Technology will be used throughout our district as we acquire new and exciting ways to meet the needs of all of our students and to enhance student instruction and outcomes. GSCS will strive to use the most up-to-date technology tools in order to:
- design learning environments that will reach out to a diverse learning community
- gauge and monitor students' individual levels of achievement, using that information to make decisions about programs and support for student learning
- model and encourage collaboration between and among: students, teachers, administrators, parents and the global community
In classrooms, teachers will be confident and knowledgeable about the range of technology tools that can assist them in making effective choices in designing learning experiences. Supported by accessible technology and professional development, teachers will develop and share authentic and engaging activities that require students to hone problem-solving skills. Through this creative and collaborative environment teachers will use technology to:
- promote intellectual experimentation
- provide options that match learning experiences to the individual learner
- promote the development of higher-order thinking and creative problem-solving
- redefine and transform learning tasks to create authentic learning experiences
The Gulf Shores City Schools Technology Department is responsible for the day to day operations and instructional technology. This encompasses everything from hardware, networking, and data management to best practices and professional development with instructional technology. Our goal is to support our users and the technology resources throughout our district. We are committed to providing helpful and courteous support while ensuring students, teachers, and administrators of GSCS have access to the best technology resources we can offer.
COMPUTERS, INTERNET, AND NETWORK RESOURCES
ACCEPTABLE USE PROCEDURE
Gulf Shores City Schools is pleased to provide network and Internet access to students, staff, and long-term subs. While staff/long-term sub members will make reasonable efforts to supervise student use of network and Internet access, they must have student cooperation in exercising and promoting responsible use of this access. The Acceptable Use Procedure of Gulf Shores City Schools follows in detail.
Please read the following carefully. Violations of the Acceptable Use Procedures (AUP) may cause access privileges to be limited or revoked. Disciplinary action may be taken against any user according to the Gulf Shores City Schools’ Policy Manual, including, but not limited to the Student Code of Conduct. In addition, School Board disciplinary action and/or appropriate legal action may also be taken.
Gulf Shores City Schools uses filtering software to help prevent access to inappropriate websites for any device connected to our network. Every attempt is made to protect all users from exposure to objectionable material as required by federal law. Any attempts to bypass the filtering software is a violation of the AUP.
To ensure that students receive a quality education and that staff/long-term subs are able to work in a professional and intellectually stimulating environment, it is the intention of the Gulf Shores City Schools to provide all students and staff/long-term subs with access to a variety of technology resources. All Gulf Shores students and staff/long-term subs must acknowledge and adhere to this Acceptable Use Procedure. All staff/long-term subs accounts are disabled 48 hours after the employee’s last day or on leave for more than 6 months.
A. The use of all Gulf Shores City Schools technology resources is a privilege, not a right. District and school administrators, and/or the local school technology personnel will determine when inappropriate use has occurred (as identified by the guidelines in the Gulf Shores City Schools’ Policy Manual) and have the right to deny, revoke, or suspend specified user privileges and accounts.
B. Students and Staff/Long-Term Subs may use only accounts, files, software, and technology resources that are assigned to him/her. Staff/long-term subs and students may not attempt to login to the network as another person or use a computer that is logged on as a staff/long-term sub member or another student.
C. Staff/Long-Term Subs and students must not reduce the efficiency of use for others or attempt to modify technology resources, utilities, and configurations, or change the restrictions associated with his/her accounts, or attempt to breach any technology resources’ security system, either with or without malicious intent.
D. All passwords are required to be kept private and may not be posted. They may only be shared with local or district technology personnel or those authorized by the district technology department.
E. Staff/long-term subs members must actively monitor student use of technology resources at all times.
F. Staff/long-term subs are responsible for notifying the administration and the school technology staff of any violation of the Acceptable Use Procedures.
G. Staff/long-term subs and students are not permitted to connect or install any computer hardware, components, or software to school system equipment, which is not school system property, without prior approval from the district technology department.
H. Staff/long-term subs must log off or lock any computer logged in as him or her before leaving any computer unattended.
I. Any technology purchased for the school system must comply with the GSCS Specification List, regardless of funding source. The technology department will only support devices that are on the district’s approved specification list.
J. This Acceptable Use Procedure applies to all technology resources owned, leased, operated, or maintained by the Board, regardless of the physical location of the resource or the user. It also applies to all technology resources (regardless of ownership) brought onto school grounds during school hours or functions.
