Frequently Asked Questions
Who receives the laptops?
All middle school and high school teachers received a laptop in the spring of 2008. All elementary teachers received a laptop in 2009. Each student in the 7th through 12th grades will receive a laptop to use at school and at home during the current school year. Students need to be enrolled in at least one course (other than advisory) on the school campus to receive a laptop.
Elementary students will begin receiving devices to use at school during the expansion of this initiative, to be completed in 2019.
Do Running Start students receive laptops as well?
The number of laptops purchased each year by our technology levy funding is based on the projected student enrollment produced by our finance department the previous spring, and that number does not include full-time Running Start students. Running Start students only need to take one course (other than advisory) on a high school campus to receive a laptop.
How is the program funded?
All instructional computers are paid for with Tech Levy funds that were approved by voters in 2010. By law, these funds must be used for technology improvements and cannot be spent as general education funds.
Will students be protected from objectionable Internet content?
Internet safety is taught directly to students and presented to parents through parent/guardian education materials. In addition, the Kent School District uses filtering software that will operate on the laptops, whether students are using the machines at home or at school. Objectionable websites are screened out, as are social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.
What is the cost?
The conditions surrounding this equipment can be equated to those of a school-issued textbook or a calculator. Students are expected to keep track of and care for this equipment for the time period it is issued to them. Students/families may be fined for damaged or lost equipment. Assuming that the equipment is well cared for, there is no charge associated with the One-to-One Laptop Initiative because it is funded by the voter approved Tech Levies in 2006 and 2010.
The price that the district paid for the laptop includes: the laptop, case, extended battery, a 3 year warranty, a one-year extended care package and insurance. The laptop warranty covers normal wear and tear along with other damage that might occur during normal use of the laptop. If the laptop is deemed to be intentionally or negligently damaged by the student, the student may incur a replacement fee in the form of a fine. Situations are evaluated on a case by case basis. Specific cost information is available in the Student Manual.
What happens if a laptop is lost or damaged?
If any equipment is lost, the student or parent must report it to the school immediately. Students can let a teacher or administrator know, and the staff member will assist him/her. The circumstances of each situation will be investigated individually.
Why start this program with seventh graders?
Research and recommendations from organizations such as the Anytime, Anywhere Learning Foundation suggest seventh grade is the optimum age for using technology resources to enhance the educational process. The laptops help increase project-and problem-based activities, facilitate research, promote student discovery, and integrate technology with multi-disciplinary content.
What about elementary schools?
The IT Department is committed to delivering on the promises made for the 2006 and 2010 Tech Levies, which included equipping every classroom with a Presentation Station (Projector, SMART Board, Document Camera, DVD/VCR Player), providing laptops for every teacher, and maintaining at least a 4:1 ratio of student-to-computer access at every school.
By September 2008, every classroom was equipped with a Presentation Station. By December 2009, every teacher had a laptop. All schools currently have a better than 4:1 ratio of students to computers. Computers are continually updated and replaced throughout the year to ensure a reliable and productive learning environment.
How is laptop inventory controlled?
The Kent School District Information Technology Department has been using Computrace for computer inventory control and computer insurance for the last four years. Computrace allows the school district to quickly identify the current location of any computer within or outside of the District. More information regarding this system is available. In addition to Computrace, the KSD Finance Department tracks and reports on all technical assets using an in-house system.
Am I allowed to connect my home printer to my school laptop?
The use of home printers is not supported by the Kent School District. Anything that a student is required to print should be printed at school. This means, there should be no school-required reason for printing at home and printer drivers should not be installed at home. If a student chooses to print school work at home, we suggest using the following options: (1) save the file on a thumb/flash drive and using the home computer to print, or (2) email the file to the student’s Outlook email account. Use the home computer to access the web-based Outlook, and print from the home computer.
Can students use flash drives (thumb drives/jump drives) with their school laptop?
Yes, using thumb/flash drives is acceptable. The KSD Electronic Resource Policy #2022 states that “Connection of any personal electronic device is subject to all guidelines in this document.” The most applicable guideline for flash drives states that the district reserves the right “…to monitor the use of electronic resource activities. This may include real-time monitoring of network activity and/or maintaining a log of Internet activity for later review.” This would apply to all files stored on a flash drive that is connected to a KSD issued laptop.
What if my student has to walk home in bad weather with a laptop?
KSD issues a laptop case for each student. It is expected that laptops remain in the cases at all times. The case is designed to keep the laptop safe.
Is it a requirement that my student bring his/her laptop home every night?
Students are not required to carry the laptops to/from school each day. Students who have achieved their off campus laptop certification but wish to leave their assigned laptop at school should arrange for storage with their teachers or administrators. Students who take their laptops home are responsible for care and for charging their laptop at home each night.
What should my student do with the laptop if he/she plays an after school sport?
During and after school events, the laptops are secured in a locker room office or classroom by a staff member. Please check with the coach or teacher and follow the directions specific to the school. Laptops should not travel with the students to away games. Parents may come to the home school and pick up the computer if they are planning to leave right after an away game.
Are there controls in place on the laptops to prevent students from accessing inappropriate content?
All Internet-based access on Kent School District campuses is forced through an onsite internet filter that uses grade-level based access restrictions. Elementary students access the Internet through a more conservative filter than secondary students. When students take district laptops off campus, the filter software installed on the laptop checks in with the District and enforces the same rules as on campus. These rules are set in partnership by our instructional and technology departments. Like all technology-based policy enforcement, there are many ways to attempt to circumvent these filters for inappropriate use. We work to block these methods. Of course, this is an ever-evolving process as new strategies are identified and blocked. Some areas of the Internet are not blocked due to their value as resources used in the instructional process. Many of these areas, such as YouTube, can be used both appropriately and inappropriately. We consider students’ use of these resources to be a learning opportunity and a stepping stone towards the real world, where students will need to have developed the maturity and self-discipline to use completely unfiltered internet access.
What types of social networking activity are considered appropriate?
The Kent School District maintains official Facebook, LinkedIn and similar sites. Facebook is not currently open to students. The acceptable use policy mentions social media because we updated it to allow for staff access. In this case, staff now have access to Facebook due to the number of instructional resources being shared by other institutions.
Are parents expected to monitor usage to prevent unacceptable use of technology?
Ultimately, parents are responsible for their students’ behavior. We embrace parent engagement in theirstudent’s education and development of personal responsibility. The easiest way we have currently identified for parents to place additional controls in place for their students is to use OpenDNS on your home network. This is a free resource you can configure on your home internet connection to block or allow any Internet site or category. For more limited access when on campus, we encourage parents to work with their school teachers or principal. Teachers are responsible for classroom management and have tools to provide tighter controls in a classroom situation. The ultimate goal is to help students make the best decisions when accessing these resources as no technology filter can be 100% effective.
How does the district monitor for acceptable usage compliance?
All Internet traffic, including email and file storage, on district resources is logged and can be reviewed if concerns arise. Students may be able to delete their browsing history on the laptop, but all Internet activity is also logged centrally at the district office.
How are students made aware of the guidelines for the acceptable use of technology?
New students and parents are provided this electronic use policy. Parents sign the agreement and students go through the use and care documentation and a general introduction to the laptop. The full School Board Procedure 2022 is available here for your review.
Throughout the school year, students receive instruction in Internet safety adapted from Common Sense Media. This non-profit group also provides parent resources on Internet safety.