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SPOA announces guidelines and industry standards for school administrative software

Updated: Apr 24, 2022

School Photographers of America (SPOA), many of its members, industry partners, and suppliers, as well as the leaders in the school administrative software industry, are pleased to announce a new universal, voluntary consensus standard for the security of exchange of student data and image migration for the future of all school-related software.

This new standard comes after 16 months of work and collaboration from both industries to encourage the consistent exchange of images and data to uniform image size, format, and structure as well as a uniform set of student data to ensure all parties are meeting or exceeding state and federal privacy and copyright laws.

“We’re very excited that this has been adopted as an official industry standard,” said David Crandall, executive director, School Photographers of America, the national trade association for school photography and yearbooks. “By providing a common set of core standards and guidance, it allows school photography companies and school software companies to communicate more effectively all while protecting the copyright of the photographers and cost to the end-user, schools, districts, and families."

The standard is a game-changer for both industries. For years, software makers requested school portrait files in many different formats, not taking into account the overhead costs associated with this. Rather than one simple export, studios were faced with managing dozens of different file types ... which were expected to be provided free. The standard provides a means for studios to levy a service charge on software vendors or school districts who don't use the new standard. In July, SPOA will offer a live webinar with an outside consulting firm specializing in how to determine these service charges.

“For more than 20 years, school photography companies have provided complimentary images in digital form to schools for different software systems,” added Crandall. “Many of these software solutions requested different standards, different sizes, different formatting for images and data which created inconsistencies, inefficiencies, and increased cost. Knowing that there is broad support in both industries for these standards and guidelines to help mitigate cost increases and charges to the end-user is something everyone should be proud of.”

School Photographers of America has made these new voluntary guidelines and standards available for all involved to review on their website, social media, and many other distribution channels. The association is currently sending the guidelines and standards to all national and state education associations for immediate distribution, as well as to district and school personnel in both the public and private K-12 markets across the United States. In addition, they will be hosting a learning and information session at the SPOA International Conference on School Photography and Yearbooks, June 9-11, in Houston, Texas.

“There are so many new changes in state laws around student data privacy and the ever-growing concern of cybersecurity and the safety of student records, standards and guidance collaborations like these to ensure the safety of school and student data, while protecting the copyrights of photographers, is something the industry needed desperately,” said Crandall. “There had been little to no collaboration or communication between the two industries prior to COVID, but due to the incredible challenges the pandemic had on schools impacting all the industries that serve them, something had to be done. It was incredible to see the collaboration, teamwork and leadership provided by both industries during the months leading up to this new standard and guideline.”

The committee that worked on this and continues to monitor and update it is hosted by School Photographers of America, however, it is open to any industry companies that wish to participate and add feedback. This new standard and guideline are expected to be reviewed again in June by those participating as well as in October to ensure continued necessary revisions can be made.

The link for school photography companies, labs, software providers, and school software providers to register they are participating and have their systems ready is:

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