In recognition of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, this edition of our e-newsletter provides our community with important information on technology... what's new in the Cypress School District for 2017/2018, what we're doing to support safe student use, and how you can make your opinions known in this area of our educational program. We hope you will take a few minutes to learn more about our efforts and provide your input. We appreciate our partnership with you! 

Anne Silavs, Superintendent
The Dangerous Side of Social Media Apps for Kids

It's tough to keep up with all the latest apps kids are into these days. However, adults should be aware (or beware) of children using anonymous, live streaming, group video chatting, and friending apps.
Anonymous Apps - These apps allow kids to provide anonymous, unsolicited, and unmoderated feedback to other users. These kinds of apps are notorious hubs for cyberbullying because kids feel emboldened to say things they wouldn't normally. Kiwi, Sarahah, and TBH (To Be Honest) are a few of these apps.
Live Streaming Apps - Similar to live TV, users simply aim the camera on themselves and broadcast to whomever is following them. If kids reveal too much, it can be used against them because other users can record the live streams. This can make kids vulnerable to exploitation or extortion if personal or even intimate information is shared. Since there is no time delay, kids don't have the opportunity to rethink their decisions, so being impulsive could have devastating consequences. Some apps to be on the look-out for include BIGO LIVE,,, and YouNow.
Group Chatting Apps - Using webcams or phones, kids communicate with several people at once using live video. Similar to live streaming apps, there is a risk of students sharing private information or encountering inappropriate content because there is no screening. There is also the risk of kids entering private chat rooms and video chatting with strangers. Airtime, Houseparty, and Monkey are some examples of group chatting apps.
Friending Apps- These apps enable kids to easily connect and chat with new friends, or people they don't know. They also use your location, so the new "friends" are all nearby, increasing the possibility of face-to-face meetings. Privacy and safety are real risks with these apps, which include MyLOL, Spotafriend, and Yellow.
As with many topics, it is always important for adults to keep the lines of communication open with kids. At home, talk with them about social media, ask questions, and listen. Pay close attention to anything that sounds like it might be a red flag. At school, our teachers educate students about important issues related to technology use, including internet safety, cyberbullying, and their "digital footprint." In the Cypress School District, we use the Common Sense Media curriculum to help equip our students with the skills they need to use the internet responsibly. Common Sense Media is an excellent resource for parents, too! For example, click here to learn how you can set up parental controls on your child's iPhone, monitor use, and ensure your kid's privacy.
Speak Up Survey 2017
Make Your Voices Heard!

"Do you think all students should be able to use a computer at school? Which tools or strategies do you think holds the greatest potential for increasing student achievement and success? What concerns do you have with students using online tools and internet resources?"
Answers to these kinds of questions and more will help us better understand our technology needs and make important decisions for our schools. That's why the Cypress School District is participating in Speak Up 2017, a national online survey that provides students, staff, parents, and community members the opportunity to share their ideas about digital learning. Since fall 2003, more than 5 million K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians, principals, technology leaders, district administrators, and members of the community have shared their views and ideas through Speak Up.
Survey questions cover a variety of topics related to the role of technology in learning, both inside and outside of school. By participating in this anonymous survey, you can provide direct input to school leaders in the Cypress School District, who are in the process of revising the district's Technology Plan this year. Survey links are readily available on the district and school websites. The survey closes January 19, 2018. Please help us and make your voice heard!
Refreshing School Technology and Supporting Teacher Mobility in the Classroom

In October, the Cypress School District Board of Trustees approved the use of $558,239 in one-time state monies for technology in our schools. These dollars will be used to refresh the interactive SmartBoards installed in our classrooms during modernization. Many of these units are reaching the end of their useful lifespan and need to be replaced. We also intend to use these funds to provide our teachers with wireless devices that allow for greater mobility and enable them to teach from any location in the classroom. This year, our Technology Committee will be researching and piloting different technologies to determine which equipment best meets our instructional needs. Teacher professional development is also included as an important component of our one-time money spending plan.
Expanding Student Access to Technology
"Bring Your Own Device" - Year 2
As you may recall, last year we introduced a "Bring Your Own Device" program for our fifth and sixth grade students. This fall, we expanded the program to include our fourth graders, who are now able to bring their own technology devices to school for use in the classroom. Commonly known as "BYOD," this program offers students the convenience of using the same device in school that they are already comfortable using at home. As an added safety measure, students who choose to participate in BYOD are required to use district-issued logins and the district's wireless network when using their devices at school. The Cypress School District uses industry-leading web filtering, firewalls, and other network security measures to help ensure students are safe when using the internet. It is important to note that the BYOD program does not replace district-owned computers that are currently available to students in the classroom; it simply provides students with an additional option.
Candi Kern   .  Sandra Lee   .  Donna McDougall   .  Brian Nakamura   .  Lydia Sondhi, Ph.D.