Superintendent's Memo #087-09

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

April 3, 2009

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Informational Forums and Trainings on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Final Regulations

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) final regulations became effective on January 8, 2009. The FERPA is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

The amendments to the Act were needed to implement a provision of the USA Patriot Act and the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act, which added new exceptions permitting the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records without consent. The amendments also implement two U.S. Supreme Court decisions interpreting FERPA, and make necessary changes identified as a result of the U.S. Department of Education’s experience administering FERPA. These changes clarify permissible disclosures to parents of eligible students and conditions that apply to disclosures in health and safety emergencies; clarify permissible disclosures of student identifiers as directory information; allow disclosures to contractors and other outside parties in connection with the outsourcing of institutional services and functions; revise the definitions of attendance, disclosure, education records personally identifiable information and other key terms; clarify permissible redisclosures by State and Federal officials; and update investigation and enforcement provisions.

The Virginia Department of Education, in partnership with the Public Schools Records Consortium and the Library of Virginia, with the assistance of Leroy Rooker, the leading expert on FERPA, will offer two informational forums with in-depth discussion on the new regulations. The Library of Virginia’s records manager will address Schedule 21, Records Retention and Disposition. These forums and trainings will be offered as follows:

Both sessions will begin promptly at 9 a.m. and conclude by 3 p.m. A working luncheon session will be offered. Please complete and return the attached registration form by Tuesday, April 22, 2009. Attendees will be responsible for their travel expenses.

Below are several resources available to assist you in ensuring compliance and revising the school division’s policy and procedures regarding student education records, including the required annual notifications to parents and eligible students. These resources can be downloaded from the Family Policy Compliance Office website at http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/index.html.

We look forward to working with school officials to ensure compliance with the new FERPA. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Dr. Sandra E. Ruffin, director of federal program monitoring, via e-mail sandra.ruffin@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at 804) 225-2768.

PIW / SER / dct

a. FERPA Informational Forum and Training Registration Form (Word)