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Student Data Privacy Resources

Resources for Many Reasons



The Student Data Privacy Resources provided here cover different users:


Click the links below to navigate to different sections of this page:

District Resources

    • Current news and blog post from the Ed-Fi alliance discussing a variety of topics (can be filtered by: Districts & Educators, State Agencies, Technology Providers, and Teacher Prep Programs).

    • DPI is a member of the Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC) which is an unique collaborative of schools, districts, regional, territories and state agencies, policy makers, trade organizations and marketplace providers addressing real-world, adaptable, and implementable solutions to growing data privacy concerns. Included in that membership is access for all WI Districts. Once you have requested access you will find a number of resources that are available for you to use when considering new apps, negotiating with vendors, and template language for contracts. All of this information is available to help, and is in no way required. DPI hopes you find them useful as a starting point for your districts work.

  • Student Privacy During the COVID-19 Pandemic (FERPA, PII, HIPAA)

    • The Future Privacy Forum (FPF) and AASA, the School Superintendents Association released this useful white paper that offers guidance to help K-12 and higher education administrators and educators protect student privacy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • US Department of Education - Protecting Student Privacy Resources page
    • This website provides many linked resources about protecting student privacy, such as newly updated FERPA Guidance for parents and students, PPRA general guidance, FERPA and PPRA Regulations, and FAQs. This 'Resources' page houses all guidance documents, training materials, policy letters, and other resources dedicated to protecting student privacy. To narrow the list of documents below, use the drop-down menus to select the type of resource, the topic, and/or the audience and click the blue ‘apply’ button. An updated list of resources will then be displayed below.

  • Forum Guide to Data Governance (June 2020)
    • Data governance is foundational to a sustainable statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS). When programs and organizations understand how data governance benefits their programs and organizations, they are more likely to participate in and provide ongoing support for the data governance program. This issue brief discusses common benefits that programs and organizations can gain from participating in data governance and how SLDS teams can define the value based on those benefits. It also covers how to craft messages that communicate the value and keep those messages relevant and central to the state’s work.

    • More information can be found on the National Center for Education Statistics website.

    • This video provides an overview and rationale for why districts need to develop a program to protect student data.

    • This document consists of 37 commonly asked questions about schools’ and school districts’ responsibilities under FERPA relating to disclosures of student information to school resource officers (SROs), law enforcement units and others, and seeks to explain and clarify how FERPA protects student privacy while ensuring the health and safety of students and others in the school community.

    • Information to guide American Schools who serve students from the EU. Please note that this applies to students who "reside" in the EU and not to those who are residing in the US while attending school. The Guide to the GDPR explains the provisions of the GDPR to help organizations comply with its requirements. It is for those who have day-to-day responsibility for data protection.

    • Establishing and implementing a clear data breach response plan outlining organizational policies and procedures for addressing a potential breach is an essential step in protecting the privacy of student data. This document provides educational agencies and institutions with a checklist of critical breach response components and steps to assist them in building a comprehensive data breach response capability.

    • Any organization with electronic records is vulnerable to security breaches, and education agencies are no exception. The PTAC Data Breach Scenario is one of a series of exercises intended to assist schools, districts, and other educational organizations with internal data security training.

    • Contains information on Federal requirements regarding the determination and verification of eligibility for free and reduced price meals in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. This also has information related to student privacy regarding eligibility for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program.

    • The National Forum on Education Statistics (Forum) organized the Education Data Privacy Working Group to explore how state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) can support best practices at the school level to protect the confidentiality of student data in day-to-day instructional and administrative tasks. Many of the best practices applicable at the school level may also be helpful in protecting student data at the SEA and LEA levels. The Working Group created this guide in order to highlight common privacy issues related to the use of student data and to present basic approaches to managing those issues.

    • An employee of a school or other education institution may sometimes access individual student records while performing official duties. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), there are legal and ethical obligations to safeguard the confidentiality of any information they contain. This guide provides a general overview of the legal and related issues that may be encountered while carrying out official duties.

    • This Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Technical Brief focuses on data stewardship, which involves each organization’s commitment to ensuring that privacy, confidentiality, security, and the appropriate use of data are respected when personally identifiable information is collected. Data stewardship involves all aspects of data collection, from planning, collection and maintenance to use and dissemination. The Brief also discusses internal control procedures that should be implemented to protect personally identifiable information, including the use of unique student identifiers and linking codes, workforce security, authorization for access, role based access to student record data, permitted uses, and the handling of data breaches. This Brief concludes with a discussion of accountability and auditing, including an overview of the types of audit activities that can be implemented to ensure that all stages of data stewardship have been successfully implemented.

    • This Guide presents a general overview of privacy laws and professional practices that apply to information collected for, and maintained in, student records. The document also provides an overview of key principles and concepts governing student privacy, summarizes Federal privacy laws and recent changes to them, identifies issues concerning the release of information to both parents and external organizations, and suggests good data management practices for schools, districts, and state education agencies.