A. In accordance with established law, data stored on Gulf Shores City School System equipment is property of Gulf Shores and is not private; therefore, users are advised to avoid storing personal and/or private information on the district and/or schools’ technology resources.
B. Gulf Shores City Schools cannot guarantee the privacy, security, or confidentiality of any information sent or received via the Internet.
C. Student data will only be collected with district approved data collection resources to protect minors from unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal data in compliance with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).
D. Gulf Shores City Schools’ Technology Staff:
Monitors all technology resource utilization.
De-activates a user account in the event of unauthorized or unlawful activity, including but not limited to hacking or any violation of this Acceptable Use Procedure.
A. Students and staff/long-term subs are expected to follow all local, state, and federal laws in addition to this Acceptable Use Procedure regarding the protection of student and staff/long-term subs confidential data.
B. Individuals may not attempt to log into the network using any network account and/or password other than the login(s) assigned to him/her. Individuals may not allow someone to use his/her network account and/or password to access the network, email, or the Internet.
C. In emergency situations, student pictures or other personally identifiable information can be shared with outside agencies in accordance with this signed Acceptable Use Procedure and in accordance with FERPA guidelines.
D. District or school data, such as but not limited to STI information, accessed through school system technology resources may not be used for any private business activity.
A. All users are expected to follow the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia.
B. Staff/long-term sub members must follow legal and ethical practices of appropriate use.
C. Copies of software without a valid license or web subscriptions may not be used on school equipment. The school system requires all users to consult technology staff before purchasing software or subscribing to website services.
D. Only those programs purchased with school funds may be loaded on district owned equipment. Staff/long-term sub members who purchase software are responsible for maintaining a license compatible with our operating system.
A. Email is stored on Gulf Shores City School host domain and is considered property of Gulf Shores City Schools and should not be considered a private means of communication.
B. Email accounts are provided to staff/long term subs for professional and educational purposes and should not be used for political gain, personal business, commercial activity or non-educational subscription services.
C. Email accounts are disabled when an employee is terminated, resigns, or retires.
D. Email accounts for long-term subs will be disabled at the end of their employment and/or school year.
E. Users should send email only to those to whom the email applies. Mass school email should be used sparingly.
F. Only email accounts provided by the school system for communication between students and staff, long-term subs, and contract employees will be maintained and supported.
G. Email is archived for two months.
GSCS provides our students with an email account. Email is provided to our students so they can easily collaborate on documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. Email is restricted to teacher and student communication. You will not be able to email your student at his or her email address, nor will they be able to email you.
Student Cell Phone:
Gulf Shores City Schools will allow students to possess cell phones during the school day on school premises and at school sponsored activities under the following conditions:
A. Students who bring cell phones to school are responsible for keeping their telephones TURNED OFF AND OUT OF SIGHT during the instructional day.
B. High school students may use their cell phones responsibly during transition, break, and lunch as determined by school administrators. (ex. prior to start of school, during lunch, break, in hallways and after the final bell at the end of the day).
C. Middle and Elementary School students are not allowed to use their phones during the school day unless use is approved by a school administrator.
This privilege will be revoked if misused. The rule regarding cell phones being turned off during instructional time will be strictly enforced. Please see student handbooks for additional information.
Gulf Shores City Schools provides valuable online learning resources to students and staff/long-term subs. These resources promote collaboration and provide a safe and secure environment for course content. Microsoft 365 is used by the Gulf Shores City School System. Under federal law these resources must provide parental notification and obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from students under the age of 18. The law permits schools to consent to the collection of personal information on behalf of all of its students, thereby eliminating the need for individual parental consent. If parents do not want their child to use Microsoft 365 they must notify the school administration in writing with a signature within the first two weeks of starting school. It then becomes the parent’s responsibility to explain to his/her child why he/she is not allowed to access these school provided resources.
A. Microsoft 365 services are provided to all staff and students through a controlled environment that is for GSCS alone. Students and staff/long-term subs will create and share documents, presentations, and more through Microsoft 365.
B. All school rules and guidelines for appropriate technology usage shall apply to online resources.
C. Student names, pictures, and assignments may be used in these secure environments.
D. Student names and/or email addresses may be used for online subscriptions that schools select for instructional purposes.
“Social Media” is an online technology tool that allows for prompt communication of information and resources. Social media can include text, audio, video, images, podcasts, and other multimedia communications. GSCS encourages the safe use of social media outlets to extend learning opportunities. The line between professional life and personal life must be clear at all times. Staff members should only use their educational social media account or educational email account to communicate with students and/or parents and guardians, and should only communicate on matters directly related to education. Relationships associated with such educational social media accounts should only be with members of the educational community, such as administrators, teachers, students, and parents of such students.
