Student Data PrivacyOak Park Unified School District places the highest priority on keeping student information private and safe. Our district falls under the umbrella of recent legislation that mandates ALL companies doing business with California schools to observe strict guidelines and safeguards concerning student data privacy. This includes Google Services that are provided to K-12 schools and means that the accounts and services provided to schools and districts in particular are different and separate from the retail/consumer services provided by the online providers and these school focused services can only be provided under strict data privacy rules.
SOPIPA and FERPA
California's Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA) requires Google and other online vendors doing business with K-12 institutions to comply with strict student information privacy safeguards. This legislation prohibits third party vendors from collecting, creating dossiers about, and selling such information about students when doing business with K-12 schools in the state of California. Furthermore, such on-line vendors may not advertise to students while using their on-line systems nor provide information about those students to third parties. The Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA) consists of AB1548 and SB1177. These laws began to take effect January 1, 2015 with additional provisions taking effect January 1, 2016. Additional information about these laws can be found here:Three California Bills Protecting Student Data Online (links to external website)The federal law known as FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, also protects student data privacy by prohibiting the improper disclosure of personally identifiable information derived from education records.FERPA Regulations (links to external website)FERPA Guidance for Parents (links to external website)
What is Google Apps For Education (G Suite)?
Google Apps For Education, also known as G Suite, is a suite of free Google cloud-based services that allow teachers and students to collaborate on school projects in a secure environment that is completely separate from public Google offerings and is free from advertising and third-party data mining. Examples of Google services that Oak Park Unified School District has enabled via GAFE include Google Docs, Google Drive, limited Google Email, and Google Classroom. Some teachers will be distributing and collecting assignments through GAFE and the Google Classroom service. Students will be learning digital citizenship skills and cyber safety and information security/privacy through the use of GAFE and potentially Google Email in certain grades. To enable Google Apps for Education, the district will be creating district managed Google Apps For Education accounts for each student. GAFE and online account management are included in the revised Student Technology Acceptable Use Policy which will be distributed in the school registration package and referenced in the school handbooks being distributed in the next year. Parents may request to opt-out of having their students provided on-line accounts (using a form obtained from the school office manager and submitted to directly to the school principal) but this may significantly hinder their ability to participate in class lessons and learning activities, digital citizenship curriculum, online class discussions, and so forth. To help inform parents of the steps that the district and Google have taken to ensure the student's experiences using Google Apps For Education remains safe and that their data remains protected and private, we have prepared the following information about the district's deployment of GAFE as well as other online service providers and the relevant student data privacy laws.
Student Data Privacy
Student data privacy and information security are of great importance to Oak Park Unified School District and we share your concern that student data is handled appropriately and not shared with outside sources without our permission and that all student data remains under strict control. We have designed our implementation of cloud-based accounts and data storage to be as similar as possible to the data access and security we have with district files/data hosted on our own district servers. In addition to using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) to provision student online accounts, Oak Park maintains an independent archive of all data housed in Google Apps For Education data and routinely monitors the contents of student data. We have also employed the services of AmplifiedIT, the leading K-12 Google Apps for Education consultancy to assist us in configuring our GAFE implementation to ensure it follows best practices to maximize security and safety of student data.Because student data privacy is of such great importance and online providers of cloud hosted services for schools and districts may house student data, the California Educational Technology Professionals Association, CETPA, (representing all public school districts in the state) hired the law firm of Fagen, Friedman, and Fulfrost (F3) to conduct an audit of the three main online service providers of online accounts (Google, Apple, and Microsoft) for their adherence to state (AB1584/SOPIPA) and federal (FERPA) student data privacy laws.F3 has rendered their opinion that each vendor has been found to be in compliance with the relevant laws: (click below for F3's findings for each vendor)F3 report finding Google in Compliance with California and Federal student data privacy regulations (links to external website)F3 report finding Apple in compliance with California and Federal student data privacy regulations (links to external website)F3 report finding Microsoft in compliance with California and Federal student data privacy regulations (links to external website)Because of the demonstrated adherence to California and Federal student data privacy laws, Oak Park Unified School district believes that students using these services provided by Google, Apple, and Microsoft are protected against the normal data harvesting practices that may apply to the free services that certain vendors provide to the public. According to AB1584, vendors providing services to schools and districts in California are not permitted to create a dossier based on student information and usage except to provide access to their own services, may not share any student information with other third parties, and may not advertise to students.
California Student Data Privacy Agreement
Our district partners with other online vendors who handle student data including name, email address, grade level information, teacher name, course information, and may integrate with students' district issued Google account. To ensure our students’ data is protected and kept private according to state and federal regulations, Oak Park USD utilizes the California Student Data Privacy Agreement (CSDPA) with vendors who handle or have access to our student data online. The CSDPA is a legally vetted contract through which vendors agree to protect student data from the collection, selling, and theft of information in compliance with State and Federal regulations such as:
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): Privacy for students data records
- Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA): Privacy for children under 13
- Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA): Student protection for survey information
- Student Online Protection Information Protection Act (SOPIPA): Protection from selling student data
- AB1584,Pupil records: privacy
The entire CSDPA Agreement that covers all the student data privacy laws may be viewed here: CSDPA
The district constantly works to ensure that all new third party companies handling our student's data meets the standards of the CSDPA. Currently, the following Vendors have signed the CSDPA