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District reviewing data security protocols

The Fayetteville-Manlius School District was recently informed by a third-party provider of an online student assessment tool used by the district that a data security incident occurred that involved the unauthorized access of personally identifiable information about F-M students.

AIMSweb 1.0 is a student assessment tool provided by Pearson Clinical Assessment (Pearson) and used by many school districts and colleges, both locally and nationally. Pearson believes the AIMSweb 1.0 breach occurred in or around November 2018 and potentially affected students’ first and last names, dates of birth and email addresses. The district no longer uses AIMSweb 1.0.

At present, the school district is working with Pearson representatives to identify which students may be affected and for which school years.

The F-M district only used AIMSweb 1.0 for grades K-4.

Assessment information and grades were not disclosed, and Social Security numbers were not included in the data accessed, according to Pearson. Data for AIMSweb account administrators was also accessed and may include first and last names, job titles, work email and work address.

“We know this is concerning to parents and guardians, and it is concerning to us, as well. We are working closely with the Central New York Regional Information Center, through which we access the Pearson software, to ensure our students’ information is protected and secure,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said.

District instructional technology staff overseeing F-M student data have training in data security and privacy, and they are reviewing the district’s internal controls that are currently in place to protect children’s educational records.

Pearson has assured the district that it has taken the necessary steps to mitigate the incident and is enhancing protections to guard against similar events.

While it is the district’s understanding that there is no evidence that the information described above has been misused, Pearson is offering complimentary credit monitoring from Experian for one year for affected individuals as a precautionary measure. To contact Experian, please call 866-883-3309.