Loudoun Schools Begin Final BYOT Roll Out

“Alright, class. Pull your devices out,” sixth-grade English teacher Jeffrey Nattania announced.

“The magic words,” Seneca Ridge Middle School Principal Mark McDermott said with a smile. “We hear those a lot these days.”

Just two years ago school leaders in Loudoun County Public Schools, one of the fastest growing school divisions in the nation, could not agree on how best to infuse more technology into the classroom, or how to afford it.

Today, digital screens are illuminating students’ faces throughout the county and, by September, every one of the county’s 88 public schools is expected to have a functioning Bring Your Own Technology program.

The turning point for the school division was just more than a year ago, when Superintendent Eric Williams, in his first school year with the Loudoun system, kicked off the BYOT initiative. Before he came to Loudoun, he earned national recognition for rolling out a teaching model in York County that used students’ digital devices in the classroom.

What’s unusual about Loudoun’s BYOT program is it’s voluntary. Williams has left it up to the teachers to decide how they use digital devices in their lesson plans and how often.

“Rather than trying to mandate this, we’re thinking, let’s get out of the way of teachers who want to be early adopters,” he said when he introduced the concept in December 2014. “Just watch. It will pick up momentum.”

He was right.

School system leaders say they’ve been impressed by how many teachers have gravitated toward the BYOT model and how often students, from elementary to high school, are learning with tablets and smart phones in their hands.

“It’s definitely something that they are embracing,” said Adina Popa, Loudoun’s supervisor of Educational Technology and Curricular Innovation. “Everybody has unique implementations, but whenever we go visit a school, we see students highly engaged and highly excited about learning. That’s the whole goal.”

In The Classroom

“Ready, set, action,” Liberty Elementary third-grader John Shilling said, as he hit record on his iPad film app. His classmate Nellia Kakar rattled off what she had learned about ancient Greece while standing in front of a green screen. The students later edited the clip and posted it on the school system’s YouTube channel, Loudoun Creates.

Using a school-provided tablet, Liberty Elementary third-grader John Shilling helps classmate Nellia Kakar record a video about ancient Greece. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)
Using a school-provided tablet, Liberty Elementary third-grader John Shilling helps classmate Nellia Kakar record a video about ancient Greece. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)

Liberty Elementary technology resource teacher Nichole Thomas said that is the perfect example of how teachers and students are using digital devices to make classroom lessons stick. On any given day, more than half of the teachers at the school are incorporating smart phones, tablets or laptops into their lesson plans.

For a recent biology exercise, students used a 3D printer to create action figures with various adaptations. In an English class, students quizzed one another on a book they read, and used smart phones to scan QR codes to reveal the correct answers.

Having devices in students’ hands has changed how teachers prepare their students for an exam or how they help make chapters in a textbook more memorable. But Courtney Peckham, a fifth-grade teacher at Liberty Elementary, said it’s also made small logistical tasks simpler, like collecting and grading papers. She and her students frequently use Google Docs, which allows documents to be created, edited and stored online.

“Instead of collecting 27 papers, correcting them and handing them back, I can pull up their work at anytime from anywhere, and they can log in and see my comments and their grades,” she said.

The BYOT initiative works in tandem with Superintendent Williams’ One to the World concept, which is meant to give students opportunity to share their work with an audience outside of the school. For example, Seneca Ridge Middle School students recently created flash cards and hand-delivered them to students in nearby elementary schools to help them brush up on their math skills.

“We want them to create for the world,” Seneca Ridge Principal McDermott said. “Kids get so much more into it, and learn more when they have an audience they’re doing the work for.”

Like any new concept, there were some hurdles to get over with BYOT. Some teachers were concerned that smart phones would be a distraction from learning. But Thomas said even teachers who were initial skeptics have been impressed with how students have taken to it.

“We talked about expectations, and we asked the students to treat the devices like their textbook,” she said. “They’ve been very responsible.”

Students must keep their devices in their backpacks when they are not using them in class. Those who don’t have devices at home are provided one that was either purchased by the school system or the schools’ parent-teacher organizations.

