A new Virginia law is preventing FCPS and your principals from sharing traditional directory information with PTAs and booster groups. I want to update you on the changes and share some options.
The new law allows your school to share only:
- Student Name
- Grade Level
- Teacher Name
- Parent Name
- Parent Email
No longer can schools share addresses and phone numbers. In many of our schools, most parents share their email addresses, so while the directories will look different, they won’t affect how most parents communicate. However, in some of our schools, not all parents use email, so the new directory information can hamper PTA efforts to communicate with those parents.
- PTAs can solicit information independent of school. You can ask parents to fill out directory information during back-to-school and other events.
- PTAs can use 2017-18 directory information and build on it. For example, an elementary PTA can use last year’s K-5 information and solicit information from the incoming kindergarten parents (it is legal to use last year’s previously disclosed information).
- PTAs can move to email-only contacts within directories.
Thanks to the Department of Information Technology at FCPS who raised this issue and explained it to us. FCPS actually considered an “opt-in” process whereby parents would be asked to submit directory information on a special form. As you can imagine, with 180,000 students in our system that is simply not feasible.
While this is a change (and a surprise at that), we anticipate the majority of our PTAs can easily adapt. The law that forced this change was directed at Higher Ed institutions and swiftly evolved into something that impacts all of us. Please let us know how these changes affect your PTAs on our Facebook Best Practices page.