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About 18,500 current and former Bismarck Public Schools students had some of their personal information exposed in a data breach at a company that provides a universal screening tool to the district. 

The nationwide data breach involved Pearson Clinical Assessment's software called AIMSweb 1.0, which Bismarck Public Schools uses as a screening tool for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, as well as to monitor progress for students receiving support intervention. About 13,000 schools and universities were impacted, according to a July 31 statement from Pearson.

The company said the exposed data was isolated to first name, last name, and possibly in some instances date of birth and/or email address. Pearson said it believes the breach occurred around November 2018, according to a letter to Bismarck Public Schools. The FBI is investigating.

Pearson notified Bismarck Public Schools of the breach in a letter dated July 19, according to the district's technology director, Tanna Kincaid. 

"It was generically addressed (not addressed to a specific person)," she said in an email to The Bismarck Tribune. "It came to district attention several weeks after that."

The district posted information about the breach on its website Monday morning, and officials will begin individually notifying affected families and students this week, she said.

The breach also exposed the first names, last names and email addresses of 1,095 Bismarck Public Schools employees, according to Kincaid.

Pearson said no grade assessment information or other personally identifying information was exposed in this data breach. Though the company says it has no evidence the information was misused, it's offering a free credit monitoring service to affected people.

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(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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