Seneca Ridge Middle School sixth-grade teacher Amy Anderson said she’s noticed that many of her students already consider a smart phone or a tablet a tool rather than a toy. Her son, for example, would rather type an essay on a smart phone than a laptop. “They’re used to all this,” she said. “The transition has been remarkably easy.”

The Final Roll Out

Loudoun first set BYOT into motion a year ago at 19 schools. Educators looked at what worked best at those schools and what improvements needed to be made before the initiative was expanded to 30 more schools this year.

Principals and teachers in the last 39 schools are undergoing training via a webinar series now on how best to incorporate digital devices into everyday classroom lessons.

James Dallas, the school system’s director of teaching and learning, said his department is working to give every teacher at least the tools to incorporate BYOT into their daily lesson plans by August.

Seneca Ridge Middle School students play Kahoot!, a game-based education app, to brush up on class material ahead of a test. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)
Seneca Ridge Middle School students play Kahoot!, a game-based education app, to brush up on class material ahead of a test. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)

“The ultimate goal—the big dream—is that every student will have access to a device in every classroom as part of their instructional program,” he said. “That’s what we’re aiming for.”

As more students grab digital devices during class, Dallas, Popa and others have said they want the focus to remain on how to best educate kids.

Williams has said repeatedly throughout the BYOT roll out that, “Technology for technology’s sake is not effective. Technology used right results in long-lasting learning.”

McDermott, who is in his 22nd year as an educator, added that the push to create tech-savvy classrooms is not about clutching onto the latest fad.

“We’re not just doing this because it’s cool,” he said. “It’s a means to an end. If we want students to create for the world, this is the way to do it.”


21 thoughts on “Loudoun Schools Begin Final BYOT Roll Out

  • 2016-04-13 at 10:46 pm

    CareerSwitcher, for once in your life, try to use logic and reason. Be careful to understand your argument and facts before you post it. Stop trying to divert responsibility from LCPS and their teachers. I guess I’m asking you to do something that is impossible for you… be competent.

    Folks should read my very first post on this article to see the issues related with BYOT. Some of your kids will likely get burned from this policy.

    • 2016-04-14 at 10:36 am

      Your very first post diverted from BYOT to underage drinking on a school field trip. Then you merged into another unrelated incident.

      Responsibility for student behavior is with the student, not anyone else. Responsibility for determining consequences is with the schools.

      • 2016-04-14 at 10:29 pm

        CareerSwitcher, I’m sorry you can’t follow.

        1. LCPS has authority to track, monitor and report ANY activity that a child conducts on their networks. If a child checks his/her Facebook feed, and something inappropriate comes down, they could be liable.

        2. LCA Plowman requires teachers/admins to report all things to them regardless of the severity. No discretion is left to LCPS admins to de-escalate the issue.

        3. Both Plowman and Hatrick in LCPS (read those comments below especially) have shown virtually no judgment in deciding what cases to prosecute.

        If you are so fond of “let the gov’t monitor you, just don’t do anything bad”, why don’t we allow the gov’t to permanently tap your network and monitor your emails, text messages and calls. You seem to love unrestricted power, rather like LCPS’ Devlin eh? These are children who don’t always make the best decisions. Authorities must have warrants outside of these schools to investigate. BYOT devices essentially give Plowman and LCPS a permanent warrant on your kids network activity.

        • 2016-04-15 at 9:16 am

          Still not completely on track, SGP. Is there anyway you can completely stay focused. ‘

          What does underage drinking on a school field trip have to do with BYOT? And the incident you link to occurred 7 years ago. Students are still targets of online bullying and abuse. So yes, if a teacher finds out about an abusive situation or a dangerous situation, they must report it. Why would you not want a teacher to report a potential threat to your own child?

          There are bigger issues with BYOT than the policies you are fighting. Why not address them instead of simply picking a fight with the schools.

