K-12 DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY SAVES TIME AND IMPROVES STUDENT SAFETY AND DATA SECURITY IN GOOGLE WORKSPACE FOR EDUCATION WITH MANAGEDMETHODS
Rich Chiuppi has a lot on his plate. As Director of Technology at East Prairie School District #73, he’s part of a two-person team managing the entire district’s IT and cybersecurity needs.
“I oversee the technology, implementations, and security, so I wear a lot of hats,” he explains. Although generally not as big as other districts in the Chicago area, East Prairie’s 550 students and 80 staff are more than enough to keep Rich busy, especially when it comes to cloud technology.
As Chiuppi recalls, East Prairie recognized early on that the industry was trending toward the cloud. At one point, the school hosted all of its student information and library systems on in-house servers but soon realized that moving them to the cloud was the better option.
“We gradually started phasing things into the cloud for the reason that it was more effective, and in some situations, the industry was kind of forcing us in that direction,” he says. “If you’re hosting certain things on-premise, it becomes cost-prohibitive over time.”
So, East Prairie started using Google Workspace for Education Plus, with a few Apple and Microsoft applications in the mix. According to Chiuppi, it was an interesting transition because teachers were at first allowed to try different applications on their own.
“We wanted them to have the flexibility and creativity to use technology in the classroom,” he explains. “As time went on, we started to realize how data was being used by some of these vendors, how certain services behaved, and how many services we inherited from letting teachers have that freedom. Then, SOPPA came along, and it really opened our eyes like, ‘Oh, this is what’s going on?’”
SOPPA — the Student Online Personal Protection Act — is an Illinois law that protects the privacy and security of students’ online data at school. Its intention is to regulate how edtech vendors manage student data, but it also requires school districts like East Prairie to implement a more rigorous vetting process for solutions that capture student information.
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