How LPS Cares for our Students in the Online World

Look around and it’s easy to see how Lincoln Public Schools works to keep students physically safe.

There are crosswalks and bright yellow signs to help ensure the safety of students as they walk to and from school. There are secure entrances as you enter every school. There are numerous drills conducted throughout the year - fire, tornado, lockout, lockdown, to name only a few.

But that’s not the only way LPS works to keep students safe.

“We also put a lot of time and effort and thought into how we protect our students digitally. Those things are not always apparent. You can’t necessarily see digital protections when you look at a school, or even when you look in a classroom,” said Chris Pultz, an educational technology analyst for LPS.

Pultz and two of his colleagues from the Computing Services Department, Tim Hahn and Jarred Rowe, shed light on the topic of digital protections for students at the September Learning Lunch, “Digital Protections: How LPS Cares for our Students in the Online World,” held Tuesday in the boardroom at LPS District Office.

They talked about three key federal laws that have guided a number of district initiatives during the last decade: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects the privacy of student educational records; the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires extra protections for the personal information of children under the age of 13; and the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which requires schools and libraries to have a web content filter in place.

Here are some of those district initiatives: 

  • LPS employs an information security officer, whose job is to plan, implement, maintain and monitor a formal framework of adequate data security controls.
  • LPS uses web filters that restrict what information students can access on their LPS-issued Chromebooks, both in school and at home. In other words, if a student is blocked from a website at school, they’re blocked from that website at home. 
  • Students must agree to a Responsible Use Agreement (RUA) if they use an LPS-issued computing device. Teachers review the RUA with students, and students agree to the terms each time they sign into the Portal, the webpage where all of their apps and programs are located.
  • Teachers have the ability to gain access, monitor and guide student work through Google Drive.

Pultz, Hahn and Rowe also touched upon broader technology issues that parents face with their children, such as social media and screen time. When it comes to social media, Pultz reminds parents that most social media apps - because of federal law - require users to be at least 13 years old to have an account. As for screen time, it’s become more about quality vs. quantity.

“It’s less about time and more about what they’re doing with the device in front of them,” Rowe said. “Are they passively consuming or are they actively creating?”

They recommend the website as a resource for parents trying to navigate their children’s digital consumption. They also encourage parents to contact LPS through the website with any questions specifically about the school district and technology.

“The world that kids are growing up in right now is so much different than the world even people my age grew up in during the ‘80s and ‘90s,” Pultz said, “because the internet is a part of everything they do.” 

Learning Lunches are generally held on the third Tuesday of the month in the boardroom at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. Doors to the boardroom open at 11:45 a.m., the program begins at noon, with questions-and-answers at 12:30 p.m. Please bring your own lunch - we'll provide dessert.

The remaining LPS Learning Lunch schedule for 2019-20:

Oct. 15 - "ABCs of Teaching English to Immigrant/Refugee Students"

Basics of English Language Learners: How do you teach students who cannot speak English? Presenters: Laura Salem, LPS English Language Learners program supervisor, and Kate Damgaard, LPS language curriculum specialist.

Nov. 19 - "Meeting the Needs of All Students: Supporting our Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing"

This session will provide an introduction to the supports, technology and services provided in our district for one of the fast-growing disability areas within LPS. Presenters: Alisha Bollinger, Special Education supervisor.

Dec. 17 - "SROs: Understanding this Important Job"

School Resource Officers wear many hats during their shift: mentor, teacher, investigator, guardian. Come hear how Lincoln Public Schools and the Lincoln Police Department have partnered to ensure our SROs successfully serve our students and staff. Presenters: Joe Wright, director of Security at LPS, and a representative from Lincoln Police Department.

Jan. 14 - "Ensuring Students Have Adequate Learning Environments"

Update on the 10-year LPS Facility and Infrastructure Plan. Presenter: Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs

Feb. 18 - "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution"

LPS Government students have the opportunity to showcase their civic and Constitutional knowledge through the "We the People" program and competition. Presenter: Jaci Kellison, K-12 curriculum specialist, social studies

March 17 - "The Importance of Our Guest Teachers in LPS"

The job of being a substitute teacher can be challenging, yet rewarding. This session will provide information about being a substitute teacher in Lincoln Public Schools and the opportunities that are available for professional growth and development. Presenters: Vann Price, LPS Human Resources Department supervisor for secondary personnel, and Kren Shellhase, administrative assistant.

April 21 - "Take Charge, Career Readiness and Financial Responsibility: Lessons in Career and Personal Finance"

Lessons from the classroom in teaching young people responsibility in career and personal finance. Presenters: Julie Hippen, assistant curriculum specialist for career and technical education, along with teachers and students.

May 12 - "Creating Music on a Blank Canvas"

The final Learning Lunch of the school year will focus on the creative aspect of music. All six LPS high schools offer various music courses that empower and foster students to learn the creative process of music composition and improvisation. Some of our talented high school students will share their experiences, inspiration and performances of creating their own original music. Presenter: Lance Nielsen, LPS supervisor of Music.

Published: September 18, 2019, Updated: September 20, 2019