Why Technology? Why Student Owned Devices?
1. Preparing Students for College and Career
Students are keenly aware of the technology around them. They rely on laptops, desktops, iPods, tablets, cell phones, calculators, and a variety of devices to investigate unknown information, solve problems, communicate, and complete assignments in and outside of school. Students will continue to improve their keyboarding, research, and communication skills throughout middle school and high school that will prepare them for future college and career opportunities. Students who possess their own technology know how to use it in a most efficient manner and can access information quickly and at any time.
2. Addressing Individual Differences
Technology allows the classroom teacher to design instruction to support the individual learning styles of students. The pace of the lesson can be adjusted to meet the needs of each student. A variety of content areas are available on-line that can assist learning for students who need additional review or practice. Enriched coursework or acceleration can assist advanced students. Parents can also access academic information and help their students at home.
Having access to technology and devices allows for assessment that can be immediately scored, and disaggregated into meaningful data for the teacher. Teachers can then design and implement follow-up instruction and learning opportunities for students. Teachers can also provide accelerated instruction for students who are proficient in the subject matter. Students and parents can access assessments and results to better assist students in further preparing for class.
Students are increasingly asked to respond to class discussions, research, or solve to problems in a group setting. Laptops and/or ChromeBooks allow students to communicate and participate in class and group work after school and to continue the learning process beyond the classroom setting. This also enables students and parents to review on-line curriculum from home.
5. Responsibility and Self Confidence
We increasingly see that students who own their own devices (laptops, iPads, phones) gain confidence and pride of ownership. They also learn how to care for their own device, and master the required skills necessary to operate it. Just as students learn to care for toys, bikes, and electronics, they develop and build responsibility in self as they grow. Educators across the country continue to find that students as young as second grade are able to care for and transport laptops, and other technology from home to school. Teachers will continue to provide assistance in technology, and the care and appropriate usage of technology. Classroom teachers will teach keyboarding, search strategies, and research skills, but students who practice and regularly work on their own devices gain confidence and belief in their own ability.
Assembly Bill (AB) 1575
AB 1575 specifies that school districts may not charge fees or costs of supplies that the district is otherwise obligated to provide under the idea of a “free and public education system.” AB 1575 does not prevent schools from asking for donations or for suggesting that parents purchase school supplies, instructional tools, and/or supplemental materials for school or home usage. Furthermore, SLVUSD will provide ChromeBooks for school use and for check-out for home use to all students who do not have their own device and require a laptop to complete work. We will also assist families in purchasing devices who need assistance
Know Your Rights - Free Public Education in California
Frequently Asked Questions
May a school charge students for elective classes or extracurricular activities?
- No. Schools may not charge fees for participation in classes or extracurricular activities. It does not matter if the class or activity is compulsory or elective. Prohibited fees include required security deposits or required purchases of materials or equipment necessary for participation in the class or extracurricular activity.
Does AB 1575 prohibit any student fees that were previously legal?
- No. AB 1575 explicitly states that it is “declarative of existing law and shall not be interpreted to prohibit the imposition of a fee, deposit, or other charge otherwise allowed by law.” (California Education Code Section 49011(e).) The goal of AB 1575 is to ensure all students’ constitutional rights are protected by improving awareness of existing law and providing a means for resolving concerns swiftly and without costly litigation.
May a school charge fees only to those students who can afford them and offer waivers for those who cannot?
- No. A waiver process based on financial need or inability to pay does not make an otherwise impermissible fee permissible.
Are there any fees that a school may charge?
- Yes. There are some specific fees, charges and deposits that are legally permissible because they are specifically authorized by state law and not otherwise prohibited by the state constitution. For example, schools may charge for: optional attendance as a spectator at a school or district-sponsored activity (e.g., attending a school dance); food served to students, subject to free and reduced price meal program eligibility and other restrictions; the cost of replacing school books or supplies loaned to a student that the student fails to return or willfully damages (up to an amount not to exceed $10,000).
For more information on other fees authorized by stat law:
May a school request and receive donations from parents and guardians?
- Yes, of course. Schools, districts, school programs, teachers and coaches can, and do seek, and accept voluntary donations of funds and property. The key point is that the donations must be truly voluntary. A student’s participation in a class, program or activity cannot be conditioned upon receipt of a “donation.” To avoid any misinterpretations, AB 1575 includes a provision that states that the bill “shall not be interpreted to prohibit solicitation of voluntary donations of funds or property, voluntary participation in fundraising activities, or school districts, schools, and other entities from providing pupils prizes or other recognition for voluntarily participating in fundraising activities.” (California Education Code Section 49011(c).)
