Network Use & Internet Safety Policy
Section I. Introduction
This document represents the official policy governing use of computers and computer networks in the Portola Valley School District (PVSD). Members of the Network Community (i.e. users) may include but are not limited to students, teachers, administrators, support staff, local community members, consultants and experts in a variety of fields. All members of the Network Community wishing to use these networks are required to read and sign a compliance agreement form. Students wishing to participate as active members of PVSD’s Network Community must sign, and have a parent or guardian sign, and return the Student Responsible Use of Technology Agreement at the beginning of each school year. Certificated employees wishing to participate as active members of PVSD’s Network Community must sign the Employee Technology Acceptable Use Agreement.
The following sections of the Network Use Agreement (NUA) provide guidelines and rules for safety and courtesy that the PVSD School Board and school administration feel are consistent with the mission of the school district. These guidelines govern network use in all classrooms and computer lab facilities. This agreement will be reviewed annually and amended as needed.
Section II: What is the PVSD Network
The Portola Valley School District (PVSD) schools are wired into a Local Area Network (LAN) that electronically links our two campuses (Ormondale and Corte Madera). This LAN provides access to a worldwide network called the Internet. The Internet enables computers and mobile devices around the world to share information with one another. Because of this infrastructure, Portola Valley students are able to access millions of local, national, and international digital resources. Currently, network users (i.e. the Network Community) can access resources and software through: 1. the file and web servers, 2. individual computers and mobile devices, and 3. the Internet. Students and teachers are able to store work in folders on the servers and in the cloud for their exclusive use. The PVSD technology staff stands ready to assist any and all users.
Section III: Who May Use the PVSD Network The school district’s goal in providing Internet service to its family of users (students, teachers, administrators, staff, and authorized community members) is to promote resource sharing, innovation, and communication. The Portola Valley School District believes in the educational value of the Internet and recognizes its potential in supporting and enriching student learning, enhancing curriculum delivery, and promoting internal and external communications.
Guidelines for access to information have been established in the Library Bill of Rights (www.ala.org) which states “A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, background, or views.” The PVSD network is considered an extension of our academic program and, as such, use of the network facilities is deemed a privilege enjoyed by all.
Access to the Internet is now widely available to all tiers of users. All users (i.e. students and staff) will be asked to sign and have on file the Responsible Use of Technology Agreements at the beginning of every school year.
Section IV. Child Protection and Safety Act (CIPA)
By employing filtering software, PVSD has made every effort to protect its students from any misuses or abuses as a result of their experiences with the Internet. PVSD employs a technology protection measure that blocks inappropriate content. However, it must be understood that PVSD does not control Internet content and cannot guarantee that students will not, on occasion, accidentally access inappropriate material. Nor can PVSD protect students whose intentions are to intentionally seek out inappropriate material. Ultimately, it is the parent(s) or guardian(s) of minor children who must set and convey the standards that children maintain while away from home. PVSD shall provide age-appropriate instruction regarding appropriate online behavior, including but not limited to interacting with other individuals on social network websites, chat rooms, cyberbullying awareness and response.
Section V: Monitoring of the PVSD Network
It is the intent of the Portola Valley School District that students will employ the network for purposes consistent with the district curriculum and state content standards; much the same as libraries and other audio-visual resources are currently used. Qualified staff members monitor students as they use the network facilities. Students are not permitted in lab/library facilities or classrooms unless an adult is present.
The Internet, because it is a very “public” place, is home to public files of all types. Every client using the Internet shares “cyberspace” with all other users. For the Portola Valley School District, this means any site any user visits can be monitored and recorded by the network administrators. Any information, including email, that is sent or received by any user can be monitored by PVSD network administrators. Therefore, whether the PVSD network user is browsing the Internet for research purposes, playing an online game, visiting a website for district business or educational purposes, or corresponding through electronic mail, privacy is never assured.
Section VI: Portola Valley School District Reserved Rights
PVSD reserves all rights to any material stored in files that are generally accessible to users. Furthermore, PVSD will take action to remove any material that the staff, at their sole discretion, believes to be unlawful, obscene, pornographic, abusive, racist, sexist, or otherwise objectionable. School administrative and technology staff will determine what is inappropriate and their decision is final. The school administration, any teacher, or other school staff member may request the denial, revocation, or suspension of network privileges of the offending users, including students.