A. All social media used will comply with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). Employees must be aware of their responsibility to maintain confidentiality of the personally identifiable information of students, and shall refrain from disclosing any such confidential information through social media.
B. The school system requires all staff/long-term subs to consult technology personnel before creating any social media account used for instructional purposes. Classroom/on campus social media accounts are seen as extensions of the school and must reflect GSCS. It is strongly encouraged to maintain a clear distinction between a personal and professional social media account.
C. Student/Employee Interactions via social media shall be limited to "official" educational forums only. "Official forums" means electronic resources provided by the District and/or personal employee social media accounts that are created and used solely for educational purposes, and where a professional atmosphere is maintained at all times.
D. Employees shall avoid private one-to-one communication with students via social media or through chat features. Communication with a student shall be limited to electronic resources provided by the District such as e-mail or learning management system.
E. Employees are reminded that social media posts demonstrating insubordination, immorality, cruelty, unlawful discrimination, or other unlawful acts may result in disciplinary action. GSCS reserves the right to remove content or disable the account if it violates any school board policy. When staff members communicate as employees of the district in their online communications, they must be aware that readers will assume they “speak for the school district.” Therefore, all online communications must be professional and reflect positively on the school district.
A. The intent of Gulf Shores City Schools is to provide access to educational resources available via the Internet with the understanding that staff/long-term subs and students will access and use information that is appropriate for his/her various curricula.
B. All school rules and guidelines for appropriate technology usage shall apply to usage of the Internet.
C. Teachers will screen all Internet resources prior to classroom use.
D. Teachers will model and ensure that digital citizenship is taught in the classroom setting (including cyberbullying awareness, appropriate online behavior, interacting with others on social networking websites, etc).
E. Alabama Supercomputer Authority filters Internet content for the school system based on guidelines provided by the Children’s Internet Protection Act; any attempt to bypass the content filter is a violation of the Acceptable Use Procedures. Gulf Shores City Schools assumes no liability in the event that content filtering is not 100% effective.
Student-assigned devices are provided by the Gulf Shores City Schools Board of Education for all students in grades Pre K- 12 and are the property of the Gulf Shores City Schools Board of Education.
A. Students in grades Pre-K - 5 will use the device while at school.
B. Students in grades 6-12 will use the device while at school and will be allowed to bring their device home.
C. Devices will at all times be considered a classroom tool for instruction and academic use.
E. Devices must not be damaged or lost and returned (including the power cable) by the student upon request of the appropriate district personnel or withdrawal from GSCS.
F. Students must reimburse the Board for the value of any device that is lost or damaged beyond reasonable wear and tear. (determined by the Tech Department).
**Acceptable Use Procedure will be updated on a regular basis.
Allowing children to go online without any supervision or ground rules is like allowing them to explore a major metropolitan area by themselves. The Internet, like a city, offers an enormous array of entertainment and educational resources, but it also presents some risks. Consequently, children need help navigating this world. This is why it is important to educate your children and to teach them how to better protect themselves. The best way to help protect your children is by being involved and talking to them.
Children's Pledge for Online Safety
- I will not give out personal information such as my address, telephone number, parents' work address/telephone number, or the name and location of my school without my parents' permission.
- I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable.
- I will never agree to get together with someone I "meet" online without first checking with my parents. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will be sure that it is in a public place and bring my mother or father along.
- I will never send a person my picture or anything else without first checking with my parents.
- I will not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make me feel uncomfortable. It is not my fault if I get a message like that. If I do, I will tell my parents right away so that they can contact the service provider.
- I will talk with my parents so that we can set up rules for going online. We will decide upon the time of day that I can be online, the length of time I can be online, and appropriate areas for me to visit online. I will not access other areas or break these rules without their permission.
- I will not give out my Internet password to anyone (even my best friends) other than my parents.
- I will check with my parents before downloading or installing software or doing anything that could possibly hurt our computer or jeopardize my family's privacy.
- I will be a good online citizen and not do anything that hurts other people or is against the law.
- I will help my parents understand how to have fun and learn things online and teach them things about the Internet, computers, and other technology.
Guidelines for Parents
- Prepare your children for the online world just as you would for the real world. Therefore, establish guidelines and rules for them to use the computer, and know who communicates with your children while they are online.