          • 2016-04-15 at 10:17 am

            Plowman is still in office. Plowman still demands that any offense, regardless of how minor, gets reported to him so he can be the final arbiter of morality. But if a gov’t attorney commits blatant perjury in open court, that will not be prosecuted and Plowman will block any discussion of that topic. As long as you have a corrupt official like Plowman in office, parents should be aware. That’s my concern. Parents need to be aware. If you want to address other issues, go for it but your main concern always seems to be to attack me.

            The school board chose to fight the appeal of the underage drinking suspension all the way to the Supreme Court even after the child had enrolled in VT. Why waste those funds? They found DeKenipp’s lawsuit on rezoning but then allowed DeKenipp’s child a special exemption. If you are so concerned with consistency, how do you explain that? The underage drinking issue was a real concern. Apparently, there was serious misconduct by LCPS officials on that trip. Some were apparently fired because of their actions. Read those comments in that article. The teachers essentially detained these kids and forced a confession. If your child was caught shoplifting, would you allow the police to use the same tactics without appealing? And the school board never notified the parent/child of their option for legal recourse. But when the parent missed a deadline or two on appeals (that are not easy to find, trust me), the school tried to use that to the maximum extent of the law. That’s not “good faith”. The issues should be addressed on the merits. When Byard and Hornberger failed to meet the FOIA deadlines, I was perfectly fine with ignoring them being a couple days late. Turns out they were not a couple days late but were willing to commit perjury to make that claim.

            Parents and students should be aware of what might unexpectedly happen if the wrong info is transferred on their BYOT device. Btw, those “online bullying” charges are nonsense. They will never stand up in court. It’s just a bunch of helicopter parents wanting their kids to never hear any criticism.

  • 2016-04-12 at 8:19 pm

    Cannot reply directly to your last ranting but I will ask you directly what does all that have to do with the subject of this article?

    Unfortunately, this forum does not give users the ability to rate posters or to monitor behavior. You continue to ignore any type of common online etiquette. Somehow, you think that you are entitle to use this site as your personal platform for spreading your hate of all things school related.

    My suggestion is for you to write your own letter to the editor so that you can post anything you want without interfering with those who look to converse about these topics. We know you cannot focus your thought on the articles so please get your own.

    • 2016-04-13 at 8:43 am

      CareerSwitcher, with whom exactly were you planning on conversing? There are only 3 commenters on this article: you, me and SilentMajority. I started the conversation by pointing out the civil liberties issues involved. Then, on the Loudoun Now Facebook page, Rdj referenced the same concern expressed last year by lawyer Debbie Rose. I guess, in NeverNeverLand, if you – CareerSwitcher don’t have a concern, then nobody should raise the issue, not even a school board member, eh?

      I commented solely on the ability of LCPS and other Loudoun officials to use the actions of LCPS students in the BYOT programs to press criminal charges against them. Not only is that a real issue, but one that many parents may not have considered. I provided specific examples of LCPS/LCA actions in the past to demonstrate their bad faith.

      You then accused me of having no legitimate points, trying to “hijack every” educational article, and “cyber bullying” (whatever that is). I simply reminded you of all the issues I had brought to the public’s attention and the changes that resulted (or are coming). I’m sorry you like to carry LCPS’ water so much, but they definitely need a better mouthpiece if they hope to defend themselves to the public.

      • 2016-04-13 at 12:01 pm

        Actually SGP, you diverted from the topic of BYOT to underage drinking, rezoning, school budget, Facebook use, teacher salary, recruit STEM majors, Jim Plowman, charter schools, etc. This is exactly what frustrates so many who are open to discussion but are not OK with the bully tactics

        Yes, you hijacked this article like you do so many others. Why do you continue to behave so poorly. Is this the type of behavior you would want out of your own children? Is this the behavior you would want from those on your team at work? Is this how you would conduct a meeting with clients? Why do you think it is appropriate to act this way here?

        It is one thing to behave like you did last night at the SB meeting when you lost control and menaced the board members. It is something else not to follow simple and common etiquette rules here.

        • 2016-04-13 at 3:06 pm

          CareerSwitcher accused me of “losing control” and “menacing” the school board members. Let’s recap my statement.

