Privacy Policy

This document outlines what information we gather about our site visitors and our program participants in the real world at our physical locations, and how we use it. We hate legalese, so we’ll try to keep this simple and to the point. We cannot keep it short and cover all the bases, but we will make it as clear as we can.

Cowan Community School (CCS) values your privacy, seriously. We will never buy, sell, share or trade any information you give us without your explicit permission. We do our best to protect any information you share with us, and to minimize the likelihood that any information you share with us may get compromised. We also try to limit the amount of information we gather on this web site for the same reason; the less sensitive information stored through this site, the less potential for damage to our site and our visitors.

We rely on some third parties to provide some functions on our web site, namely Google, WordPress/Automattic, and Project HoneyPot. These services have their own privacy policies which are linked below in the Third Party Services section.

The Basics

Our Use of Personally Identifiable Information

As a non-profit, we have to keep records relating to our programs and people who actively take part in them. That means we keep paperwork when you interact with us in the real world in ways we need to keep records for, such to register for a program, apply to teach a class, or to rent a space. If any of this information is shared without your explicit consent, it is in aggregated form, e.g., x program had y number of participants of whom z were of ages 1-12a were 13-18, etc., and b came from Town Ac from Town B, and so on.

We do our best to make sure no sensitive visitor information is asked for or kept on our site’s servers, e.g., credit card numbers. The only personally identifiable information (PII) you will be ever be asked to submit on this site are your name, your email address, your zip code and your phone number. We regularly remove such information from our servers to minimize the damage that might be caused were our site and/or servers compromised.

Form Submissions

When you submit a form on our site, you send us certain information, including your name, your email address, your phone number, and your zip code. These submitted forms are not stored on our servers, except for Event Registration submissions. Event Registration submissions are stored until registration for an event is full to prevent overbooking. We do retain information from submitted forms outside of this web site for record-keeping and any applicable followup. We’ll use the information you submit to reply to your inquiry.

If you subscribe to a newsletter on our site, we’ll use the information you provide on the sign up form to send you the email newsletter you requested. That information includes your name and email address. Some newsletter signup forms include a request for your location. We use that information to let us know where people are interested in our information and offerings. The zip code you submit will be decoupled from your name and email address, and is used for aggregated location information only.

We will not use the information from form submissions for marketing purposes.

Children’s Online Privacy Act Compliance

We do not try to make our web site appeal to children, to attract web site visitors under the age of 13 years, or to solicit information or content from web site visitors under the age of 13. We do not knowingly gather Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from site visitors under the age of 13. Any programs or events described on our web site which are geared toward children require the active consent of a parent or guardian for a child to participate, and that consent will be confirmed by the signature of a parent or guardian for participation in registration-required event at Cowan Community School and/or by the presence of a parent or guardian at any public event at Cowan Community School.

The third-party services on our web site may use persistent tracking methods, but we attempt to mitigate this by respecting the Do Not Track Header in a way that prevents third-party cookies from being set when the header is enabled, by including the no-cookie setting in our embedded YouTube videos, and by not including cookies in our social media links. We do not host advertising, or intentionally share any personally identifying information gathered from our web site with any third party.

If you, as a parent or guardian, believe that your child under the age of 13 years  has shared personally identifiable information with Cowan Community School without your knowledge or permission, please contact us immediately through our contact page or by calling us at 931-313-1623. We will work with you to find and remove the information as quickly as possible.

Connecting to our site

We protect your connection to this web site with a security certificate. The security certificate encrypts the content of the requests your browser makes to this site, and the content this site sends in response to requests.

Automatically collected information

As with any web site you visit, your browser automatically shares some information about your computer, your browser and your internet connection. This information typically includes the public Internet Protocol (IP) address your ISP has assigned to your connection, and your browser’s user-agent. The user agent tells the site what kind of browser you’re connecting to the site with, the version of the browser, and the operating system of your device (Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, etc.). This information tells the site how to display the page (e.g., making it fit your device’s screen, like a 27″ computer monitor vs. a 5″ smartphone screen), and to make certain adjustments for visual formatting to accommodate the ways different browsers implement web standards as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (the W3C).

Our hosting provider also generates some statistics reports with the information provided by your browser. The raw logs are cleared every 3 days. These logs and reports do no include any PII other than the IP address your device connected to our site with. No cookies or other tracking mechanisms are set. These logs let us see where our site visitors are roughly located, and provide general information (not tied to IP address) about which pages get accessed, which links result in a “404 Not Found” error, how long the average visit to our site is, and similar information.

Our cookies and analytics

When you visit our web site, small text files called cookies are saved to your computer. One of these cookies is a “session cookie” which means it expires at the end of your browser session; in other words, the cookie expires when you close your browser. This session cookie helps us protect this site from spammers and other malicious visitors.