Section VII: Specific Responsibilities of Network Community Members
Below are listed examples of behavioral expectations while connected to the Network. Users found to be willfully breaching these expectations will be subject to consequences as stated in this policy.
o Passwords are not to be shared with anyone at any time. Users are fully accountable for use of their password-protected account(s) and will be held responsible for all activity traced to it. Consequences for policy violations fall on the owner of the account.
o Respect bandwidth and network performance. Downloading large files is prohibited for other than academic purposes.
o Staff will be notified immediately of any suspected infiltration by a virus. Users will not knowingly introduce viruses into the network environment.
o The Computer Crime Bill 1979 makes certain activities a felony punishable by law. Some examples of illegal activities involving computers and computer networks may be, but are not limited to, the following: accessing, altering, deleting, damaging, or destroying any computer system, computer network, or computer program, with malicious intent. The PVSD Network will not be used for purposes that might be perceived as illegal. This includes any form of online gambling as well as tampering with computer hardware or installed software, unauthorized entry into computer hard drives (hacking), and/or vandalism or destruction of existing network files. Such activity is considered punishable under State and Federal statutes as well as under the conditions of this policy.
o All users will honor the rules of copyright and ownership of intellectual property. Copyrighted information may not be used, borrowed, or sold unless specific written permission has been granted by the copyright holder. Text, music, images, and other files from the Internet or from external media sources are protected under Federal law and may not be appropriated into student work without proper citation. Taking information and calling it one’s own is plagiarism. Plagiarism is copyright infringement and can become a legal issue as well as a discipline issue.
o Students will be instructed in appropriate citation of digital material as part of their library and/or classroom curriculum.
o Students will access their PVSD email accounts for educational purposes only. This may include transferring curriculum related files. During the school day, students will be permitted to do so only under the supervision of the classroom teacher and using district authorized computers or mobile devices.
o Email to classroom collaborators and teachers will ONLY be permitted as part of curriculum driven projects. With teacher supervision, students may collaborate to construct a message and send it using their assigned PVSD email account.
o Appropriate language will be required of all users on the computers or in lab and classroom facilities. Slang, vulgarity, and innuendo are examples of inappropriate language. Written profanity and obscenity are never permitted as part of email, word processing, live chat, or other text based computer programs. Oral profanity and obscenity are not permitted at any time.
o Courtesy and politeness in all digital communications is expected. Users will avoid offensive, provocative, or inflammatory text in email communications, word processing documents, and all other text based communications. Personal attacks and cyberbullying are expressly prohibited. Victims of such “flame” attacks will bring the incident to the attention of the supervising teacher or a school administrator immediately.
o Impersonation of any user, seeking refuge in anonymity, or the use of pseudonyms are strictly forbidden. Individuals seeking the privilege of using the PVSD network will be responsible for their own actions at all times.
o Users of the PVSD network will not access the Internet (or provide access to others) to obtain, view, download, or otherwise gain materials that are generally seen as unlawful, obscene, pornographic, abusive, racist, sexist, or otherwise objectionable and that may be harmful to minors.
o If a user on the PVSD network requests that contact from another user cease, the initiator of that contact is to stop immediately. Ignoring a request to cease email or other electronic contact can be construed as harassment and can become a legal issue.
o Priority is given to those members needing Internet access for school assignments and related projects. Members will be considerate of others and relinquish computer workstations when asked.
o Any private or personal information about oneself or others must never be conveyed over the Internet. This includes full name, nickname, age, address, phone number, login name, home email, bank or credit card numbers, or other items of personal identification. If a member of the PVSD Network approaches any user with a request for personal information, the request must be brought to the immediate attention of the teacher, lab supervisor, or technology team member.
o The PVSD Network provides all hardware (i.e. computers, peripherals and mobile devices) and software applications necessary for the satisfactory completion of required work. Accommodations may be made to attach teacher, student, or district visitor personal computers and mobile devices to the PVSD network and will be at the discretion of the district Technology Director. Personal devices must be approved in advance and must meet the district minimum specifications indicated on the Responsible Use of Technology (BYOD) agreement. (NOTE: Specific adaptive technology for special education students will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.)
o File Sharing
▪ Every effort to allow students and teachers to share files between home and school will be made. Some common file types that can be accommodated through Internet email and/or external media include: .doc, .txt, .xls, .ppt, .jpeg/jpg, .pict, .tiff, and .wav. The district provides each student with a PVSD Google account and this is the first choice to file storage and sharing.
o All adult users of the PVSD Network (e.g. aides, volunteers, etc.) will be required to return a signed and dated Network Use Agreement. Principals, with support from teachers and office personnel, will communicate and facilitate this policy.
o Parent volunteers, charged with supervising students in computer use situations (e.g. in the labs or classroom mini-labs), will do so under the supervision of the cooperating teacher and will have monitoring status only.
