TLE Spotlight: Denver Public Schools

In our second profile of TLE Seal recipients, we spoke with Sharyn Guhman, Josh Allen and Kirk Anderson from Denver Public Schools to find out more about how they approach their compliance efforts. Here, they provide a look at some of the policies they have in place to support their data privacy and security work, and give us insight into how they keep their compliance program fresh.

1.    Why did you decide to apply for the TLE Seal?

Denver Public Schools has worked for the last several years to make sure that we take seriously our student data privacy and to be responsible stewards of that data. We partnered with COSN in the earlier stages of the Trusted Learning Environment and know that it will take standards for both districts and vendors for all school districts to have secure student data.

2.    When it comes to developing and improving your school system compliance
       program, what do you find most challenging?

With many online resources and applications available to teachers for use in their classrooms, we have had to build a strong campaign to communicate how to use student data by communicating to parents and establishing data use agreements with our vendors.

3.    What did you learn by going through the application process?

We learned that for all the great steps forward we have made, there is still more progress that can be made to establish resources and recommendations for protecting student data privacy.

4.    How do you refresh your compliance program each year?  What steps do you take
       to ensure that the program is constantly improving?

Denver Public Schools has established a working group, the Academic Technology alignment and success Committee (ATC), which meets monthly and whose purpose is:

  • Ensure content and tools used in schools are aligned to support CAS (Colorado Academic Standards).
  • Ensure student data privacy agreements are in place with all third-party providers or that teachers and school leaders have guidance on procedures when agreements are not in place.
  • Ensure we are limiting purchases of redundant functionality, content and tools.
  • Provide guidance to schools about technical limitations and prerequisites of specific solutions.
  • Have oversight of innovations and system use across the district and identify opportunities to scale.
  • Determine levels of district support.

We also have established the Academic Technology Menu, which is a resource for school leaders and teachers to let them know what software, websites, apps and other technology solutions are available and have been reviewed by district departments.

 5.    What advice do you have for future TLE Seal applicants?

Establish a district-wide cross-functional governance group that can discuss what student data privacy is and how each classroom can follow guidelines for data use when using student data with online resources and applications. Also, take some time to review the TLE framework before applying and make sure that your district is hitting on all cylinders – Leadership, Classroom Practice, Business Operations, Data Security and staff PD. 

For more on the Trusted Learning Environment Seal Program and how it can help inform your school system’s compliance program and create a simple way for you to communicate your data privacy and security efforts within your community, visit TrustedLearning.org.

Also, make sure to register for Behind the TLE Seal: Trusted Learning Environment Stories on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET.
 

Sharyn Guhman is the Chief Information Officer for the Denver Public Schools (DPS). DPS serves approximately 90,000 students in more than 150 locations. In her role, Ms. Guhman actively works to drive innovation and excellence while fusing technology and education. Before serving as CIO, Ms. Guhman led the DPS Program Management Office facilitating the setting of district-wide technology priorities and building a team of skilled leaders who manage bringing technical projects to fruition at DPS.  Sharyn brought to DPS more than 16 years of previous experience in private-sector management and IT consulting where she led large-scale systems development, implementation, and change-management initiatives across a variety of industries. 

Josh Allen is the Director of Technical Architecture and Strategy, a position that facilitates the enterprise and solutions architecture for the entire district. Denver Public Schools is the fastest growing school district in the nation and as a result DPS has invested significantly in web based portals that allow Teachers, Principals, Students and Parents to manage the data that is key to the success of the role they play in the district. In his role, Josh works across both Academic and Instruction to ensure the success of the solutions that are implemented in schools, as well as central departments. In his tenure, Josh has been providing solutions for Denver Public Schools for the past 20 years.   

Kirk Anderson has worked in education for over 20 years.  First in the classroom, then in IT, and finally in educational technology.  He is Director of Educational Technology for Denver Public Schools.  He is passionate about how technology can empower personalization for ALL students.

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