Schools across the country are looking at new online ways to integrate and analyze information about their students. But privacy advocates remain wary.
When Cynthia Stevenson, the superintendent of Jefferson County, Colo., public schools, heard about a data repository called inBloom, she thought it sounded like a technological fix for one of her bigger headaches. Over the years, the Jeffco school system, as it is known, which lies west of Denver, had invested in a couple of dozen student data systems, many of which were incompatible.
In fact, there were so many information systems — for things like contact information, grades and disciplinary data, test scores and curriculum planning for the district’s 86,000 students — that teachers had taken to scribbling the various passwords on sticky notes and posting them, insecurely, around classrooms and teachers’ rooms.
There must be a more effective way, Dr. Stevenson felt.
InBloom, a nonprofit corporation based in Atlanta, seemed to offer a solution: it could collect information from the district’s many databases and store it in the cloud, making access easier, and protect it with high-level encryption.