Sex Offender Registry
Parents of children attending schools within the District may wish to access information regarding registered sex offenders that is available to the public. The Illinois Sex Offender Registry is available through a link on the Illinois State Police website, www.isp.state.il.us/sor/. The DuPage County Sheriff’s Office also maintains a sex offender registry that can be accessed at www.dupagesheriff.org or by using this direct link. Access is free.
Emergency School Days
The use of eLearning Days in place of what would otherwise be used as Emergency Closure Days was approved by the Gower Board of Education in 2019 and another forward-thinking action taken by our Future Ready district. Please visit our eLearning page here and remember, the ‘e’ is for ‘engagement’!
Student Data Privacy
Gower School District takes the privacy of our student’s data seriously. Through this section of the website, you can see the work that is being done at the school and district level to ensure that Gower School District 62 protects the rights and privacy of our students as well as complies with the Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA), effective July 1, 2021.
What is the Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA)?
What happens to the student data that we send to a third party vendor? Information like names, school email, etc… may be provided by Gower School District 62 to a third party service provider. What protections do those companies have in place to make sure that our student’s data is not sold or freely given to others? This is exactly what SOPPA looks to address.
As part of SOPPA, these companies must enter into Data Privacy Agreements (DPA) with each district they work with. These agreements outline what data is stored, how it is protected, what the company can and cannot do with that data, and what they will do in the event of a data breach.
School districts throughout the State of Illinois contract with different educational technology vendors for beneficial K-12 purposes such as providing personalized learning and innovative educational technologies, and increasing efficiency in school operations.
Under Illinois’ Student Online Personal Protection Act, or SOPPA (105 ILCS 85/), educational technology vendors and other entities that operate Internet websites, online services, online applications, or mobile applications that are designed, marketed, and primarily used for K-12 school purposes are referred to in SOPPA as operators. SOPPA is intended to ensure that student data collected by operators is protected, and it requires those vendors, as well as school districts and the Illinois State Board of Education, to take a number of actions to protect online student data.
Depending upon the particular educational technology being used, our District may need to collect different types of student data, which is then shared with educational technology vendors through their online sites, services, and/or applications. Under SOPPA, educational technology vendors are prohibited from selling or renting a student’s information or from engaging in targeted advertising using a student’s information. Such vendors may only disclose student data for K-12 school purposes and other limited purposes permitted under the law.
In general terms, the types of student data that may be collected and shared include personally identifiable information (PII) about students or information that can be linked to PII about students, such as:
- Basic identifying information, including student name
- School email address, username/password, student ID number
- Demographic information
- Student-generated work
- Online communications
Operators may collect and use student data only for K-12 purposes, which are purposes that aid in the administration of school activities, such as:
- Instruction in the classroom or at home (including remote learning)
- Administrative activities
- Collaboration between students, school personnel, and/or parents/guardians
- Other activities that are for the use and benefit of the school district
Gower’s Board Policy:
The following Board policies provide additional information and guide our work:
- Student and Family Privacy Rights: 7:15
- Student Records: 7:340
- Protection of Student Personal Online Information: 7:345
Important Data Privacy Laws
The following laws are being adhered to by Gower School District 62 and explained briefly below:
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): Governs information in a student’s education record, restricting access and use of student information. https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html
- Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA): Restricts the collection of personal information from children under 13 by companies operating websites, games, mobile applications, and digital services that are directed to children or that collect personal information from individuals known to be children. https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceedings/childrens-online-privacy-protection-rule
- Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA): Guarantees that student data is protected when collected by educational technology companies, and that data is used for beneficial purposes only. https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=3806&ChapterID=17
- Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA): Imposes certain requirements on schools that utilize the federal E-Rate program to receive discounts for internet access and other technology services, or that receive federal grants for other technology expenses. https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/childrens-internet-protection-act
How can I learn more about SOPPA?
For additional information regarding SOPPA, please see the link below for the a video:
Under SOPPA, parents have the right to review a list of the student’s covered information. A parent must submit the requested information in writing and provide the parent’s name, address, phone number, student’s name, and the name of the school from which the request is being made.
(Section 380.20 Requests for Covered Information. A school that receives a request under this Section must require a parent to provide proof of identity and relationship to the student before access to the covered information is granted. If covered information requested by a parent under this Section includes data on more than one student, the parent may inspect and review only the covered information relevant to the parent’s student. Requests for student’s covered information can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gower’s Vendor List and Data Privacy Agreements:
Data Breach Notification:
The Illinois Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA) requires schools to notify parents within 30 days of a data breach and within 60 days if a third-party is responsible for the data breach.
Per SOPPA, a “breach” means the unauthorized acquisition of computerized data that compromises the security, confidentiality, or integrity of covered information maintained by an operator or school. “Breach” does not include the good faith acquisition of personal information by an employee or agent of an operator or school for a legitimate purpose of the operator or school if the covered information is not used for a purpose prohibited by this Act or subject to further unauthorized disclosure.
Data Breach Notification for June 5, 2023
- The date of the breach: April 18th through May 4, 2023
- The description of the covered information that was compromised: This incident was in the form of a ransomware attack involving a local server used to store limited student and staff directory information (First and Last Name and Gower issued email address). Specifically, an unauthorized and unknown offender gained access to your student and staff names and Gower-issued email addresses. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the data accessed has been misused or distributed. It is important to note that student email accounts are not accessible outside of the gower62.com domain. This is a critical safety feature that has been in place for several years. The server involved in this attack did not store any other student or staff information. No Social Security numbers, no telephone or address information, no financial information, no health data, no current course or schedule information, and no course grades or standardized test scores were involved in this incident. Such sensitive student information is highly protected and keeping it safe is a top priority.
- Please email email@example.com for any additional information.
- Although the data that was breached did not include any financial information or your child’s Social Security number, we know that you may be concerned about fraudulent activity on your child’s behalf. Should you choose to do so, a free credit report for your child can be obtained through annualcreditreport.com, a free resource authorized by the federal government. Additionally, the following credit reporting agencies offer a free service allowing you to receive fraud alerts and to freeze access to your child’s credit if you believe doing so is necessary: .Experian – experian.com/fraud, or 1-888-397-3742, or P.O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013 TransUnion – transunion.com/fraud-victim-resources, or 1-833-395-6938, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022 Equifax – equifax.com, or 1-888-378-4329, or P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374
- You may also be interested in visiting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website at identitytheft.gov for more information about fraud alerts and security freezes from consumer reporting agencies. The FTC can also be contacted at 1-800-FTC-HELP (1-800-382-4357).
Data Privacy Officer:
For additional questions, please use this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gower’s Data Privacy Officer at District Level: Mrs. Rebecca Laratta, Ed. S., Assistant Superintendent
- For Gower Middle: Mr. Kevin Neubert, Engaged Learning Specialist
- For Gower West: Vicky O’Boyle, Engaged Learning Specialist