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Rhode Island Student Privacy Alliance (RISPA)

Are you protecting your students’ data? Can you be certain your vendors are equally privacy-conscious?

As our members rely more and more on online resources and databases, we all need to be prepared in the event of a data breach. How do we ensure that every vendor and provider is keeping our students' data secure? Schools and districts don't have the resources to negotiate individual privacy agreements with each individual vendor. RISPA is here to help! In cooperation with TEC, the Alliance will negotiate a standard privacy agreement with all of your vendors who receive student PII, saving you the time and effort and ensuring that your students' data is properly protected.

How to join RISPA:

1. Become a RISTE member

2. Email RISTE's Executive Director or call 401-262-9002 (ext. 2). 

3. Annual Fee:  $1.10/student/yr (maximum $5,000) payable to TEC.

What is Student Data Privacy (SDP) and why is it important?

SDP refers to any personally identifiable information (PII) about a student, including name, address, birth date, demographics, student ID, and login information. It also includes the student’s academic, health, and disciplinary records. A variety of laws, including FERPA and COPPA, provide legal and ethical limitations on the collection and handling of student PII.

At the same time schools are collecting and sharing vast quantities of student data, often without knowing where it goes once it’s been shared. The risk of losing control of our students’ PII has never been greater, and the legal landscape is changing rapidly as the state and federal conversation about Student PII heats up. We all need to strengthen our protection of student data, which is why RISPA, with the support of RISTE and TEC, is here to help. By applying the protections of a standard, statewide Data Privacy Agreement (DPA) we hope to shift control of our students’ privacy back where they belong - within our schools and districts.

RISTE is proud to announce, in partnership with The Education Cooperative (TEC) of MA, the Rhode Island Student Privacy Alliance!

What are the benefits of RISPA?

The Alliance will work on behalf of members to get requested vendors to agree to the RI DPA. TEC will do the time-consuming legal work around negotiating the agreements, allowing members to spend their resources on choosing the highest quality academic partners for their students and staff, not on time and legal fees.

RISPA’s services:

  • Providing schools and districts with shared access to Student (and staff) Data Privacy training, administrative support and expert legal counsel;
  • Leveraging our collective influence with vendors to protect student data;
  • Accelerating and expanding the adoption of a statewide Data Privacy Agreement (DPA) to cover all schools in RI;
  • Hosting a RISPA member portal. Once a vendor has signed on to the DPA, even at the request of just one member, it will be declared safe for all members and listed as such on the portal. Just as importantly, vendors who do not sign on will also be listed;
  • They will provide training and support around SDP for all members and their staff.

Through TEC and RISPA, RI is beginning to build a stable of education vendors who have agreed to cooperate with all of us to keep our students’ PII safe and secure.

The RISTE board of directors approved a Memorandum of Understanding between TEC and RISTE modeled after the New Hampshire agreement with TEC.  The agreement outlines the TEC SDPA Service to be provided.

Who is The Education Cooperative (TEC)?

TEC is a non-profit that has been providing support to MA districts since 1968. In 2016 TEC partnered with Steve Smith of Cambridge Public Schools to support the Student Data Privacy Alliance, which he began in 2015. After tremendous success in Massachusetts, they launched the New Hampshire Student Privacy Alliance (NHSPA) in summer 2019, joining a fast-growing movement across the U.S. to protect student data privacy. Now TEC is joining forces with RISTE to launch RISPA, expanding this valuable service to southern New England.  

We are confident that this partnership will provide both the processes to handle Rhode Island’s schools and the contacts and resources to onboard new members efficiently. TEC and the SDPA work with a legal firm with experts in the field of Education Law for contract negotiations, and they have also hired a dedicated, experienced contract administrator. Their turnkey legal and administrative services are critical to RISPA’s success.

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