Common Sense, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children and families thrive in a world of media and technology, has recognized Octorara Elementary School as a Common Sense School, according to a news release.

Octorara was recognized for demonstrating a commitment to taking a whole-community approach to preparing students to think critically and use technology responsibly to learn, create and participate, while preparing them for the perils that exist in the online realm, such as plagiarism, loss of privacy and cyberbullying, according to the release.

Cathy Smith, digital literacy teacher at Octorara Elementary, has been using Common Sense Education digital citizenship resources; they were created in collaboration with researchers from Project Zero, led by Howard Gardner at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The resources teach students, educators and parents tangible skills related to internet safety, protecting online reputations and personal privacy, media balance, managing online relationships, and media literacy.

“By preparing our students to use technology safely and responsibly, we are providing them an opportunity to build lifelong habits to help them succeed in a tech-driven world.’’ Principal Brian Dikun said in the release.

Visit for more information.

New principal named at junior-senior high school

Michael Brooks, principal of Riverside High School in Ellwood City, will become principal of Octorara Junior Senior High School on Jan. 2.

He previously served as an assistant principal at Shaler Area high and intermediate schools in Pittsburgh. He was also a ninth and 10th grade administrator in the Woodland Hills School District.

Prior to that, he taught life sciences, biology and zoology at junior high and high schools at Woodland Hills.