Friday, January 12, 2018

CMS Student Social Media Access on School Device

Social media is an important element in the lives of teenagers and adults.  At Cozad Community Schools, we believe that building a positive online presence is a very important skill for our students to develop as they face an increasingly digital future.  Unfortunately, there are aspects of social media which can be harmful and inappropriate for teenagers, particularly those of middle school age.  It is all too easy for young people to make mistakes which they may have to live with for the rest of their lives.  We want to work closely with our students and parents to help teach and develop the skills needed to create a positive online presence.

At Cozad Middle School, students are assigned a device to use in school for appropriate school work. With parent permission, students are allowed to take the device home outside of school hours.  At all times, school device access to the internet is controlled, monitored, and filtered by the school.  However, no method of filtering is 100% effective and students require adult supervision as they learn to use internet resources appropriately.  For this reason, all social media access by CMS student devices is blocked by the school. 

Our goal is to teach middle school students how to develop good, positive online habits, but we feel this is only possible with proper adult guidance and supervision.  For this reason, we have implemented a system in which CMS parents may elect to allow their child to access social media using their school device (outside of regular school hours), but this will only be enabled by the parent requesting that the school add social media privileges to their student’s school account.  In making this request, both the parent and the student must agree to certain terms.  Note that your child must be 13 years of age or older before any social media access on their student device will be allowed. 

If you would like your child to have access to social media outside of school hours on their school-issued device, both you and your student must agree to the terms and sign the Student Device Social Media Access Agreement.  By signing the agreement, you are acknowledging that you are responsible for the supervision of your child’s activity on their school device, outside of school hours.  Access to the internet will still be filtered by the school, but access to social media sites such as Facebook, twitter, and Instagram will be allowed.  Without a signed agreement returned to the school, no social media access will be allowed on your child’s school-issued device.  Please note that even with a signed agreement, violating any of the terms of the agreement will result in the removal of social media privileges on your child’s account.

The Student Device Social Media Access Agreement is available in PDF format here, or a paper copy may be picked up by the student in the CMS office.  Until an agreement signed by both parent or guardian and the student is on file in the middle school office, social media access outside of school hours will be blocked on school devices.

Please discuss these terms with your child before you sign the agreement.  If you have any questions, please contact our technology staff by emailing or, or you may wish to call Dave at 308-784-2746 or Patty at 308-784-2744.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Data Procedures for Departing Staff

If you are leaving Cozad Community Schools, we would like to wish you the best of luck and we sincerely thank you for your service to our school, students, and community!


When you do your final check-out with your supervisor, please leave your computer, iPad, and any other school devices in the office in your building.  Your devices will be wiped out completely so you don't need to worry about cleaning files and/or apps off of them.

School Accounts

Your school accounts (PowerSchool, Schoology, Google, etc) will be suspended after you check out.  You will lose access to everything, although your files, email, and other data will not be deleted.  If you need extended time, you will need to make arrangements with Mr. Evertson.

Files and data

If you have data you want to transfer to your replacement or another user in the district, please create a folder with a name such as "Replacement files" in Google drive, and copy all such files into that folder.  Let Dave know that you wish to transfer these to another user.

If you have files or folders that you want to delete so no one else will ever have access, you should delete these files in Google drive.  Remember that if you've created files or folders and shared them with others, the others will lose those files when you delete them.

If you have data you want to take with you, you can use your account tools to copy those files and emails to a private Gmail account.  If you don't have a private Gmail account, you can create one, or you can use Google Takeout to transfer your files to a personal device.

Check your personal services!

Remember that if you used your school account to set up any personal services (apple ID, dropbox, social media accounts, shopping, etc) you will lose all access to that school account.  You may still be able to log in to those services after you leave, but you can't use your account to manage or recover them.  For this reason, you should make sure that you use a private account to manage your private services, and if you haven't, you need to update those service accounts to a new private account.

Let Dave or Patty know if you have any questions and we'll be happy to help you out.  Thank you for your service, and good luck in the future!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

New CHS Student Device Program

CHS Device Plan Update 5/2/17

We've made the decision to provision a Chromebook for every CHS student next year, even if the student will be continuing to lease an iPad.  Students who intend to continue leasing an iPad will still have that option, and there will be a Chromebook available to them as well.  No additional fees will be charged.

We feel that this will provide the greatest continuity in the classroom and offer the most flexibility to teachers,  students, and parents.

Please note that we've also decided to reduce the maintenance fee for Chromebook take-home to $10.  If you are already paying a maintenance fee for a leased iPad, the $10 Chromebook maintenance fee will be waived.

Students currently leasing iPads will be allowed to take the device home for the summer, no fee will be required.  2017-18 maintenance fees for Chromebooks and/or iPads will be due in August.

Previously Posted 4/13/17

Each year, Cozad High School faculty, administration and technology staff evaluate the student device program with the goal of providing the best educational experience possible to our students.  We also strive to keep things as simple, efficient and cost-effective as possible for our parents and our patrons.

