Friday, September 17, 2010

Verizon Grant Supports Effort to Raise Awareness About the AUP

The Boston Public School district will roll out the Everyone Needs to Know the AUP initiative in fall 2010, thanks to financial support from the Verizon Foundation. Verizon joins Microsoft, Boston Society of Information Managers and Bunker Hill Community College in supporting the five-year-old City of Boston's Cyber Safety Campaign.

Last spring, with the increase in cyber safety issues facing students and school districts, combined with the new Massachusetts' anti-bullying law now in place, the BPS Office of Instructional and Information Technology (OIIT) decided to use the opportunity to ratchet up the focus on the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). OIIT's TechBoston unit director, Felicia Vargas, led the process to revise the Boston School district's Acceptable Use Policy for computer usage in the school district.

This past summer, OIIT's TechBoston unit hired 14 high school Cyber Safety Mentors and three college-age supervisors. The cyber mentors worked over an intensive seven-week period conducting over 60 internet safety presentations throughout the city of Boston. The mentors also developed podcasts and presentations about the district's new AUP.

Beginning in September, OIIT will be working to increase the visibility and understandability of the Acceptable Use Policy for all students. With Verizon's financial support, OIIT will hire several BPS graduates and will deploy these Verizon Cyber Mentors to conduct cyber safety presentations in BPS schools during the year. The Verizon Cyber Mentors will be paired with schools to help educate the entire community about internet safety.

The AUP materials that the Cyber Mentors developed this summer are now posted online where the teachers, parents, administrators and students can access them throughout the school year. Check out the lesson plans, glossaries, and cool podcasts developed for all grade levels at

For more information about this initiative, please contact Felicia Vargas,, or Eric Esteves,

Photo Caption: BPS Cyber Safety Mentors pose for a photo with Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley after briefing her on the cyber safety during a visit to her office on August 19, 2010.

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