By Audience: K-12 School Officials

The resources on this page are intended for staff and educators of public K-12 schools and school districts.  Resources found here typically address FERPA and how it applies to the various day-to-day operations of public schools at the administrative level.  Guidance is also provided for specific situations that occur only in the K-12 setting.

Guidance

Cyber Advisory - New Type of Cyber Extortion / Threat Attack

Schools have long been targets for cyber thieves and criminals.  We are writing to let you know of a new threat, where the criminals are seeking to extort money from school districts and other educational institutions on the threat of releasing sensitive data from student records.  In some cases, this has included threats of violence, shaming, or bullying the children unless payment is received.

Letters

FTC and the Department of Education to Host Workshop on Student Privacy and Ed Tech; Seeking Public Comments

The U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a joint workshop on December 1, 2017 to explore the intersection of Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

This workshop will solicit input from a variety of education technology vendors, schools, parents, advocates, and privacy professionals to discuss their experiences navigating FERPA and COPPA while implementing education technology in a classroom setting.  The Department and the FTC are interested in learning about experiences, both positive and negative, in navigating the intersection of these statutes.   

You can find a full list of questions, and information about how to submit comments, in the attached document.   The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be at the FTC’s Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC.  It will be webcast live on the FTC’s website. 

Guidance

Data Breach Response Training Kit

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.

The Password Data Breach interactive exercise is aimed at district management and provides a simulated response to a district-level data breach. Over the course of 1-2 hours, this customizable exercise leads participants through a scenario involving a breach of student information and other personally identifiable information. The exercise focuses on the processes, procedures, and skills needed to respond. The package includes three parts: Facilitator’s Guide, PowerPoint Slides, and Exercise Handouts. 

Best Practices

PTAC Teacher Training Focus Groups Report

The Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) conducted a series of focus groups to gain insight into teachers’ needs for training on student privacy and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This report documents the findings of these focus groups, as well as recommendations on how to develop new student privacy and FERPA training for teachers.

Guidance

Model Notice for Directory Information (En Espanol)

This document is a template notice for notifying parents and eligible students (students over 18 years of age or attending a school beyond the high school level) about the type of information from student’s education records, designated by a School District as “directory information,” that schools may disclose without consent, unless advised to the contrary.  This version is the Spanish translation.

Best Practices

W 2 Phishing Scam

Important Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance highlighting ongoing phishing attacks against K-12 schools and school districts. These attacks are targeting HR and critical business functions within organizations to access the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from the W-2 forms of employees and, in some cases, extracting fraudulent payments from their victims. This document contains a summary of the attacks, tactics of the attackers, potential ramifications and links to the official IRS guidance.