, the school may seek guidance from professionals, such as social workers or legal advisors, or from the responsible authorities.