Privacy Policy

Last updated: October 13, 2020 (summary of updates)

We have done our best to write this Privacy Policy in simple and clear terms. In order to facilitate your understanding of the Privacy Policy, we have added notes that provide short summaries of the legal language in plain English.

Introduction

Along is a free, web-based, interactive journal designed to make it easier for teachers to guide and advance the development of critical life skills in students. The Services (defined below) enabled by Along are designed to facilitate strong, meaningful relationships between teachers and students through research-informed resources and efficient communication (e.g., asynchronous text, video and/or other supported methods of communication).

What this is saying...

Along is a free learning tool for students and teachers, provided by Gradient Learning and with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Along is designed to help build strong relationships between teachers and their students, and to help students develop key life skills.

Your privacy on Along is our priority. We don't make money from students and teachers using Along, nor do we allow ads to be placed on Along. We do not and will never sell or rent student and teacher personal information.

Gradient Learning (formerly T.L.P. Education) (“Gradient Learning”, "we", "us" and "our"), a California nonprofit public benefit organization and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is dedicated to helping all students feel encouraged and inspired. With support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, LLC (“CZI”), Gradient Learning offers Along as a free service to teachers and students. For clarity, this Privacy Policy does not apply to any other product or service offered by Gradient Learning, such as Summit Learning, which is offered under its own Privacy Policy.

Gradient Learning and CZI are signatories to the Future of Privacy Forum's and SIAA's Student Privacy Pledge ("Student Privacy Pledge").

Gradient Learning does not place ads in Along or use personal information that we collect for ad purposes, including for behaviorally-targeted advertising purposes. We do not, and will not, make or seek to make money from students or their schools, teachers, or parents. We do not, have not, and will not sell, rent, or lease the personal information of students, teachers, or anyone else.

As with any technology used in the classroom, protections must be in place to safeguard student information. We have established this Privacy Policy (the "Privacy Policy") to clearly articulate the personal information that we collect and how we protect, use, and share it.

What this is saying...

We take your privacy very seriously. This Privacy Policy covers the protection of personal information for students and teachers who use Along, school administrators of schools where those teachers work, and parents/legal guardians of students.

This Privacy Policy applies to Along’s features, and related services (collectively, the "Services"). This Privacy Policy applies to teachers who register for the Services (“Registered Teacher”) and students invited by a Registered Teacher who register for the services (“Student User”) (together, “Users” or “You”), administrators and school district officials from Schools (defined below) ("School Administrators") whose teachers and students are Users, and parents and legal guardians of a Student User that is under the age of 18 (“Parents”).

For clarity, Along’s website [www.comealong.org] is subject to its own Website Privacy Notice.

1. Contract

What this is saying...

By using Along, you are entering into a contract with Gradient Learning and agreeing to the terms in this Privacy Policy and our User Agreement

When you use our Services, you agree to all the terms in this Privacy Policy and our User Agreement, including the Data Privacy Addendum ("User Agreement”). You agree that by registering for, accessing or using our Services, you are agreeing to enter into a legally binding contract with Gradient Learning, as further described in the User Agreement.

2. Website visitors

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We collect and use information from Along website visitors so that we can send requested information, such as sending users newsletters that they sign up for. This collection and use is subject to its own Website Privacy Notice.

If you are a visitor to the Along website [www.comealong.org], we will collect certain information from you in order to provide our services such as our mailing list. This includes information you give us directly, such as your first and last name and information provided from your browser or device, like log data and cookies.

Please see the Along Website Privacy Notice for more information.

3. Users of the Services

What this is saying...

We provide Along to users who agree to our User Agreement. To operate our service, we need to collect and use certain personal information from users (in accordance with our User Agreement, this Privacy Policy, and applicable laws). Any personal information we collect comes with specific protections and sharing limitations.

We provide the Services directly to Registered Teachers or School Administrators who agree to the User Agreement on behalf of, and as an authorized agent of, the school through which they conduct learning activities (“School”). In order to operate the Services, we collect certain information and only use and share the information to provide the Services in accordance with the User Agreement (or other terms agreed upon with Registered Teachers or School Administrators), this Privacy Policy, and applicable laws. The User Agreement includes a Data Privacy Addendum that includes protections for Student User information, and limits our use and sharing of Student User personal information to the Services. Parents can get more information about the Services on our website.

What this is saying...

We define “personal information” from students using Along as any information that would allow that child to be identified or contacted by another individual. We collect this type of personal information on Along so that we can provide students with educational services and use such information only for educational purposes.

For Student Users, we define personal information as information that alone, or in combination with other non-personal information would allow someone to identify or contact the child. This includes, but may not be limited to, all information considered to be "personal information" under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA") or "personally identifiable information" under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA"). For more information on COPPA please see section 5 below.

