School district not following policy when administering surveys

To the Editor:

The Fairfield Public School District will be administering a School Climate Survey in the next few weeks. This is part of a state statute that requires an anti-bullying plan and school climate survey. The survey is an information gathering tool that is very important to the School Climate Plan Committee.

Almost all surveys given to Fairfield students are required to be reviewed and approved by our Board of Education. There are two BOE policies — Policy 1470 and Policy 5535 — that state surveys require Board of Education approval, parental notification and/or consent.

In addition, the Fairfield Public School Family Guide has a section that states parents have the right to deny permission for their child’s participation in any non-instructional survey prior to its administration.

These policies can be found at fairfieldschools.org/board-of-education-policy.htm and the family guide is located on the main page.

The school district has decided that board policies selectively apply to them, when convenient. As a result, the School Climate Survey will not be presented to the board as required under Policies 1470 and 5535.

The school district is offering this survey for review at 501 Kings Highway East from Sept.. 29 to Oct. 10 during normal business hours, but has not offered to post it onto Infinite Campus for all Fairfield parents to conveniently review. Nor has the district mentioned parents have the right to opt the student out of participation in the survey. Once again, the district has chosen to be non-transparent.

This allegedly anonymous survey will be administered through the Infinite Campus Portal. Can it truly be anonymous when you need to log into Infinite Campus with your user ID? Although this is a very important topic warranting 100% participation, the district qualifies that they can see who filled it out but not their responses.

Has the administration decided to use Infinite Campus in order to temper honest and open feedback? If parents and teachers believe the survey is not anonymous, they will not be as forthcoming in their responses. One must assume using IC is by design.

Last year, I questioned the RYASAP survey. The district was administering this survey to Fairfield students without properly notifying parents and students that the survey was optional, as required under BOE policy. After BOE discussion on this issue, the district agreed to notify parents of middle school students via email and IC.

But during implementation, the district broke its commitment. Once again, the Board of Education did not hold the administration accountable. Does the board report to the Superintendent or does the Superintendent report to the board?

 

Lisa Davy

Fairfield

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