Digital Use & Safety

The Coppell Independent School District makes the Internet accessible in accordance with our mission to provide information resources and services to ensure that all users have free and open access to ideas and information. In this role, the District provides access to information resources available on the Internet. The District has limited control over the information obtained through the Internet. It may contain materials which some find offensive or inappropriate, however, CISD makes every effort to monitor and structure internet access in an effort to keep kids safe from inappropriate material.

Internet Filters

In accordance with the federal Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), (Pub. L. 106-554), all desktop computers, laptops, iPads and other wireless devices, that utilize the CISD network, will be filtered by a centralized filtering appliance.This filtering appliance is set to screen out sites which may reasonably be construed as obscene, as that term is defined in section 1460 of title 18, United States Code; or child pornography, as that term is defined in section 2256 of title 18, United States Code; or harmful to minors as defined in section 1703, Pub. L. 106-544. Our district internet filter currently blocks the following categories: Child Abuse Content, Proxy/Filter Avoidance, Gambling, Hacking, Pornography, and a block list including URL's we define that were not caught by our category/reputation filter.

As with any other technology resource, restriction of a child's use of the Internet is ultimately the responsibility of the parent/legal guardian, within the confines of the law.

The District assumes no responsibility for damages, direct, or indirect, for the use of the Internet. This includes, but is not limited to, damage to District or personally owned equipment caused by virus-laden material downloaded from any Internet site. Users are encouraged to purchase and use a virus detection program on their personal devices.

Users should be aware that the Internet is not a secure medium. It is possible for third parties to obtain information regarding an individual user's search activities. Users should be very cautious about providing personal information over the Internet. 

Monitoring Inappropriate Usage

The District has the ability to monitor the online activities of students and staff through direct observation and/or technological means to ensure that students and staff are following the guidelines and policies set forth by the District. Additionally, as a part of the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act that was passed by Congress in 2008 to promote the online safety in schools, CISD is committed to educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response.

Online Harassment/Bullying

District Board Policy also prohibits harassment, bullying, retaliation, discrimination, and other conduct that creates a hostile working or educational environment for an individual. This prohibition extends to the use of the District's technology resources. If you ever feel that you are being harassed, bullied, retaliated or discriminated against, or otherwise being subjected to illegal or inappropriate conduct through the District's technology resources, you should immediately report it to the District.

Devices in the Classroom

In January, Coppell ISD formed a Parent Advisory Group on Technology to meet and discuss topics that are of interest or concern to the community. One of the topics includes how CISD manages the different levels of distractibility that technology brings to the classroom.

Technology Infused Society

The world outside of school has already experienced a digital conversion, and it continues to change the way our culture (young and old) communicates, collaborates and connects.

Technology tools are vast and quickly evolving. Our younger learners have interacted with different technological tools (internet, tablets, smart phones with cameras) their whole lives, and our older learners embrace and conduct their lives using the latest digital devices. Even adults continue to adapt and utilize smart phones and tablets in their daily lives.

Access to Mobile Devices stats table

Multiple Devices

Have you seen a young person with headphones on, typing on a laptop while also having a book open and their smart phone in hand? It may be hard to comprehend how they manage all those devices. Brain scientists have been looking at the brains of young people and have found that the Net-generation has developed a better “switching” ability with a better active memory. This means that, in many situations, learners can manage multiple inputs at the same time. This Net-generation not only switches their attention effortlessly between mediums, but they prefer to use multiple devices to accomplish different tasks.

