How to find an LMS that supports student privacy and data security

The story of one district’s effort to acquire a new learning management system

As the stewards of student data and information, our school district doesn’t take that role lightly. Proud to be one of just 13 districts nationwide to receive the Consortium for Student Networking (CoSN) Trusted Learning Environment Seal—which designates institutions that have taken measurable steps to implement practices to help ensure the privacy of student data—we knew that our existing learning management system (LMS) wasn’t up to the task.

And with that, we went in search of an LMS that could support our data-privacy commitment, which has been a key focus for at least six years and a keystone of how we make technology-related decisions. While participating in one of CoSN’s working groups, I began identifying which student-data-privacy principles were really important to us as school districts and what it meant to be a district as an exemplar in that area.

Out of that work, CoSN came up with the Trusted Learning Environment, which encompasses 25 different practices within the realm of student data privacy. Missouri’s Raytown Quality Schools was part of the first cohort of seven districts to be awarded this seal, and that meant that we not only had the right policies and procedures in place, but that we were actually implementing them and displaying evidence all the way down to the classroom level.

Safeguarding data on digital terrain
As school districts, we use a lot of different systems that collect student information in one form or another. Our student information system (SIS), for instance, stores dates of birth, addresses, and other confidential data. From there, things start to get a little fuzzy and include math applications that track how well a student is learning multiplication tables. The question becomes, “How protected should that information be?

(Next page: Four tips to help districts improve their vendor relationships)

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