The role of the CTO in school districts is evolving into one of the most important leadership positions in education, yet many who currently fill that job lack the skills and background to make the
Recently, CoSN sat down with recipients of the Trusted Learning Environment (TLE) Seal to find out more about what they learned by going through the program. In this first in a series of short interviews, we bring you insight into how Bryon Kolbeck and David Koonce at Lewisville ISD worked through the application process to share their advice for future TLE Seal applicants.
1. Why did you decide to apply for the TLE Seal?
Lewisville ISD sees data privacy as a critical issue, particularly given the district’s commitment to using technology to enhance the learning process through a variety of digital instructional materials and devices. We viewed the TLE application process as an opportunity to perform an internal review/assessment of our data privacy/security efforts. We also wanted to provide our community with a respected external validation of our data privacy/security efforts so the TLE Seal itself was an extra incentive to complete the work. However, whether we were awarded the Seal or not, we valued the chance at receiving an external opinion/review/assessment of our data privacy/security efforts.
2. When it comes to developing and improving your school system compliance program, what do you find most challenging?
It goes back to the principle of the urgent vs. the important. Prioritizing and focusing on important tasks are always a challenge when facing the ever-present demands of the urgent. Also, data privacy responsibilities span many departments within the organization. It can be challenging to create a culture of responsibility surrounding data privacy.
3. What did you learn by going through the application process?
The 25 practices defined within the TLE made us re-evaluate what we were doing in each area compared to the high standard set within the TLE framework. The breadth and depth of the TLE definition emphasized to us that student data privacy/security has to be a district-wide responsibility, not simply a Technology responsibility. As we gathered artifacts for the application, we began to document a more holistic view of the district’s data privacy and security efforts. We reflected on the artifacts gathered and also self-assessed the current practice and how to make practices better in the future. This process raises awareness throughout the district and provides the groundwork for an ongoing action plan.
4. How do you refresh your compliance program each year? What steps do you take to ensure that the program is constantly improving?
It’s important to develop a culture of reflection. The team must take time regularly to look back, whether at a process or project, and review what could be done better. It’s critical that team members feel safe discussing failures without feeling like there will be punitive consequences. The team will only improve when issues are honestly and openly discussed in the search for better solutions. As stated above, the self-reflection process of comparing current practices to the TLE framework helps us maintain a focus on improvement.
5. What advice do you have for future TLE Seal applicants?
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.
Bryon Kolbeck is the Executive Director of Technical and Information Services for the Lewisville Independent School District (LISD). The LISD Technology Department supports a large 1:1 mobile learning initiative which includes over 50K iPads. Prior to his role in LISD, Bryon served as a district wide educational technology leader in Wisconsin for over 12 years. He has served in an advisory capacity for technology planning for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, was the Co-Chair for the Professional Learning and Leadership committee of the Wisconsin chapter of CoSN. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Stout with degrees in Technology Education, has a Master’s Degree in Career and Technical Education, and holds an Instructional Technology Coordinator administrative certificate.
David Koonce has been serving as a technology leader in Texas public schools for over 12 years. He is currently the Director of Technical Information Services for Lewisville ISD. David graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Computer Science. He is an active member of both the CoSN and TASBO professional organizations.