“We asked the students last year to identify for us their preferred device for a variety of academic tasks. The results pointed to a differentiation of devices that they wanted to use, based upon the inherent capabilities and roles of the devices. Create a presentation—kids want to use a laptop. Communicate or collaborate with peers—smart phone. Take notes in class—tablet. Read a book or article—digital reader.” –Speak Up 2012 National Findings

It is very important that educators understand this new type of learner and embrace these devices, but it is equally as important that educators teach learners important skills about focus and how to successfully be in charge of their own learning. For example, these learners need to be able to identify times when they need to quiet those multiple inputs and concentrate on just one task. Coppell ISD supports environments like blended learning labs and reconfigured classrooms to allow learners to work independently while educators monitor learners and help them develop skills to stay on task. Learners must also hone their skills of scanning content and deciphering what pieces of information are important. They must also recognize when to slow down and digest content in-depth and in its entirety. These are all specific skills that the classroom teacher, integration specialists, librarians, and other staff teach learners throughout the year. (In upcoming communications, CISD will go more in-depth into how information literacy is taught at all levels.)

Device Management in the Classroom

Educators have been managing distractions in the classroom for a very long time, but CISD recognizes that iPads, laptops, smart phones, and e-readers have brought a different level of distraction to the classroom. As always, CISD is committed to working with educators on how to adjust teaching practices and classroom management to ensure a positive learning environment.

Technology is a tool. Like any tool, it needs to be monitored and learners need direction on expectations, consequences and how to use it in a productive way. Educators have realized that each type of technology (iPads, laptops, e-readers, etc.) provides different management challenges and thus requires different techniques. One common management technique used among educators is creating simple commands to communicate when it is time to transition to a low technology task.

  • Elementary educators say “apple-up” to their learners to indicate that it is time to stop using the iPad.

  • Secondary educators say “three-fourths” meaning tilt the laptop screen down so it is only open one-forth of the way.

CISD has ongoing professional development that supports educators in managing technology in the classroom and also helps educators modify and redefine their use of technology within a lesson. All secondary educators will be taking advantage of the professional learning day on February 17 to collaborate and learn best practices from each other in the areas of classroom management and technology integration. In addition, CISD has implemented an assessment tool, “SAMR,” that provides valuable feedback to educators about how technology is used in their lessons. (A deeper look into SAMR will come in the next technology communication.)

“Managing a classroom of students with laptops is mostly about managing the students. This means you use the same tools for classroom management with laptops as you use for basic classroom management.” – Mike Haley, Tech & Learning

Technology is a powerful tool that gives learners the ability to search for knowledge, the platform to collaborate and communicate with others, and the means to generate their own content. Like any great tool, its use needs to be monitored and learners need direction on how to use it in a constructive way. Technology is powerful when used for best practices, but causes negative consequences when not monitored and used correctly. Coppell ISD is committed to safely and effectively integrating technology in the classroom and preparing learners with the 21st century skills they will need for their future.

“Simply overlaying technology on to traditional teaching practices will have only a limited impact on learning. And sadly, the kids know this and see it every day. That’s why so many kids tell us each year that their frustration or disappointment with the use of technology at school is not about quantity, access, or quality—it’s about the unsophisticated use of the technology at their school. The kids know how they want to use these tools and how these tools can change the learning process, but … so many educators are either not thinking through the process or not up the task of transformation.” –eSN Special Report “Powering the Digital Classroom

10 things everyone should know about k-12 students' views on digital learning

Web Searches & Filtering

Coppell ISD recognizes that with increased access to mobile devices, the conversation about online safety needs to be a priority in the minds of parents, learners, and educators.

There are 3.64 billion indexed pages on the world wide web. More than 2 billion people use the internet, and 70% of those people use it everyday (more interesting stats). In the 21st Century, it is essential that students are equipped with the skills to navigate this vast access to information. Coppell ISD is committed to emphasizing and teaching responsible online use. Every year, a significant amount of time is dedicated to training educators and learners about safe and appropriate use of the internet. Our educators teach digital citizenship and help learners safely and effectively navigate the world wide web.

Navigating the World Wide Web

Each year, every year, educators talk to learners about the CISD Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and digital citizenship. All learners sign an AUP acknowledgement form. AUP and Digital citizenship focuses on the importance of good character on and offline, responsibility, security and protecting your identity, copyright laws, and safely conducting effective web searches. These are the essential rules that protect learners.