3.1. Information We Collect

We collect the following types of information, including personal information, from students and teachers when they sign up for and use the Services.

What this is saying...

When teachers and students sign up for Along, we collect certain types of information -- including:

  • Account sign-up and profile information (such as your name, email address, and profile picture)
  • Your usage of Along (such as content you upload, like teacher prompts, student responses, and teacher feedback; written messages, photos or videos, and other communications; metadata; and usage data)
  • Class and student user information (such as student names, classes, grade levels, teacher names, school ID numbers, and academic or extracurricular activities)
  • User-submitted reports, surveys, and feedback (such as technical support data and communications, survey answers, and other product feedback)
  • Parent and School Administrator information (such as contact information for parents and school administrators and parent ID numbers)
  • Device and network information (such as operating systems, browser types, networks, and devices being used)
  • Cookies, pixel tags, and similar technologies (such as cookies that help us save your preferences and identify users)
What this is saying...

We don't intentionally collect sensitive information through Along, such as the exact location of students. If we become aware that sensitive information is on the service, we will delete it or notify the appropriate party to get consent to keep it if necessary.

3.2. Information We Do Not Seek to Collect or Store

We do not seek to collect sensitive information about Student Users or Registered Teachers, such as precise location or biometric data. If we become aware that such information has been provided, we will delete it within thirty (30) days of such awareness or get the appropriate School, Parent, or User consent to keep it if it is reasonably necessary for the Services.

3.3. We Limit the Use of the Information We Collect

We use the personal information we collect from the Services for educational purposes as directed by Registered Teachers or Schools, including to:

What this is saying...

We use the personal information collected from Along for educational purposes only, as directed by teachers and schools that use the service. This personal information also helps us to improve safety for our users. You may be able to have your browser block or delete cookies, but some parts of the services may not work properly as a result.

Safety. We are committed to making Along a safe space for teachers and students. Your well-being is our top priority and we also use the personal information we collect to improve safety for our Users on and off the Services. This includes helping Registered Teachers and School Administrators investigate suspicious activity, reported content, violations of School’s policies or our policies; preventing spam and other bad experiences; combating harmful conduct; verifying accounts and activities; and maintaining the integrity of the Services. We may accomplish this through human review and automated systems such as PhotoDNA.

Disabling Cookies. Most browsers allow you to block or delete cookies through settings they provide, but please know that some of the Services may not work properly if all cookies are disabled. We currently do not support "do not track" signals or related opt-outs.

To be clear, we will NOT:

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We don't sell or use personal information to make money from students and teachers using Along, and we require our own service providers to make the same commitment. We also don’t use student personal information for anything other than educational purposes. In certain cases, we may use de-identified information, (i.e. information that cannot be used to identify or contact an individual) to improve your experience on Along.

De-identified information. We de-identify personal information and use de-identified information for other purposes, including research and product improvement. We consider "de-identified" information to be information that has all direct and indirect personal identifiers removed such that the data cannot reasonably be used to identify or contact an individual. Such identifiers include, but are not limited to, persistent unique identifiers, name, ID numbers, and date of birth.

3.4. We Limit How Personal Information Is Shared

In order to provide the Services, we share your information in the limited ways outlined below:

What this is saying...

We may share your information in limited ways with the following parties:

  • Those who need it in order to use Along (for example, sharing information between teachers and students communicating with one another through Along).
  • School administrators or parents (as required by applicable law).
  • Third-party service providers that help us operate Along (Note: We never sell your information, and require our third party service providers to make the same commitment).
  • Law enforcement, in response to a legal request or if we believe it’s necessary to ensure the safety of teachers and students on Along.
  • Other third parties if directed or authorized by a teacher or school (with parental consent, and in accordance with the law and our User Agreement).
  • Any new owners of Along’s services (Note: if this happens, you’ll be able to opt-out if the new owner does not follow this Privacy Policy).
What this is saying...

To demonstrate the efficacy of Along or how it’s being used in classrooms and schools, we may publicly share information that has been de-identified (i.e., information that cannot be reasonably used to identify or contact an individual).

De-identified information. In the event we wish to demonstrate how the Services are used or its efficacy, or otherwise provide information or marketing materials related to the Services, we will only share de-identified information. We may share aggregated and/or non-personally identifiable information publicly (such as statistics about visitors, and traffic patterns).

4. We Support Parent/Legal Guardian Engagement

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We support and encourage parent/legal guardian involvement with Along. Students and parents/legal guardians may request to access, review, correct or delete personal information. Such requests must be made through the student’s teacher or school.

