Student Data Privacy

In an effort to ensure the protection and privacy of students and their data, Hopkinton Public Schools has been working diligently to review and improve the effectiveness of our technology practices. These efforts strengthen our support of  both the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA), as well as the Massachusetts student record regulations.

We are taking multiple steps to ensure that student data is always protected. Consequently, over the course of this year we will be making some district-wide adjustments to our practices.

  • A new software vetting process will begin in November 2017. Teachers and students will now request applications to be approved for usage.
  • Starting in January, High School Students will use our Helpdesk Ticket System to collect new requests from all teachers and high school students. In order to be more transparent, we are in the process of creating a new website that discloses information about applications and digital resources we currently use in the district.

While we may have privileged convenience in the past, we are taking a more proactive approach to addressing risk increases targeting both devices and data. One of our first steps in reducing vulnerabilities posed by malware and other risk will be to remove administrative permissions for students with leased laptops. Administrative rights will be adjusted on the following timeline in the following ways. 

    1. Class of 2021 in second semester (January of 2018)
    2. Class of 2019 and Class of 2020 in the fall (August 2018).
    3. Adding new wireless networks and new printers, at home or school, will not be restricted. No previously installed applications will be removed provided they adhere to our acceptable use policy.
    4. Students will be able to add the latest updates and approved apps through Self Service, a pre-installed application on all leased computers.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we make this transition. This is a process, driven by legal requirements, risk and threat reduction, and increased efforts to protect our devices and data, as well as staff and student users. If you have questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact myself or a member of the Technology Department. For more updates please see our department website at




Video Refreshes Elementary Art Classes

Photo: Gaus Working with Student

“Hello, Elmwood artists!” sings teacher Bonnie Gaus, greeting students in each of her new video demonstrations prepared for her second and third-grade art classes. This year Gaus has begun producing short videos for her students to communicate directions, demonstrations, as well as a whole lot of creative fun.

Meeting 23 classes of second and third graders in a single week means a whole lot of students make their way through her art classroom. Working with every one of the more than 500 students at Elmwood Elementary poses a different kind of challenge. Veteran art teacher Gaus was inspired to try something new this year and making videos for her students has reignited her teaching.

“I saw other teachers doing it on YouTube. And I thought this would be great when I introduce choices because this is a choice-based classroom,” Gaus said. “I teach skills, not specific projects. I show them how to use the different tools and then they choose their subject matter.”

The videos Gaus has already produced have changed her classroom. Part demonstration of artistic techniques, part explicit direction about getting started and cleaning up, Gaus’ foray into video production has already had some significant benefits.

“I am able to show everything visually and write it down, so they can watch and read it. Each kid gets the same exact information. And they just retain it better. With the video, I don’t know what it is, but they are completely enthralled,” Gaus explained.

Third-grader Elena noticed some other advantages, as well. “You can turn up the volume and hear it better. Since the screen is so big, everyone can see it. If she is sitting right there and trying to show us, some people won’t be able to see or hear her.”

Photo: Art Students WorkingAnother factor that has helped Gaus involves time management. Each art class only lasts forty minutes, once a week, which means time is particularly precious. The video production process has helped Gaus revisit all her demonstrations with an eye squarely focused on duration.

“I can look at the video and it helps me to make things concise. Since art is so short, I want to keep the demos between 4 and 7 minutes,” Gaus said, maximizing the time that students have to be creative and engage in making art. “It forces me to make information as clear and concise as I can.”

Third-grader Lila has enjoyed the new effort, “They are funny and they teach you new things. It is kind of easier to understand, instead of her talking directly. When you watch the videos you can tell better what she is saying, because before she might have to repeat if some kids are talking over her.”

“I won’t forget to tell them something. They are all engaged and they are not raising their hands to give comments because they are watching,” Gaus added. “There is a lot of information for them to retain, especially when they are excited to get started.”

Photo: Art Students Watching Another student Mia explained, “I feel like it is really helpful. She makes the videos fun and interesting to watch while explaining the directions to do. I like how she uses materials to help. She draws stuff to help us get ideas.”

“Mrs. Gaus can be in like twelve places in five minutes. Then, she can have materials she can use that are not in the room,” classmate Zach said of the videos. “They are interesting, so more kids want to pay attention. So, it is easier to follow directions.”

Not only are the students gaining from the new experience but the teacher has become the student again. “I just wanted to get excited about something new and I wasn’t really using technology. So I am teaching myself new things,” Gaus said.

The art teacher dove straight into teaching herself how to make the videos from start to finish. Preferring to work alone, he spends considerable time planning, shooting, and editing her productions.

“I write out what I want to do. The most challenging thing is when I watch myself and make it interesting, and the editing,” Gaus said, minimizing the time and effort she has put into learning how to edit video with iMovie. “Each one is getting better but it is fun for me.”

Very soon, she also will be integrating a set of iPads into the various centers around the classroom, increasing her personal and professional learning and use of technology even more.

Still, the true charm is Gaus the teacher. Her classroom persona is filled with character but the videos amplify her playful nature and comic qualities. She revels in the character she assumes in the videos, exaggerating with energy and doing a number of voices with all kinds of improv puppetry.

As another third-grader, Sophia said, “She has funny voices with her puppies. And the puppies are really cute. She uses them to tell us things and get us happy and excited.”

The students are not the only ones delighted.

Gaus said, “It’s exciting to me and it has made teaching fresh for me again!”

Digital Learning

Photo: Gaus Working with Student

Video Refreshes Elementary Art Classes

Friday, November 10, 2017

“Hello, Elmwood artists!” sings teacher Bonnie Gaus, greeting students in each of her new video demonstrations prepared for her second and third-grade art classes. This year Gaus has…

Chromebook Clout @HopkinsSchool

Friday, November 3, 2017

With great power comes great responsibility. At Hopkins School, students and teachers are exploring their new technological superpowers while learning strategies to help them become outstanding digital citizens….