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August 12, 2013

Fauquier schools prepare rules for electronic devices

By Karen Parkinson
Fauquier County Public Schools

If, as anticipated, Fauquier’s school board approves policy revisions, students will be permitted to use personal electronic devices under new “Bring Your Own Device” guidelines, starting Sept. 3.

The board in July voted to permit students for the first time to use personal electronic devices at school – a shift in longstanding policy.

The board on Aug. 26 will consider the “Acceptable Use Policy” for students and staff members. The board cancelled its Aug. 12 meeting because of a conflict with the New Teacher Dinner, delaying the vote two weeks.

Pending board approval, students will have the following week to complete the required registration process for their devices. Each school will provide information on dates and times to register devices. BYOD will “go live” in Fauquier County Public Schools on Tuesday, Sept. 3, for students who have completed the registration process. During the interim from the first day of classes on Aug. 19 until the BYOD go-live date of Sept. 3, students will be allowed to possess, but not use, their devices at school.

Proposed revisions to Policy 6-3.11 are posted within the school board’s July 8 meeting minutes.

Principals met in July to establish common BYOD practices to be followed at each school level during non-instructional and instructional time:

Elementary schools

• Non-instructional time: Each elementary school principal will decide how devices will be used in his or her building.

• Instructional time: Posters explaining appropriate times for students to use their devices will be displayed in classrooms and common areas. For instance, some schools use a stoplight approach. Red means devices are off/not permitted; yellow means ask first/devices may be used with permission, and green means devices may be on. Each teacher will set expectations and manage use of devices in his or her classroom.

Middle schools

• Non-instructional time: Devices may be used any time.

• Instructional time: Each teacher will set expectations and manage use of devices in his or her own classroom.

High schools

• Non-instructional time: Devices cannot be used during passing time between classes.

• Instructional time: Each teacher will set expectations and manage use of devices in his or her own classroom.

“The first year will be a learning experience for all involved: staff, students and parents,” school system Technology Director Louis McDonald said.

Throughout the year, a committee will periodically review the progress of the implementation and recommend adjustments for 2014-15.
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