MDC Technology Policy

Middle School Technology Policy

Technology resources at The Post Oak School are provided for the purpose of supporting the educational mission of the school: to promote educational excellence by facilitating resource sharing, research, communication, increased productivity, and mobile learning. Use of these technologies is a privilege that carries responsibility and behavioral expectations consistent with all school rules and policies, including but not limited to those stated in the Responsible Use Policy (RUP) in the Parent Portal. It is understood that members of the Post Oak community will use all types of computing devices and the school’s network in a responsible, ethical, and legal manner at all times. Continued misuse of technology resources may result in the privilege being revoked and the student subject to further disciplinary action.

The Middle School houses laptops available for students’ use in the Middle School classroom. The laptops are intended for conducting research; composing essays, reports, and other documents; and completing class- and homework. Use of the laptops for other non-educational purposes is considered misuse.

Misuse of laptops, tablets, or other technology resources, regardless of where the misuse occurs, can have a serious effect on individuals as well as the school community, and will be treated as a significant offense. Beginning in Upper Elementary and extending through Middle School, students receive lessons on appropriate ways to represent themselves using electronic media. We also discuss the implications of sending hurtful, vulgar, or explicit messages, photos or video content. As part of these lessons, we encourage students to be responsible online citizens.

Our advice for any member of the school community receiving inappropriate content is this: do not erase any messages as they may be needed to take action against the offender. Cyberbullying (electronically transmitted threats and insults intended to embarrass, harass, or terrify), and the electronic transmission of inappropriate content by a member of the Post Oak community will result in disciplinary action. All community members are encouraged to report any act that may be a violation of this policy to your division director or head of school.

High School Technology Policy

The Post Oak School understands that the use and innovation of technology is a central part of what it means to be human. Humans create novel inventions that aid and support life and expression. These tools are central to the continued advancement of humanity and the further deepening of our relationships and understandings.

At The Post Oak School, the implements of technology, from a whiteboard marker to a desktop computer, are all intended to support the learning process and assist in connecting people and ideas. Our tools, such as computers, can connect us almost immediately with people all over the world so we can share our ideas and learn about theirs. However, these same tools can divide us from the people who are in the same room if the tools replace people as our focus. To that end, the school accepts and endorses the use of various technologies within the school to the extent that they do not interfere with the development of interpersonal relationships. At each point, the question is asked, “On what is our attention focused?” Post Oak recognizes that balancing and prioritizing requests for attention from a variety of sources is a developed skill and the school faculty works to support students as they mature in this area.

To establish a basis of understanding with regard to technology at Post Oak, there are certain rules and expectations that are in place universally within the community.

Technology Rules

  1. Students may not harass anyone via e-mail, on the Web, by phone call, text message, or voicemail.
  2. Not all online information is in the public domain; students may not violate intellectual property rights.
  3. Users may not use their digital devices as a server in any way (web server, print server, file server, etc.) without the express written consent of the technology director.
  4. Users are fully responsible for the software on their digital devices. That is, students are expected to possess an appropriate license for each piece of software installed on their machine, i.e., pirated software is not permitted.
  5. Users are fully responsible for the files on their digital devices. Users are expected to possess the appropriate copyright for any file in their possession and to understand the fair use of the file with regard to that copyright.
  6. Post Oak forbids use of school digital devices for illegal activities. Students using school digital devices or Post Oak Internet access to engage in, attempt to engage in, facilitate, or attempt to facilitate illegal activity are solely responsible for such activity.
  7. Students may not engage in business endeavors independent from school courses using school digital devices.
  8. Students may not possess or use programs that could be used to compromise the school network or computer security, e.g., hacking tools.
  9. Students may not intercept nor attempt to intercept network traffic not intended for them.
  10. Students may not do anything that interferes with the smooth operation of The Post Oak School local area network, Internet access, or network services.
  11. The school reserves the right to decide what is appropriate use and what constitutes a violation of appropriate use of technology at school.
  12. The school reserves the right to examine the contents of personal electronics on the school property at any time. This includes, but is not limited to: computers, cell phones, cameras, and personal digital assistants. When possible, such examinations will be done in the presence of the student. If any inappropriate material is found, the student will be subject to disciplinary action as the faculty deems appropriate.

Violation of any of the above rules will result in disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.

Computers

The High School has a limited number of desktop computers and laptops available for student use. These devices are tools that aid in completing work. They have come to be an indispensable part of the modern world and have brought changes to our communication abilities and patterns. It is necessary for mature adults in society to understand the capabilities of the available technology as well as its limitations and costs. The use of computers, telephones, and the Internet has done more to connect the world and bring it closer together than any technologies before. But in many ways, these devices can keep us apart. We must understand the types of use that can bring us together and help solve problems while trying to avoid the abuse that can separate us from one another and create problems.

Bring-Your-Own-Device Laptop Program (BYOD)

The Post Oak School is committed to supporting students and faculty in creating a prevailing digital learning environment to maximize learning by fully integrating relevant technology into instruction and academic content. The goal is a learning environment in which students and faculty can communicate, collaborate, and create as a part of their daily learning experiences.

The school offers a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) laptop program for students in grades 9 through 12. This program allows students to bring their own laptop computers to school during the school day. All students will be able to participate in the program following their successful completion of the school’s Digital Life course, offered at the start of each fall semester. Students will receive a sticker for their laptop to identify their participation in the BYOD program.

The Post Oak School uses web-based applications like G-Suite (formerly Google Apps for Education), and PowerSchool LMS, for platform-neutral learning. That is, the applications required for success in school do not depend on working on one operating system over another (e.g., Mac OS vs. Windows vs. Chrome OS).

