When the Unionville-Sebewaing Area School District was forced to move to online learning in 2020, it was necessary to consider other ways to monitor the behavior of students learning from home.

USA Schools became the first district in Huron County to implement Bark to Schools. This is an application that monitors student devices and explains suspicious behavior.

The program is free to use from all kindergartens to high schools across the country, said Cindy Gettel, district technology director, and more than 2,800 districts across the country use the program on Burke’s website. It is stated that there is. It was developed in response to the 2018 Parkland shootings as a way to protect students online.

The pilot program from kindergarten to the second grade of junior high school continued for one year before being included in all upper grades in March 2020.

“When we needed to virtualize for COVID, we were worried about our students’ online activities because of the increased access to online devices and the Internet,” says Gettel. “I introduced this application as a way to monitor student behavior when not on school grounds or using school devices. I told both the principal, the student’s dean, and the director. I met and agreed to use it together. “

“Our school district uses G Suite student account K-12 to monitor keywords in these applications,” says Gettel, who uses Gmail, Hangouts, Google Drive, and Google. Mentioned the application of documentation. It also monitors Microsoft 365 applications, Chrome, Chromebooks, and DNS filtering.

Bark helps monitor potential problems such as cyberbullying, sexual predators, suicide and other threats of violence.

This program applies to all student accounts and devices at the beginning of the academic year. When a particular keyword or image is detected, the respective principal and dean will be notified. If you need to discuss it, contact the student’s parents.

Parents can contact Gettel through the principal to check the student’s online activity.

Gettel said the system has not yet detected violent behavior, but has allowed the school district to teach students whether online use is appropriate.

“This provided some insight into student communication, opened the door to more online education for the student’s decision-making process, and informed parents of their child’s activities.” Gettel says.