Why is the district moving to Google Apps for Education?
Google Apps provides a number of advantages for the district. Because it is a web-based system, students and staff can access their work from anywhere. Google Apps collaboration tools will make it possible for students to work together virtually on documents, presentations and projects. Google Apps for Education is a suite of web-based programs providing e-mail (grades 5-12 only), word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, calendaring, research, and collaboration tools. It will provide a comprehensive platform for student work and can be used with existing systems such as Edline.
Who will be using Google Apps?
Throughout the year, students and staff will have the opportunity to use these tools in new ways. Teachers have already been working on updating their curricula. Parents will receive additional information from their student's teacher when the class will begin using the program. The goal of this pilot is to explore new ways to work collaboratively and to provide information and guidelines for a district-wide implementation of Google Apps for Education.
Are there cost savings?
Google Apps provides a significant amount of online storage space thus reducing costs to the district for storage and backup. There will be a reduction in the number of Microsoft Office licenses purchased, and it will also, over time, eliminate the need to support the current remote access network.
What types of security measures are in place for Google Apps for Education?
The Belmont Public School district complies with the legal requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Parents will be asked to sign an electronic one-time permission form in order for their student to participate.
As with all internet access, the district utilizes a content filter for Google Apps. While at school, staff will monitor students’ use of Google Apps, either by direct observation or by automated systems which identify prohibited use. At all times, whether at school or home, students are responsible for their adherence the Student Acceptable Use policy. E-mail accounts are issued to all students, grades 5-12. Students in grades 5-8 may only e-mail other students and their teachers. Students are instructed not to shared documents with users outside the district. A monitoring system is in place to identify documents which are shared externally.
What if I am not comfortable with my student having a Google Apps account?
To discuss how Google Apps for Education will be used at your child's school, please contact Steve Mazzola, Director of Technology (firstname.lastname@example.org) who can answer your questions and help you understand your options. If you still feel it would be best for your child not to utilize these tools, the Belmont Public Schools Technology department to make sure that your student does not have access. Your student will then be issued an alternate paper-based curriculum. This opt-out process must be completed annually.
What happens if students misuse their Google Accounts?
The Student Acceptable Use Policy applies to Google Apps for Education accounts. Students who misuse their accounts will be referred to their school's Principal who will deal with any infraction on a case-by-case basis. Parents will be notified should their student's account access be suspended.