Colorado School District to Hash Out Student Data Privacy Policy

Boulder Valley school board officials say the trick will securing the data, while still making it accessible for educational vendors.

by Amy Bounds, Daily Camera / October 24, 2017

The Boulder Valley school board is set to discuss a new student data privacy policy that's required by state law at a Tuesday work session.

Boulder Valley school board President Sam Fuqua said the question before the board is whether to go further than what's required by state law.

"Nobody wants to compromise the privacy of student data," he said. "The trickiest part is what level of access is good for third-party vendors who provide various tools that can be useful in the classroom."

Andrew Moore, the district's chief information officer, said the district is already following all the steps outlined in the law, created to prevent companies from collecting data that identifies individual students.

For the policy, he's starting with a model policy provided by the Colorado Association of School Boards that meets all of the requirements. The work session is a chance for board members to propose additions, he said.

Under the law, certain types of data are very restricted, including student addresses, grades and behavior reports, he said.

The rules also require vendors to destroy data shortly after school districts stop working with them, and doesn't allow them to use the individual pieces of data they collect to later create full student profiles.

Moore, who helped write the legislation by providing a school district perspective, cautioned that it's possible to go too far.

"We can restrict technology to the point where there's no benefit to it," he said. "It's really about a balance on how we treat our data and how the data is used."

The neighboring St. Vrain Valley School District adopted a data privacy policy in May using the language developed by the Colorado Association of School Boards.

The district also created a data privacy webpage that details the district's policies and practices, including a section listing all of the third-party vendors of apps and software that are sharing or storing private data.

One of the benefits of a state law, St. Vrain Valley Technology Director Patrick Mount said, is vendors know they have to comply with the new rules.

"It's not just St. Vrain asking them to do these things," he said. "As vendors are learning it's state law, they're adjusting their practices."

©2017 the Daily Camera (Boulder, Colo.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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