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Technology Spotlight: Student Data Privacy

Data Privacy Week at DPS

Technology and learning are critical parts of every day in our Dedham classrooms.  But using the expansive opportunities presented by online learning tools and resources means that safeguarding student data and privacy is a growing focus.


What Is Student Data?

Student data can range from the basic contact information and student grade records kept in our Student Information System, to student performance or class work completed in an online learning module or app.   

Learn more about types of Student Data here.


How Does DPS Protect Student Data?

Protecting students from harm--identity theft, harassment, and unauthorized data collection-- are critical concerns. As part of our commitment to student data privacy and security, the district has established a Data Privacy Team (DPT) which consists of Central Office Administrators.  This team meets twice a month and annually reviews data privacy as outlined in section VII of the Student Data Privacy Policy. 

When we use an online service provider to process or store data, they also must adhere to certain federal and state and privacy laws. We also expect them to use current security protocols and technology.  Under FERPA, our vendors cannot use the education records we provide in any way that is not authorized by the school district. They cannot sell this data or allow others to access it except as we permit in accordance with federal and state education privacy laws.

Dedham is among the founding members of the TEC Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC) and holds a seat on the steering committee for this group. This group has grown to be a regional powerhouse to get vendors to create appropriate Student Data Privacy Agreements (SDPA) with districts.  Additionally, Dedham Public Schools  has been working with the Massachusetts Student Privacy Alliance (MSPA) and our legal counsel since 2015 to develop a standardized data privacy agreement (DPA) for all vendors that store any student information with personally identifiable information (PII).

The Data Privacy Agreement requires all vendors to:

  • Follow the laws protecting students rights for data privacy - CIPA, COPPA, FERPA and PPRA.

  • Ensure the school district retains ownership of all student data regardless of where the data resides.

  • Provide the school district notification of a data breach, if one should occur, within a specific time frame.

  • Not resell or use student information for any other purpose than the service for which it was intended.

  • Provide the school district the right to audit the vendor for compliance.

  • Ensure industry best practices are being followed with respect to data privacy and data security.


What Can I Do At Home To Keep Our Data Safe?

Our Dedham technology team has compiled a series of resources for students and families to learn more about how they can keep data safe online. 

Visit Stop Think Connect - a site designed to provide tips, advice and plenty of information on how to best protect your personal data online.   Tips & Advice are available in multiple languages.

Visit the DPS Student Data Privacy site to learn more and access infographics, web resources and videos.

DPS Student Data Privacy & Security Families Resources Page.