▪ Classroom teachers and lab supervisors will be responsible for instructing students in specific software applications.
▪ Parent volunteers will not enter student grades into teacher grade book programs.
▪ Parent volunteers will not be permitted to assist teachers with the completion of any portion of K-8 student progress reports.
▪ Parent volunteers will not be permitted to access the Student Information System database unless approved by the superintendent.
▪ Parent volunteers will not be permitted to access any databases housing student data.
Section VIII. Guidelines for Internet Browsing
▪ Lab and classroom procedures will be used to curtail excessive use of printing resources while engaged in Internet research.
o Internet searches will be limited to reasonable amounts of time. Users will download and print only what is absolutely necessary for school projects and district business. Teachers will instruct students in a variety of ways to “take notes” from Internet sites.
▪ PVSD Network users will refrain from entering Internet chat rooms and social networking sites (including but not limited to FormSpring, Facebook, Club Penguin, Tumblr, WebKinz, etc.)
Section IX: Posting Student Work or Photos to the World Wide Web
▪ The Internet is very much a part of the curriculum at both the Ormondale and Corte Madera campuses of the Portola Valley School District (PVSD). And with the Internet comes exciting possibilities for expanding learning and the desire to publish classroom activities and student work. There are responsibilities that must accompany the use of the unrestricted resources of the World Wide Web.
▪ As with all activities that occur within the school program, PVSD faculty and administrators accept the burden of responsibility for Internet activity for researching or publishing. Our Network Use and Internet Policy and the general ethical and moral conduct of all users govern the environment of cyberspace accessed through the PVSD network.
▪ The following represents some basic guidelines for using the Internet to publish web pages.
Purposes of Publishing Web Pages (Teachers)
▪ The educational objectives of a teacher-designed web site must be approved by the district Site Administrator prior to posting.
▪ Teacher web pages may:
o Provide a publicly available location for display of student work,
o Provide a publicly available location for the celebration of student accomplishment,
o Offer curriculum-specific resources created in the classroom,
o Provide links to external sources of information on curriculum related topics,
o Allow for feedback from students and community members regarding topics under study,
o Provide classroom news (e.g. homework, field trip information, etc.) to parents, students, and/or the wider community,
o Introduce visitors to the campus, the classroom, or the community, and/or
o Offer an activity or a competition.
Purposes of Publishing Web Pages (Students)
o The educational aims of a student designed web site must be limited in nature and approved by the classroom teacher prior to posting.
o Opportunities for student designed web sites will be supervised by the classroom teacher.
o Student web pages may
▪ Display curriculum driven projects or presentations,
▪ Introduce visitors to the campus, the classroom, or the community, or
▪ Convey content for the purposes of educational competition (e.g.Think Quest).
Responsibility for Material Published on the Web
o Web pages must reflect the philosophy and mission of the school district. Therefore all teacher (individual or grade group) web pages will be reviewed using school criteria and, if approved, posted by the Web Supervisor. The Web Supervisor will monitor pages for overall content and the viability of links. If the content is questionable or could be construed to be objectionable, the page(s) will be disallowed and returned to the creator for revision. If the content is judged to be educationally sound, the web page(s) will be posted and linked to the existing PVSD home page.
o Changes to previously posted web pages will be approved through the Web Supervisor before they are posted.
▪ Teacher and Student Responsibilities
o Teachers and students will be responsible for proper grammar, usage, spelling, and other mechanical aspects of written text as well as the aesthetic appearance of the page. The creator(s) of the page(s) will take care that the page is written in Standard English. Foreign language pages are permitted if they meet similar content and grammatical guidelines.
o The school district web site represents the many facets of the school curriculum to the community. Therefore each jurisdiction (e.g. special education, arts and music, foreign language, administration) may wish to construct a web page and have it accessed by a link from the district home page. Departmental web pages will be reviewed and posted through the Web Supervisor.
▪ Adult Contributor Responsibilities
o Members of school district committees (e.g. PTA, Site Council, PV Schools Foundation, etc.) will email the Web Supervisor and request posting of attached files.
o Files will be of informative nature only.
o Files from unaffiliated groups will not be posted.
o Committee groups will be responsible for requesting updates or removals of older or expired files.
Specifically Prohibited Web Page Activities
▪ There are several uses of web page design that are specifically forbidden. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
o Activities of a commercial nature that encourage or allow individuals, groups, or companies to profit financially, or
o Activities that involve pornographic, obscene, racist, sexist, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable material that could be harmful to minors.
