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NSBA 'Data in the Cloud' Guidance Documents

Many school districts across the nation are moving away from on-site data storage to “the cloud.” The advantages of school districts using cloud-based platforms and learning tools are obvious – ease, convenience, wide accessibility, individualized learning, and compliance with testing requirements. A big disadvantage, in the eyes of many, is the loss of privacy that accompanies the transfer of personal student information to cloud-based storage.

NSBA has issued two guides: one for school boards and one for school law attorneys. They are resources for school officials and attorneys advising K-12 public school districts on how best to protect the privacy of student information while remaining legally compliant and minimizing potential liability in the district’s use of cloud-based data services.

They should help school officials become familiar with cloud applications, applicable law, and potential issues associated with school district, staff, and student use of cloud-based applications. They also recommend best practices with respect to district contracting and policy.

  • The guide for school boards, titled Data in the Cloud, seeks to raise awareness of student data privacy concerns, and to provide a framework for comprehensive student data privacy approaches in school districts. It is available at

    The guide uses a question-and-answer format to explain the relevant terminology, recent academic research, the breadth of software offerings, important legal requirements, and additional resources available to school board members and school lawyers.
  • The guide for school attorneys, titled Cloud Computing and Student Privacy: A Guide for School Attorneys, is available to school lawyers who are members of NSBA’s Council of School Attorneys (COSA) with their user name and password.

When districts seek to enter into contracts with vendors for cloud computing services, they should involve the board attorney and ask them to review these guidance documents.

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