Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)


The West Hartford Public School District is committed to creating a rigorous and engaging learning environment for all students and staff. It is part of our core values to provide students with environments that foster and encourage innovative learning. All members of our learning community hold the responsibility to value technology and achieve technological proficiency to prepare our students for future jobs, which currently may not exist. Schools must challenge students with rigorous, personalized academic experiences, foster innovation and creativity, and embrace emerging technologies. Students actively engage in a cohesively integrated curriculum, access information, and apply it in solving authentic problems.

Many students have personally owned devices that can be used to help maximize their opportunity for success in school and beyond. These technologies, when properly used, promote educational excellence in the District by facilitating resource sharing, innovation, and communication. We believe that the tremendous value of technology and the information technology network as an educational resource far outweighs the potential risks. These program guidelines focus on using technologies as educational tools to enhance the teaching and learning experience, consistent with the West Harford Public Schools Mission, Values and Goals. BYOD Parent/Student User Agreement

For the purposes of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), “Device” means a privately owned wireless and/or portable electronic piece of equipment that can be used for word processing, wireless Internet access, image capture and recording, sound recording, information transmitting and/or receiving and storing. These devices may include, but are not limited to, personal laptops, smartphones, iPads or other tablet computers, network access devices, e-Readers, and cellular phones. No gaming devices are allowed (to include: Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable PSP, etc.). If you are uncertain whether or not your device meets the criteria to be used for BYOD, please see your building administrator.

The District provides a filtered, wireless network available to students for instructional purposes. In accordance with federal guidelines, this network has filtering software that blocks access to material that are inappropriate for students or harmful to minors, as defined by the Children’s Internet Protection Act And Child Online Protection Act.

Privately owned technological devices may not be used during instructional time, except as specifically permitted by instructional staff. Students and visitors are required to register personal devices on the WHPS network and agree to the WHPS Administrative Guidelines for the Use of Technology.

If a student does not have parental permission to use the Internet and/or online services, teachers will make a reasonable effort to provide an alternative assignment covering the same content standards contained in the Internet based instruction. In the event that equivalent instruction cannot be reasonably provided, an alternative assignment will be given to the student.

Staff is responsible for providing guidelines for Internet use by students. Here is an example of the Responsible Use Guidelines for elementary schools. Staff are responsible for supervising student access to the Internet and ensuring that access is being used for educational purposes and in accordance with the Guidelines for Acceptable Use. This is really no different than staff having been responsible that students were taking notes and not passing notes, or reading texts and not magazines, during class. The vehicle to the knowledge has simply changed. Each building clarifies “electronic etiquette” and expectations for their school community consistent with goals and grade levels. These expectations include expectations for common areas and non-academic settings.

Student FAQ's for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

I have my laptop with me in class. How do I get on the Internet now?

Most laptops or other personal devices (smart phones), will detect a wireless connection when you are near one. Most of the time your device will ask you if you would like to join the network. When prompted, choose whps_wifi from the list, follow these instructions.

My laptop is not prompting me to choose a wireless network. Is there another way to connect?

In the settings menu of your device, there is usually an icon for a network, go to this icon and choose the whps_wifi from the list or prompt your computer to look for wireless networks in range. Always consult your tool’s owner’s manual for exact directions for accessing a wireless network.

I brought my iPad to school to use in the classroom, but my teacher said I couldn’t use it in his/her classroom. Can I still use it?

It is up to the teacher whether or not mobile devices are allowed in the classroom. There might be some lessons where the teacher permits you to use your device, but that doesn’t guarantee you can always use it. Be sure to ask your teacher first.

I just can’t get my laptop to connect to the network. Can I get some help from someone?

Check the owner’s manual for your mobile device or ask a friend. Teachers and IT staff are not responsible for configuring or troubleshooting your personal mobile device.

I need to save my work in my school's network drive. How can I access this resource?

You can access this resource only by utilizing a device owned by West Hartford Public Schools. Personally owned devices use a separate network. You should use your school provided Google Apps account to save and access your work.

How do I print my work?

You can use the school computers to print your work created in or uploaded to your WHPS Google Drive account.

My device was stolen when I brought it to school. Who should I contact about this?

Bringing your own technology tools to school can be useful, however some risks are involved as well. It is always a good idea to record the device’s serial number to have in case of theft. West Hartford Public Schools is not responsible for the theft of a device nor are we responsible for any damage done to the device while at school. Any time a theft occurs, you should contact a school administrator to make him/her aware of the offense.

