Teacher websites provide a means to share what is happening in the classroom with CCPS parents, students, and the community. It is extremely important that teachers follow the guidelines below to ensure student safety and privacy. In addition, teacher website content should have a clear educational purpose and meet academic standards for proper spelling, grammar, content, accuracy and appropriateness.
The teacher is responsible for all content on the classroom website and it must be kept current and checked on a regular basis. Currently, there are only two approved applications for hosting teacher websites one is Thinkport and the other is Weebly Education. These are both for teacher use only.
A link to the teacher website may be provided on the schools' website. Using a site other than Thinkport or Weebly Education is a violation of the Telecommunications Acceptable Use Policy and also may result in personal liability for the unapproved website and its content.
The guidelines below are taken from a variety of sources which are referenced throughout the page.
A. Protect Student Privacy
It is important that identifiable student information NOT be published on the Internet as required by CIPA and FERPA . This includes, but is not limited to:
- student’s name;
- parent’s or guardian’s name;
- family member’s name;
- student’s address;
- student’s phone numbers;
- social security numbers;
- CCPS student ID numbers; and
- personal characteristics or other information that would make it possible to identify a student with reasonable certainty.
Also, do not publish any information that could compromise CCPS security; i.e., floor plans, master schedules, or student whereabouts.
- An example of an appropriate use of schedules on a class webpage might be a PE teacher including a schedule of classes by teacher name on a particluar day so students know when to have their gym equipment.
- An example of an inappropriate schedule would be for specific classes listed by teacher name and the time they meet in the class.
See Board Policy: Telecommunications Policy and Administrative Regulations for additional information.
B. Student Work and Student Images
It is recommended that you get parent written permission before posting any student work, images, video or other student-generated information on your website. At the very least, please check with your school office to see if parents have returned a FERPA letter for the current school year.
Board Policy JRD: Use of Student's Photograph, Video Image, or Voice for Educational, Informational or Public Relations Purposes.
When you include student work or an image or video of a student on your website, you still need to protect student privacy. You may do the following to identify students on your website:
Use first name, such as Patrick; or first name and last initial, such as Patrick M.; or use non-identifiable labels such as: student, algebra student, freshman, first grader.
You must receive permission to include any content on your website that is copyright-protected. This may include text, images, or any content that is taken from the Internet. This may also include content that is taken from print sources. Using content that has a copyright without proper permission is a serious matter and could have legal ramifications. If in doubt, consult your media specialist. Do not post student artwork (paintings, stories, poetry, etc.) on the web without proper copyright notices and written permission from the student or parents. If you would like to include graphics or images that are copyright-friendly, Creative Commons and Pics4Learning are two sites that are good for teachers to find images to use.
For information about Copyright and Fair-Use in the classroom, this resource from The University of Maryland University College provides an excellent summary. Please be sure to cite the source if required by the website. See your media specialist if you have further questions about copyright.
D. Links to Websites
It is your responsibility to regularly monitor and maintain any hyperlinks you post to external webpages (those that are not part of carrollk12.org or Maryland State Department of Education). Keep in mind that a webpage can be legitimate one day, and the next day the same webpage can display objectionable content.
You may provide hyperlinks to instructional websites under the following conditions:
1. Do Include the following disclaimer on the page(s) where the external hyperlinks are located:
The views, opinions, conclusions and content expressed in this website are those of the author or organization and not necessarily those of Carroll County Public Schools, its officials or the Board of Education. The content of this page has not been reviewed or approved by CCPS and the author or organization is solely responsible for its content.
2. Do not create links to outside websites that may, or are known to, contain objectionable material. Be sure to thoroughly check outside websites to be sure they are current, accurate, non-biased, valid and instructionally appropriate.
3. Check to be sure your website is in compliance with all Board of Education policies. Those especially pertinent to school and classroom webpages are accessible using the links(s) below as well as those mentioned above:
4. Check the links on your website on a regular basis (at least monthly) to be sure they go to the site you intended, i.e., a site may be appropriate one moment but contain objectionable material the next.
E. 508 Compliant
The federal government amended the Rehabilitation Act to require that federal agencies, and those that receive federal funds, ensure that their websites are accessible to people with disabilities. There are certain standards that you should follow to be sure your teacher website meets the minimum requirements.
1. Include alternative text that describes the image or graphic you are adding to your webpage. When your page is published, the alternative text will appear when a cursor hovers over the image and a small text box will appear with the descriptive text. This makes understanding easier for people with text-only browsers, or for those using assistive technology devices.
2. Use formatting options such as bold, italics, or larger text size to emphasize text. Avoid using colors, especially green and red, to make your content easier to read for people with visual problems.
3. Limit the use of Adobe Flash as it is normally not 508 compliant.
F. Other Best Practices for Class Websites
1. Avoid underlining text as this causes confusion with hyperlinked text.
2. White backgrounds have become the accepted norm and are easier to read.
3. Use graphics sparingly and avoid animated graphics if they do not enhance your content.
Graphics are to be optimized as to not significantly slow download. As a rule of thumb they should be less than 100KB and this can be done by using Microsoft Office Picture manager already loaded on your CCPS computer. See this reference guide
5. Use a consistent site header/logo…use your school's logo from CCPS websites.
7. Organize your content in a consistent manner.
6. Place a "Last Updated" notation on your homepage.
8. Include a link to your school's website and to the CCPS homepage (http://www.carrollk12.org)
9. Include your contact information: name, school phone number and your CCPS Outlook email address.
Last Updated: December, 2013