- Learn about the Internet. Familiarize yourself with the programs your children are using. Ask your teens to show you what's cool. Have them show you great places for teens and fill you in on areas that you might benefit from as well. Make this one area where you get to be the student and your child gets to be the teacher.
- Place the family's computer in a common room, where supervision and guidelines are more easily observed and met.
- Talk about the benefits and dangers on the Internet and help your children make smart decisions while online. This is just as important as limiting your children's computer time when it comes to safeguarding them while online.
- Explain to your children instant messaging (IM) is only for chatting with school and family friends they know by face and are approved by you. Go over your children's IM "chat list" with them. Make sure they are able to put a face to every screen name on the list.
- Check out blocking, filtering, and ratings applications. There are now services that rate web sites for content, as well as filtering programs and browsers that empower parents to block the types of sites they consider to be inappropriate. Generally, these programs can be configured by the parent to only block the types of sites that the parent considers to be objectionable.
Risks by Area
The Web gives you the opportunity to read newspapers, tour museums, check out libraries, visit distant lands, play games, shop, or do research to help you with your homework.
Caution: If a website asks you for information about yourself, i.e., your name, your mailing address, your e-mail address, etc., before letting you enter a site, do not enter this information without first checking with your parents.
Chat rooms let you engage in a live conversation with people around the block or around the world. It's like being on a party line, only you type instead of talk. Everyone in the "chat room" can see everything you type. However, did you know that the chat room is probably the most dangerous area on the Internet? Even if the room is "teens only," you have no way of knowing if everyone really is a teenager, so you still have to be on guard. As with other areas of the Internet, you don't know who is there, so never say anything in a chat room that you wouldn't say in public.
Caution: It can be tempting to get together with someone you meet in a chat room, but remember-people are not always who they seem to be. Therefore, never give out personal information, and never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone you meet in a chat room without first checking with your parents.
Instant Messaging (IM) has become extremely popular among teenagers. It's a way to stay in touch with friends without having to wait for them to respond to an e-mail. You type a message and the moment you click "send" that message appears on another person's screen wherever they happen to be. You can exchange instant messages on computers and cell phones or between computers and cell phones or any other Internet connected devices.
Caution: Be sure you know who you are "IMing" with, and be aware that anything you type could be forwarded to other people. There is no way to "take back" something once you enter it. Be especially careful about using video or digital cameras during an IM session. You don't have to respond to any messages that are rude, annoying, or make you feel uncomfortable.
E-mail is typically a one-to-one communications system. Just like regular mail, you write to someone and they can write back. However, if you ever receive an e-mail message that appears to be illegal in nature, you should report it to Cyber Tipline at http://www.cybertipline.com/ or call 1-800-843-5678. Illegal material includes threats to your life or safety, threats to others, pornographic images of children, and evidence of other crimes.
Caution: Be careful how you respond to e-mail from people you don't know. Never send a photograph of yourself or any personal information to someone you don't know. Also, e-mail can easily be copied and forwarded to others. So, if you do send personal information to friends, be sure that they are willing to respect your privacy.
From time to time, Gulf Shores City Schools (GHCS) documents classroom and school activities through the use of photography and/or videography. This information may be used for instructional purposes, websites, newsletters, reports, and other media/external publicity.
By agreeing to the Publication Consent Procedure, you are:
Consenting to the use of photographs, videos, or intellectual property (see below) to be used by Gulf Shores City Schools in official publications and other media, for any and all publicity and/or instructional purposes.
Granting GSCS the rights to copyright or otherwise protect any matter in which said photographs, videos, reproductions and intellectual property hereof and/or testimonial appear.
Releasing GSCS from any liability in connection with the use, reproduction, and publication of any of the photographs, videos, or intellectual property.
Description of intellectual property:
To include, but not limited to: Directory information as defined in the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34CFR Part 99); honors, awards, and special recognitions; and any classroom or extracurricular work associated with said recognitions.
***Please click on the following link to opt-out your child from the Gulf Shores Board of Education Publication Consent Procedure:
Protecting student data is important to Gulf Shores City Schools. We are committed to being a good custodian of student data—taking all reasonable and appropriate countermeasures in ensuring data confidentiality, integrity, and availability. In accordance with guidelines set forth by the Alabama State Department of Education, Gulf Shores City Schools has developed a data governance plan. A copy of this plan is available here.
A copy of the current Technology Plan for Gulf Shores City Schools can be found here. Please note that the format is required by the Alabama State Department of Education.