Why am I filtered on my own computer? Shouldn’t I be able to see what I want to on my own device?

Student filtering is a requirement of all public schools. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires all network access to be filtered, regardless of the device you use to access it while in school. You are required to use the whps_wifi wireless for all internet activity in school. Use of cellular data plans (ex. 4G service) is prohibited.

Am I still held accountable for the Acceptable Use Policy I signed at the beginning of the school year even though this is my own personal computer?

es. The Acceptable Use Policy for WHPS remains in effect even when you are using your own laptop, smart phone, iPad etc. When you register your device on the school’s wireless network you will be prompted to read and acknowledge our acceptable use guidelines. Violating these terms would be a student code of conduct violation and would be dealt with by an administrator. 

Teacher FAQ's for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

My classroom is not conducive to student owned technology, am I required to allow my students to access their technology tools in the classroom?

No. Although we encourage teachers to leverage the student owned technology tools in their classroom for learning, there is no requirement of teachers to allow this. You are in charge of the way your class functions and the rules that apply.

Some of my students cannot access the network on their laptops or phones. I don’t have time in a class period to help them with this. Should I put in a help request or call the help desk?

No. Students who cannot access the WHPS network or who may have technical issues with their technology device need to take care of this issue by working with their user’s manual that came with the device out of the classroom. These are not WHPS devices and the district is not allocating resources at this time to troubleshoot issues. You are welcome to help if you choose, but it is not a staff member’s responsibility to ensure that student owned technology is functioning properly.

I have students in my school who are accessing the Internet using their provider’s data plan (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon etc.) on their smartphones or laptops, hence bypassing the filter. Is this a violation of the student AUP?

Students are not allowed to use cellular data plans while at school. Any BYOD user must use the school’s wireless network. If you suspect a student is using their own cellular data plan in order to access content that is not appropriate for school then this is considered a violation of school rules and the school’s discipline policy should be followed.

I have my own laptop and a smartphone. I would like to utilize these tools at work. Does new plan include school staff?

Yes. School staff can also access the whps_wifi network. After selecting this network, you must launch a new web browser session (e.g. www.google.com) which will automatically redirect you to our welcome page. You must register your device by entering your WHPS username and password on the left-side of the screen. Hint- this is the same username and password you use to login to a school computer. You will be prompted to read and acknowledge our administrative guidelines for acceptable use prior to connecting.

I keep getting prompted to register my device each day. Is there a way to have the system remember my device?

Yes- be sure to register your device on the left side of the welcome screen using your WHPS username and password. Properly registered devices are remembered by the system for a period of one school year. Only visitors (i.e. parents, guest presenters, etc.) should register on the Visitor side of the network. The visitor network is much slower, so to enjoy the full speed of the wireless always register your devices using your WHPS username and password.

One of my students was using his laptop to bully another student on school. Should I call the central technology office concerning this problem?

No. Any disciplinary infractions that occur from using technology tools should be referred to a school administrator. This would be student code of conduct issue, not a technology issue.

What Classroom Management approaches to BYOD are recommended?

The BYOD Traffic Light

Classroom Management of Mobile Devices: The Traffic Signal Approach

The traffic light is posted in the front of the room (near the agenda). 
If it’s set to Red – there is absolutely no devices allowed that day (usually test days) – keep them in your pocket. 
If it’s on Yellow – they can bring their devices and if the need arises, they can ask permission to use them (just so that the teacher knows what they are doing on them) or the teacher may ask them to look something up, etc. 
If it’s set to Green, then if you got a device – get it out because we will definitely be using them. 

Have a sign in/out system in place for students who need to borrow school devices. 

At the beginning of each class that you are using BYOD, have the students get out their devices and turn them face down on their desk. This will give you a bird's eye view of the devices.

Adding apps: If you would like the students to have a particular app on their device, please make sure you give them plenty of notice so they can download it at home (and get their parents permission) and make sure you only ask them to download free apps. If you need to use an app that costs, please check with your campus tech facilitator about purchasing it for the campus.


Make sure you communicate clear expectations to students about when and how it is appropriate to use their devices.  Post these expectations! A few suggestions are below.

  • Use signage to indicate when BYOD use is appropriate and when it is not.

