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District to use ‘cloud’ to filter websites seen by students PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Bill Schanen IV   
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 21:46

System will allow schools to block sites even when computers are used at home

The Port Washington-Saukville School Board on Monday endorsed an $8 increase in fees to pay for an Internet filtering and monitoring system that will limit what sites students can access using their school-issued laptop computers no matter where they are being used.

GoGuardian, a filtering system designed for schools, solves to a large extent one of the challenges the district faced when it issued Chromebooks to every student in fifth through 12th grades several years ago.

While the computers are connected to the school’s network, the district’s Internet filters are applied and access to sites flagged by the district is blocked. 

But students use their computers as if they were their own, which means they take them home where the district’s network-based Internet filters do not control what sites they are viewing.

Daily PressGoGuardian is cloud-based, which means the filters set by the district can be applied to school computers regardless of what networks they are using to access the Internet. That will prevent students from viewing inappropriate sites, either intentionally or unintentionally, with school computers, officials said.

The system was piloted on Thomas Jefferson Middle School computers this year and has proven effective, Director of Business Services Jim Froemming said.

“GoGuardian puts school filters on all Chromebooks, not only at school but off school grounds,” he said. “From what we’ve found, there’s really no way around the filters. It’s a sound tool.”

GoGuardian is particularly important now, officials said, because for the first time since students were issued laptops they will be able to keep them over the summer break.

The system also allows teachers to monitor the Internet browsing of students in real time.

“Teachers can upload class info through GoGuardian and see what sites students are browsing,” Froemming said. “It should be a good way to make sure the kids are a little more focused.”

In order to pay for GoGuardian, the district’s school fee policy would be amended to increase the $85 fee each middle and high school student pays for workbooks, subscriptions and other expendable supplies to $93. The board endorsed the change during the first reading of the amended policy Monday.