November 27, 2018 ​| Bay Area, CA, Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) and McREL International are pleased to announce the open application period for the Safer Schools in America Impact Grant with a total in-kind value of over $25 Million over three years.

Starting today, GG4L Member US districts may nominate up to three schools each to qualify for grants that fund several pre-integrated innovative solutions from over 25 global EdTech providers to be deployed and measured at no cost to the schools for a minimum of three years each. Any US school or school district could be a GG4L member at no cost and apply for the Grant Application. 100 US schools will be selected for the initial phase of the Grant by January 30, 2019, with 400 additional schools to be selected in later phases in 2019.  

Aligned to the US national ESSA-Title IV Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) framework for school safety, the Safer Schools in America Impact Grant will capture data-driven validation research around the expansive range of activities needed to foster safer school environments, including emotional, physical and digital safety, emergency preparedness, school facilities, culture, and community engagement.

“Parents, students, teachers and administrators expect schools to be safe, secure, and supportive for teaching and learning, but little research has been done to date to measure the effectiveness of the solutions that we purchase to address safety and well-being” explains Dr. Sandra Elliott, Chief Academic Officer at GG4L. Bryan Goodwin, CEO of McREL comments, “We hope that by joining this partnership, McREL can contribute to building a better evidence base that helps educators and parents make informed decisions about which approaches will work best for their students and schools.”

This Impact Grant is made possible through generous sponsorships from corporations and philanthropy.  For more information on the list of sponsors and participating GG4L Members please visit our website at

About Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) – Embracing the belief that our nation’s education system impacts our future, GG4L is building innovative public and private partnerships mindfully structured to harness the power of data to solve big school challenges such as school safety, literacy, college and career readiness and student wellness. With privacy and security top of mind, GG4L’s 3-way partnership between schools, industry and philanthropy, actively champions continuous cycles of improvement informed by data. By facilitating affordable access to proven solutions and efficacy data, GG4L fuels rapid innovation in education. As a membership-based Public Benefit Corporation, GG4L is committed to voluntarily meeting higher standards of corporate purpose, accountability and transparency.

About McREL International – A nonprofit research and development organization that since 1966 has turned knowledge about what works in education into practical, effective guidance and training for teachers and education leaders across the U.S. and around the world. McREL provides schools, districts, and other education organizations with high-quality research and evaluation, professional development and coaching, strategic planning, and assistance with improvement and innovation projects.

For more information please visit us at or contact us at

Protecting Student Data Privacy – Everyone Plays a Role

Current legislation does not take into consideration the high-tech revolution that has occurred in EdTech. As beneficial as innovations like internet access, affordable devices, and e-learning tools can be for students, protecting the private information that schools possess can be challenging. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) does protect families and their children to some extent; however, student data is often required to effectively provision cloud-hosted EdTech solutions.

Parents as Advocates

While there are certain bits of student data, such as directory information, that do not require a consent form to be shared by third-party vendors, parents do have the right to know what information is being used and why. A child’s education record can hold everything from their date of birth and home address to physical descriptors and school activities. When schools are managing multiple EdTech vendors, parents must have the ability to play a key advocacy role in ensuring privacy and data protection.

Schools as Trustees

It’s not uncommon for schools to contract with 25 or more different EdTech vendors, many requiring access to student information. Schools must develop and enforce strict data protection policies with their EdTech vendors as well as require an option for parents to opt-out of providing identifying information. Many programs, despite being school-related, do not fall under FERPA and are not automatically guaranteed the same data protections, so schools are forced to provide the additional necessary data security.

EdTech Community Working Together

Protecting student data is everyone’s responsibility, from the schools who store the data to the EdTech vendors who access it, to the corporations who demand highly-qualified candidates and drive the need for EdTech, to the communities that benefit from a well-educated population. Proper oversight is pivotal in the protection of sensitive student data, which has become more important as technology advances. Mobile portals and other third-party EdTech services are convenient, but they can pose a considerable privacy risk. We can all do more to help protect data.

Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) is committed to promoting data security in schools, and protecting the data of every user is a top priority. GG4L’s Connect platform makes integrating and deploying education technology safe, easy, and inexpensive. It’s free for schools to use, less expensive for EdTech vendors, and safer for students. As a Public Benefit Corporation, GG4L welcomes collaboration and support from corporate social responsibility (CSR) and philanthropic foundations. Help us keep K-12 data interoperability costs low for schools, while maintaining the security and privacy of student data.  Contact us today to learn more about becoming a GG4L Corporate Sponsor.