    • Memo from DPI regarding FRL data availability through WISEdash, role available, and guidance for assigning the role.

    • USDA guidance has led to some questions regarding whether food service vendors are permitted to share data with others in the district and with the state. Student data, by law, must be shared from food service data systems with others in the district so student information systems (SIS) contain the most accurate count of economically disadvantaged students for required federal reporting.

    • Words matter. What you say, how you say it, and when you say it are critical to effectively communicating with your audience. ExcelinEd has crafted language and tools to help you better talk to peers, press, and the public about data and meeting education goals.

    • Policymakers in almost every state have considered laws to ensure the safety of student data, and the US Congress is considering seven bills on student data privacy. At the same time, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires that states adopt evidence-based interventions to improve school performance. The education research to inform these interventions depends on access to student data. Policymaking on Education Data Privacy: Lessons Learned outlines key lessons policymakers should contemplate before taking action.

    • The Protecting Privacy in Connected Learning toolkit is an in-depth, step-by-step guide to navigating the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and related privacy issues.
    • Download the toolkit, which is organized in the form of a decision tree and addresses FERPA and COPPA compliance issues, as well as smart suggested practices that reach beyond compliance; it also includes definitions, checklists, examples, and key questions to ask.

    • This document is a framework for evaluating online “Terms of Service” agreements. This document is designed to assist educators, schools, and districts in understanding how an online service or application may collect, use, and/or transmit user information. The guidance will assist users in deciding whether or not to sign-up for specific services.

    • This document will address privacy and security considerations related to computer software, mobile applications (apps), and web-based tools provided by a third party to a school or district that students and/or their parents access via the Internet and use as part of a school activity.

  • Special Education - Pupil Records

    • Intended to assist elementary and secondary schools and local educational agencies in achieving greater transparency with respect to their data practices
    • Informs schools and districts of the basics of legal compliance
    • Encourages educational organizations as to go beyond the minimum notifications required under federal law

    • There are many types of data that support student learning—and they’re so much more than test scores. However, individual data points don’t give the full picture needed to support the incredibly important education goals of parents, students, educators, and policymakers. See the types of data that can come together—under requirements like privacy and security—to form a full picture of student learning. When used effectively, data empowers everyone


    • The Data Quality Campaign supports state policymakers and other key leaders in promoting the effective use of data to improve student achievement.

    • This highlights the three focus areas—transparency, governance, and data protection procedures—that will allow states to reach these goals and provides a robust list of other resources from DQC and other organizations related to safeguarding data.

    • The education data agenda is experiencing unprecedented backlash, including the propagation of data myths, especially regarding Common Core, FERPA, and vendors. This document dispels the most common myths with concise talking points and related resources.

    • The U.S. Department of Education is committed to protecting student privacy. We administer and enforce student privacy laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). In addition, we provide technical assistance to help schools and school districts safeguard information about students.

    • DPI Data Collections, Reporting, and Student Data Privacy Frequently Asked Questions

    • This is the student data access form for external individuals to fill out prior to viewing or interacting with student-level data in any capacity (temporary access for training, demos, etc.)

    • This graphic shows what comprises student data, providing examples for types of data and identifying some of the requirements around student data.

    • There are many types of data that support student learning—and they’re so much more than test scores. However, individual data points don’t give the full picture needed to support the incredibly important education goals of parents, students, educators, and policymakers. See the types of data that can come together—under requirements like privacy and security—to form a full picture of student learning. When used effectively, data empowers everyone.

    • This graphic shows how student data—from schools to the US Department of Education—are and are not accessed and used.

    • Watch how student data—from schools to the US Department of Education—are and are not accessed and used.

Legislation & Policy


Parent-Specific Resources

  • VIDEO: Student Privacy 101: FERPA for Parents and Students
    • This short video highlights the key points of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). It's geared towards parents and students.

    • The Data Quality Campaign provides parents the questions they should be asking their children's educators about the value of education data and how student privacy is ensured.
  • Interactive Safety Resource
    • The Wisconsin Department of Justice's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Department of Public Instruction is teaming up to keep families safe online. The departments have launched a program called "Interact!" that will give parents resources to have conversations with their children about internet safety.

      Interact is an online, interactive e-course created for parents and guardians to complete with their children with the goal of sparking basic online safety discussions in the home. This 30-minute module provides parents with the opportunity to review their own tech use to set a good example; interactive activities to complete alongside their children, and follow-up resources and activities to keep the discussions going. This e-course gives parents the opportunity to set themselves up as the trusted adult in their child’s life. If the child sees something online they don’t understand or that makes them uncomfortable, they know they have someone to reach out to. The e-course even provides some ideas on how to start and continue these discussions, along with some bonus tips to help break the ice on awkward topics! Be your child’s trusted adult. Interact, and stay safe!



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