What can I do if I believe I am being charged an illegal fee?
- You may raise your concern with school or district administrators and request reimbursement where appropriate. As described above, you now have the option of filing a complaint at your school and seeking reimbursement through the simple Uniform Complaint Process. If you wish to explore all of your legal options, you should consult with an attorney.
Where can I find more information about the "free school guarantee" and the legality of specific type of fees?
- While we can offer no endorsement or assurances of accuracy, you may find the following resources useful: the California Department of Education distributed a fiscal management advisory regarding pupil fees, deposits and other charges to all County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators on November 9, 2011: http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/lr/fm/. California’s Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) has posted Guidelines for Student Fees, published by the Tulare County Counsel, on its website: http://wwwstatic.kern.org/gems/fcmat/StudentfeesguidelinesTulareC.pdf
- Many school districts have information about student fees on their websites now. For example, San Diego Unified School District provides an overview of how the law regarding student fees has developed: http://www.sandi.net/Page/3094.
Where can I get a copy of Assembly Bill 1575?
The SLVUSD staff has an essential goal to provide equity in learning opportunities for all students. Currently, students bring a variety of laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets to school. We are committed to assisting families in providing these learning tools for all students. It is important to note that students are not required to bring their own electronic devices to school. The District will continue to provide computers and laptops for student use. There is no requirement in any curricular area for students to bring their own device to support their learning or to purchase special software.
- The District will offer Chromebooks for a reduced price to students on free and reduced lunch, or with a financial need. Please call 336-9672 for more information.
- Chromebooks will be available in each class as in-class loaners for students who don't have a Chromebook or laptop.
- Teachers will work with school administration to ensure that all students will be able to complete assignments, with or without electronic devices.
- The SLVHS Library will be open each day before and after school for Middle School and High School students who do not have Internet service. The Library has a full computer lab and unrestricted Wi-Fi access.
- Offline options are available to students for homework purposes if they do not have Internet access at home.
- Internet for $10 a month by Comcast: SLVUSD will assist families in getting Comcast Internet Essentials if they desire the service. The Comcast requirements are as follows:
- Be located where Comcast offers service.
- Have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program.
- Have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days.
- No outstanding Comcast debt that is under one year old.
- If Comcast isn't responsive to individual families, please contact Cathy Frost for assistance. Email or phone: 335-5384.
Chromebooks are a simple laptop designed for browser use. That said, there are few settings and personalization options. Below are links to articles about settings and personalization.
Digital Citizenship - Family Resources
Common Sense Media
is dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. Common Sense Media empowers parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.
Parent Survey Results, December 2014
A parent survey was distributed to parent of students in grades 2-11 in November and December, 2014. A link to the parent survey is provided here
- 77% of the parents responded.
- 94% have Internet at home
- 10-14% expressed interest in the $10/month Comcast Internet Essentials program.
- 35% of families reported that they currently own a laptop.
- 46% of families said they would buy a Chromebook/laptop.
- 25% of families were interested in assistance to purchase a Chromebook.
- 7% of families answered no to all of the laptop/Chromebook questions.
Chromebook Loan Agreement
There is an option to checkout a Chromebook from the different school libraries for the school year. We encourage families to buy Chromebooks for their student instead of checking out a loaner from the school for the following reasons:
- It cost the schools $270 per Chromebook with tax and a required $28 management license. The same Chromebook can cost a family less than $200. Vendors charge more for purchasing Chromebooks in bulk.
- If a student breaks or loses a school Chromebook, the charge is $200, which may be more than a family would pay for a personal Chromebook replacement.
- The Chromebooks issued by the district are locked down, no games, no music, no social networking and no personalization.
- Privacy: Geolocation and website history tracking is part of every school district-owned Chromebook. To avoid these district level security measures, a personal Chromebook is recommended.
- Families can exercise greater control in managing their technology for educational and personal use when purchasing their own Chromebook.
- Click here for the Chromebook Loan Agreement. Please just return the last page with both the student and parent/guardian signatures.
