Technology Update: Data Privacy & Digital Citizenship

Dear Niskayuna Families,

We want to say thank you for your flexibility and support of helping students continue learning during these unprecedented times. As you know, out of the necessity of the moment, we have moved rapidly in many cases toward the adoption of Google Classroom, videoconferencing and other online applications.

The purpose of this message is to let you know that we also remain focused on data privacy protection and digital citizenship. As we move forward with remote learning, we ask you to please note the following information and resources.

Again, if you do not have access to technology in your home for your student, we ask that you reach out to the Office of Instruction at 518-598-2218 or by email at techsupport@niskyschools.org so we can help.

Digital Citizenship

As we move forward in a new learning environment, it is more important than ever that students are practicing responsible digital citizenship. This means exercising caution about the website we visit and taking care with the words and images we use online. There are many resources available on these topics, and one great place to start is https://www.commonsensemedia.org/.

However, we ask you to please be aware of the sites that your children are visiting and their activities online. There is no substitute for your involvement and conversations with your children about this.

Considerations – Please Review

As we work to support student learning remotely for the time being, we ask that you please review this document, “Considerations.” The information is designed to increase understanding of the steps that we all need to take to protect privacy in light of remote learning.

Data Privacy: Steps we are Taking

  • Based on state and federal data privacy protections, we want you to know that data privacy agreements are in place with all district-sanctioned third party educational websites.
  • We are asking teachers to only use applications that are approved based on the agreements that we have in place.
  • As you know, many teachers are moving forward with expanded use of the Google suite for education, including Google Classroom and Hangout Meets for videoconferencing.
  • Please know that the district has a data privacy agreement with Google. Learn more about Google Classroom and Hangout Meets.
  • We will be sending an e-mail to students in grades 6-12 to remind them of the importance of digital citizenship.

Please Remind Students in Grades 6-12 to Check District E-mail

We want to ask for your help in reminding students to check their school e-mail regularly, at least once per day (Monday through Friday). This is the best way for our students to stay connected with teachers and the school during this time. While this is important academically, we are most focused on simply making sure, to the extent possible, that our school community is connected generally and our students are doing OK. We are here to help. If your child is not sure how to access their e-mail or needs other assistance with technology, there are a number of resources available here. You can also e-mail techsupport@niskyschools.org.

In closing, we recognize that this has been an extraordinarily challenging and stressful time. It has also been impressive to see how our students, families and teachers can use technology to stay connected and keep learning. Although there is no substitute for being together at school, there is also no doubt that the things we are doing and learning in this moment will help us in the future.

Thank you for your continued patience, flexibility and support.

Sincerely,

Cosimo Tangorra, Jr., Superintendent of Schools
Marie Digirolamo, Assistant Superintendent
Henry “Gus” Geidel, Director of “Technology