ES Mar

Supporting students with online engagement
Over the past weeks, a few parents have approached us with questions about the “Momo challenge.”  While what we have observed at school has not been dangerous, we do want to encourage parents to be observant of their children’s online activities and be constantly informed.

The Momo challenge is an internet hoax which purports to be an online post/game that has negative messages that are perceived as dangerous. While this is a hoax, many children have heard of it and are discussing it.  As parents, you can research the different perspectives around this and other games which may invite viewers to engage in negative actions.  At school, we have heard children talking about it, yet have not had concerns regarding any real actions taken.  We are being vigilant and continue to reinforce education around digital citizenship and safety.  Our counselors are conversing with and supporting any students who have brought up their fears and worries surrounding the topic and are in touch with parents as needed. If you or your child do have any concerns, please contact one of our counselors (Tanya de Duran Ballen for PK - 1; Sam Craytor for Grades 2 -5).

The best way to keep your children safe is to be involved.  Here are some specific recommendations:

  • Reinforce the importance of not speaking to strangers in person or online.  Children are not encouraged to interact online.  Become informed of what online activity your child is engaged in and don’t hesitate to set proper limits.  Remember, you do not let strangers into your home.  So, don’t allow strangers into your child’s devices.
  • Place parental controls in your children’s devices. If you need help with this, please contact our Tech Services team at 
  • Devices should only be used in common area of your home. Avoid having devices in bedrooms. 
  • Become involved in your children’s activities online.  Play the games that they play so that you are aware of the content and of your child’s behavior during gaming.
  • Ask your children to come see you whenever they come across any content that is scary, uncomfortable or seems strange. Please do not show your children an image or share information regarding “Momo” or other online ‘challenges’. Explaining to them that if they come across something that is scary or makes them feel uncomfortable is preferred to showing them actual images. 
  • When you have playdates at home, be present and vigilant.
  • Establish agreements regarding gaming.  Remember to limit gaming to games that are created for your child’s age.  Age limits are established to keep children safe.
  • Follow the recommended age limits for social media engagement.  Please remember that the most common social media apps (WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat) are not intended for children’s use and the minimum age requirement ranges from 13 to 16 year olds.

Common Media Sense:  13 Online Challenges Your Kid Already Knows About
The ‘Momo Challenge’: A sinister threat to young people or an urban myth?

Visiting Author
We are excited to welcome award-winning author Linda Sue Park to Academia Cotopaxi for three days of learning engagements for all students, April 1-3. 

All elementary students will attend a presentation by Linda Sue Park on April 1; the 4th grade will have a session devoted to the book A Long Walk to Water; the 5th grade will have a session devoted to When My Name Was Keoko and the 2nd and 3rd grade will have a session on picture books and global mindedness.

Parents are also invited to meet Linda Sue Park by attending a presentation in the auditorium at 10:30am, Wednesday April 3, followed by a light reception in the library.

The Giving Tree Bookstore will be selling books by Linda Sue Park in the lobby of the auditorium from 8:00-4:00 on April 1.  Titles and prices are listed below.  Buy a book on Monday and have Linda Sue Park personalize your copy!

A Long Walk to Water $10.20
A Single Shard   $10.20
Xander's Panda Party  $10.20
39 Clues Trust No One   $16.45
39 Clues Aviso de Tormenta   $16.95
El Aprendiz   $22.95   

Inquiry Corner
Students at Academia Cotopaxi use research skills as a basis for inquiry.  Students learn how to formulate questions, gather data, and presenting research findings for an authentic purpose. Through this process students gather information from books, media, experts, first hand experience, experiments, etc.  What can we do to support students being autonomous in deciding HOW they want to learn about their passions?

Paoloa de Pereira
Elementary School Principal