By St. Ignatius Schools Superintendent Robert “Bob” Lewandowski
Technology offers vast, diverse, and unique resources to both students and staff members of St. Ignatius School District No. 28. The district’s goal in providing this service to staff and students is to promote education excellence in schools by facilitating resource sharing, innovation and communication. The successful use of technology relies on the proper conduct of its users to adhere to strict policies.
Technology access is coordinated through a complex association of government agencies and regional and state networks. Users are expected to utilize technology resources in an efficient, ethical and legal manner. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Concerns for Internet safety have escalated as it has become more and more difficult to supervise network access.
Access to the Internet has become more difficult for schools to supervise. In the past, users of the Internet could be somewhat monitored. Users would access the Internet in a computer lab or on a classroom computer. Today, the Internet can be accessed by wireless computers such as cell phones, iPods and other devices that can be easily concealed. These devices are mobile. Wireless access not only is available in the computer labs, but in the bathrooms and locker rooms as well. Wireless access is everywhere.
More and more of our students and staff own wireless mobile devices. This allows intimate and private access without direct supervision. Even though our district network system filters and blocks unacceptable information, there is no guarantee that unacceptable information or contacts cannot be obtained or accessed.
Mobile and wireless access has increased the potential for an unsupervised environment; thus, creating the potential for misuse and harm. Therefore, the District will be implementing an access portal. In order to gain access to the district network, all users will have to meet the terms and conditions listed in the Authorization for Electronic Network Access. This includes an “Online Education Component” that mandates that before authorization for network access, all users must complete the St. Ignatius District #28 Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship curriculum. All users include everyone, employees and students.
Currently, the Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship curriculum is divided into four broad sections of concern: 1) Cyberbullying; 2) Privacy and Information Sharing; 3) Social Networking Safety; and 4) Online Predator Safety. The intention is to provide an awareness of some of the issues and dangers that exist on the Internet. In no way is this curriculum comprehensive of all the dangers that exist, but it does provide basic knowledge for use and application. As electronic network concerns change and grow, so will this curriculum. A further depth of knowledge of Internet safety and digital citizenship is taught to students throughout the year in their classes and classrooms.
Access to the system network by log on began July 1, 2014. The appropriate authorization forms must be signed and curriculum completed before access will be granted. The Authorization for Electronic Network Access is available on the District Website. The Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship curriculum will be available to staff on line and presented to students in the fall of 2014.
From Valley Journal