  • Post Expectations


P – Purpose for using device is always educational
R – Responsible use of devices is always expected
I – Instructions for device use will always be followed
D – Devices must always be using the school’s WiFi network
E – Everyone will always conduct him or herself responsibly online 

Digital Social Contract:

As a student,

  1. I am responsible for the choices I make when I use technology,

  2. I understand that using technology effectively is a skill that is essential to my success, and

  3. I understand that I am responsible when I use technology at school.

  4. That means…

  5. As a student, I am responsible…

  6. For keeping my personal computer devices secure when I bring them to school.

  7. For keeping my digital accounts secure.

  8. For what I do on when using technology at school.

  9. For not hurting the ability of others to learn.

  10. For what I say and do online.

  11. For giving credit where credit is due and respecting the intellectual property of others.

  12. For making good choices about when and where I use personal devices at school.

Parent FAQ's for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

My son or daughter is bringing his iPad to school for instructional purposes. Will he have access to things he normally does with district equipment?

Your son or daughter will have access to any of the web based software high school schools currently use (Google Docs, Moodle, databases, library search tools etc.). Software may run differently on different devices for varying reasons. You should consult your owner’s manual for software limitations. 

As a parent, am I required to add additional software (virus protection, filter, tracking device etc.) to my child’s technology tool?

No. Currently we are not requiring any additional software for school use. Virus protection is always advised, but not required to access the Guest network. A product called Absolute Software can be installed on the device to track the location in case of theft. While on the WHPS network, students will be monitored through the district’s filter, so there is no need for additional filtering software.

I have read the terms of service and I do not wish to have my daughter accessing the Internet using her own laptop. I would like to allow her to continue using her computer for productivity, but not the Internet. Is this allowable?

Yes, your daughter may choose not to accept the terms of use, however, the rules outlined in the AUP still apply for technology use of any kind (Internet or other). Also, it is not the responsibility of school staff to ensure she has not accessed the Web on her own technology device. Damage or theft is still the responsibility of the owner.

If my son or daughter’s laptop is stolen or damaged, what recourse can I take?

The district is not responsible for any damage or theft of student owned equipment. Using tracking software can help locate the equipment if it is stolen, and keeping track of the device’s serial number, model and type will be helpful as well. Theft or vandalism of any kind should be reported immediately to an administrator, so he/she can take the appropriate steps.

What are the classroom rules for using student owned devices including phones?

Teachers make the final decision for any tools used in the classroom; student owned equipment would be no different. It will be up to the individual teachers to communicate their expectations to parents and students. Contact your child’s teachers or administration for his/her expectations.

Will my child have access to communication tools like email or message boards while on the WHPS Guest network?

Yes. All students have user accounts for Google Apps for Education. Google Apps includes email, file storage, blogs, and other useful educational tools.

Where can I see the Acceptable Use Policy for Technology?

Board policy is available online at the following link: WHPS Acceptable Use Policy

My child does not have his/her own electronic communication device to bring to school. Will he/she be penalized or miss out on instruction?

No, it is not mandatory for students to bring a device, even if they do own one. Use of personal electronic devices will be optional. Keep in mind that learning can be enhanced greatly for the entire class even if only a handful of students have a device! Whenever electronic devices are required to enhance learning in the classroom, students will be provided access to an appropriate WHPS District owned electronic device. 

Is it required that my child use the School wireless? Can they use their own wifi/data plan?

Students with a personally owned device need to use the guest wireless network. 

What are some antivirus software options?

Because the devices are owned by you, West Hartford Public Schools is unable to provide you with Antivirus/Anti-Malware software. We strongly encourages you to install Antivirus and/or Anti-Malware software on any personally owned devices which you will allow your student to bring to school and to keep the Antivirus/Anti-Malware software up to date at all times.

If you are unable or unwilling to purchase antivirus software, the following companies provide free antivirus solutions:




Additional information and a valuable FAQ regarding antivirus software

For Microsoft Windows based computers, it is recommended that you install the Windows updates as they are made available by Microsoft. You can read about how to do that here.

What resources are there to deal with Internet Safety/Cyberbullying?

We encourage you to visit the CyberCompass website for information and the Common Sense Media website, Privacy and Internet Safety.

Encourage your student and be involved. Parents are strongly encouraged to be aware of the programs and apps that their children are installing on their devices as well as the activities that they are engaged in when using the devices.