TLE Spotlight: Round Rock Independent School District

Dennis Telas, PEIMS Manager for Trusted Learning Environment (TLE) Seal recipient Round Rock ISD shares his insights about why the Texas district decided to participate in the TLE program.  His advice for those thinking about participating in the TLE program?  “Just get started!”
1.  Why did you decide to apply for the TLE Seal?
We decided to apply for the TLE seal because we felt that, as a data driven district with many interfaces occurring with different software vendors, we had no accountability for vendors or users on providing student data to these software applications. We felt the community expected us to protect their student’s data and we wanted to prove that we take their data very seriously and protect it very seriously.
2.  When it comes to developing and improving your school system compliance program, what do you find most challenging?
The most challenging for us was changing behavior on downloading applications or extensions for student use. Teachers had to understand that protecting the student didn’t only mean protecting them from physical harm but also protecting their information in cyberspace.
3.  What did you learn by going through the application process?
We learned that we had been doing a great job of protecting student data on the infrastructure level, but not at the teacher level. We also found that student data privacy was on many of top leadership agendas.
4.  How do you refresh your compliance program each year?  What steps do you take to ensure that the program is constantly improving?
We are on year one of implementation and will continue to review our practices annually.  We’ll be providing professional development to teachers and users on the understanding of student data privacy. We will also assess our TLE materials annually to review processes and procedures for student data privacy. In addition, we will validate that the school district is up to date on software applications to protect the district from unwanted data breaches.
5.  What advice do you have for future TLE Seal applicants?
Just get started! There are number of resources on the web for student data privacy. The other piece of advice is start with a self-audit using the TLE as a framework to determine the extent of or lack of student data privacy best practices.
Dennis is the PEIMS Manager for Round Rock ISD and the project lead for Student Data Privacy.  Dennis has worked in PEIMS for 17 years. He has 23 years of school district experience with three school districts; six years at El Paso lSD, 12 years in Ysleta lSD, and five years in Round Rock lSD.  Dennis enjoys working with the many different diverse groups of staff members and teaching these staff members the importance of including student data privacy in the rules and regulations.  Dennis has been a member of Texas Education Agency's (TEA) governance committee the Information Taskforce or ITF for over 7 years, where he serves as an information resource to make recommendations to the Policy Committee on Public Education Information (PCPEI) regarding data collection.