BYOD Program Description

BYOD Program Description

SDP BYOD Opt-in Form: Before submitting this form, please make sure to carefully read all of the information below.

Sample BYOD Parent Notification Letter 

Relevant Policies:

The School District of Philadelphia offers schools a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. This program allows students and staff to use their personal mobile devices to access the Internet through the District’s BYOD Wi-Fi wireless network for teaching and learning activities. The goal of the program is to make it easy for individuals to bring their wireless network devices to school and have access to high speed Internet connectivity. Principals and teachers will determine when use of technology in a classroom is appropriate for teaching and learning activities, and students will now be able to bring their own devices from home, to supplement access to District-owned technology devices.

As cited in the School District of Philadelphia’s Action Plan 3.0, "Transitioning away from seat time, in favor of a structure that creates flexibility, allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning. This type of learning – where the content is relevant to each student, and the method and pace are tailored to his or her unique needs – leads to better student engagement and better student outcomes.” –United States Department of Education

Mobile devices are becoming more powerful, common, and essential in our everyday lives. By creating a Wi-Fi network that supports BYOD and specifying standards of use, the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) will be able to increase student connectivity to the Internet. The BYOD program has the potential to:

  • Maximize opportunities for students to integrate personally owned devices into their learning to become both critical consumers and producers of educational content, including:
    • reading, watching, listening to, and interacting with educational materials
    • creating content, documents and multimedia presentations
    • collaborating with teachers, peers and experts in the field
  • Provide access to reliable and safe infrastructures, networks and educational opportunities for classroom instruction that fosters safe and effective use of technologies anytime and anyplace;
  • Allow students increased access to digital tools and content to connect with educators, peers, experts, information and resources beyond the school walls and traditional school day;
  • Provide students real-time feedback, encourage the exchange of information and ideas through the use of assessment and documentation of educational activities making students accountable for their learning;
  • Allow students to receive and submit assignments digitally from any location encouraging continued learning outside traditional classroom walls; 


The School District of Philadelphia began the Bring Your Own Device program on August 21, 2014. BYOD is designed to allow students and staff a way to connect their devices to the Internet and access information using their own devices. Personal mobile devices and their security, maintenance, and responsible usage are still the responsibility of the individual and not the school or District as outlined in the BYOD Standards, Rules & Conditions below.

Wi-Fi Network Access:
A school may allow connectivity to a District-filtered BYOD network. The filtering of certain websites is required by law and ensures that some websites deemed dangerous, lewd, violent, or insecure are inaccessible from any District network. Laptops, tablets, eReaders, smartphones, and other devices that have Wi-Fi (802.11) wireless network capability may work with the District’s BYOD network.

Mobile Devices Supported:
The type of device one can use is limited only by its wireless network capability. Any device that has Wi-Fi 802.11a/g/n/ac (dual band) wireless network capability should be able to connect to the BYOD wireless network using their School District of Philadelphia network account information for username and password. Limited instructions beyond these details are available on how to connect and troubleshoot mobile device wireless settings.

Individuals are still liable for their conduct and must abide by the standards of use discussed in the BYOD standards below.

Support Options for Devices:
The SDP does not provide technical support for personal mobile devices. No SDP employee is responsible for troubleshooting, repairing, updating, or configuring a personal mobile device. You may not contact the SDP IT HelpDesk for support.


Responsible Usage:
All District policies including SRC Policy 815: Acceptable Use Of Internet, Computers and Network Resources, SRC Policy 237: Use of Electronic Devices, and, the SDP Code of Student Conduct, apply to personal and District-provided devices that connect to the District's Wi-Fi network and when connecting to a cellular/mobile network provider. The District is not liable for access, CIPA compliance or illegal conduct while connected to a non-SDP network provider, but the policies and consequences of school and District policies still apply.

The standards, rules and conditions cover the use of privately owned computing or communication devices in school. This practice is also known as “Bring Your Own Device”, or BYOD.  All users of personally owned mobile devices must abide by the applicable SRC policies and Student Code of Conduct which are linked to above. Devices considered “BYOD” candidates include but are not limited to the use of:

  • Laptop or netbook computers
  • Tablet or slate computers or similar devices
  • iPad, iPod Touch or similar devices
  • eReaders such as the Kindle, Nook or similar devices
  • Internet-capable smartphones, such as the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, or similar devices

School personnel is responsible for monitoring and enforcing student compliance with these standards, rules and conditions.

Personal Responsibility/Theft/Loss/Damage/Inspection:

  1. It is the responsibility of the individual student to safeguard his/her mobile device while on school property. It is recommended that the device locator feature be enabled if possible.
  2. Lost/Stolen devices must be reported to the appropriate school staff immediately. The District will not be held responsible for conducting searches for lost or stolen devices.
  3. The District will not be held responsible for lost, stolen or damaged equipment, including data damage or data loss resulting from connecting devices to the school’s wireless network or power outlets.
  4. The District is not responsible for any maintenance, repair, configuration or support to student mobile devices.
  5. The District is not responsible for any costs incurred by students while using their device during or after school hours.
  6. The SDP does not provide nor is responsible for software residing on the BYOD devices. This includes but is not limited to applications and operating systems.
  7. Whenever possible, an antivirus agent must be installed on privately owned devices. It is recommended that the software is updated regularly in order to safeguard the device against viruses and malicious software.
  8. All audible notification alerts on BYOD devices must be set to “silent” during the school day.

 Network /Internet Access/Electrical:

  1. BYOD devices, while in school, may only connect to the District’s BYOD Wi-Fi network. If a personal device is connected to the public cellular network or other network outside of the control of the SDP, the SDP is not responsible for maintaining CIPA compliance, and the student will be held to the guidelines of the Code of Student Conduct.
  2. School administration, faculty and staff retain the right to suspend or revoke access to the District’s BYOD Wi-Fi network and confiscate the privately owned device at any time if it is determined that the user is engaged in unauthorized activity, or, is violating the District’s Acceptable Use Policy or Student Code of Conduct.
  3. There should not be an expectation of privacy when using the SDP BYOD Wi-Fi network. The District is not responsible for the privacy or security of any data stored or transmitted by any privately owned devices.
  4. Students should bring devices fully-charged to school. Access to electrical outlets for charging should not be expected.

Approved Times and Locations for BYOD Device Usage:

  1. On school property during school hours for academic activities only.
  2. In classrooms and other instructional spaces with teacher approval as appropriate for the instructional activity.
  3. Use is prohibited in bathrooms, locker rooms, health suites and other changing areas at any time for purposes of video recording, imaging or audio recording.
  4. Use is prohibited in common areas such as hallways, lunchrooms/cafeterias, gymnasiums and auditoriums, unless specifically instructed to do so by a teacher or an administrator.
  5. Use is strictly prohibited during PSSA and Keystone testing periods.
  6. Use to update personal social media sites/accounts during school hours is prohibited.