Home Filtering - Inappropriate Content
- Various free and paid options exist, click here for Google search results for "home url filtering".
- Web filtering for a Chromebook, click here for a free option that seems to work well.
Buying a Chromebook or Laptop
Buying Chromebooks or laptops on Amazon using the links below donates 2% of the purchase price to a SLV parent organization dedicated to helping our district's students. You may also choose to purchase a device any other online source or retail store.
Below is a sample of Chromebooks and laptops and the related size and price. Prices below are subject to change. These prices don't reflect tax, optional insurance, and protective covers and/or sleeves. These products are listed because they meet the specifications above and would be appropriate for student use at school and home.
- iPads don't support Flash, which is required by some educational software we use, so they are not the best choice for a device to bring to school.
- Insurance is frequently offered by the vendor and may be bought at the time of laptop purchase. The most common damage occurs from beverage spills or accidental drops.
- Chromebook and laptop shell cases may offer some protection.
- Chromebook and laptop sleeves may also offer some protection.
- Buying a Chromebook with the minimum configuration of 2GB of RAM and a 16GB SSD works fine for school requirements. Buying a model with 4GB of RAM and a 32GB disk allows for more speed when having lots of windows open.
The following suggestions are recommended guidelines for effective student use of a laptop or device to be used in school and at home as an instructional tool. Most laptops or devices purchased in the last 3 years will meet the minimum specifications listed below.
- 6+ hour battery life: Plugging in a laptop to recharge at school isn't practical given the few power outlets, hundreds of students, and the tripping hazard of power cords extended from outlets. Battery life is important and recent laptops/devices have far better battery life than their predecessors.
- The device needs to boot fast, in under 30 seconds. Chromebooks (a type of laptop) boot in 10 seconds. When using a laptop in class, it needs to be able to wake up or boot quickly.
- Quiet: Loud fan noises coming from a laptop or device may not be appropriate in a classroom. Most newer laptops and Chromebooks have a quiet fans or no fans.
- Google gives public K-12 schools free and ad-free access to Google Apps for Education. This saves the District thousands of dollars each year. Any laptop or device needs to support the latest versions of browsers, like Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox. The district uses Google Apps for Education and the browser needs to be compatible. Old systems running Windows XP won't work.
- A keyboard is essential for the classroom setting: typing on a real, non-glass, keyboard will work better for school assignments.
Chromebooks are an excellent value and meet all of the requirements above for the least amount of money. Other laptops running Windows or MacBooks are also excellent choices and may meet your specific application needs better, but they are also more expensive.
Regarding security, Chromebooks are more secure than Windows or Mac computers. Chromebooks are based on a stripped down Linux OS with built-in boot checks and very few executables to attack, further information provided here
No Internet at Home: Chromebook or
Laptop Purchasing Considerations
If Internet access isn't available at your home, your student will need to use the Chromebook or laptop in an offline mode. A Chromebook with a larger than 16GB SSD is more suitable for doing school work offline. You may also consider a $8-$20 USB drive to extend offline storage for the Chromebook. Laptops generally have more offline (local) storage space available.
Chromebooks are not the Right Choice if...
- Chromebooks are not the right choice for students who use advanced or specific desktop applications like Adobe Photoshop or programming environments designed for Windows and/or Mac's. Some parents consider a more expensive laptop that will later be used for college. Students who are enrolled in graphic design, video, photography, networking, or programming classes may have a need for another device that offers more specific options.
FAQ's - Frequently Asked Questions
- Are families required to buy a laptop or Chromebook for their student?
- No. We encourage families to buy a Chromebook or laptop for their students, however, this is a recommendation, not a requirement. Click here for a legal summary about free education, permissible fees and California law AB 1575. Encouraging participation in our BYOD program is part of our commitment to providing an education that leads to the best opportunities for our students.
- What if my student doesn't bring a laptop to school?
- The school will have laptops available for in-classroom use. We also have extended library hours before and after school for students who need time on a computer. Teachers will assist students with "off-line" options for those without Internet service.
- Are laptops going to be used everyday in all of the classes?
- No. The laptop is one of many resources available to teachers and students. Classroom instruction and activities work best when there is a variety of learning oppportunities. However, access to technology is a basic educational tool for the 21st century classroom. Having laptops available on-demand is now part of meeting the needs of student learning.
- Does the school/district pay for a student's laptop stolen or damaged at school?
