Data Privacy and Security
In the Gresham-Barlow school district, student data security is a top priority. We work to ensure that privacy, confidentiality, security, and the appropriate use of data are respected especially when Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is collected. This “data stewardship” involves all aspects of data, from planning, collection and maintenance to use and dissemination. To that end, here are our best practices for keeping data secure:
Our Directory Information (code: JOA) and Personally Identifiable Information (code: JOB) policies are our guiding documents for how we manage and share student data. With every new service/application we bring online, a data sharing agreement based on these policies is put in place clearly stating how vendors can and can not use student data.
Application Purchase Review
Before a new service/application is purchased, a review is done by both the Teaching & Learning and Technology Services departments. Applications are assessed for educational value, content appropriateness, and data security. When an application passes review, a data sharing agreement is signed by both the vendor and the district before the application is implemented for use.
The district takes every reasonable precaution to ensure the safety and well being of our students online by blocking inappropriate web content. While a filter is NOT 100% effective, it does discourage most inappropriate use and helps students to avoid distractions and focus on using the computer for learning and for schoolwork. Because web filtering can not block all inappropriate materials, teachers & parents still need to be vigilant when students use the Internet. Our acceptable use policy (code: IIBGA-AR) provides guidance on this topic.
The single biggest threat to data security is people. We annually train staff on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as well cybersecurity awareness to help staff spot fake emails that attempt to solicit login credentials. We also promote good practice around the physical security of devices and the use of strong passphrases to secure online accounts. We encourage staff to promote these best practices with students at every opportunity.
Our teachers often utilize the activities and lessons from the Digital Citizenship curriculum created by Common Sense Media. This is a research based curriculum that is made freely available to give students the skills they need to be good digital learners and participate in the global digital community. Specific skills that are covered include privacy and security, digital footprint and identity, media balance and well-being, relationships and communication, cyberbullying, digital drama and hate speech, and news and media literacy. We encourage parents to go through the age appropriate “take-home resources” with their students and complete the families activities for each lesson.