Features of Responsible Web Page Design
▪ There are certain features that all conscientious web designers should consider when building a web page. These include the following:
▪ The first name or the first name and last initial of the adult creator,
▪ A link leading back to the district home page or parent organization,
▪ An email address where the webmaster can be reached for comment,
▪ A postal address or school office phone number where visitors to the site can report problems or errors on the page, and
▪ The date the page was created (or posted) and last modified.
Features Designed for Visitor Comfort
▪ There are certain aesthetic and comfort features that all web designers should consider when building a web page. These include the following:
o Include text links with graphic links so visitors in text-only mode can access the page(s),
o Provide hypertext links in pages with long text passages that enable visitors to quickly move between sections of text,
o Limit the page length,
o Limit use of animated graphics, as these distract the viewer,
o Limit the use of large images, as these take extra time to load,
o Indicate file size beside file links so approximate download time and disk space needed is obvious,
o Check the page on different browsers so that actual appearance is confirmed, and
o Position your URL (Uniform Resource Locator) on the page so visitors who print the page will have an easy reference later.
Guidelines for Use of Student Work or Photographs/Imagery
▪ This section discusses the use of student photos (both still or motion) and voice recordings. Schools are using the Internet to communicate classroom and campus activities to parents and the larger community. The district and/or teacher web site is an ideal vehicle to display newsletters, announcements, and other relevant school information. Articles celebrating achievements of individual students or student groups are common. The inclination to publish photos and/or voice recordings to “dress-up” and accompany informational text is great.
▪ In an effort to use student images in a controlled and responsible way, the following procedures are provided:
o Permission must be obtained from parent(s) or guardian(s) prior to posting student work or photos on any web site.
Parent(s) or guardian(s) have a right to waive this permission. (See Section VIII. Permission and Waiver Form)
o Only first names of students may be used to identify student work.
o No names will be used to identify individuals in photos.
o Photos and/or voice recordings of the page author or his/her peers may never be used on student designed web pages.
▪ Teachers and other photographers may wish to employ photographic techniques that disguise individual identity. Examples include:
o Taking photos from a distance,
o Taking fewer individual photos and more group shots,
o Taking photos of students with backs to the camera, or o Manipulating or modifying photos using commercial “PhotoShop” software (e.g. blurring faces or substituting facial features with cartoon faces).
▪ Faculty and staff must be given the opportunity to refuse publication of their image.
Use of Network, Student Work and Photo ~ Permission Form
▪ A permission for use of student network usage, work and/or photo on the School Web Site will be duplicated and disseminated annually via the Emergency Form at the beginning of the school year. Students who do not have documented proof of parental (guardian) permission will not have work posted to a classroom or district website. Students who do not have documented proof of parental (guardian) permission will not be photographed for purposes of publication on the web.
▪ Permission forms will be returned to grade level teacher (Grades K – 5) or ENGLISH teacher (Grades 6 – 8) on or before the first day of school.
▪ School office staff will notify the technology staff (helpdesk) of any student whose form displays “no” or undecided parent permission by the end of the second week of school. This includes the parent and student signed Responsible Use of Technology Agreement.
Section X: Consequences of Policy Violation
▪ The school district reserves the right to monitor network activity in whatever form is necessary to maintain the integrity of the system.
▪ Unacceptable and/or unethical use of the Internet or any portion of the PVSD network will be cause for revoking network privileges and/or disciplinary action for the offending party. Furthermore, PVSD reserves the right to pursue legal action against an offending party if it is determined that he/she has engaged in any of the following illegal activities:o illegal activities that violate local, state, or federal law,
o inappropriate use that violates the intended use of the network, and
o obscene activities that violate generally accepted social standards and that may be harmful to minors.
▪ If a member is accused of any violation, he/she maintains the due process rights that exist with other kinds of school infractions. After a hearing, any user(s) found to have knowingly violated this Network Use Agreement may be subject to one or more of the following disciplinary actions:
o Suspension and/or revocation of Internet access,
o Suspension and/or revocation of computer access,
o Suspension from school,
o Expulsion from school, and/or
o Legal action and prosecution by authorities.
▪ Legal Reference:
o State of California Computer Crime Bill, December 1979
o Education Code 51865 California Distance Learning Policy,
o 51870-51884 Educational Technology Act of 1992
o Child Internet Privacy and Protection Act (CIPA) of 1999
Revised June, 2012
Approved PVSD School Board June, 2012