Beyond AUP, our campus librarians and iTeam (Technology Instructional Coaches) members work alongside our classroom educators to help learners navigate the plethora of information the world wide web has to offer. CISD learners’ interaction with technology goes far beyond Google searches. Our young learners are guided on specific searches rather than rely on generic searches on Google. The district has invested in academic databases like Gale, Destiny and Safari Montage to provide learners access to rich, high-quality information. Learners from grades 2-12 are taught how to recognize reliable sources and utilize academic databases.

Lesson Examples: Learning How to Determine Reliable Sources 

Secondary level: Learners are directed to At first glance the site might look reputable, and the URL seems appropriate, but as the Librarian guides learners to ask questions (such the timeliness of the info; is the content at an appropriate level; who the author/sponsor is; does the language/tone seem unbiased; what is the purpose of the website) learners discover the site might not be all that it seems.

Elementary level: Learners are directed to visit and read about the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. The site has photos, videos, lots of information and even a store, but is the Tree Octopus real? Librarians help learners ask key questions to figure it out.

Internet Filters

In accordance with the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), all computers and devices that utilize the CISD network are filtered by a centralized filtering appliance. The filter screens out categories, determined by CISD staff and federal law, to be inappropriate. (What is considered inappropriate for minors at the legal level is handled by authorities such as the CIPA, FCC and the Texas Education Agency. Note that specifically, the FCC found that social network websites (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) do not fall into one of the categories that must be blocked.) Categories CISD blocks include: Child Abuse Content, Proxy/Filter Avoidance, Illegal Activities and Downloads, Gambling, Hacking, and Pornography.

Internet filters are a deterrent to accessing inappropriate material. No filtering system is hack-proof nor can it catch 100% of inappropriate material. As learners grow into adults, they will be faced with non-filtered access to all types of content. Learners need to practice the skills of 1) conducting smart searches and 2) handling accidental access of inappropriate material. In Coppell ISD, if a learner encounters inappropriate material at school, they are taught to immediately notify their teacher who will direct the student to leave the site. The instructor will then report the information (in writing) to technology and campus administration. Technology will review the report and forward that information to the filtering provider to consider that site be re-categorized into a blocked category.

It is important to recognize that when learners are accessing the internet at school, there are adults and other learners in close proximity monitoring their activities. When it comes to accessing questionable material, kids tend to do that in private. This means good, safe online behavior begins in the home and then reinforced at school.

Tips for Parents…

  • Pay attention to when you children are accessing the internet, where they are going, and what they are doing there.

  • Many children (or their friends) have phones, iPods and other mobile devices that give them access to the internet unfiltered. Have conversations with your children about what to do when they come across questionable material.  It is never too soon to start having these conversations.

  • Set parameters for internet use. Suggestions include:

    • restricting internet after 10pm

    • only allowing internet usage in community areas in the home

    • talk to the parents of your children’s friends to know the internet rules/allowances for their family

  • Put a filter on your home wifi such as Net Nanny, K9, Save Squid, Dans Guardian, and Open DNS. Remember, a filter is just a deterrent, children also need to be taught how to be smart online.

  • Ask your children about what sites they are visiting for school and how they know they are reliable.

  • For more parenting tips visit watch “Parents Need Rules, Too

Throughout the year, Coppell ISD will continue the ongoing conversation about digital responsibility and safety. Topics will include: cyberbullying, time management, social networking, and protecting your online identity. Join our conversation and have these conversations with your family and friends.

Article Suggestions

Digital Use & Safety Resources

Proposed Plans


Parent Resources 

CISD District-wide Digital Safety Events

Digital Literacy is a Demand of the 21st Century

Learners need to be proficient in digital literacy to prepare them for the workforce of tomorrow. Digital literacy is defined as the ability to effectively find, evaluate, create and communicate information using a range of digital technologies.

Coppell ISD teaches digital and information literacy from Pre-K to graduation. Understanding how to recognize and use quality resources is also part of the state’s curriculum (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills - TEKS) in the the core content and technology areas. 

