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Rochester Technology

Tech in Schools: Fairport Central Schools have robust network, but no BYOD policy

Our continuing series on local schools and personal electronics, Mike Roppolo looks into Fairport’s policies.

In a world where the effects of using technology in the classroom have increasingly become apparent, some local school districts in Rochester are preparing themselves for some big changes.

The Fairport Central School District is no exception.  With nearly 7100 students and 1800 students (presumably using these technologies) attending high school, they have had to make some changes in recent years.

Fairport High School

When it comes to technology and education, Fairport High School has made great strides over the years, including:

  • In 1996, the district was given permission to begin airing over the Freeport Area Community Television channel 12 (FACT-12).  The FHS Morning Show broadcasts every morning at 8:10am.
  • In 2009, Fairport High School began offering a course in game design and development, presumably one of the first schools to do so in New York State.
  • In 2010, the high school building was renovated to include 802.11n wireless networks for students and faculty, as well as high-speed fiber optic cables for wired computers.

Now, after working on it for two years, the district now has wireless in all district buildings (it has four elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school).

Under the district’s current policy, students and faculty are only allowed access to this wireless network during the school day, with limited use after 3pm.  However, the district still allows 2.4ghz guest access in select areas of Fairport High School, available only during after school hours.

Access to the wireless network is still only for use with district-approved electronics.

BYOD Policy

As of 2011, when the district policy was last updated, many students will have to contend to what seems to be a limited use policy on cell phones and other devices.

Even so, there does not seem to be a district-wide policy regarding the use of cellphones and other personal electronics in the classrooms, according to the district code of conduct.  The only school that seemed to ban cell phones outright was Dudley Elementary School.  Students at Dudley are “not permitted to carry cell phones unless granted permission from the building principal. Permission will only be considered when extenuating circumstances warrant, again at the discretion of the building principal,” according to the school site.

“This is a topic that all schools locally and nationally are dealing with as the use of personal electronic devices grows exponentially.  The Board of Education Policy Committee is in the process of developing policies that address the use of personal electronics in our schools,” said Mary Jane Yarmer, the Communications Officer in the district, said in an email.

Balancing performance and guarantee quality for the students during the hours of instruction on devices offered through the district, such as computers.

“However, we are investigating the details surrounding BYOD design accommodations as we value increasing connectivity and access to digital resources as instructional support,” Yarmer added.