At the Loveland City School District, providing a safe and secure environment for our students to learn is always our number one priority. In this digital age, this definition now also includes providing a safe and secure online environment for our students while accessing technology at school. As our district continues to improve access to the educational content and information that is available to our students online, we understand it is our responsibility to continually create and refine an environment that delivers the most educational and appropriate experience for all our students. While we strive to empower our students with the skills and information required to be prepared for tomorrow, today, we also recognize and prioritize an educational setting that fosters and teaches our students to be responsible and informed creators and consumers of information while online.
To support these aims, the district has always used software to filter online activity of students while here at school, as well as provide ongoing education in the classroom regarding safe and responsible online behavior practices. There are minimum requirements that are mandated through federal policies that Loveland has consistently exceeded. Recently, though, we have learned through an incident at school that our historic web-filtering solution was not providing us the security that we had intended. Through the searching of certain keywords, which violated the district’s acceptable use policy, students were able to access inappropriate content and images. In response to this situation, we wanted to communicate a few changes in regards to how we are filtering online content and keeping our students safe while at school. Additionally, if you speak to your student and become aware of additional information the district would need to know, please notify me or your building principal immediately.
The district is now in the process of deploying an additional layer of protection for all student users of technology while on district machines, which includes the use of school Chromebooks at home and anywhere off campus. Through the use of this additional filter, the district will be provided with real-time reporting and notifications which will alert district and school administration to student violation of the acceptable use policy, as well as inform administration of any potential student self-harm or grief behavior as evidenced by their browsing activity. In the event of such an alert, parents will also be notified by school administration. Additionally, this filter also provides functionality across search engines that utilize SSL encryption (such as Google Search, Bing and YouTube) that was not possible before.
As we value our shared goals of educating and raising informed digital citizens, we also wanted to take this opportunity to remind our parents and students of the rules and regulations that apply to students while using district technology devices, as well as using personal technology devices while at school, that are detailed through the Loveland City School District Student Education Technology Acceptable Use and Safety policy
. This policy is communicated to parents/guardians at the start of the school year through the Emergency Medical Authorization form, and describes not only the rules and regulations which the district abides by in pursuant to federal law, but also the rules that apply to students in regards to district technology usage.
Our students and children have access to technology and information that, we as adults, never could have imagined. We encourage our parents and guardians to have ongoing discussions with their children regarding how to be safe, secure and friendly online as it relates to their learning, behaviors and interactions at and away from school. As we remind and educate our students to “see something, say something” in regards to any type of threat to their safety, security or well-being, we welcome your feedback in these matters, as well.
As educators of children, we fully embrace the impact that technology can have on the learning potential for each and every one of our students, but we also understand the challenges that come along with that by way of parenting and schooling. As we partner with you, our families and community, to educate and empower our students to use these tools in safe and appropriate ways, we also wanted to share some of the resources available through Common Sense Media (https://www.commonsensemedia.org/
). Common Sense Media provides resources for educators and parents to use to help their students and children thrive in a world of technology and media. We further recommend their Parent Concerns section (https://www.commonsensemedia.org/parent-concerns
) for a wide range of conversation starters and resources to use in discussing the importance of student safety and responsibility while online.
If there are any additional questions that you have in regards to any of these matters, as well as any questions in regards to the practices, tools or policies that our district utilizes to prepare our students for tomorrow, today, please do not hesitate to let us know.