Communication Policy

Collaboration and clear communication are vital to our school community.

Professional Communications Expectations[edit]

(adapted from the Ontario College of Teachers Professional Advisory)

  • Consider whether any posting may reflect poorly on you, CAJ or the teaching profession.
  • Be transparent and authentic. Use your true professional identity at all times. Note: courts can compel disclosure of your true identity.
  • Avoid online (or any public) criticism about students, colleagues, CAJ or other individuals or groups within our community.
  • Avoid impulsive, inappropriate or heated comments.
  • Ensure that your comments (pictures, postings, etc.) do not incite others to make discriminatory or other professionally unacceptable comments and delete inappropriate comments, pictures, etc. posted by others.
  • Respect the privacy and confidentiality of student information.
  • Do not use electronic devices (including phones) for personal activities during meetings, while you are teaching, or at other times when it might be inappropriate or cause offense (always use professional discretion). The same discretion should apply to being off task during meeting times whether using electronic devices or not.

All staff members are mandated reporters, and must report concerns following the Behavior and Response Flow Chart in the Child Protection Policy[edit]

Refer to Behavior and Response Flow Chart.

Phone communication[edit]

Staff only give personal phone numbers to students, for a limited time, if it is a matter of safety. The staff member should be sure that visibility, accountability, and balance of power are the guiding principles.

  • Be aware that phone records can be acquired by legal request and patterns of phone contact are often used as evidence in claims of inappropriate behavior.
  • Instant messaging / texting with students using phones should be only in situations where this is the safest option, and only when practicing the principle of accountability by including his or her supervisor.
  • Staff members should delete students’ phone numbers after the limited time for use has passed, for example, at the end of a sport season.

Email, Google Classroom, and CAJ sponsored services[edit]

  • CAJ staff email accounts should be not be shared with family members or others, and email should not be forwarded into accounts that others have access to. Care should be taken to keep official email correspondence confidential.
  • Private information, including email addresses of anyone in the CAJ community, should not be shared with anyone without expressed permission.
  • Email and other forms of electronic communication are problematic mediums for conveying emotion and intent and should be used carefully.
    • Consider whether or not the information you wish to convey would be more appropriate in a face-to-face meeting.
    • Consider the preferred communication style of the person you are communicating with when known.
    • Try to respond to emails during the work week promptly, and to important email or to answer parent or student questions or concerns within 24 hours. If you need more time to consider your response or to gather more information, send a courtesy email stating that you will be responding soon.
    • Always double check who you are sending or replying to.
  • Privacy policy and best practice dictate using BCC (blind copy) for addresses when emailing groups of parents any time, or when emailing students for some circumstances (for example those who are grouped because of a problem or situation).
  • Staff should use CAJ sponsored and approved services for classwork and to communicate with students: CAJ email, Google Classroom, CAJ class or group sites, iCal, elementary blogs, etc. Other options should be discussed with the tech team and your supervisor.
  • All email contact with students and parents should be done using your CAJ email account.

Social networking and other electronic communication[edit]

CAJ staff members should not have current students as social media friends (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) Family relationships are not included in this.

CAJ staff members should not post photos of students (with the exception of distant group photos) on their private social media accounts without permission from parents.

If it is necessary for social media to be used for group conversations involving students, the staff member should include his or her supervisor in the conversation.

Use of photos and video: special considerations[edit]

  • In some cases, parents may have requested that we do not publish any pictures of their student. In these cases exceptional care will be taken to ensure that CAJ and classroom publications avoid using pictures of these children.
  • Photography by CAJ staff involving CAJ students should not be posted or used for personal or business promotion.
  • Photos taken for the purposes of CAJ publicity are the property of CAJ, and also should not be used for personal or business promotion.
  • Photos of student activities not showing individual faces may be appropriate in certain situations. If the staff member has questions about appropriateness, they should consult with their supervisor.

Communication boundaries[edit]

CAJ staff should always take care to protect any potentially sensitive communication or information and not discuss it with anyone who is not directly involved, including family members.

Other organizations and media outlets[edit]

  • Requests for videotaping, picture taking and interviewing of CAJ students and staff (other than yourself) by outside individuals, organizations (including missions) or media providers must be cleared through the head of school.
    • Requests will be considered on a case by case basis. Coaches would receive special consideration for representing CAJ in events where they may be interviewed, and should be present if a student is interviewed.
    • Students must not be identified by name.
    • We sometimes allow only pictures of campus without students, or only those shots that include group or non-close up pictures of students, or with parental permission.
    • We typically ask to see the final product before it is published.
  • Requests for articles (academic or otherwise) written about CAJ or CAJ families and students should be cleared through the head of school.

Research and reporting[edit]

  • All research conducted at CAJ or in the CAJ educational community must be approved by the supervisor or divisional principal and the head of school.
  • Generally accepted IRB (review board) ethical standards will be applied including (but not limited to):
    • Not identifying students by name or easily recognized characteristics
    • Not conducting interventions where one set of students may be treated differently than another (for example, withholding instruction)
    • Notification of parents when appropriate

Press releases and communication during crisis[edit]

  • During a crisis, tragedy, scandal or sensitive situation, all requests by reporters, outside organizations and individuals for information, comment or opinion should be deferred to the head of school or his/her designated spokesperson.
  • At no time should a staff person comment to outside entities on behalf of (or as could be construed as being a spokesman or representative of) the school without proper authorization.