Letter from the Superintendent of Schools – April 7, 2020

April 7, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians of Catholic Academy and Parish School Students,

We wanted to take a moment to update you on the steps being taken to ensure the safety and security of all of our students.  We are aware of the concerns that have been raised in regard to the use of Zoom for classroom time and meeting with students.  In response, we distributed a comprehensive guide outlining the exact settings which should be used to secure meetings and safeguard students.  We have also revised the Diocesan Acceptable Use Policy for Technology to include Distance Learning and the unique items that it introduces.  Below is the additional language that was added to the original policy:

SECTION 8

Distance Learning:

Distance learning, which is facilitated by a Catholic Academy or Parish School within the Diocese of Brooklyn, is bound by all parts of this Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).  As distance learning requires the use of other mediums such as teleconferencing platforms, virtual classrooms, digital file transfer and online work, there are other factors that need to be addressed.

  1. Device Usage – The use of a device, either belonging to a Catholic Academy/Parish School or a personal device can be used for distance learning purposes. It is recommended that all Catholic Academies/Parish Schools issue accounts to only be used for schoolwork purposes and that the aforementioned accounts are signed off after work is completed.  All usage is governed by this policy.
  2. Video/Audio Conferencing – Video or audio-conferencing platforms may be used to facilitate class meetings and could be used for communication between teachers and students for direct teaching and group work. When using these platforms, participants must remember to conduct themselves in a professional manner, commensurate with behavior expected in a physical classroom setting.  Entering meetings other than those you are explicitly invited to by the coordinator (teacher, principal, etc.) is strictly prohibited.  Trying to circumvent the security of a meeting, “hijacking” a presentation or displaying any objectionable content during a meeting is a direct violation of this policy and subject to the disciplinary actions contained within.  Recording of video/audio conferences is also prohibited.
  3. File Transfer/Submission – The transmittal of files may be required at times for teachers to provide assignments or other work tasks, and for students to submit work. The willful transfer of objectional material, malicious content or any other such transmissions is a violation of this policy.
  4. Learning Platforms – The use of learning platforms such as Think Central, Learn360, Mathletics, Microsoft 365, Google Classroom and others is for the sole purpose of supporting and furthering the education of students. Any use of these platforms for any other reason may be considered a violation of this policy.

Any use or misuse of the technology provided for distance learning, which interferes with the education of students or the operation of the Catholic Academy/Parish School is a violation of this policy.

For your reference, we have also posted copies of both the Policy and the Zoom Guidance document, along with this letter on our website. (NDCA has posted them under parent resources.)

Please rest assured that the safety and security of the students and all information related to them is our top priority.  We continue to stay on top of these issues and explore solutions that will ensure the highest level of protection for all involved.

Thank you for all that you do to support Catholic Education and I wish you a blessed and joyous Easter filled with God’s love.

Sincerely,

Thomas Chadzutko

 

Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.

Superintendent~Catholic School Support Services