Better Together

Common Sense Education

2014 Winner for Better Together Award
About Better Together Award

Includes various users and stakeholders in product/initiative design, implementation, and feedback mechanisms for continuous improvement.

Provide an overview of the project, practice or product that your video represents, and how your work encompasses the principles and ideals of the award that you're applying for.

In 2014, we worked with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to launch their first-ever Digital Citizenship Week, a series of activities and events to explore how to create safe, responsible digital citizens. With the rollout of 1-to-1 throughout the district, the challenges and opportunities of growing up in a digital world had taken on a new urgency. Our whole-community approach engaged everyone -- from educators and students to parents, district officials, and community leaders –- in potent conversations and inspirational activities about how to help students think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in their digital lives.

For example, one of the activities during the course of the week was sharing with students Common Sense’s digital citizenship music video -- Pause & Think Online. After watching the video, students were inspired to create their own digital citizenship song; and they wrote their own lyrics to the music of “Happy” by musician Pharrell Williams. Taking this kind of creative and innovative approach was an important part of the success of the project.

Additionally, the involvement of all the stakeholders was instrumental to achieving our goals. Working together as a cohesive organizing body, a team of students, parents, teachers, and community members not only developed the objectives for Digital Citizenship Week, they also outlined the activities and put them into action. This collaborative approach fostered buy-in throughout the community and imbued the project with professionalism.

The pride and sense of accomplishment experienced by all contributors embodied the Better Together spirit. LAUSD’s Bernadette Lucas remarked, “As our partnership with Common Sense Media continues, there are many ways that their guidance will equip our preK-12 educators and their students and families to harness the power of technology for learning and to foster the 21st Century skills they need to thrive in today’s world.”

Explain the long-lasting impact of what you've presented in this video, and provide any qualitative or quantitative data that supports this impact.

The long-lasting impact of our work with LAUSD to create the district’s first-ever Digital Citizenship Week is evident in myriad ways. All the stakeholders shared that the entire community now sees digital citizenship as a critical part of how LAUSD is integrating technology into the classroom.

Due to the success of the initiative in year one, LAUSD and Common Sense embarked on planning Digital Citizenship Week for the 2014-2015 school year. With digital citizenship as an essential element of LAUSD’s overall objectives, the group of stakeholders determined that holding the event in the fall would be a thoughtful and strategic way to start off the new school year. Working together, we are hosting the event the week of October 27 (see link here: This time, however, it will be more comprehensive, involving more schools and stakeholders.

For example, classroom teachers have pledged to teach five lessons over the course of Digital Citizenship Week –- up from one lesson in year one. Rich curriculum on relevant topics, ranging from cyberbullying and online privacy to digital footprints and creative credit and copyright, will be introduced to students for the first time or reinforced and taught in fresh ways. As a result of this more complex approach, the planning work has required a greater team effort as well as an intense level of dedication, collaboration, and engagement from all stakeholders.

LAUSD remains committed to integrating digital citizenship beyond this one week. Working together with Common Sense -- along with parents, teachers, students, and community leaders -- our goal is to engage over 900 schools, nearly 46,000 teachers, and more than 640,000 students in rich digital citizenship instruction.