We also use a local installation of Matomo (free open source analytics software) to help us understand how visitors use our site, where our site visitors come from, if site visitors struggle with site navigation, if there are broken links or missing pages or images, and other useful information. This information helps us fix broken things on our site, gives us information about what needs improving on our site, lets us know what pages people find interesting, and to report to our board about how effective our web site is at giving people the information they’re looking for. Our Matomo installation strips the last two bytes of numbers of visitors’ IP addresses from its logs (example: 192.168.000.001 becomes 192.168.xxx.xxx), and is set to clear logs every 35 days.

Matomo even includes this handy page which shows you whether or not Matomo is tracking your visit, and opt out if you want to.

We respect the Do Not Track header both in on this web site and on our Matomo installation; if you set your browser to include the Do Not Track header, no cookie will be set from our site, either a session cookie or from our Matomo installation. You can also set your browser to block all cookies. Most browsers can also be configured to delete all cookies, caches, and other session data when you close the browser.

Email Subscriptions

We offer site visitors the ability to sign up for our newsletter. When you sign up for a newsletter, you’ll be sent a confirmation email to the email address you provide with a link to confirm your subscription. If you do not visit that link to confirm, you will not receive any newsletter emails. If you want to unsubscribe from the newsletter, you can visit https://cowancommunityschool.org/sign-up-for-our-newsletter/, enter your information, and click the Unsubscribe button. You will immediately be removed from our newsletter list. Please note that if you unsubscribe while a newsletter is in the process of being sent out, you may receive that email from us, but that will be the last newsletter you receive.

Third Parties

As you browse our site, you’ll come in contact with third-party content through various third-party services, social media links, and links to other web sites. We do not control or have any input into how these third parties handle your data or your privacy. Please review these third parties’ privacy policies and make up your own mind as to whether you trust them. If you are uncomfortable with these third parties, you can set your browser to block third-party cookies. You can find more information on other measures to protect your online privacy and security here.

Third Party Services

We use a few third-party services from Google on our site: Google Fonts, Google Maps, Google’s AJAX Libraries CDN, Recaptcha, and YouTube. We use these Google services to: help our site load more quickly by using Google’s AJAX Libraries CDN (Content Delivery Network), to make it more useful and informative for our visitors with Google Maps and YouTube, help prevent spam with Recaptcha, and more visually appealing with Google Fonts. We also use a third-party CDN and some plugins from WordPress.com to host our images and other “static content” (that means files that don’t change often or don’t change at all). Our privacy policy does not cover these services.

Please review Google’s privacy policy and (Automattic’s) WordPress.com’s terms of service and Automattic’s privacy policy.

We use the Project Honeypot API to help protect our site from malicious actors by checking access to a non-visible resource on our site. This resource only gets accessed programatically by automated traffic, such as search engine robots or malicious actors running botnets to attempt to attack web sites. If that resource gets accessed, the IP address of the accessor gets checked against the Project Honeypot database of malicious IP addresses. That IP address is blocked if Project Honeypot knows it to have malicious intent. No human web site visitor should ever normally access this resource, but – just in case – here is Project Honeypot’s privacy policy.

Ads and Analytics

We do not currently use any third-party advertising or analytics service.

Social Media

Because we do our best to let people know what CCS is up to, what we offer, and what we have going on, we have social media presences since that’s one of the most effective ways to get the word out. We have accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Some of pages on our web site have links and/or buttons you can click to like or follow us, or to share that page to social media. These links and buttons do not include cookies or other tracking tools, and are not loaded from the respective social media sites they link to. If you choose to like, follow or share from any of these links, you will be going to the link’s respective web site Here are the privacy policies of the social media sites where we maintain accounts:

Third-Party Links

We include links to other web sites not owned or controlled by us on various pages throughout our site. These links to third-party sites are offered to provide additional and/or useful information for our site visitors. These third-party sites are governed by their own individual privacy policies.

We do our best to make sure any links to third-party web sites are live, and safe to visit. If you’ve found a dead link or an unsafe third-party site or page linked from our site, please let us know and we will remove or correct it as soon as possible. If a link is dead or unsafe that we believe contained important information, we’ll attempt to find it on the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine to keep the information available.

“Real World” Records

We maintain off-web-site records of people who interact with CCS. Access to these records is limited to CCS staff whose responsibilities require this access such as record keeping and organization, compiling efficacy reports, and filing reports for state, federal, and grant requirements. Personally identifiable information from these records is not shared or reported to any third party, except in the rare circumstance that it required for legal compliance or to pursue legal action to protect our organization, our web site, our staff, and program participants and/or event attendees.

Legal Compliance and Enforcement

We will share any information we have with law enforcement or other government bodies if and when required to by warrant, subpoena or law, or if we deem it necessary to pursue legal remedy against illegal or destructive actions on or toward our web site, servers, organization, staff, program participants, and/or event attendees.

In the event we are served with any warrant, subpoena, national security letter, or any other legal order demanding overly broad access to information we hold about site visitors, program participants, and/or event attendees, we will work to narrow the order to appropriate scope. We will do our utmost within legal bounds to inform our site visitors and anyone else impacted by such an order if and when such an order appears.