Schools’ plan to test inBloom was carefully considered, communicated
A recent letter to the editor stated that “Jefferson County Schools has decided to put all student personal information in a national database called ‘inBloom.’ It has done this secretly without any prior input from parents and taxpayers.”
To set the record straight, Jeffco Public Schools has not put student information into inBloom. Jeffco is partnering with inBloom as a pilot district to explore the feasibility of using inBloom’s services. Addit¡ionally, Jeffco has frequently communicated this work to both parents and taxpayers over the past few months.
What is inBloom? To achieve Jeffco’s goal of all students graduating career and college ready, we face a need for faster access to pertinent data and resources from multiple systems, along with the ability to quickly identify which of these resources are appropriate for instructional use. We rely on a variety of technology tools to do this, but the cost of connecting all these tools can be very high. InBloom provides a set of technology services, including secure Web-based data storage, which dramatically lower district costs and help to ensure that the money we spend on technology can provide the greatest possible benefit to students and educators.
Student data privacy is a top priority for inBloom and for Jeffco. We encourage our community to get detailed information about inBloom’s approach to data security and privacy, which is available on the inBloom website. The services inBloom provides, and Jeffco’s use of them, are fully compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA; additionally, inBloom offers districts the ability to secure student data better than they can on their own. Student data will never become the property of inBloom or any of its funders or affiliates, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Indeed, Jeffco shares personally identifiable data only with entities that have a legitimate “need to know.” Utilizing inBloom would not change the rules on the release of data to third parties, because Jeffco’s current practices would remain unchanged.
We appreciate the questions from our community and will continue to share the facts of the inBloom story.
superintendent, Jeffco Public Schools
Open Space master plan needs public input
For several months, I have been following the situation at Crown Hill Open Space, where Jeffco Open Space proposed to build several structures that the public did not want. It might remind Evergreen residents of the pedestrian bridge that Jeffco installed in 2004 against the community’s wishes. Similar situations will continue to generate negative publicity and waste taxpayer dollars if several issues are not addressed:
• Lack of public involvement at all levels of parks and open space planning and management (including the design process, as in the Evergreen bridge situation).
• Lack of shared vision and goals between public and staff.
• Lack of transparency. Need to develop transparency requirements with input from professional resources and the public, put them in writing, and then follow them.
• Lack of accountability. Need to conduct a review by a qualified, disinterested third party to ensure that the Open Space Division is abiding by program guidelines, legal covenants from Great Outdoors Colorado, and other relevant rules and obligations.
• Lack of information tailored for Jefferson County on how to connect children and families to nature. Need to conduct analysis and public outreach on this topic.
Please let Jeffco know that you want these issues addressed in the Jeffco parks master plan and also share your other values and goals for open space lands. The master plan process started May 16 and will continue through this fall. At least two more public meetings will be held in August (dates/times to be determined). In the meantime, citizens can provide input via e-mail to Thea Rock, Jeffco Open Space communications manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://jeffco.us/
jeffersoncountyparks.htm for further details.
If you share these concerns, send an e-mail to Friends of Jeffco Open Space at email@example.com.