          1. Public comments are open to any subject relating to the schools.

          2. At the last board meeting, Debbie Rose accused public speakers of being “shameful” and “disgusting”. She lashed out at citizens who clapped for my comments because Debbie’s “kids may be watching”.

          3. So last night, I thought it would be nice to have a refresher for the “lawyer” (Debbie) and the constitution lover (according to Jilll’s bio) on what the constitution actually says. I noted that nowhere in that document does it say that citizens may not criticize public officials if Debbie Rose’s kids are watching on TV. In fact, it says (via case law as well) that public bodies may not censor comments based on viewpoint and that includes criticizing individual officials.

          4. Debbie Rose still doesn’t understand the constitution and interrupted me to try to get Hornberger to shut me down. Hornberger really, really wants to shut me down. But they have reviewed the case law and determined I am unequivocally correct. Funny how the only one who doesn’t understand that on the LCSB is the “board”.

          5. I offered to make nice and presented both Debbie and Jill with gifts: The US Constitution for Dummies and The Idiot’s Guide to the US Constitution. They are really good books. I told the LCSB clerk that if Debbie and Jill want to remain ignorant on the constitution and not accept them, maybe the books could be given to a civics class.

          So let’s review. I addressed civil liberties issues related to the article at hand. Completely on topic. When you attacked me, I reiterated those concerns and pointed to others (including officials) who had raised the same concerns even before I voiced them. Yet you try to turn everyone’s attention and attack me personally. At which point, I simply point out all the times I have been correct and demonstrated LCPS was lying/withholding info.

          So let’s now turn to you. You are a coward since you won’t identify yourself. Very brave for someone who is anonymous. That’s fortunate because you have been wrong more times than an astrologer. From not being about to read inflation reports, to not understanding your own paycheck or the VRS retirment system or value-added metrics or LCPS budget costs. You have proven over and over again that you have no clue what you are talking about. When shown to be wrong, you try to change the subject. Not once have you stated (as I have before) “I was wrong”.

          You have zero integrity. In my business, your reputation is earned/lost on how honest and accurate you are. If one overestimates costs (like say $16.8M instead of $10.3M for step increases), you acknowledge it and correct your estimate procedures going forward. Both you and LCPS simply cover it up. If you fail to comply with a policy, you acknowledge it and correct it going forward. LCPS defrauded the US Dept of Education over $M’s in funding. When confronted, they simply ignored the charge and continued the fraud. That implies they were knowingly committing fraud all along. In my sector, if there is even a hint of conflict of interest, folks explicitly inform everyone of that conflict. At LCPS, they hide conflicts even at the risk of being convicted of a crime. Rather than speaking out for open disclosure, you attack public citizens who simply point out these conflicts.

          You are an embarrassment to LCPS teachers, our county, our country and your family. You are ignorant on so many issues and have zero integrity. It’s unfortunate that LCPS must count you as one of its “educators”. You are, to be quite frank, the heart of the problem of this county.

          • 2016-04-13 at 5:19 pm

            SGP. What does any of your last post have to do with BYOY? Stay focused and stop hijacking articles only to promote yourself

  • 2016-04-10 at 4:12 pm

    CareerSwitcher, therein lies the problem. Are you suggesting that every small misstep of a student be punished to the fullest extent of the law? LCPS has folks trying to prevent students from getting suspended by resolving conflicts before they escalate. And many states have passed laws so that kids 2-3 years apart are not subject to statutory rape convictions.

    Obviously, not so with LCA Jim Plowman. He imposes his “moral convictions” even on assistant principals who are simply trying to educate students without imposing draconian penalties on them. Plowman tried to convict that asst principal of a sex crime but the jury essentially said “are you kidding me?” And the only reason the students who were suspended for drinking on a European trip lost was because Supt Hatrick took advantage of the strict time deadlines for filing appeals.

