Appendix A: Telecommunications Guidance
Across the three models (i.e., fully in-person, hybrid, or fully remote), the Falmouth Public Schools engages in blended learning to support students continued academic growth. Scaling use of blended learning strategies relies on use of varied tools to support student engagement, including teleconferencing (e.g., use of Zoom and GoogleHangouts). As is the Clipper way, we must continue to respect the privacy and intellectual property rights of our school community – our educators and our students.
By participating in blended learning through teleconferencing, students must agree that they cannot save, record (video or audio), share, or post material or any photos from virtual sessions. Massachusetts has a two-way consent law, meaning both parties need to understand when audio/video is being recorded. Parents/Guardians are notified through the publication of the student/parent/guardian handbook. By signing that they have reviewed and understand the contents of the handbook, students and their parents/guardians acknowledge that they/their children are not to capture, record, or screenshot in order to protect student privacy/confidentiality and prevent cyberbullying.
The policies for in-person schooling apply to remote learning experiences. Students must treat each other with respect during remote interactions and obey school policies. If students or their parents/guardians do not agree to these policies, they must disconnect from the session and contact their teacher to receive an alternative learning plan.
Ultimately, our educators’ interactions and connections with our students are essential to sustained engagement in teaching and learning.
Prior to beginning the first individual, small group, or classroom session or whenever a new student joins a virtual platform, teachers are asked to read the following disclaimer:
The Falmouth Public Schools strictly prohibits students from taking screenshots, pictures, audio/video recordings, and distributing any virtual educational experience. Students agree to engage in virtual educational experiences in a quiet private area, to the extent possible, and to protect student confidentiality.
- Another aspect of confidentiality rests in teachers’ determination to record a lesson. In the event that a lesson is recorded by the teacher for asynchronous access for reinforcement of learning, the teachers will announce that the lesson is being recorded. Our teachers are aware of which students are on the “no photo” list at their schools, so they are not included in the recording.
- The intent of recording lessons is to make them available for students to replay for reinforcement of learning. All recordings must be saved in the teacher’s GoogleDrive, GoogleClassroom, and/or Schoology account. Directions for how to embed videos, including these recordings, into both Schoology (adding video, adding screencasts) and GoogleClassroom (adding video, adding screencasts) are available by clicking these links. Please also know that recordings that include students’ voices and images become a part of students’ school records.
- When teleconferencing with students, teachers will use tools available within the GoogleSuite, Schoology, or Zoom. These tools are supported by the District’s IT team. Video recordings are archivable through use of the following procedures:
- Students and Educators alike should note that microphones can pick up all surrounding noise just as cameras can pick up images of all actions in the surrounding areas.
Maintaining Relationships & Instruction
Telecommunications enable teachers and their students to interact in ways similar to how they interact in the classroom.
- VideoChats and other telecommunication strategies are great tools for whole classes and also powerful for small group interaction and instruction.
- Student instruction and support may happen through whole class, small group, and 1-to-1 interaction. Teachers are empowered to determine the best way to deliver instruction, review individual progress, and offer services.
- The district seeks to safeguard communication through enforcement of applicable policies and practices.
- Students continue to collaborate and support each other’s learning -- even in a digitally supported virtual environment. For example, use of breakout rooms are essential tool in fostering small group collaboration and learning.
- Specifically for the FHS Peer Mentoring and Peer Tutoring Programs, the following will be actively followed:
- Peer Mentors and Tutors are registered in the Peer Mentoring and/or Peer Tutoring course(s) in PowerSchool and meet the established criteria for serving as a Peer Mentor or Tutor.
- Families of both the Peer Mentors, Peer Tutors, mentees (at any FPS school), and students being tutored (at any FPS school) will receive written notification of their child(ren)’s participation in the program and will have an opportunity to opt out of participating.
- Peer Mentors and Tutors will receive training before they are able to mentor others as the mentor and mentee will be the only people present in the Zoom session.
- FHS Guidance staff will provide Peer Mentors and Tutors access to shared Peer Mentor or Peer Tutor Zoom accounts for scheduled peer interactions.
- Scheduled interactions will be managed by staff in the Guidance Department who will, upon scheduling, make the Peer Mentor or Peer Tutor the alternate host.
- FHS Administration will require and enforce all guidelines and practices of the Falmouth Public Schools Responsible Use Policy, FHS Student/Family Handbook, and Falmouth Public Schools Policy Manual.
- If adjustment counselors/school psychologists intend to engage in video telehealth counseling, it must be done through doxy.me or Zoom which are HIPPA and FERPA compliant, and student and parent/guardian permission must be obtained.
- If guidance counselors pursue telecommunications as a way to continue counseling sessions with individual students and/or groups of students, it must be with student and parent/guardian permission. Parent/Guardian permission can be obtained via email or phone (document date/time of consent).
- Telepractice is permitted for speech-language pathologists and audiologists who are licensed by the MA Board of Professional Licensure, but there are certain requirements that must be satisfied before providing telepractice services (e.g., 10 hours of training in telepractice in classroom courses or distance learning).
- There are no additional requirements for telepractice guidelines for occupational and physical therapy.
Other Forms of Interaction
- Email within the Falmouth Public Schools Google domain is open and permitted for students in grades five through twelve.
- Similarly, educators can use the Zoom chat feature as well as GoogleHangouts to create whole class and small group messaging. These tools are supported by Falmouth IT and sessions are archived in accordance with district practice and procedure.
- The GoogleHangouts feature is limited to grades five through twelve.
- For younger learners, email communications are sent to parents/guardians, not students.
As we continue to strengthen our use of telecommunications in support of student learning, we will continue to update to this guidance document.