When Keeping Students Safe in Google Workspace is a Priority
Lenoir City Schools is a small K-12 school district located outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. The district consists of three schools, in which about 250 faculty and staff support approximately 2,300 students.
Wes Rhodes is the Network Administrator for Lenoir City Schools. Like many school Network Administrators, he wears many hats. His responsibilities include web filtering management, technical support for internet and wireless networks, and maintaining technology systems in the district central office, to name a few.
When Lenoir began their move from on-prem to cloud computing several years ago, it made many aspects of Rhodes’ job a bit easier. Google made it easy for him to create and manage user accounts and run usage reports. It also meant he no longer needed to manage physical servers.
The shift to Google Workspace was relatively straightforward and seamless for the small Tennessee school district, and they’ve been happy. Now, Lenoir is a full 1:1 district that uses some Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses for teachers and students.
“Since we allow Chromebooks to go home with our students, it’s our responsibility to keep an eye on them as much as possible,” explains Rhodes. “We want to make sure that we’re keeping our students safe when they use that technology, no matter where they are using it.”
Since their students started using Chromebooks, Rhodes has been using Securly Auditor to monitor student safety risks in Google Workspace. The tool works great for the district’s needs, and he did not see any reason to need another product to monitor student behavior in Google.
“ManagedMethods provides us more visibility to watch for student behavior in the school’s Google domain that they shouldn’t be doing. I like the idea of doing what we can to keep our kids safe. If I can prevent one catastrophic thing from happening, then it’s totally worth it to me.”
— Wes Rhodes, Network Administrator
But when his CTO, Dr. Chris Smallen, heard about ManagedMethods from a counterpart in another school district, they decided to look into it.
“Dr. Smallen has always been pretty cutting edge. He likes to keep up-to-date on what is out there and see what it can do for us. If it’s something that seems like it would be beneficial, we will at least give it a try.”
Rhodes signed up for the 30-day free trial offered by ManagedMethods to try it out. He found gaps in what Securly was able to monitor that ManagedMethods was able to cover. The key differences are that ManagedMethods monitors for student safety signals in Google Chat, Drive, and Shared Drives, as well as in Gmail, Docs, Slides, and elsewhere.
“There have been several Google Chat conversations that I’ve had to get school assistant principals involved in. There have also been content issues with students sharing inappropriate images in our Google Drive that needed to be brought to someone’s attention. We would not have been able to catch these issues without ManagedMethods.”
— Wes Rhodes, Network Administrator
“ManagedMethods provides us more visibility to watch for student behavior in the school’s Google domain that they shouldn’t be doing,” says Rhodes. “I like the idea of doing what we can to keep our kids safe. If I can prevent one catastrophic thing from happening, then it’s totally worth it to me.”
Lenoir City Schools became a ManagedMethods customer in the summer of 2020. Rhodes uses ManagedMethods in conjunction with Securly Auditor so he can also keep an eye on things like students’ browsing habits. He can also go into ManagedMethods when Securly is flagging a student to dig into their user account information to see if they are also getting flagged in Chat or have other issues going on.
“There have been several Google Chat conversations that I’ve had to get school assistant principals involved in,” Rhodes explains. “There have also been content issues with students sharing inappropriate images in our Google Drive that needed to be brought to someone’s attention. We would not have been able to catch these issues without ManagedMethods.”
Rhodes also likes working with ManagedMethods’ customer support team. They were great to work with on the initial setup of his free trial, and have continued to be helpful ever since.
“ManagedMethods’ customer support team is good about reaching out just to see how things are going,” says Rhodes. “We recently did our yearly tune-up, and it was great to have that one-on-one support. The customer support tech provided some recommendations for tweaks that were definitely for the better.”
Rhodes also worked with ManagedMethods customer support tech to turn on the newest cyber safety feature to improve student safety monitoring. Signals by ManagedMethods uses machine learning technology to detect self-harm, cyberbullying, and other types of behavioral risk signals in both text and image content.
“I recommend ManagedMethods to other districts that are looking for this type of solution,” says Rhodes. “Give it a try! The free trial is full-blown, so you’re truly able to demo the full product before you buy. And it’s absolutely worth it to help keep our kids safe.”
- Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 visibility and control without agents, proxies, or gateways
- Comprehensive email security for Gmail and Outlook 365
- Discovery and control of 3rd party apps that connect to Google and Microsoft 365Go
- Protection against malware, phishing, account takeovers, and other cyber attacks
- Policy enforcement to meet FERPA, COPPA, CIPA, etc
- Affordable pricing for districts of all sizes