Thanks to new tools, evolving technologies, and powerful techniques for improving the efficacy of student learning, school districts have collected more student data than ever. With this bounty of information, though, comes significant challenges in terms of privacy breaches. These risks are further compounded when cloud-computing services and third-party providers are contracted to better utilize this abundant data. This is why school and district transparency, a thorough knowledge of data governance, comprehensive contract practices, and clear contract terms are all vital components of an efficient student data privacy strategy.

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All Privacy toolkit files

A zip file containing all of the downloadable files listed below.

Privacy in the Age of No Privacy

Teachers are tasked to create more targeted lessons utilizing student data. But to accomplish this means reaching out to education technology companies to store, handle, and protect an ever-growing collection of sensitive student data.

Student Privacy and Digital Compliance Strategies

While student privacy and digital compliance in education involves a learning curve, it’s in the interest of educators, policymakers, the private sector, and parents to put the right policies and practices in motion as quickly as possible. 

Creating Healthy Digital Environments for Students

Training staff and students in data privacy and healthy digital practices is essential to both preventing incidents and minimizing the damage of a potential technology-based incident. 

Don't Have Your Head "Up in the Clouds" When Dealing with Metadata

With today’s digital learning tools, education data is a morass of “metadata” gleaned each time a student interacts with these tools and learning services. 

Give Your Third-Party Vendors the Third Degree

Contracts with third-party vendors should specify exactly what data will be collected, who has access to that data, what that data will be used for, and how (and when) that data will be deleted.

Mobile Devices and Privacy

Today’s technology—especially social media and mobile apps—makes it easier than ever to divulge personal data, location, and any number of identifying factors.

Federal and State Student-Data Privacy Overview

Due to increased awareness of student data privacy issues, there is a push to create, implement, enforce or refine industry-wide standards and legislation.


The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) imposes requirements on websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records.  

CIPA 101

Get an incisive overview of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA): was enacted to address concerns about children’s access to harmful Internet content.

PPRA 101

The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) is intended to protect the rights of parents and students in regards to surveys, analysis and evaluation.

Student Privacy Considerations for Parents

Parents are concerned about the possible implications that online services, digital tools, and social media have on their children’s privacy. This is why parents should be familiar with the data privacy policies and practices of their child’s school.

The Berkman Center's Student Privacy Institute

The Berkman Center's Student Privacy Initiative offers a number of comprehensive white papers and assorted research documents reporting on issues of student privacy, technology and policy.

Protecting Privacy in Connected Learning Toolkit

Courtesy of CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), this comprehensive resource is intended to help school systems navigate some of the privacy issues that can arise when selecting and using an online service provider as well as the obligations School Systems need to comply with under federal privacy laws.

Data Security: The First Step to Protect Student Privacy

This analyst report written by Bob Moore explores how, while strong security protocols are not necessarily in conflict with academic freedom, it is very difficult to provide an “anything goes” technology environment while protecting privacy in a way that meets parent, student, and staff expectations.

Suggested Contract Terms

Courtesy of CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), this document can be useful for school systems as they search for online service providers, and stresses how important it is to draw a contract that specifies how the provider will comply with your security requirements.  

Security Planning Rubric

Courtesy of CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), this rubric describes the status of issues that districts can examine to determine current degree of security preparedness.

Security Questions to Ask of An Online Service Provider

Courtesy of CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), this is a non-exhaustive list of key security questions to discuss with your provider. A service level agreement (SLA) should include as many of these considerations as possible.

District Security Self-Assessment Checklist

Courtesy of CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), this is a checklist to help gauge your district’s state of security readiness. Use this questionnaire to gain a quick sense of your overall security profile. 


Suggestions and tips to help you compile with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).

Providing Rural Students Access to Technology

Faced with the decline of the local textile industry, in 2009 the rural Piedmont City School district in northeastern Alabama, began MPower, a program to provide laptops to all students in Grades 4-12.

To Build Trust – Secure Student Data

To secure trust in our systems and people, we must take appropraite steps to secure all data. Read Bob Moore's post about four big challenges to data security faced by schools and districts. 

Data Security: The First Step to Protect Student Privacy

In this analyst report, Bob Moore presents the practical steps that every school technology leader should be taking to ensure security of data, with protecting privacy as the end in mind. 

Leaders Get Proactive As Big Data Gets Bigger

Craig Williams reflects on data in this recent post. As data use expands exponentially, it is important for school leaders and technology staff to consider best practices for use and privacy. 

10 Privacy Steps Every District Can Take Today!

In this follow-up post, Bob Moore offers practical advice for handling privacy and data in schools. 


Making Sense of Student Data Privacy

Student data privacy is an issue that concerns policy makers, parents, school administrators, technology leaders, and vendors.  The more schools adopt online, cloud services for educational purposes, privacy issues will only become more pressing. This report provides an overview of student data privacy and helps to explain the concerns and relevant laws. The report also offers suggestions for school leaders to better ensure the privacy of their students, while still encouraging the use of innovative technologies.

News, Publication
Addressing Privacy Issues Around Student Data

Are you concerned about student privacy? CoSN's new toolkit addresses this crucial issue.

Cloud Computing: A Look at School-Based Practices Today

Increasingly, data we use on a daily basis – including information used by schools to track students and manage resources – are stored in the cloud. Are we doing an adequate job of informing parents and protecting student privacy in this new, cloud-based world? According to a recent study by Fordham University the answer, in many school districts, is NO.

Tips for Cybersafety and Security

Advice for students, parents and educators on how to avoid risky situations and be a savvy digital citizen.


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