Did You Know?

CISD recently refined its filtering system to maintain safe images searches. A great safe internet search option for home use is

Use of Resources

In partnership with campus librarians, CISD classroom educators also teach learners how to determine which tools to use for research and presentation purposes, how to evaluate resources, and how to cross reference multiple sources.

“It is a shared obligation between the teachers and librarians to help our learners conduct effective research.” -Dr. Rose Brock, CMS West Librarian 

Librarians work with educators every day to increase awareness about all the informational tools available and also help them design their research projects. When the librarian and educators work together, the very best electronic sources for a particular lesson are gathered to help direct learners to scholarly information instead of just sending them out on a Google search. Coppell ISD has invested in educational databases to provide better resources for learners. These databases are similar to the ones which students will have access to in college.

Lessons from the Classroom & Library

First grade learners accessed World Book to find articles for their research on animals and tundra.

Fourth and fifth grade learners are taught how to cite information they use in their products/presentations.

Sixth grade language arts learners engage in a week of lessons on evaluating websites, learning how to take Cornell Notes, citing resources, previewing print resources and navigating the district purchased Gale databases.


Other lessons include how to Google smarter--learning what a search engine is, how it works, and how to conduct advanced searches to yield better results.

IB History students investigated World War II topics. Learners utilized JSTOR, Gale Cengage, Gale Virtual Reference Library, and ABC-CLIO to access research information that included academic journal articles, reference works, and primary source documents. The use of the library databases coupled with librarian expertise resulted in deeper learning, a higher level of critical thinking and reading, and an increased awareness and appreciation of the need for academic, peer-reviewed, reliable information.

Senior English students used the library to access literacy criticism for their novel study. Librarians directed students to Gale Virtual Reference Library’s Novels for Students, an eBook Reference series.

With the vast amount of information that is available today, librarians provide the tools and teach the strategies that help our learners be critical thinkers and astute evaluators.” -Lynn Hevron, CHS Librarian 

Coppell ISD educators continually work to improve their  lesson designs to teach learners these critical digital literacy skills. The desired result is for all learners to become savvy consumers of information as well as producers of content.

Communicating with Digital Tools

Another key skill in digital fluency is understanding how to “curate” and present the information learned. To curate means to pull together, sift through and select (as for presentations). Coppell learners have the opportunity to use a wide variety of tools to present their knowledge. As students learn the pros and cons of the different devices, apps, and online tools, they will become fluent in the many different ways to present the information learned. In addition, they will be able to make good choices about how to best showcase their knowledge and understanding.

Smore is an online tool to quickly make a professional looking flyer online.

Middle school students used Smore to present math problems.

Sixth graders used Smore to present information about world cultures.

30 Hands is an fun storytelling app that allows students and teachers to create narrated stories based on photos or images using an iPad.

First grade students used 30 Hands to create an ABC book.

ThingLink is an app that allows students to add “buttons” of information on an image to share information on a certain topic.

High school students used ThingLink to demonstrate knowledge about the flu.

Next Steps

CISD will be designing an information literacy course required for all CISD educators in fall of 2014. In this course, educators will be expected to learn how to support learners in mastering such skill as:

  • safe internet searches

  • verifying validity of information

  • choosing appropriate databases

  • citing sources in products

CISD believes this course will be critical in ensuring all educators are using similar language and helping develop these skills for learners Pre-K through 12.

Additionally, a new curriculum scope and sequence will be developed to give educators specific skills to teach each year and resources to use. These skills will be aligned and built upon one another from year to year. This will provide learners opportunities, that are age appropriate, to deepen their understanding of navigating the volumes of digital information available.

Finally, the I-Team and librarians will be develop a beginning of the year learning experience to ensure all learners start the year understanding safe searches and the user’s responsibilities in digital literacy.

This is a comprehensive approach that CISD believes will prepare learners to be successful in the ever-changing 21st Century digital world.” -Tabitha Branum, Executive Director of Leading & Learning