The Regional School Choice Office (RSCO) is the office within the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) that, among other things, administers the lottery for school choice programming. As part of the lottery application process, RSCO collects data from applicants for purposes of placing applicants at the various choice schools. The data that RSCO collects comes directly from the online applications that families submit and includes information such as student name and address, schools applied to, applicable application preferences (such as, for example, whether a parent or sibling attended the school or whether the applicant lives in a neighborhood close to the school), and general household information (such as, for example, the number of children under 18 living in the home, and a guardian’s highest educational attainment).
RSCO treats data confidentiality very seriously and only disseminates this information in very limited fashion as required by law. For example, RSCO shares applicant information with individual schools and school operators as part of the application and placement process and provides schools and school operators with applicant data for purposes of marketing and outreach efforts. RSCO also assesses application pools and shares those assessments with experts and RSCO stakeholders in order to implement adjustments to placement protocols to maximize socioeconomic diversity at individual schools and across the choice system. The CSDE has in place a broad range of measures to ensure that such data are not accessible to the general public and are available only to authorized individuals or organizations. For example:
The CSDE does not collect Social Security Numbers (SSNs) for students in pre-K through 12. To track students in the system, the CSDE generates a random, unique identification number for each student, called the State Assigned Student Identification (SASID).
- All confidential data are stored on secure servers behind stringent multi-level firewall protections and monitored by sophisticated intrusion detection software.
- Data are only accessible to individuals with the requisite authorization credentials and access is limited per user to very specific data elements.
- The CSDE does not permit the reporting of individual student data to the public. When publicly reporting aggregate totals, the CSDE further minimizes the risk of identification of individual students by not releasing the exact number if the total is fewer than six. In these instances, the aggregate count is simply represented by an asterisk.