Policy Information: Privacy, Student and Family Rights, Academic Information

Student Records

The Board of Education recognizes the importance of accurate student records and the need to maintain confidentiality in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). With respect to a student’s educational records, parents have the right to: inspect and review educational records of their children; request the amendment of records the parent/eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s privacy rights; the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information in the student’s education records, except information that can be disclosed without consent; and the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Education concerning alleged failures by the district to comply with FERPA. The full Student Records policy can be obtained from the District Office at 1239 Van Antwerp Road, Niskayuna or online in the Board of Education policy manual.

Release of Student Directory Information

The district may release student information defined as “directory information” without prior written consent, unless otherwise notified by parents. The district has designated directory information as: student’s name, home address(es), telephone number(s), date and place of birth, honors and awards, participation in recognized activities, dates of attendance, grade and school of attendance, teacher name and class lists, future educational plans, names of parents/guardians, parent e-mail addresses, and student photo/video. Examples of the use of information include: release to the news media, in district communications such as the website, official social media sites and district newsletters and to assist with PTO-compiled school directories. Parents/guardians who do not want their child’s directory information to be released should notify the building principal at the school and notify the superintendent of schools (Niskayuna Central School District, 1239 Van Antwerp Road, Niskayuna, NY, 12309) by Oct. 1 of each year.

While the district will honor the request of any parent who has submitted written notification opting their child out of publicity efforts, the district is not responsible for media that covers news happenings, sporting events, or other school events that are open to the public such as plays and musical performances.

Access of military recruiters to student information

In accordance with the No Child Left Behind law, the Niskayuna Central School District must release secondary school students’ names, addresses and telephone listings to military recruiters or institutions of higher education, unless the students or their parents/guardians request in writing that such information not be released. If you would not like this information released, please notify District Registrar Joan Vertigan in writing at Niskayuna Central School District, 1239 Van Antwerp Road, Niskayuna, NY 12309.

Parents’ Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security

The Niskayuna Central School District is committed to ensuring student privacy in accordance with local, state and federal regulations and district policies. To this end and pursuant to U.S. Department of Education regulations, the district is providing the following Parents’ Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security:

  • A student’s personally identifiable information cannot be sold or released for any commercial purposes.
  • Parents have the right to inspect and review the complete contents of their child’s education record.
  • State and federal laws protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information and safeguards associated with industry standards and best practices, including but not limited to, encryption, firewalls and password protection, must be in place when data is stored or transferred.
  • Parents may access the New York State Education Department (NYSED) Student Data Elements List, a complete list of all student data elements collected by NYSED is available for public review online and may also be obtained by by writing to the Office of Information & Reporting Services, New York State Education Department, Room 863 EBA, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234.
  • Parents have the right to have complaints about possible breaches of student data addressed. Complaints to NYSED should be addressed to: Chief Privacy Officer, New York State Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234; e-mail address is cpo@mail.nysed.gov.

This bill of rights is subject to change based on regulations of the commissioner of education and the New York State Education Department chief privacy officer. Changes/additions are also anticipated as NYSED releases further guidance documents.

Protection of Pupil Rights

The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment provides parents/guardians with certain rights regarding the conduct of surveys, collection and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams. In particular, if a survey is funded in whole or part by the U.S. Department of Education, parents/guardians have the right to consent before students are required to complete a survey that asks about any of eight protected areas: political affiliations or beliefs; mental or psychological problems; sexual behavior or attitudes; illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior; critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships; legally recognized privileged relationships; religious practices; or income.

Parents/guardians will also receive a notice and an opportunity to opt students out of: any other survey that asks about the above protected areas; Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam/screening with the exception of physical exams or screenings required or permitted by state law (e.g. hearing, vision, or scoliosis); and activities involving collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for marketing.

Parents/guardians have the right to inspect any surveys that ask about the above protected areas, as well as surveys created by third parties to collect personal information from students for marketing purposes, and instructional materials used as part of the curriculum. Parents/guardians will also be provided with reasonable notification of specific activities or surveys covered by this policy and the ability to opt their child out. Anyone who believes their rights have been violated may file a complaint with: Family Policy Compliance Office; U.S. Department of Education; 400 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, D.C. 20202.

Staff Qualifications

Parents/guardians have the right to know the professional qualifications, including college degrees and certifications, of their child’s classroom teachers and paraprofessionals that they may receive services from. To initiate a request for this information, please contact the Office of Human Resources at (518) 377-4666, ext. 50740.

Annual Professional Performance Review

New York State Education Law requires each classroom teacher and school principal to receive an annual professional performance review (APPR) that results in a composite effectiveness score and rating. All parents/guardians have the right to obtain the APPR quality ratings and composite effectiveness scores for their child’s current teacher(s) and principal(s) once they are available. To initiate this request, please contact the Office of Human Resources at (518) 377-4666, ext. 50740.

Student Evaluation, Promotion and Placement

Decisions about student promotion and placement are at the discretion of the school administration. These decisions are guided by recommendations of teachers and staff members, past academic performance, and parent/guardian input. Past academic performance refers to a variety of indicators of student achievement and growth. Promotion and placement decisions are not based solely on student performance on New York state assessments in grades 3-8 English language arts or mathematics. Parents and/or persons in parental relation to students shall receive an appropriate report of student progress at regular intervals. The District will not include on a student’s official transcript or maintain in a student’s permanent record any individual student score on a state administered standardized English language arts or mathematics assessment for grades 3 through 8. The district’s promotion and placement policy was adopted by the board of education following a review by the district administration.