    But Plowman didn’t think Julia Judkins, Wayde Byard and Stephen DeVita of LCPS should even be charged with obvious fraud/perjury in a circuit court. Perjury is a felony btw. Even the Virginia State Police thought it was indisputable but Plowman picks and chooses who he prosecutes. It is because of corrupt officials like Plowman that parents should be very wary of exposing their kids’ immature acts to his arbitrary and capricious enforcement. If you think LCPS should be playing big brother with the LCA to charge even minor infraction, then maybe you should be more transparent about your views. I can guarantee you 90% of the public doesn’t agree with you.

    • 2016-04-11 at 8:05 pm

      Over the top again, SGP! You have somehow managed to mangle the discussion once more. From students drinking on a field trip to your personal vendetta against the schools for being mean to you, you have thrown in the proverbial sink this time.

      The article is about BOYT and your objections to the school proper use policies is the store here, nothing more. These rules are in place and adequately advertised. Students know what they should not be doing. If they break the rules, they face consequences. These can be anything from teacher administered to school administered to engaging law enforcement, all depending on the severity of the infraction.

      Nothing else!

      • 2016-04-12 at 9:06 am

        CareerSwitcher, yes the article is about using technology in the classroom. Many teachers do it very well. There are also concerns expressed by many about unequal access. (Note that LCPS could increase class size and purchase a new device every single year for each child to make things equal)

        You seem to object to me simply pointing out that folks have been legally prosecuted (frivolously) and/or suspended from school from seemingly silly “offenses”. And then I point out that LCPS forces parents to acknowledge they have the right to monitor any and all traffic occurring on their networks, including turning in evidence to law enforcement. Any similar monitoring on a private device would require a warrant. So parents are essentially agreeing to a permanent warrant for monitoring their children’s online activities.

        You have no problem with that. Fine. Your choice. Many parents may disagree. I realize you want all newspapers, public bodies, etc. to censor anyone who highlights such civil liberties issues or criticizes an insatiable government spender (LCPS). That’s not how the world or our constitution works. Why don’t you watch the school board meeting tonight and get a little lesson on that.

        • 2016-04-12 at 3:41 pm

          I do have a problem with you trying to hijack every article dealing with schools. You constant diversion to your own personal vendetta and cyber bullying is contrary to the online etiquette that the schools are trying to teach. Is it wrong to expect that someone with your IT, military, and professional experience to behave better?

          • 2016-04-12 at 5:23 pm

            CareerSwitcher, but you do try so hard to discredit your opposition with personal attacks instead of dealing with the issues. It’s just too bad there are these things called facts. Before I get into the problems of LCPS, note that of the 10 recent education articles on Loudoun Now’s page, I have commented on …. exactly 3 of them. So much for “hijack every article” nonsense. Now let’s deal with the facts:

            1. My issue arose because I was interested in the quality of the schools. During the 2012 rezoning, Hornberger lied about VAMs not existing. Then, in 2014 I noticed that LCPS had blatantly lied to the federal gov’t about using SGPs to receive $M’s in funding. That’s called fraud. And the SGP data is the most objective source of information about LCPS’ performance. You are happy with LCPS’ fraud because you don’t want LCPS evaluated objectively.

            2. I noticed that none other than the chairman of LCPS’ board had a major charter school conflict of interest. Most teachers and union types hate charters but they wouldn’t even demand Hornberger disclose it while he has supported charters for Loudoun. I suppose you don’t think requiring disclosures are a good public policy?

            3. I noticed that all the decisions of the board were done behind closed doors. It happened when DeKenipp’s kids were rezoned on a last-minute plan back in 2012. It just happened again as Plan 12 was dropped at the 11th hour. I requested that all these backroom conversations be disclosed or for board members to be held accountable. By this point, you just said I had a vendetta. Bet a lot of opponents of Plan 12 wished that those discussions were out in the open now, don’t you think?

            4. I warned our principal that coercing the kids who fail SOLs to retake them serves no purpose. Our schools meet accreditation. The kids are embarrassed by being called out. But when LCPS coerced retakes anyway and I brought attention to the practice to other parents in a PTA meeting, I was banned from my kids school in retaliation (Sep 2015, or 12 months after the SGP issue arose). I suppose you think I forecasted the Sep 2015 banning back in Jan-2015 and that’s what caused me to begin commenting on the articles, eh?

