Just like most of us are dragging our smart phones, tablets and laptops to work, so too are the kids going to school. But taking these devices to school creates a variety of issues. The Cascade School District is considering a policy that addresses these devices at school.
Cascade Superintendent Bill Motsenbocker said each school district has to have a policy on file, if this district is going to allow students to bring devices from home.
"Some school districts are still wanting to stay in the dark ages with that, saying no kids still cannot bring those to school. They have to use school equipment," Motsenbocker said, at the Aug. 18 Cascade School Board meeting. "This is the future. We are going to see this a lot more as the future unfolds. They are bringing phones, tablets and computers to school. This (policy) keeps the district clean, so to speak."
The "bring your own device" policy defines a device and how the internet is accessed. It covers any filters or bypass software that might be used to get around the network security.
"They have to use the virus software on our system and the filters. It talks about printing. It won't be supported at school," Motsenbocker said. "They need to charge things at home so we don't have cords going all over the place. It's just a matter of dealing with it."
Icicle River Principal Kelli Doherty said the district needs a policy in place because kids are brining these devices to school daily.
"We need to keep it clean and have clearly established expectations for bringing those devices," Doherty said. "Definitely with social media and things like that. It's the future. That is what is happening now. We need to make expectations clear from the get go. Same with parents."
The policy is also important, Doherty said, to make it clear the district is not responsible for maintaining and troubleshooting devices for students and staff.
"When we are all bring our own devices from home and want them synced and so forth, it can become overwhelming," Doherty said. "That's another thing it helps with. It makes it clear the district does not maintain personal devices."
Personal devices can only be used in a classroom with the teacher's permission. Any filming or photographs can only be done with a teacher's permission as well.
Cascade High School Principal Elia Ala'ilima-Daley said the policy really doesn't change what they have been doing. "A teacher has to give you permission to use it. It gives us more blanket of coverage," Daley said. "We are still going to have the kids who use their cell phone in class and parents have to come pick it up."
There are some people that are predicting that districts will slowly decline in the amount of technology they purchase because it is going to be more and more commonplace that students are bringing their own devices, Motsenbocker said.
"That has its own set of problems because you have the kids who are supposed to be working but their device doesn't work anymore," Motsenbocker said. "Those types of things. Technology is here to stay."
It was just a first reading of the "bring your own device" policy. It will likely be considered for approval at the next school board meeting on Sept. 8.
The school district is experiencing a bit of success with their hiring of classified staff of late, thanks to email. District Executive Secretary Julie Winters began emailing job postings to district patrons, with much success.
"It's had a huge impact with our classified employees. Same thing I learned the last seven years. Word of mouth in the community about jobs was amazing. You'll see more of that in future," Motsenbocker said. "We'll use Facebook too. The district has a Facebook page. And our website."
That made a huge difference, said Special Ed Director Tim Lawless. He said they were worried about getting enough applicants for some of these jobs. After Winters started emailing, the applications came pouring in.
With the Public School Employees Union (PSE), Motsenbocker said they are going to simultaneously post inside and outside at the same time.
"The PSE still has their contract rights to express interest in a position within five to 10 days. If someone comes forward, we are not 10 days behind," Motsenbocker said. "They understand they are not losing anything. It's just going to help us, in the event we don't get anyone. That's going to make a big difference especially on late hires."
Ian Dunn can be reached at 548-5286 or email@example.com.