Seattle Public Schools

Technology Supports for Families

Apple Classroom and GoGuardian Teacher

New Classroom Tools for 2024-25

For the 2024-25 school year, Seattle Public Schools will be launching two digital tools to help teachers guide student learning with their SPS devices.

This system supports teachers to share learning content quickly and easily, differentiate instruction, and minimize task-irrelevant distractors.

The Apple Classroom and GoGuardian Teacher tools will support an overall strategy and rollout of district-supplied devices for all students. District devices will have optimal compatibility across district technologies and applications.

Respecting Privacy and Boundaries

This tool supports student privacy by deactivating features outside school hours and off school premises, respecting the balance between educational oversight and personal space. It is important to note that the tool does not have control over cameras and microphones. To further ensure privacy, it is only accessible within specific IP address ranges on school premises. 

The teacher and students need to be in close proximity, signed on to the same Wi-Fi network, and in an active class session. The teacher cannot view student devices outside of class.  

This solution will prioritize the security of student data. The information used in the tool is the same data that already exists in PowerSchool, and our partners are prohibited from sharing this data without explicit permission from the school district.

Apple Classroom – Data Security and Privacy

SPS uses Apple features and services for education in compliance with their obligations under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in the United States.

Per the privacy policy, Apple Classroom will never sell student information, and will never share it with third parties to use for marketing or advertising. Apple Classroom will never build profiles of students based on their online behavior, and will not collect, use, or disclose student information other than to provide relevant educational services. 

Apple’s Data and Privacy Overview for Schools provides additional details on how Apple handles student data and privacy for Managed Apple IDs and related education features.

GoGuardian – Data Security and Privacy

Per the privacy policy, GoGuardian does not sell Personal Student Information. GoGuardian will not use Personal Student Information to target advertisements or market to students or anyone else, to amass a profile about a K-12 educational student for a non-educational purpose, or for any purposes prohibited by the Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act (FERPA).  

A comprehensive Student Data Privacy Agreement is in place with SPS to further ensure GoGuardian abides by the data security and privacy requirements outlined.

For more detailed information about GoGuardian:

Features and Benefits

The Apple Classroom and GoGuardian Teacher tools include the following features:

  • Enhanced Learning Engagement: Utilizes real-time remote support of student devices to support engagement providing a more interactive and responsive educational experience. 
  • Focused Educational Environment: Educators can gently guide students back to classroom activities, ensuring a distraction-free learning space. 
  • Safe and Customizable Online Access: Provides flexible control over internet access, enabling a secure and tailored online environment that adapts to the needs of each class or educational session. 
  • Interactive and Supportive Communication: Fosters a collaborative learning atmosphere through digital messaging and screensharing, enabling personalized support and a more connected classroom community.

How is this project funded?

The new equipment is funded by the Buildings, Technology, and Academics/Athletics Capital Levy V (BTA V). Because this fund is specifically allocated to build or maintain capital assets, it can’t be used for operating expenses. The salary and benefits of most employees are paid from the general fund. Voters approved the BTA V Levy in 2022 with nearly 80% voting yes. Learn more about school levies. 

Ensuring Equitable Access

SPS is committed to our vision to prepare our graduates for college, career, and community. Our technology planning continues to focus on equitable access and best practices for implementing emerging teaching and learning technologies.  

We have a commitment to foster an environment where all students, regardless of their race, have the opportunity to achieve. This means differentiating resource allocations, within budgetary limitations, to serve students with the support and opportunities they need to succeed academically. This commitment is in alignment with Board Policy 0030: Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity and our strategic plan, Seattle Excellence.

Why will these tools be installed on all district student devices?

The purpose of these tools is to create an educational digital environment that is designed to be safe, compliant with educational standards, and conducive to learning. Teachers can utilize these tools for teachable moments as they arise and engage students in critical learning opportunities. Students will have the benefit of this support and engagement from Teachers but only in the assigned learning time in the classroom.

How may educators use these tools for student support?

Educators may view student usage specifically within their class period. This can only occur within school hours and while the device is connected to the school network. This practice is reflected by District policy for use of school internet and laptop and tablet device agreement regarding needs for filtering, supervision, and instruction; coupled with the responsibility of educators to safely steward use of this tool for student privacy.

If a student’s browsing seems to reveal sensitive information about the student, we would like to remind educators that students of all ages are entitled to privacy.

District policy for Gender-Inclusive Schools also underscores the importance of student right to privacy about student’s gender identity, legal name, or assigned sex at birth which may constitute confidential medical or educational information. In addition to this policy, we recommend similar practices for educators to ensure privacy of student LGBTQ+ status. Disclosing this information to others may violate privacy laws, including the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Therefore, to ensure student safety and well-being, and to provide identity-safe schools for all, staff should not disclose a student’s sensitive information to others unless (1) legally required to do so or (2) the student has authorized disclosure.

Child Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation Prevention policy requires appropriate representatives to take follow-up measures regarding any case of suspected child abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Suicide Prevention. District staff who have knowledge of a suicide threat must take the proper steps to support the student and to report this information to the building principal or designee who will, in turn, notify the appropriate school and district officials, the student’s family, and appropriate resource services.

When students use the Internet from school facilities, district employees will make a reasonable effort to supervise student access and use of the Internet. If a student’s browsing does not contain indications of access to obscene, racist, hateful, or violent material, information about their browsing should be kept private.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will the tool look like in classrooms?

Digital Learning supports the fusion of tools and practice in the classroom to provide students with essential experiences and skills needed to be successful in college and life. We will actively engage with our students during class to educate them about responsible digital behavior and online safety. Furthermore, we will provide training to our teachers on how to effectively utilize the tool, along with our established policies and procedures, to safeguard student information and well-being. 

Foundational documents of our work include: 

What communications between teachers and students will be allowed using these new tools?

Teachers and students may use chat and screen sharing during the class period the student is in the teacher’s class. Students will not be able to chat with other students.  

Are teachers able to block specific websites during class time?

Yes, teachers have the ability to control student access to certain websites, including specific YouTube pages. This can be done in coordination with the lesson plan or other class activities.  

Will students be able to tell when one of these tools is actively in use on a student device?

  • Apple Classroom: Students will see a blue AirPlay indicator in the status bar when their device is in an active classroom session. 
apple classroom screenshot
  • GoGuardian: Students will get a pop-up screen when they log in to their district device and see a blue GoGuardian shield indicator in the Browser. This indicates that the GoGuardian application is installed. However, this does not mean a student is in an active session with a teacher. This would only be indicated by a Chat indicator at the bottom of their screen if the teacher has enabled the Chat function for the class session.
GoGuardian screenshot

Will teachers be able to access a student’s activity history after class?

Yes, teachers will have access to a report that shows student activities and website usage during their class if the tool is activated. This allows them to review and analyze student engagement and participation. Using the tool, educators can capture screenshots of the screen during an active class session (only during school hours while the device is connected to the school network). Screenshots are not captured automatically and require educator action.

When and how do the tools operate? Can the teacher see through the camera?

GoGuardian Teacher is only enabled while on the school network during school hours.  

SPS will not use GoGuardian Teacher Video Conferencing. SPS Teachers using the tool cannot control students’ microphones or cameras. The teacher cannot force-enable the student to use the camera or audio.