We support and encourage the involvement of Parents in their Student Users' education. Parents and Student Users may, at any time, make a request to access, review, correct, or delete personal information in the Services by contacting the Student User's Teacher or School. If the Registered Teacher or School determines that the request should be implemented, the Registered Teacher or School may direct us to make such a change. We will process such School requests within thirty (30) days in a manner consistent with applicable law and the terms of the User Agreement (including the Data Privacy Addendum).

5. Student User's Personal Information

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In order to provide students with educational services, teachers and schools using Along have the authority to provide us access to their students’ personal information. When signing up for Along, teachers act on behalf of schools to review and agree to our User Agreement and this Privacy Policy, which details our practices of collecting, using, and disclosing students’ personal information. Teachers must also notify school administrators and parents/legal guardians that they are using Along with students.

All students who use the Services will be invited by a Registered Teacher who has agreed to the User Agreement. Pursuant to the User Agreement (including the Data Privacy Addendum), each Registered Teacher, on behalf of their School, has consented to our practices regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information from Student Users as permitted by law.

When the Registered Teacher invites their students to Along, we rely on consent obtained from the Registered Teacher or the School acting as an agent of the Student User's parent or legal guardian in order to process the Student User’s personal information.

Registered Teachers are also required to provide notice to School Administrators and Parents that they are using the Services to increase student engagement.

COPPA governs the collection of certain information from children under the age of 13 ("child" or "children"); for more information about COPPA and generally protecting children's online privacy, please visit the Federal Trade Commission COPPA FAQs and OnGuard Online. While COPPA does not directly apply to non-profit organizations such as Gradient Learning, we voluntarily comply with COPPA's guidelines regarding students under the age of 13 as part of our commitment to transparency with parents regarding the collection and use of their child's data.

What this is saying...

We are committed to keeping students of all ages safe on Along. As part of this commitment for younger students under the age of 13, we voluntarily comply with the core principles of COPPA.

The commitments we make regarding information collected from or about students apply equally to all students regardless of their age. Accordingly, where this Privacy Policy references students or any information collected from or about students, our Privacy Policy applies to students under 13 years old as well as students 13 years old and above.

6. Security and Accuracy of Personal Information

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We are constantly working on ways to prevent unauthorized access and misuse of personal information through administrative, physical, and technical safeguards. These include:

  • using strong authentication methods,
  • limiting who has access to student data,
  • destroying or deleting personal information as needed,
  • using strong encryption technology,
  • using secured data backup and recovery capability,
  • maintaining a secure software development lifecycle,
  • providing security training to employees and staff, and
  • requiring Service Providers to follow similar terms.

If there is a data breach, we will provide notice to the school in a timely manner.

The security of personal information from our Users is important to us, and we work hard to protect it from unauthorized access and use. In an effort to prevent unauthorized access, disclosure, or improper use of User information, and to maintain data accuracy, we have established physical, technical, and administrative safeguards designed to protect the personal information we collect. For additional technical details regarding Gradient Learning’s security programs and measures, please see our Security Whitepaper.

We're constantly evolving our security procedures as technology changes, but our security procedures at a minimum include the following:

We regularly develop and implement features to help keep personal information safe. Should you discover any security bugs or vulnerabilities in our Services or have any questions regarding our data practices, please contact our team at security@comealong.org.

Although we make concerted good faith efforts to maintain the security of personal information, and we work hard to ensure the integrity and security of our systems, no practice can be 100% guaranteed. The security of personal information can be compromised by outages, attacks, human error, system failure, unauthorized use or other factors at any time. If we learn of a breach of your personal information, we will provide notice which will include information required by applicable law.

7. Data Retention

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We only keep personal information for as long as it’s necessary to provide Along. In certain cases, we may need to keep personal information if the law requires a different duration, or as directed by the teacher or school.

We will only retain personal information, including personal information from Users, for the time period required to support the authorized educational purposes. If a Student, Registered Teacher or School requests removal of any personal information or closure of their account, we will promptly direct our Staff to delete, dispose of, or de-identify the personal information. 

Following a Student User’s account deletion, we will notify their Registered Teacher and School Administrator and the Student Account will be removed from Along within a week of the Student User’s request. Following a Registered Teacher’s account deletion request, we will notify their School that the Registered Teacher’s account, along with associated Student accounts, will be removed from Along within a week of the Registered Teacher’s request.

We will retain a Student User’s and Registered Teacher’s information for a 30 day record retention period in order to support the management by a School or Registered Teacher of information considered part of an Education Record. At the end of that record retention period, we will delete, dispose of, or de-identify the personal information within 30 days unless, consistent with applicable law, there is a legitimate reason to retain such personal information for a longer period. 

