Feb 212014

By Tammy Gray
Students in the Joseph City Unified School District will be able to use their personal electronic devices to complete assignments and activities under a policy change approved by the governing board Tuesday evening.
The change does not mean that students will have unlimited access to the Internet or be allowed to surf the web during school hours, but that they can use laptops, tablets and smart phones under certain circumstances and within specific guidelines.
“The superintendent shall set guidelines for determining the appropriate use of privately owned (personal) electronic devices not owned by the district, but used by students while at school,” the policy addition notes. “This policy applies to all access to the Internet through the district network whether using a privately owned electronic device or a district owned device. The district shall not be liable financially or otherwise for privately owned electronic devices that are damaged, lost, stolen, misused, or whose functionality is changed or impaired in any way.”
Existing policies cover student use of the Internet, as well as precautions that must be in place, such as filters that prevent access to unauthorized sites and protect the privacy of users.
“As required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act, the district shall provide for technology protection measures that protect against Internet access through the district’s network by both adults and minors to visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography or, with respect to use of the computers and electronic devices by students, harmful to students,” the policy states. “The protective measures shall also include monitoring the online activities of students.”
The superintendent will be responsible for ensuring that all staff members and students receive training on Internet use and policies. Students must also sign an agreement stating that they are aware of and agree to abide by the district’s Internet use policies.
In other action Feb. 18, the board:
* Approved a new mission statement to be included in the policy book.
* Approved board travel to the Arizona School Board Association meeting in March in Flagstaff.
* Approved the district calendars for school years 2014-15 and 2015-16.
* Appointed Marci Zabadal as a substitute bus driver and Gary Rice as a sports event worker, and approved Andrea Miller as a Fitness Club sponsor.
* Met in executive session to discuss the superintendent’s contract, but took no action following the session.
The next regular board meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11. A budget work session will be held prior to the meeting at 6 p.m.