The TLE Seal is a mark of distinction for school systems, signaling that they have taken measurable steps to ensure the privacy of student data in alignment with the TLE Seal Program privacy framework. It is the only privacy designation for school systems.
CoSN leads the program, which was developed through the input of 28 school systems nationwide and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) and ASCD.
School systems must manage complex processes and practices to properly protect student data privacy. They must have concrete, robust policies and practices in place to provide appropriate protections for student data, and they need to communicate those practices clearly to parents in order to earn their trust. The CoSN TLE Seal Program provides a means to measure and improve student data protections, ensure that those protections are clear to parents and other community members, and commit to continuous improvement of their privacy practices.
The 5 core practice areas are:
- Data Security
- Professional Development
Within each area are a number of specific practices that school systems must have implemented in order to be eligible for the Seal. The TLE Seal Program application, including all of the practice requirements, is available here.
The TLE Seal is open to all K-12 school systems. By “school system” we are referring to school organizations of all governance structures, including public school districts, private schools, parochial schools, charter schools, etc.
To earn the TLE Seal, school systems must complete an application, providing evidence demonstrating how they meet each of the requirements the TLE Seal practices. When earned, the Seal is applicable for two years and provides school systems the vehicle to communicate their commitment to student data privacy and their commitment to ongoing privacy improvement clearly to parents. Click here to apply.
Concerns from parents, legislators, and other community stakeholders about how school systems protect student data privacy have landed at the feet of school system leaders. They are challenged to modernize learning environments that meet legal privacy and security requirements while articulating to their communities about the safeguards in place.
The TLE Seal Program provides a set of concrete practices to measure and improve student data protections beyond the legal requirements. It requires that school systems have in place a rigorous and holistic student data privacy program, and that they are committed to ongoing improvement.
TLE Seal applicants are expected to be operating in compliance with applicable privacy laws. The TLE Seal is a privacy framework designed to measure and elevate practices through a privacy program that reaches across the organization and that meets high practice standards.
School system leaders apply for the TLE Program by submitting detailed information about specific practices for review by CoSN. Applications are confidential. In the event that CoSN determines that a Seal should not be awarded, the school system will receive feedback and a benchmarking report to help inform how they can improve. Applicants who do not earn the TLE Seal are encourage to leverage the feedback and reapply, and may do so as often as they’d like without cost.
The TLE Seal is valid for 2 years. As part of being awarded the TLE Seal, recipients commit to engaging in the ongoing improvement of their practices. At the end of the 2-year term, TLE Seal recipients must reapply, providing evidence of how their practices have improved.
As a matter of policy, should a TLE Seal recipient experience a privacy or security incident, CoSN will assess the facts once they are available and make a determination as to whether or not any TLE practices – perhaps lapsed – were causative. A lapse in commitment to TLE practices, including a lapse that leads to a privacy or security incident, or a failure to improve over the course of the 2-year Seal term could be grounds for revocation of the Seal.
CoSN provides school systems with specific information regarding expectations for participation in the TLE program. We review all applications, and to the extent possible, we work with technology leaders and other subject matter experts to validate the information provided. However, school system leaders bear the sole responsibility for submitting complete and accurate information in the application process and for continuing to meet the TLE requirements while they display the Seal, and answering questions that come up from their community.