Tifton Gazette

Local News

March 25, 2013

BOE survey cheaters ‘disheartening’

TIFTON — The school uniforms survey for Tift County schools has been extended to Thursday due to some recent inaccuracies, says SuzAnne Lamb, parent involvement coordinator at Tift County High School Northeast Campus.

She said school officials learned from local students and adults that some citizens in the community had contacted people from other areas besides Tift County, advising that they take the survey. She said it was a “little disheartening” to learn of this problem.

Lamb said they learned last Wednesday during a board retreat for strategic planning that the survey data had been manipulated. She said they looked into it and found that the allegations were true.

Although the survey data was manipulated, when asked how many people participated, Lamb said there was “very small participation.”

She provided The Tifton Gazette with the following announcement from the local school system, “On behalf of the staff and board members researching the possibility of school uniforms for Tift County students, we would like to thank those of you that participated in our recent survey. Unfortunately, it has been brought to our attention that our survey data has been intentionally manipulated.

“The committee is looking for accurate feedback from appropriate stakeholders. We are in the process of creating a new survey. In order to provide the necessary security, the new survey will be available only through our Infinite Campus parent portal. Parents that do not currently have an account on the parent portal, should visit our website at www.tiftschools.com and click on the ‘Infinite Campus Parent Portal’ link. Here you will find instructions on setting up your account, as well as a link to the parent portal site. If you have questions about setting up your account, please contact your child’s school.”

The new survey was posted to the parent portal Monday and will be available until Thursday at 5 p.m.

The discussion of school uniforms was presented at February’s Tift County Board of Education work session and then again at a work session in March. The board was provided with information on the pros and cons of school uniforms, gathered by Lamb, Reginald Phillips of Phillips Educational Consulting & Associates LLC and April Holmes, Tift County school district social worker. A survey was developed for parents, students and teachers, which was originally set to close March 21.

Lamb said by having the survey available only through Infinite Campus, they can have accurate feedback.

“This is the only secure way to do it,” she said. “The board do believes a decision like this should be based on accurate input.”

She added, “The board doesn’t have a preference, but they want the decision to come from stakeholders, not relatives and friends who live everywhere else.”

Lamb said parents can only have access to the survey if they have a student enrolled in Tift County schools. She explained that they will need to have an account with Infinite Campus,. In order to sign up, parents will need to have their child’s student ID, Social Security number and date of birth. Lamb noted that any parent or legal guardian can set up an account.

Lamb said all surveys will be submitted anonymously. Once the survey is taken, the link will no longer be active.

She has said previously that feedback from the survey will determine how the board proceeds. If a school uniform policy is adopted, student input will be sought to determine clothing item options.

To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.

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