Zionsville Community Schools honored for protecting student data privacy

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By Renee Larr

Zionsville Community Schools recently earned the Trusted Learning Environment Seal from the Consortium for School Networking. The seal is awarded to school systems that go above and beyond to protect student data privacy. School systems with the seal excel in five areas: leadership, business, data security, professional development and classroom.

“We embarked on this about two years ago knowing the first year we probably weren’t going to be able to get the TLE seal,” said Daniel Layton, ZCS chief technology officer.  “As we looked through we knew there were some weak areas we needed to work on, but we really just wanted to show we are taking data privacy very seriously from a security perspective, from a transparency perspective, and protecting all that information that is crucial to operating a school system.”

The application process was an arduous task.

“It was an extensive process. You have to show credible evidence in 25 different areas from the five different subcategories,” Layton said. “It was quite extensive to put together and took us a long time. We sent it in and we received the rubric back saying what we did well in and areas where they thought we could solidify a little more.”

The seal distinction lasts two years, then ZCS has to re-apply.

“We’re continually wanting to improve everything we’re doing,” Layton said. “We know there are a few areas we want to work on ourselves. We hope in two years we’ll receive that seal again, and they’ll say that our rubric scores are even stronger and we’re doing even better work for our students.”

Only five school systems were chosen this year to receive the distinction.

“We’re obviously proud of it, but more so because it was an entire team effort by our technology department,” Layton said. “It makes us feel better about what we’re doing to protect our kids. That’s really where we’re excited.”

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