PCS approves e-mail system for students

Published 9:57 pm Monday, December 15, 2008

By: Kendra Majors

Students in Pike County Schools will soon take learning beyond the classroom.

The Pike County Board of Education voted to approve the student e-mail site Gaggle.net at its monthly board meeting Monday night.

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Gaggle.net is a safe web-based communication system that allows students to learn how to use e-mail, but allows the teacher to be in control.

“(Gaggle.net) is an excellent tool for students to learn to use,” said Pike County Superintendent Mark Bazzell.

The e-mail system will be used for students in grades seven through 12.

According to Pike County School Board President Greg Price, the site complies with the regulations set forth by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Price said the site takes all measures possible to keep profanity and solicitation out of the e-mail.

Gaggle.net screens each e-mail prior to sending it, and flags it for review if it includes words such as “kill” or “gun” in the same e-mail, Bazzell said.

In addition to the e-mail addresses students will be getting, Bazzell said there is a possibility of the use of blogs in classes.

The board of education will be entering into a technology initiative, which will make updates to the Web site, and also allow parents to use STI at home.

Parents will be allowed to see the grade book, attendance records and discipline records for their children.

STI will require a password and user ID to log on. The board will introduce this feature at the January board meeting.

Additionally, the board approved a bid for purchasing refurbished computers.

According to Bazzell, for Pike County to purchase a refurbished computer was close to the same cost as buying parts to make repairs to a computer.

Among other topics discussed at the meeting, the board voted to approve a request to allow the Goshen High School football staff to attend a coaches’ clinic in Nashville, Tenn., at no cost to the board except for mileage reimbursement.

The board also approved the sale of two surplus buses to be sold to­ the Alabama Buses Unlimited at $6,250 each.