- No. Student laptops are like other personal property brought to school by a student. However, we highly recommend that parents consider insurance coverage offered when purchasing the Chromebook or laptop. Insurance coverage should be evaluated based on the cost and coverage provided for loss and damage.
- What about PE at the Middle School and how will students keep their laptops secure?
- This Summer, new and larger PE lockers will be installed at the Middle School that can accommodate backpacks, clothes and laptops.
- Will having a Chromebook/laptop add to the weight of my student's backpack?
- Not necessarily, Chromebooks or laptops will allow teachers to re-evaluate the other required supplies. Some on-line resources will be used and may eliminate the need for the daily transport of textbooks.
- What about families that can't afford laptops?
- If a family cannot afford a laptop, the District will offer financial assistance. Please call 336-9672 for more information. Any student on Free or Reduced Lunch or in financial need is eligible to buy a Chromebook from the District for a discounted price. If your student(s) are not on Free or Reduced Lunch, please apply here. If you have any questions or difficulty applying, please call Cathy Frost at 335-5384 or drop by the Cafeteria anytime between 7-3pm.
- How will a child's education differ if the family does not have an Internet connected device to bring to school?
- Many lessons are collaborative allowing students to work together, sharing information accessed through devices. When the work is individual, students may use computers and other devices located in the classrooms and/or Library. No child's learning experience or academic performance should be affected because he or she does not have a laptop or device to bring to school.
District Network and Security
- The district's 5 schools (BCE, SLVE, SLVMS, SLVHS, Charter) share a 1 gigabit Internet connection. This 1Gb connection is generally considered to be enough and it meets our needs.
- All schools are connected with 1Gb links.
- All school network segments connect into a Palo Alto Networks PA-3050. The PA-3050 is our firewall and has excellent threat visibility into every network segment.
- All 125 classrooms in the district each have a Meraki/Cisco wireless access point (WAP). These WAP's were chosen to support high density wireless computer use. All of the WAP's have 1Gb connections over CAT6 cables to Cisco PoE switches, which in turn have 1Gb connections over fiber back to each school's network distribution frame.
- URL filtering is excellent and occurs in-line on the PA-3050 and is updated every night.
- SLVUSD no longer store student or staff social security numbers. We also do not store personal or financial information of students and families, or staff.
- Any source of confidential information stored at the schools or district is actively eliminated or removed from network connectivity.
SLVUSD is committed to preparing our teachers for a BYOD initiative, and for using technology in the classroom to impact student achievement. Instructional technology professional development has been a focus for the last two years, and will continue as a focus area for the future. Teachers are learning to use technology as a powerful tool in the classroom to support student learning. Some examples of professional development for SLVUSD teachers include the following:
- District professional development days have provided a variety of technology training options, including using web applications to improve student writing, Web 2.0 tools for communication and student student assignments, Learning Management Systems and organizational tools.
- Approximately 40 teachers have attended the SLVUSD technology cadres, specifically to learn how to integrate software applications into lesson plans to create engaging and Common Core aligned lessons.
- SLVUSD has 15 Chromebook carts, 2 iPad carts, 6 computer labs and other pods of computers, giving teachers ample access to instructional technology.
- Teachers are using Learning Management System (LMS) applications, including Schoology and Hapara to manage technology in the classroom.
- Our High School and Middle School math courses have fully integrated computers into their mathematics instructional program. The current application set includes Pearson Successnet, Pearson MathXL and Pearson Realize.
- Every student grades 2-12 has a Google Apps for Education account, including email and documents. (Students in grades 2-8 can only email teachers and other students inside the district, for security purposes.)
- We have a full time technology coach (a credentialed teacher) to work with staff in using technology in the classroom to student achievement.
- We will hire a secondary technology coach to support the Middle School and High School for 2015-2016.
- The SLVUSD staff has been using Google Apps for Education for over 5 years.
- All 125 classrooms in the district have a projector and an Apple TV for mirroring computer displays.
Student Technology Acceptable Use Policy
Please keep in mind some of these policies are out of date and being updated.
- Click here for the Student Use of Technology - Board Policy 6134.4.
- Click here for the Student Use of Technology - Administrative Regulations - 6163.4
- Click here for the Student Use of Technology Exhibit or Form - 6163.4
Please email comments or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All emails will be available for reading and consideration by our EduTech committee.