Beginning with the freshman class of 2021, CHS will begin the transition to a new type of student device called a Chromebook.  Chromebooks are similar to laptop computers, but are less expensive, easier to maintain and operate, and provide significantly longer battery life.  We believe that the Chromebook is an excellent device in meeting the academic needs of high school students.

All current CHS students will have the option to continue with their present device plan, or they may switch to the new Chromebook device.  For further information about the new device program and to help you determine if you'd like to make the switch, please read this document.

2017-18 CHS student device plan

At the start of school in August, all grade 9 students, all new students, and any current students who elect to participate in the Chromebook program will be issued Chromebooks as their student device for the 2017-18 school year.

We will be explaining the new program to all current 8th grade students on Tuesday, April 18th during their English classes.  They will receive a paper copy explaining the program in more detail.  You may view that document here.

2017-18 CHS 9th grade and new student device program.

We will visit with current CHS freshmen on April 25th and with current sophomores and juniors on April 26th.  For planning purposes, these students will be asked to complete and submit a letter of intent so that we will know if they wish to continue their current device plan, or switch over to the Chromebook device.

Letter of intent - Students currently leasing iPads.  (PDF)

Letter of intent - Students who currently provide their own device.  (PDF)

These letters of intent are due back in the CHS office by Friday, May 12.  We ask that parents please make the decision with their child, and sign the intent form.

In addition, CHS will host informational parent meetings on Tuesday, May 2 and Thursday, May 11 at 7 PM in the CHS auditorium.  These meetings are optional and are intended answer any questions you may have.   Please plan to attend one of these meetings if you have any questions.

Monday, March 27, 2017

End of Year Procedures for CHS Students Leasing iPads

As the end of the year approaches, it's time to decide what you want to do with your leased iPad.

Image result for ipad air 2

Semester 2 lease payments are due by May 1!

Please pay your semester 2 lease payment by May 1.  If you are unsure how much you owe, stop by Ms. Wolfe's office or send an email to Ms. Wolfe ( or Mr. Evertson ( and we will be happy to let you know.  

After you have paid your current semester payment, you have three basic options for the end of the year and summer.

  1. Check in your iPad on the last day of school and pick it up again when school begins in August.
  2. Pay your 2017-18 repair protection fee and keep your iPad for the summer.   Note the change, you may take your iPad home for the summer once we have signed you out for the year in technology.  Even if you plan to switch to a chromebook, you may keep your iPad for the summer.
  3. Pay the balance remaining on the iPad (purchase it).

To help you decide what works best for you, let's look more closely at each of these options.

Option 1:

  • If you don't need your iPad over the summer and you would prefer to keep it safely stored at school, this is the simplest and safest option.  
  • If you choose this option, you will:
    • Pay any remaining balance for the current semester.
    • Check in your iPad during check out on the last day of school.
    • Your iPad will be safely stored and ready for you to pick up when school resumes in August.
    • When you pick up your iPad in August, you will pay your 2017-18 repair protection fee and your first semester payment will be due at the end of the first quarter.

Option 2:

  • If you want to keep your iPad over the summer, you will need to pay your 2017-18 repair protection fee before you can make sure all of your bills are paid and we will sign you out for technology.
  • If you choose this option, you will:
    • Pay any remaining balance for your lease for the current semester.
    • Pay the 2017-18 repair protection fee ($15 if you lease the iPad Air, $30 if you lease the Air 2).  You're previous protection plan will apply over the summer.
    • Keep your iPad when you leave for the summer.
    • Your first semester payment for 2017-18 will be due at the end of the first quarter.
    • Note that the protection fee is only paid one time per school year, and covers one device repair at no charge to you.  If you break your device over the summer and we repair it, you will have used your free repair for 2017-18.

Option 3:

  • If you want to own your iPad now, you can pay the remaining balance of the lease.  Once you pay off your iPad, you own it and you no longer have to pay the repair protection fee.  However, you are responsible for any repairs your device requires.
  • If you choose this option, you will:
    • Pay any remaining balance for your ipad through the end of the lease.
    • Keep your iPad when you leave for the summer.
    • Remember, with this option you do not have any protection for breakage or repair.  You are financially responsible for any repairs needed.

If you have any questions, please email Ms. Wolfe or Mr. Evertson.  

Enjoy the rest of the school year!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

CCS WiFi Network Info

At Cozad Community Schools, we use our WiFi networks to provide access to staff, students, and guests.  This post is meant to help you to understand which networks you can and should access.

The following networks are currently or will be available:

CCS Mobile

  • Password protected (ask a teacher or fellow student if you need the password)
  • Currently can access printers and file services and shares
  • All students and staff and any guests with the password can connect
  • Since our access points were updated on October 26, the previous connection problems with this network seem to be fixed.
  • This network will be removed in the next few weeks

CCS Public

  • Open network (no password required)
  • Provides full internet access, but no access to printers or other internal services
  • Suitable for students, guests and teachers who only need internet access
  • Easiest network connection for personal devices
  • This network replaces CCS Mobile and all previous guest networks
  • This network is available from 6 AM to 10 PM

CCS Private

  • Coming soon!
  • Provides full internet access, along with internal services such as printing and access to file shares.
  • Will require that you log in with your Active Directory account.  This is the same account you use to log into PowerSchool, Schoology, eBackpack, etc.
  • While students can connect to this network, there is no reason to do so unless you need to print (Note: printing is not allowed from personal student devices or iPads).  
  • Teachers should choose this network for their work computers and iPads

CCS Event

  • This is a special network for athletic and activities events
  • Intended for STRIV, media and statisticians
  • The password is only available through permission from the administration


  • This special network is only available in the HS commons for the lunch computers
  • Other than lunch computers, students and staff are not allowed on this network

Friday, September 23, 2016

Personal Data Security

Whether you use a Yahoo account or not, the news that Yahoo was breached by hackers nearly two years ago and that 500 million accounts are at risk is a reminder that we all need to pay closer attention to our personal security.

