August 13, 2019
Dear Parents and Staff,
Earlier this month, you might have seen news reports about a data breach involving Pearson, an education assessment company, which is used by school districts and universities across the United States. Pearson is a third party company, which Genoa-Kingston has used for more than a decade, to provide benchmark and progress monitoring assessments in reading to our students.
In November, 2018, a Pearson AIMSweb 1.0 Platform database was breached, and information from more than 13,000 school districts and universities were affected. Pearson notified its clients of this breach last month. At the time of the report, we believed that Genoa-Kingston #424 student and employee data was not compromised. However, we learned very recently that our data going back several years, was indeed part of the large, nationwide breach.
According to information provided to our District from Pearson, the student information that was obtained in the breach was students’ first name, last name, and in some cases, date of birth and district affiliated email addresses. At this time, we do not believe any further student information was obtained.
In addition to student information, staff members’ first names, last names, job title, work email, and work address. No other staff identifiers were exposed in the breach.
We understand that this information can be unsettling, and we assure you that as a District, we are working closely with representatives from Pearson to ensure they are taking all necessary steps to safeguard our students’ and staff members’ information in the future. Pearson does not have evidence that any information which was obtained has been misused.
In the meantime, Pearson is working with Experian Identity Works to help monitor identities or credit information for those affected that choose to sign up for their year long monitoring service.
Our Information Technology Department is also available during business hours to assist at 815-784-6222. Please do not hesitate to reach out to them for assistance.
Brent O’Daniell, Superintendent