The Importance of Data Access and Security in K12 School District
When it comes to student data at school districts, both having access and not having access to certain important information is crucial for the success of district processes and data security. Having access to specific student data on a micro and macro level gives authorized district faculty the ability to make various informed decisions for individual students and the district as a whole. Conversely, security measures to ensure unauthorized personnel are unable to access student and district data is imperative to maintain privacy and to avoid threatening data breaches.
Let’s dive into what access means to different district stakeholders.
Without proper access, K12 district decision-makers like superintendents, assistant superintendents, chief technology officers, admissions directors, and curriculum directors face unnecessary challenges like not having visibility into student transfer patterns, accurate enrollment numbers, and graduation and dropout rates. This data is important for understanding program needs and the return on district program investments. A lack of access to any of these pieces of information will hinder district administrators from making proper program adjustments for future success and can limit access to school funding opportunities.
In addition, K12 records managers and processors need adequate access to student records in order to do their job effectively. On any given day, records personnel are performing countless tasks associated with receiving, processing and sending student records. Unorganized and buried paper documentation maximizes the time spent retrieving records before completing various tasks. Data processors are also in constant communication with students and their families. Without highly usable platforms for student record, form, and application dashboards, district processors are challenged with mitigating student and parent questions and concerns regarding viewing, editing, requesting and submitting various documents.
Not to mention, for all district personnel from administrators to IT professionals to data processors, unforeseeable catastrophes (e.g. the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding, or fires) might force faculty to work from home or limit access to physical records. Not having access to student data from remote work spaces could cause major complications for tasks associated with student data. In the Spring of 2020, districts had to find a way to quickly overcome the large obstacle of scanning countless student records in order to handle records from their homes. These unfortunate circumstances made it obvious to many school districts around the country that electronic documentation processes are a necessity.
Likewise, providing families with more accessible data can be very beneficial. Housing student documentation on a secure platform gives parents the ability to access student records and applications without the need of printing documents at home, rearranging schedules and taking time out of their day to travel to a district office. In addition, students and parents don’t have to go through long wait periods to receive records; the uncertainty of record whereabouts is avoided for students and their families.
As important as access to data is for district personnel, educators, students, and families, it is just as important to ensure that security measures are taken to deny access to student documentation. Having student data privacy as a top priority is a fundamental necessity for districts.
Recently districts have been plagued with student data security breaches. Cybercriminals view schools and districts as easy targets and will jump at an opportunity to exploit sensitive district and student information. IT professionals, district administrators and data processors are constantly faced with mitigating these risks without the necessary software tools to support their efforts. Moreover, FERPA, CJIS, and SOC2 compliance are a point of concern for districts that are not meeting the bottom line standards regarding student data security.
The Right Access, at the Right Time
Providing the right access, to the right people, at the right time is needed to expedite records processes, to give micro and macro data visibility to authorized district faculty and families, and to maintain the utmost security of private student data. This is where Scribbles Software, the ultimate holistic solution for online student record and enrollment management, can support districts like yours.
Using Scribbles solutions, districts are transforming the way they serve staff and families by making student records more easily accessible and secure. Our solutions are carefully designed to allow access only to authorized district faculty, and students and families appropriately associated with any specific data.
Utilizing our software, district decision-makers can access and analyze student transfers data and make educated decisions about programs and policies based on that information. For example, a district might not have previously had visibility into what institutions students were leaving to attend. Being able to observe an outflow of students to a particular charter school nearby will provide decision-makers with more information than “drop out other” or “whereabouts unknown” when it comes to making program or communication changes to bring those students back. Being able to label students as transfers instead of drop outs will also increase reporting accuracy for districts and possibly improve their score cards and funding.
Within the records department, K12 data processors and managers have instantaneous access to student records that save countless hours spent sifting through unorganized and possibly far away paper records. Utilizing Scribbles Software, IT Analyst Steffanie Richmond of Fresno USD says that, “[they] went from the earliest you could get a record being three business days to six minutes”. Not to mention, processors have records of all records requested, records requests received, and records received. The audit trail made available to district processors is a game changer for sending and receiving student data; all activity is recorded and available to alleviate any possible discrepancies.
On the flip side, record processors are able to view and edit records only within the particular school(s) and program(s) that they are responsible for. This security precaution ensures that, again, private data is only accessed by authorized personnel and exposure to student records is minimized.
Lastly, with Scribbles Software, students and families can request records and complete and edit forms/applications at their convenience – which is a game-changer for families that have varying life schedules. In addition, the visibility regarding the status of records requests is almost instantaneous, so there is no room for uncertainty to occur on top of circumstances that might already be stressful. And of course, families and students are only authorized to view and edit their own records and data. Any unassociated accounts are completely unable to be accessed.
Having the power to grant and deny access to student data has broad implications. It can streamline district processes, provide insight into analytics which can impact programming and funding, and improve relationships with families and students.
If you are ready to transform the way your district manages student records, transcripts, forms, and applications, fill out the form below to contact our team today.