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Fox Chapel Area School District
611 Field Club Road / Pittsburgh, PA 15238 / 412.963.9600

Internet Filtering Services

Position Statement

The District is committed to providing a safe environment for all children to learn and grow. The vast content of the internet has opened a new world of digital learning and collaboration. As the capacities and applications of the internet grow daily, we, too, grow daily with it, modifying our instruction, infrastructure, and management. It is a continuous process to improve our solutions that maximize the learning opportunities as well as provide safe access to content. Our technology team works to improve the safety of content accessed with internet web filters that prevent access to websites harmful to minors, in addition to teaching responsible use and making available the collaborative benefits of the internet to improve learning and instruction.

The District has upgraded our capacities with improved firewall and filtering systems installed in the 2013-2014 school year. Even with the latest and consistently updated controls in place, no filtering technology is perfect, nor can it guarantee prevention of access to all inappropriate content. Aware of this, the District mindfully works to consistently improve our firewall capabilities with automatic updates and manual adjustments. We know the best complement to internet filtering is our commitment to cyber safety education and strong parent partnerships when helping students develop the intellectual skills necessary to discriminate among information sources, identify information appropriate to their age and developmental levels, and evaluating and using the information to meet their educational goals.

Educating our students is our primary charge, and the instruction on digital citizenship and cyber safety has become increasingly fundamental. Our curriculum includes instruction on appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response. The District partners with Common Sense Media for our curricular materials and parent resources for continuing the conversations at home.

How Our Filters Work

Our web filtering solution begins with traditional URL blocking lists. The web content filtering technology enables a wide variety of actions to inspect, rate, and control web traffic. Using web content filtering technology, our hardware is able to block access to harmful, inappropriate, and dangerous websites that may contain phishing/pharming attacks, malware such as spyware, or objectionable content. Based on automatic research tools and targeted research analysis, real-time updates enable us to apply highly-granular policies that filter web access based on more than 75 web content categories and more than 47 million rated websites - all continuously updated via a subscribed network.