District Administration February 2018 - 50

DISTRICT CIO

DIGITAL GATEKEEPERS

on making sure that kids aren't getting
into inappropriate content and on complying with CIPA," says Giulio Lugini,
director of technology.
Here are five crucial decisions to
make in developing best practices for the
wide variety of filters-and your options
for using them-in K12 schools.
Establish parameters
First, define exactly how and what you
want to filter, says Mike Jamerson,
director of technology at Indiana's Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation. Think about setting filtering
policies based on age, staff position and
time of day. For instance, some streaming services might be blocked during the
day, but not after school.
Many filters allow districts to block
inappropriate categories, such as gambling, drugs, violence and pornography.
Leaders can also set different levels of
filtering based on grades, setting higher
restrictions for younger students.
Instructional leaders often get
involved in filtering decisions. At Duncan Public Schools in Oklahoma, technology and curriculum staff discuss adding filters "based on community standards and keeping students focused on
learning standards," says David Altom,
district network administrator.
"Sites that offer academic dishonesty,
anonymous chat, and those that are generally considered to be time-wasters are
blocked as a general rule," Altom says.
"Teachers work closely with us, and if a
teacher believes a site is blocked unnecessarily, we work together to tier access."
Social media merits its own policies,
which vary by district. At West Rusk,
leaders chose to allow Facebook and
block all other social media sites. "The
students want everything, but that's not
necessarily best," Walker says.
Select the right technology
The next step is determining the right filter for a district's needs, which depends
on size, says Keith Bockwoldt, director
50 February 2018

"Sometimes a teacher will submit
a request to block a site and if it is
blocked, another teacher will submit
a request to unblock the same one."
- Steven Langford,
CIO, Beaverton School District (Ore.)

of technology services at Township High
School District 214 in the Chicago suburbs. "It must be robust enough to handle thousands of connections," he says.
"With 12,100 students, our web filters
are clustered to handle the large amount
of traffic."
Large districts serving thousands of
users likely need on-premises equipment
and configuration, but a cloud-based
solution may work better for smaller districts, says Altom, in Oklahoma. Also,
make sure your product "can handle
SSL decryption," he adds. Many sites,
including Google, communicate exclusively with SSL, which means they will
get through a filter that can't read the
keyword or image searches.
Also, think about the ease of pulling
reports from the filter, and whether the
filtering company uses an automated
process or a human to check the thousands of new URLs that are regularly
introduced, Bockwoldt says. Humans
are more reliable for validating that each
new URL is correctly categorized.
Finally, think about whether you
need the filter to work only on campus
or if it should extend to district-owned
devices at home.
At Narragansett, the in-house filter monitors users while at school, but
each 1-to-1 laptop is also monitored off
campus. When away from school, the
laptops run exclusively using a Windows
client that points them back to the onsite filter no matter where they are, so

the filter works even when the devices
are at students' homes, Lugini says.
Provide ongoing maintenance
Even after the right filter with the right
parameters is installed, the work is never
over. With 54 schools and almost 3,000
teachers, Oregon's Beaverton School
District gets many requests to block or
unblock content, says Steven Langford,
chief information officer.
"Sometimes a teacher will submit a
request to block a site and if it is blocked,
another teacher will submit a request to
unblock the same one," he says. "To
support requests, we have a committee
to determine the instructional impact of
filter changes."
At West Rusk, sites must be on an
approved list in order to be accessed-
and when students want to use sites
that aren't on the list, they can submit
a request for approval. In close communication with instructional staff, IT can
often approve requests. If It in't sure, it
will contact the principal for input. "It
takes ongoing maintenance, but our staff
can usually get a legitimate site approved
and added within 20 or 30 minutes,"
Walker says.
There's also the challenge of students
who try to circumvent the filter. App
developers and hackers are constantly
introducing new web proxies that can
provide anonymity and may be used
to bypass filters. So district technology leaders must be constantly on the

District Administration



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration February 2018

District Administration February 2018 - Intro
District Administration February 2018 - Cover1
District Administration February 2018 - Cover2
District Administration February 2018 - 1
District Administration February 2018 - 2
District Administration February 2018 - 3
District Administration February 2018 - 4
District Administration February 2018 - 5
District Administration February 2018 - 6
District Administration February 2018 - 7
District Administration February 2018 - 8
District Administration February 2018 - 9
District Administration February 2018 - 10
District Administration February 2018 - 11
District Administration February 2018 - 12
District Administration February 2018 - 13
District Administration February 2018 - 14
District Administration February 2018 - 15
District Administration February 2018 - 16
District Administration February 2018 - 17
District Administration February 2018 - 18
District Administration February 2018 - 19
District Administration February 2018 - 20
District Administration February 2018 - 21
District Administration February 2018 - 22
District Administration February 2018 - 23
District Administration February 2018 - 24
District Administration February 2018 - 25
District Administration February 2018 - 26
District Administration February 2018 - 27
District Administration February 2018 - 28
District Administration February 2018 - 29
District Administration February 2018 - 30
District Administration February 2018 - 31
District Administration February 2018 - 32
District Administration February 2018 - 33
District Administration February 2018 - 34
District Administration February 2018 - 35
District Administration February 2018 - 36
District Administration February 2018 - 37
District Administration February 2018 - 38
District Administration February 2018 - 39
District Administration February 2018 - 40
District Administration February 2018 - 41
District Administration February 2018 - 42
District Administration February 2018 - 43
District Administration February 2018 - 44
District Administration February 2018 - 45
District Administration February 2018 - 46
District Administration February 2018 - 47
District Administration February 2018 - 48
District Administration February 2018 - 49
District Administration February 2018 - 50
District Administration February 2018 - 51
District Administration February 2018 - 52
District Administration February 2018 - 53
District Administration February 2018 - 54
District Administration February 2018 - 55
District Administration February 2018 - 56
District Administration February 2018 - 57
District Administration February 2018 - 58
District Administration February 2018 - 59
District Administration February 2018 - 60
District Administration February 2018 - Cover3
District Administration February 2018 - Cover4
District Administration February 2018 - 66
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