            5. Hornberger/Rose/Turgeon and others blocked my comments on their official public Facebook pages because they didn’t want others to get wind of my critiques. That’s illegal. If you don’t believe me, look at the Loudoun County Commonwealth Attorney’s Facebook page today. Amazingly, most posts have been removed and comments are all gone. Why? Because he has a federal civil rights complaint against him in federal court for censoring based on viewpoint. And his highly paid attorney finally convinced him he was about to get his *#*$& handed to him and better get right with the law. Same will happen to LCPS officials.

            6. LCPS was lying about their budget numbers. They estimated step increases cost $16.8M. And they claimed that none had been given for 5-7 years. I thought they were lying. I FOIA’d them. They violated FOIA at first and were taken to court (where an incompetent judge absolved them despite the evidence). A second FOIA request showed (a) step increases had been given for years dating back to FY12 and (b) that step increase was overestimated by at least $4M. LCPS had been lying again – surprise, surprise!! Turns out that was conservative as step increases only cost $10.3M or $6.5M less than LCPS stated. I guess you think LCPS getting caught with a $6.5M error is too bad as they could have spread that money around, eh? It’s equivalent to nearly 40% of the shortfall this year! This is your real beef as you want taxpayers to give you a higher salary without anybody noticing.

            I realize it’s inconvenient for knowledgeable activists to point out all the errors/legal violations our officials make. You just love corruption, largesse and union control over the taxpayers. I get it. But if you had been raised and worked in a field where integrity is critically important, you would understand the correct “behavior” is to call out such corruption wherever it rears its ugly head. First, you try to work cooperatively with the organization. All honest folks will correct such mistakes and even most of the corrupt ones will do so to prevent getting called out. LCPS just doubles down on its corruption. This county is a cesspool for it. It’s what happens when a bunch of pretenders move out to the country with a good ol’ boy system of government. I just happen to think I shouldn’t sit idly by but take some small part in fixin it!

  • 2016-04-06 at 10:10 pm

    The “rare bird” rdj fails to once again comprehend the issue at play. I am not suggesting that LCPS is trying to collect everyone’s information. I understand that this is basically standard language. Gov’t disclaimers are far more comprehensive and often involve accessing data on private property that connect to gov’t systems.

    I am simply pointing out that we have officials who do not act in good faith. Or maybe Rdj thinks it was wise of Plowman to charge an assistant principal with a sex crime? This might be the first time that Rdj supports Plowman simply because he can’t even consent on a legitimate issue. Or that LCPS has suspended kids for innocuous “threats” against schools. Ask Jim Dunning about that one.

    If LCPS or Plowman want to arbitrarily force the issue, they have a lot of power over students and employees. If either had been shown to act in good faith in the past, folks would have no need to worry. Unfortunately, Loudoun officials have not.

    • 2016-04-10 at 8:13 am

      If students behave badly, they should be held accountable, SGP. This is it about the scary schools. It is all about personal responsibility.

  • 2016-04-06 at 7:22 pm

    Once again trying to turn nothing into something. Yawn.

    I remember when Debbie Rose was so irate last year during a school board meeting about the LCPS/county IT organization communicating their intent to issue standard disclaimers about data traversing their school networks, as if that meant they intended spend their days reading student’s and teacher’s private emails.

    No, that’s not how network monitoring works.

    It astonished me that someone in the legal profession could be so oblivious to this common practice in pretty much every private company in the country: you use their network, you’re subject to their monitoring. It’s really simple.

    That’s not “invasion of privacy”, it’s absolutely essential for them to protect their networks against intrusion or misuse and to ensure that they can exercise all of the legal and contractual obligations they have to manage the data that flows on those networks.

    Intimating that it is somehow something devious or insidious is just plain ignorant. I don’t expect that from a lawyer. I do, however, expect that from some other people, but only because they keep demonstrating it over and over and over.