We may retain personal information for a longer time period if we have consent to retain such information or if we are required to retain such information to comply with our legal obligations or law enforcement requests, resolve disputes, protect the safety and security of our Users or our Services, or enforce the User Agreement (including the Data Privacy Addendum), other agreements, or any posted guidelines, policies or rules applicable to specific features of the Services. Such information will be deleted when it is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was retained.

If you are a Parent and wish to have your student’s personal information removed from the Services, please contact your student’s Registered Teacher or School and review the information in Section 8 (" Schools Can Delete Information").

8. Schools Can Delete Information

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Teachers and schools can request that we delete and update student personal information.

Registered Teachers or School Administrators may request the review or deletion of their Student User information, or the closure of accounts associated with their School in the Services. We will delete or de-identify such information within 30 days, unless we otherwise have consent to retain such information or are required to retain such information to comply with a valid access or transfer request for Education Records, our legal obligations or law enforcement requests, resolve disputes, or enforce the User Agreement (including the Data Privacy Addendum), Code of Conduct, or other policies or rules applicable to specific features of the Services. Such information will be deleted when it is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was retained.

9. Information for California Residents

While the CCPA does not apply to nonprofit organizations like Gradient Learning, we take privacy seriously and have chosen to inform our practices with the CCPA. Specifically, this means the below.

9.1 The Right to Request Information

The CCPA gives consumers who are residents of California the right to request the following information about the personal information that we’ve collected in the past 12 months:

To request any of the above information, email privacy@comealong.org. Please include in your request sufficient information that allows us to reasonably verify that you are the person about whom we collected personal information. Please note that we do not sell your personal data, and that Gradient Learning will not discriminate against you in any way based on your exercise of these rights.

9.2 Additional Disclosure

We have described in fuller detail in this Privacy Policy the personal information that we collect, how we use and disclose it, but provide the following additional disclosure:

What this is saying...

California residents have the right to request information about the personal data we collect. Requests should be sent to privacy@comealong.org.

In addition to the details outlined in this Privacy Policy, below you’ll find additional disclosure and summary around the personal information we collect:

  • Over the past 12 months we’ve collected certain personal information from student and teacher users, in order to provide educational services.
  • We collect this personal information both from direct and indirect sources.
  • We may disclose personal information for select business purposes, such as to protect against fraudulent activity or to debug our website.

10. How We Communicate With You

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We may contact you with messages and notifications about Along, including information about your account, privacy and security notices, and service updates.

If you created an account on the Services (or otherwise provided an email address or phone number to us, or otherwise opted-in to receive communications from us), we may send you messages related to the Services, including messages regarding your account, privacy and security notices, and updates and information regarding the Services. These communications may be sent through SMS, push notifications, email, telephone calls, and postal mail. [Note: Standard carrier fees may apply to messages sent to your mobile devices.] If you have an account with us, we'll also use your contact information for customer service purposes, or to contact you for legal matters or purposes. We may receive a confirmation when you open an email from us if your device supports it.

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Teachers may give us contact information about school administrators and parents. We may contact school administrators and parents to provide requested information, respond to inquiries, or provide information as directed by the school.

For School Administrators. We require Registered Teachers signing up for the Services to tell their School Administrator about it. This means Teachers may provide us with your email address so we can send you an email from the Teacher telling you about their use of the Services. We would also contact you with questions related to your School’s use of the Services via your Teachers and Students.

For Parents and Legal Guardians. We ask Registered Teachers signing up for the Services to tell you about their use of the Services in their classroom with your child. This means Registered Teachers may provide us your email address and/or phone number so we can send you content from the Registered Teacher telling you about their use of the Services. We would also contact you with questions related to your child’s use of the Services.

11. We Are Transparent About Changes

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When we make material changes to this policy, we will notify you before the changes go into effect.

We may modify this Privacy Policy or our User Agreement from time to time. If we make material changes to this Privacy Policy, including changes that impair your rights or change how your data will be used under this Privacy Policy, we will provide you at least 30 days prior notice pursuant to this Section 11. We will seek to provide you notice through our Services, or by other means, to provide you the opportunity to review the changes before they become effective. We agree that changes cannot be retroactive. The notice will indicate which sections contain material modifications and what choices you may have. Your continued use of our Services after we publish or send a notice about our changes to these terms means that you are consenting to the updated terms following their "effective date." If you object to any changes, you must stop using or accessing the Services. If we make any changes to this Privacy Policy or the User Agreement, you can request a copy of the prior versions by contacting us at privacy@comealong.org.

12. We Want To Hear From You

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If you have questions about the Privacy Policy, you can email us at privacy@comealong.org

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or our practices, please contact privacy@comealong.org.

You can learn more about Gradient Learning on our website, http://gradientlearning.org/.