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The West Virginia Department of Education Champions Student Data Privacy

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January 28, 2016

Hundreds of Organizations Collaborate to Generate Awareness About the Importance of Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data and Enabling Trust

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Today the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced that it committed to be a Champion of Data Privacy Day (DPD) ‒ an international effort held annually on January 28 to create awareness about the importance of privacy and protecting personal information. As a DPD Champion, WVDE recognizes and supports the principle that organizations, businesses and government all share the responsibility of being conscientious stewards of personal information by respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust.

The security of students’ data and the protection of their privacy are of the utmost importance at the WVDE. The WVDE has taken several steps to safeguard students' educational records, such as encrypting sensitive data during transmission and using secure logon credentials to limit access according to staff roles and information needs. Staff are charged with working across the Department and throughout the state to ensure all staff remember the importance of protecting students' records and implement best practices to do so. District and school staff participate in data privacy and security trainings regularly to review and discuss federal and state laws and policies, strategies for keeping information safe and approaches for dealing with requests for access to student records. WVDE has also developed a modern dashboard site for public reporting that is built on the foundation of privacy. Through ZoomWV, a dashboard-based reporting system to keep all stakeholders informed about public education in the Mountain State, all reports and dashboards are based only on aggregate data. Individual student data are never uploaded or made available.

“As schools continue to embrace the use of technology, ensuring privacy and protecting student data are ever more critical,” said State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano. “We work proactively every day to maintain security within our education information system—from the classroom to the state department. Simply put, student data are safeguarded at all times from inappropriate access by individuals and entities—including vendors and service providers.”

Data Privacy Day is part of a greater effort, the privacy awareness campaign, which helps consumers understand how they can own their online presence and reminds businesses that privacy is indeed good for business. WVDE joins the growing global effort among organizations, corporations, educational institutions, government entities, municipalities and individuals to raise awareness at home, at work and in their communities. Through collaboration and unified, consistent messaging about data privacy, all DPD Champions work toward the common goal of improving consumer and business consciousness while encouraging and empowering all digital citizens to be privacy aware.

Spearheaded by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), DPD began in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day recognition in Europe. The day, January 28, commemorates the 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty addressing privacy and data protection.

You can follow the campaign on Twitter at @DataPrivacyDay or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DataPrivacyNCSA and use the official hashtag #PrivacyAware to join the conversation.

For more information about DPD, contact Kristin Anderson in the WVDE Communication Office at 304-558-2699 or visit https://www.staysafeonline.org/dpd.

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