Protecting Privacy

Educators and policymakers are increasingly realizing the potential in using student data to make informed decisions. But even with all that potential, balancing technology advances with the need to protect student privacy and data is a major challenge. CoSN's Protecting Privacy in Connected Learning initiative is here to help inform your efforts.

CoSN is grateful to the following sponsors for their support: Lightspeed Systems, McGraw Hill, Microsoft, Schoolwires and for the partnership of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.  

Trusted Learning Environment (TLE) Seal

CoSN’s newest privacy initiative is the Trusted Learning Environment (TLE) Seal. This initiative will allow school system leaders from across the country to communicate their privacy efforts to parents, communities, and other stakeholders while ensuring that the school system is adhering to best practices and taking steps in the right direction. More information will be provided in the months ahead, but for now click one of the links below to learn more.


10 Principles to Guide the Use and Protection of Student Data 

CoSN and the and the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), along with 32 leading national education organizations, released 10 principles for protecting and guiding the use of the personal information of America’s students. This announcement marks a historic, first-ever effort by major national education associations to articulate commonly held principles around the use and safeguarding of student data. DQC and CoSN will continue to encourage organizations to sign on to the principles.

To view and learn more about the principles, please visit the website.  


Protecting Privacy Toolkit

The Protecting Privacy in Connected Learning toolkit is an in-depth, step-by-step guide to navigating four major federal laws: the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA); Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA); Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA); Protecting Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA); and related privacy issues.

The toolkit is organized in the form of a decision tree and addresses FERPA and COPPA compliance issues as well as smart suggested practices that reach beyond compliance; it also includes definitions, checklists, examples, and key questions to ask.

Download here

The Toolkit was created with the help of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, which is based at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, sponsored by Microsoft, and endorsed by The Association of School Business Officials International.


CoSN and the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) teamed to produce two infographics that empower school leaders to discuss the critical issue of student privacy. Parents and community members are justifiably concerned and confused about privacy in schools. How should you lead a discussion with these stakeholders about privacy? The infographic breaks down what's important and de-mystifies the issues.
Available in English and English/Spanish, the customizable infographics answer key questions such as: What data is collected and why? How does education data support student success and school improvement? How is education data protected?

Download Ready-to-Go Versions

Download Customizable Versions





tips on how to use infographics


Additional Resources to Complement Toolkit