  • 2016-04-06 at 12:44 pm

    silent majority, why are you talking about libel? Yet again, you refuse to post any facts or logical argument. I suppose you think it’s a good risk for parents to send their kids to school with iPads also used by those students to connect to Facebook, WhatsApp, snapchat, Instagram or any number of other services. Surely LCA Jim Plowman would never prosecute an 18-yr-old who makes inappropriate remarks (or images) to a 15-yr-old on a sex crime charge, right? Plowman is only the self-appointed arbiter of morals in Loudoun.

    I recall my high school’s PROMs. We lived on a state boundary and the common custom was for kids to rent hotel rooms in Charlotte (across the border) for after parties. Problem was if an 18-yr-old boy took an underage girl to such a room, any sexual acts could be prosecuted with compounded penalties for transporting a minor across state lines. Our gov’t teacher was very insistent on informing the students of this fact because (1) we also had some overzealous prosecutors and (2) it doesn’t matter if it was consensual, it would still be a crime. The point is that these officials cannot be trusted to do the reasonable thing based on past history. Folks should understand the risks before just signing away. The technology is very useful. Too bad we cannot trust our officials to not abuse their power.

    I certainly do not oppose everything with the schools. I praised Asst Supt Cynthia Ambrose’s efforts to focus on blended learning (often uses online tools to allow kids to advance at their own rate, tantamount to tracking but folks don’t get so upset because they don’t know if their kid is the one behind). I also praised her efforts to get math facilitators and to use the more experienced/effective teachers in those roles.

    I thought the efforts to get more assistance in recruiting was also a good move but have concerns that this position won’t be used to recruit more STEM majors but focus on other goals.

    I realize you like to avoid all criticism and can’t put together a coherent, reasoned argument silent. Keep trying, maybe you will get lucky though.

  • 2016-04-04 at 4:47 pm

    Folks should read the fine print in the parent agreement for BYOT. If your kids passed notes back and forth before, they typically would never see the light of day. And certainly kids would not expect to be punished for items on private property.

    However, the rules of the BYOT initiative allow LCPS to monitor, store and/or punish students for ANY data that travels on their network. For most young kids, this may not be a big deal. However, for middle age and high school students, this includes possible prosecution for all types of data. Pictures, jokes or Facebook posts could result in serious consequences. Two examples:

    1. A few years back, LCPS took kids on a trip to Europe where alcohol is legal for minors. In a party with European kids (my understanding), kids drank alcohol. There reportedly was very irresponsible behavior by the LCPS chaperones. However, upon returning, kids were issued long-term suspensions for conduct that was legal in the country in which it took place. This made it much harder to get admitted to college. LCPS even went so far as to fight any reduction in time in court and used the deadlines for filing appeals as weapons to win on appeal.

    2. A few years back, our “brave” Commonwealth Attorney thought he needed to fight the “dangerous” habit among students of passing nude photos amongst each other. A vice principal discovered students had an inappropriate photo on a private phone and confiscated the phone to resolve the issue in a reasonable way. But Plowman thought the world was coming to an end and charged this vice principal with serious crimes related to child pornography and failure to report child abuse (exact charges may be slightly different). The vice principal was eventually vindicated but it took over $100K for him to defend himself.

    LCPS Security Supervisor Suzanne Devlin is on record believing that she can stockpile social media posts of any LCPS student for data mining. I kid you not!

    Even if it’s unlikely to happen to your child, are you willing to take these risks given the disclaimers you must sign? Even if the data doesn’t originally reside on the device but is merely accessed on the cloud (Google, Verizon, iTunes, Facebook, etc.) via their network, your child could not only be suspended by these overzealous arbiters of morality but could literally be charged with crimes. As long as Plowman, Devlin, Hornberger and Williams are in their positions, I would be very careful in letting your student take anything to school that isn’t blocked from their private accounts.

    • 2016-04-05 at 8:35 pm

      Libel, your on the hook SGP. The irony here is that our data hungry friend is anti technology…no matter the topic he will refute it when it pertains to the schools.

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