DIXFIELD — Regional School Unit 56 Technology Director Brian Keene advised directors Tuesday night how students’ and staff electronic data is being protected.

“It’s a very important asset to us and we need to ensure that any data that we’ve collected for any reason is stored with the highest safety and security that we can give.” It could mean anything from student addresses, phone numbers and grades to staff paycheck information and Social Security numbers.

Keene said protecting data privacy is “a big initiative” throughout Maine and the country.

RSU 56 is part of the Maine Student Privacy Alliance, which includes 10,794 districts across the country and has 70 participating school districts in Maine, Keene said. The alliance aids in creating transparency among those participating software vendors on behalf of school districts and ensuring standard data privacy agreements from those vendors, among other benefits.

Regional School Unit 56 Technology Director Brian Keene, standing, addresses the board of directors Tuesday night at Dirigo High School in Dixfield. From left are Directors Marianne Young of Carthage, Liz Kelly of Dixfield and Chairwoman Barbara Chow of Dixfield, Superintendent Pam Doyen, Director Tim Kelly of Dixfield, student board representative Joe Conron, Directors Bruce Ross and Larry Whittington, both of Dixfield, and Don Whittemore of Carthage. Director Natalie Sneller of Canton attended the meeting virtually and Directors Deanna Dolloff and Angela Cushman, both of Peru, were absent. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

The district uses 29 computer application software vendors, among them are online instruction programs such as eSpark and Learning A-Z, he said.

In other business, Keene said the Technology Department is fully staffed with himself and a computer technician each at Dirigo High School and T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School, both in Dixfield, and Dirigo Elementary School in Peru.

Students in prekindergarten through third grade have iPads for the school year and those in grades four through five are loaned MacBook Air laptops. Students at the middle school and high school have also been loaned MacBook Airs for classroom learning this year, Keene said.

Around the third week of October the district will sell about 200 MacBook Airs from 2016 to 2017, Keene said.

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