Gaggle Speaks

Ideas, News & Advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

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Written by Lisa Railton
on January 31, 2020

With 9,800 students across 11 schools, Dickinson Independent School District serves most of the city of Dickinson, TX, as well as portions of the nearby cities of La Marque, League City, and Texas City. Between a school shooting in a neighboring town and destruction from Hurricane Harvey, administrators wanted to make sure issues with students’ well-being were monitored and addressed quickly.

Struggling with encryption and content filter challenges related to its use of Google and G Suite for Education, the district implemented Gaggle’s school safety platform in 2018 to help monitor students’ online activity. During the first year alone, Gaggle helped the district catch numerous potential problems that ranged from seemingly innocent sentences to full-blown emergencies—and everything in between.

Included in those instances were five concerning situations where students were in danger of hurting themselves or others. All five were quickly detected by Gaggle, which allowed the district to intervene in a timely manner. “Gaggle triggered additional help for the students whom we may have otherwise missed,” said the district’s Executive Director of Information Systems, Dr. Melissa Williams-Scott.

Dr. Williams-Scott knows firsthand the heartbreak of losing a young student to suicide. “It’s been 17 years and I still wonder what I missed,” she said. “Had we been able to search through databases and scan hard drives at the time, maybe we could have seen a sign or caught something.”

This IT professional was drawn to Gaggle’s 24/7/365 online guarantee and the way it could quickly identify, act on, and alert the district of potential problems. “It’s sad, helpful, and cool all at the same time,” she mused. And with a tight district budget, Dr. Williams-Scott isn’t one to just throw money away on the latest and greatest technology tools. “I’m pretty picky about how we spend our money because we just don’t have the funds to waste,” she stated. “We’ve been very pleased with our investment in Gaggle, which is basically like having your own personal ‘911’ system specifically for your district.”

Read our case study to learn more about how Dickinson Independent School District partnered with Gaggle to provide a more comprehensive student safety net.

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