My concern here is all of our personal accounts, not school accounts.  We all have an increasing amount of personal data tied into multiple accounts that we use and become more reliant upon each day.

Because of where we live, we don't have to worry that much about physical security.  But if you lived in a rough neighborhood where break-ins and assaults were common, we would all raise our level of concern.  We'd make sure we had really good locks on our doors, we'd never leave our cars unlocked, and we might even hook one of those cool chains to our wallets.

The point is, the internet is a rough neighborhood and we really don't have a choice about living there.  Is it is worth the "cost" (of time and convenience, not money) to put better locks on your house?

At a minimum, we should all do these things...

  • Do not use the same password or even slight variations for multiple services.  That is a hacker's dream!  If I get one of your sites, I have them all!  Especially do not use the same passwords at work that you use for personal stuff.

Of course, the problem is that it's very inconvenient to use different passwords for all the accounts we have.  The only realistic solution is to use a password manager.  You don't need to be a tech-geek to use one, but you do need to invest a little bit of time in setting up a password manager and seeing how it works for you.  The two main advantages of a password manager are that your passwords will be much more secure and that you will not have to remember them.

  • Change your passwords fairly regularly (every few months or once a year), especially if you have the slightest suspicion that something "funny" is going on with one or more of your accounts.  This is where your time investment in a password manager pays off, it makes this process much easier and more practical.

  • Enable multi-factor authentication for any account that has access to sensitive information.  This simple strategy will foil anyone who gets your password!  It's pretty easy to use, and it's like adding a second, blast-proof door to your home.  

Let Patty or me know if you'd like more information or to visit with us about personal data security.  We'd be happy to provide demonstrations, recommendations, or workshops to help everyone increase their personal safety and data security.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Start of year with CHS student devices

One of the changes for all of us heading into the 16-17 school year is the student device program for CHS.  Most students will still have iPads, but about 25% chose the BYOD option.  Some of those students will likely bring iPads, but some will also bring laptops or possibly even chromebooks.

We'd like to avoid technology disruptions in your classroom as much as possible.  Teachers, please do not feel that you need to solve technical issues for your students.  In general, Patty and I will be available to provide student help as quickly as possible, especially in the first few weeks, but keep in mind that we may not be able to get everyone right away.  Please keep this in mind as you plan your lessons for the first few days.

Some students have not picked up their new devices and may be using an old device, or they may not have a device right away.  For the first week or so, we will NOT get students their new device before school or during class time!  We will be available after school to work with the students in completing their paperwork and picking up the device they leased from us.

Basic information you can provide to students:

WiFi:  CCS Mobile, the password is always Cozad789.  To avoid confusion, I've disabled the guest network.  Any networks "seen" other than CCS Mobile are NOT school networks.  Connecting to other networks (usually residential networks from neighbors, but could also be hotspots from student phones) may give students internet access, but they should NOT be connecting to any WiFi network other than CCS Mobile.

Keep in mind that some student-owned devices may have cellular network access just as phones do, and that most phones today can be used as mobile hotspots.  Be aware that ONLY the school network is filtered.  We recommend that your classroom rules explicitly prohibit the use of networks other than CCS Mobile.

Where to get help.  In general, Patty will work with iPad issues, and I'll handle everything else, but this is not a hard and fast rule.  For the first few days, we will both be available before school in Patty's office area.  Feel free to let students know where both of our offices are.

  • You are welcome to send students to us for help during your class time if that is what you prefer, but this is not required.  Students can see us before and after school if you do not want them to leave your classroom or miss time with you.
  • You are welcome to help students with devices, but this is not something you are required to do!  Again, our goal is to minimize disruptions for you.  If students have problems, send them our way or inform them that they should see us before or after school.  If a student's device is not functioning, you may have to pair them with another student or provide an alternate means of participation.  
  • Students may provide the most effective help to each other.  Don't be afraid to ask other students to help out.
  • If it fits within your classroom rules and with your permission, students may use their phone.
  • These issues should diminish as we get into the year, but it is likely there will be problems at first.
  • If you prefer, feel free to submit a helpdesk on behalf of the student, or you can email us.  We get notified right away when a ticket is submitted.  The link for submitting a helpdesk is located on our school webpage under Staff-Requests.  Students are welcome to submit tickets as well.
Thank you for help and patience as we make the adjustments in the device program this year!

Dave and Patty