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Letter regarding Pearson AIMSweb data breach

Filed in District, District News by on September 9, 2019

The following letter from Superintendent Jody Monroe was mailed on August 29 to families of students who were impacted by the Pearson AIMSweb data breach. This breach affected 2,168 students in the Bethlehem Central School District. If you did not receive a letter, your child’s information was not part of this incident. If you have any questions, please contact Director of Technology Ray Nardelli at rnardelli@bethlehemschools.org.

Dear Parent/Guardian:

The Bethlehem Central School District was informed this week by Pearson Education, Inc. of a data security breach involving AIMSweb, a student assessment tool the district had used in the past. We have been advised that some personally identifiable student information, stored by Pearson in the AIMSweb 1.0 platform, was accessed by unauthorized users. We are sending you this letter because some of your child’s information was part of this data breach.  

Working with the instructional technology support team at the Mohawk Regional Information Center, this is what the district has learned:

  • The information accessed by unauthorized users was the student’s first and last name, the student’s date of birth, and the student’s email address, if the student had one at the time;
  • Pearson Education has no evidence that this information has been misused;
  • The unauthorized access occurred in November 2018, Pearson discovered it in March 2019, and Pearson began notifying school districts in July 2019;
  • The records of approximately 2,168 Bethlehem Central School District students were accessed without authorization;
  • No assessment results were part of the breach;
  • The unauthorized users gained access to student information stored in a software system called AIMSweb 1.0 that Bethlehem stopped using after June of 2017 when the district transitioned to the iReady assessment tool; and
  • This breach of Pearson’s digital security has affected approximately 13,000 districts in several states.

Pearson, with the assistance of external cybersecurity experts, launched a review and confirmed the existence of the incident and the impacted data. The design of the database and application limited the data that was accessed to the information specified above.

Please know that Bethlehem Central School District is committed to protecting and securing educational data. Our team has training related to data security and privacy, and our systems have controls in place to protect your child’s educational records. Additionally, we have received assurances that Pearson has taken the necessary steps to mitigate the incident and is enhancing protections to guard against similar events.  

Again, there is no evidence that the information described above has been misused, however,  Pearson is offering complimentary credit monitoring from Experian for one year for affected individuals as a precautionary measure. If you are interested in learning more about this option, please call Pearson at 866-883-3309 or email aimsweb1request@pearson.com.

Please contact Director of Technology Ray Nardelli at rnardelli@bethlehemschoos.org with any questions you may have regarding this incident.

Sincerely,

Jody Monroe
Superintendent of Schools