Q: Will CPS be providing recommendations to schools about best practices for teachers introducing these changes to students?
A: We will create a teacher toolkit that will help support the rollout and discussions with students. In addition, ITS will be conducting a webinar series for schools on best practices this fall. Please be on the lookout in the coming weeks for more information.
Q: Are there any exceptions to the policy that will allow me to text message students?
A: Employees who communicate with students electronically must do so using CPS Network systems (e.g. CPS email, CPS Google Classroom, BlackBoard Connect, etc.). There are very few exceptions to this rule that would authorize an employee to text message a student. These limited exceptions are listed below and require prior written parent consent:
Pre-Approved Safety Meet-Up Communications with Students in Grades 9-12. Designated school staff may communicate with H.S. students participating in an educational or extra-curricular activity via text messaging for purposes of ensuring student safety, if:
- the parent/guardian and principal both provide prior written permission to the text/IM messaging using the CPS consent form, and
- all texts must be sent as group texts with the parent/guardian on the text message and also the employee’s CPS email address for proper retention of communications.
Approved Bulk/Mass Text Notifications and Alerts to Students. Schools may use a CPS-approved bulk text notification system that delivers group text notifications and alerts to a student’s personal cell phone, provided that:
- the parent/guardian provides prior written permission for their child to receive the text notifications/alerts; and
- the parent/guardian receives the same text notifications/alerts sent to their child when the parent/guardian elects to receive these notifications/alerts
- CPS Programs for Re-Engagement of Out-of-School Youth, Chronic Truants and Students Exiting Juvenile Detention Facilities approved by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO-Approved Re-Engagement Programs). CPS staff members who are responsible for student outreach efforts under a CEO-Approved Re-Engagement Program may communicate with students in grades 7-12 via text messaging when in accordance with the CEO’s requirements for parent/guardian permission, and group texts/messages, etc.
If none of these exceptions apply and you feel you have a valid basis for text communications with a student, you must submit a written exception request for CEO approval to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Who distributes and stores the parent consent forms (to authorize direct texting to students), how long do they need to be kept on file?
A: The school is responsible for distributing the consent form for parent signature when the principal determines that texting with a student is necessary and authorized under the policy. Signed consent forms must be maintained by the school in the student’s cumulative folder. Consent is specific for the particular activity or program noted on the form and is only valid for the school year in which the consent is signed.
Q: Will my school be able to use the messaging tools that we’ve purchased?
A: We will be distributing a survey the week of September 24 that will allow us to catalog the messaging tools schools are using. With the data we gather from the survey, we will be able to conduct an audit to determine if these messaging tools adhere to District security standards.
Q: Will messaging tools that do not pass the audit be taken away from our school? If so, will ITS provide a viable alternative?
A: We are aware that schools have chosen tools with the best interests of their student and parent communities in mind. The intent of the audit is not geared to be punitive but rather to ensure that our staff and students use tools that have been definitively validated as secure and reliable.
Platforms that pass the audit will be noted as ‘Approved’ for use on the Acceptable Platform list made available on the Acceptable Use Policy website ITS will use the approved list to identify opportunities to make the platform available to schools districtwide.
Platforms that fail the audit will be flagged, and ITS will work with the vendor to develop a plan or begin working with the school to transition to an approved platform in the event the vendor cannot remediate. Vendors that are unable or unwilling to implement prescribed security enhancements will be flagged for the Procurement Department.
Q: What do we do if our school is considering purchasing a messaging tool for this upcoming school year?
A: Schools should not purchase new messaging tools of any kind without prior consult with ITS. All solutions must go through an information security vetting process. Contact the IT Service Desk at 773-553-3925 and request an Acceptable Use Policy consult.
Q: What happens if an employee or other adult (vendor, volunteer, etc) authorized to use the network at our school violates the Staff Acceptable Use Policy?
A: Failure to abide by the Acceptable Use Policy may subject an employee or other user to consequences which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Suspension or cancellation of use or access privileges;
- Payments for damages or repairs;
- Discipline under appropriate district discipline rules, policies, and guidelines, up to and including termination of employment;
- Contract penalties in accordance with the contractor/vendor/consultant’s contract with the Board;
- Exclusion of an intern, volunteer, or employee of a vendor, consultant, or contractor from serving CPS in any capacity;
- Exclusion from Board premises; and
- Civil or criminal penalties.
Whenever a violation of this policy results in physical or psychological harm or injury to a student or minor, or the potential thereof, then the district does not hesitate in seeking the most severe discipline and penalties allowed under the law.
Q: The policy states that additional guidance is forthcoming around the use of Board-issued or personal cell phones for Board business. When will this guidance be available?
A: We expect to have guidance available for the use of Board phones for CPS business by October 1, 2018.
Q: May I continue to use my Board-issued and personal cell phone for Board business until the guidance is available?
A: While specific guidance is forthcoming, all staff with Board-issued cell phones are expected to adhere to professional practices and general acceptable uses as outlined in the policy. Staff may use personal phones to access CPS email and approved CPS social media.
Q: Does the AUP affect staff who use personal equipment on the CPS network?
A: Yes. The AUP requires that you communicate using CPS-authorized systems for authorized purposes. Any device, be it CPS or personally owned, is subject to the Acceptable Use Policy if it is on our network.