We believe equitable access to technology supports students in becoming:

  • Effective information producers and consumers
  • Self-directed learners and collaborative team players

With faculty approval, students may use their own devices to access the internet and collaborate with other students in the classroom. The use of personal devices by students is optional; students who do not participate in the BYOD program are not penalized.

The BYOD program is a partnership. The school provides a filtered Wi-Fi connection and the ability to print. Students may bring a device that will help with the completion of school work, and must be responsible for the security, maintenance, and troubleshooting of their own device, and have their device fully charged. The school’s Wi-Fi connection will check for and require up-to-date antivirus software installed on laptops and a MDM certificate will be installed. The MDM certificate will allow for the device to auto connect and stay connected to our Wi-Fi. The school does not collect user information nor track the device’s location. The certificate is only valid while connected to the school’s Wi-Fi.

Many students already own laptops and computing devices. Parents may want to know the ideal computing device. Because family and individual student needs differ, this can be a complex question.

Local Network

Access to Post Oak’s local area network (LAN) is through encrypted wireless (Wi-Fi) or hardwire (ethernet). The encryption key will be pre-installed on all Post Oak digital devices. Students are not permitted to change or share their wireless access settings.

Access to the school’s LAN and the Internet via the school’s LAN is a privilege. The following rules apply to all access to the school’s LAN:

  1. Harassing communication of any kind will result in disciplinary action, with the communication treated as if it were delivered in person.
  2. Students may not use the LAN to break into or attempt to break into other computer systems (hacking or cracking).
  3. Students may not visit Internet domains (web sites) that display or promote illegal substances, weapons, violence, or pornography. Student access to the LAN during the school day is permitted exclusively for school-related work.
  4. The school may limit the access to certain domains and traffic on certain ports at the discretion of the faculty. Not all computer applications may work properly with Post Oak network settings.
  5. The school reserves the right to change the network access settings without prior notification of the students.
  6. Certain Internet activities through the LAN may be blocked at the discretion of the school faculty and staff. These include but are not limited to instant messaging, chat rooms, and game sites.
  7. Certain activities, such as video streaming, use a significant portion of the school’s Internet access bandwidth. The school reserves the right to require students to limit or refrain entirely from such activities and further reserves the right to completely block access to such activities.
  8. Students may be asked to refrain from activities not appropriate for the time or place.

Online security

Online security is a growing concern. Anyone can have their identity stolen, or be preyed upon by others pretending to be who they are not. For children and teenagers especially, the concern for safety is significant as there are real predators on the Internet who seek to do harm both virtual and real. Online harm can come in the form of identity theft, rumor spreading, online bullying, and flaming (posting deliberately hostile messages) to name a few. Unfortunately, such harm is hardly “virtual” in that it has real effects on the feelings, social livelihood, and mental health of the victim. Additionally, if such harm is committed within a small community the negative effects can quickly spread to the entire group as frequently many people become involved.

Offline, the effects of online predation or compromises of identity can have dramatic and sometimes dangerous results. Please visit connectsafely.com and commonsensemedia.org for more information on this topic.

Some tips to keep you happy and safe while using the Internet for fun and learning:

  1. Assume that what you type in an e-mail, IM, on a blog, or on a social networking site (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) will be seen by everyone you know. This includes future employers who will do an Internet search for your name if your résumé piques their interest. You don’t want them (or your mom) getting the wrong impression about you. Often we think our personal page is “just for me,” or “just for a few friends” or that “no one who knows me reads it.” That’s just not the truth of what happens.
  2. Assume the same for any picture you post. Many people think that an awkward or compromising photo will go away. The photos tend not to go away and are more like tattoos that stay around long after you thought it was first cool. (Photos of you doing something you soon regret are not cool; read the handbook sections on chemical use and sexual activity.) This goes one thousand-fold for videos.
  3. Be aware: We live in a modern world where there are cameras and camcorders everywhere—on everyone’s phone—and they fit right in a pocket. That means that if you don’t want to see yourself being heckled on YouTube or Facebook later today, pay close attention to what you’re up to, with whom, and where. Privacy is not the best reason to watch what you do, but with everyone recording and posting all the time, privacy and the Internet have nothing to do with each other.
  4. Never give out personal information online to people you don’t know. This includes your photograph, address, phone number, where you go to school, where your parents live, where you’re going later today, and when your birthday is. Why does someone need to know all that anyway?
  5. Do not respond to e-mails requesting that you click a link to verify some personal information (most likely because you “won a prize”). That e-mail is likely designed to trick you into giving up personal information that you normally would not. Be aware; these types of e-mails fool many educated people because they appear to be sent from a trusted institution. Reliable sites and institutions will never ask for information in this way.
  6. Never arrange to meet in person with someone you met online. Never.
  7. If you want to keep something a secret, don’t tell anyone. But definitely don’t put it in an e-mail or an IM. That’s a “forward to” or “copy-and-paste” away from everyone knowing. If it’s really that important that no one knows, don’t tell anyone. When you post it, write it, or tell it, you give up control of the information.
  8. Take care of others: Do not post exploitative material about others. Just because you’ve got mud doesn’t mean you have to throw it. The Internet is a great place for debate and discourse; let’s keep trying to raise the level. Before you post or write anything, be sure you would say it face to face to that person; if you would, then power down and go talk with them. They probably would appreciate it.
  9. Don’t use chat rooms. You don’t know who’s on the other end of all those screen names or who has “borrowed” your friend’s screen name and is posing as them. Chat rooms are probably the most dangerous places on the Internet.