Student Climate Survey FAQs

What is the reason for the survey?

Evaluating the “school environment” is one of the priority area initiatives of the 2023-2025 Fayetteville-Manlius School District Strategic Plan as directed by its Board of Education. Utilizing a national Education Department School Climate Survey (EDSCLS) among students is one of the recommended means to obtain school environment information. It is intended that this survey will be administered to every student in grades 5 or higher this fall.

Is it required that my student complete the F-M Climate Survey?

No, the survey is voluntary, and a student can elect not to participate. However, it is strongly encouraged that every F-M student invited to take the survey do so. The higher the survey response rate, the more statistically valid the survey results. Statistical validity is critical because the higher the statistical validity, the lower the margin of error, and the truer the survey results are related to the entire student population.

May I see the student survey prior to the start of data collection?

Yes, absolutely. The survey is available online.

Will the survey results be confidential and anonymous?

Yes, one of the primary reasons to engage an independent professional market research firm, such as Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS), is to ensure that the survey results are kept confidential and anonymous. The survey will be administered through a secure online portal and results will go directly to RMS. Strict data security protocol, encompassing encryption, is in place.

How long will the survey take to complete?

On average the survey is expected to take about 10 minutes for middle school students (grades 5 through 8) and about 15 minutes for high school students (grades 9 through 12). There are some additional questions that will be asked of the high school students.

How will students take the survey?

The survey will be administered via a secure online portal. Students will be sent an individual link via their F-M school email and asked to click into the survey. For most F-M students, a designated time during the school day will be set aside when everyone will take the survey. Instructional staff will be making time within the class session for the survey administration. If students are not in attendance on this particular date and time, they may simply click on the survey link at their leisure and complete the survey using a laptop or mobile device.

Are there accommodations for students with disabilities or English language learners?

Yes, F-M Schools will be running the survey content through its text-to-speech software to assist students with disabilities.

Who is Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS)?

Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) is a professional market research firm with over twenty-one years of experience. The firm is local, based out of Baldwinsville, NY, and has worked with many school districts and post-secondary colleges and universities. They have a reputation for adhering to very strict confidentiality and anonymity requirements. They are fully HIPAA-compliant with strict data security provisions. RMS is approved as one of a select few research firms nationally by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

What is the expected survey response rate for this work?

The RMS team is hoping to receive at least a seventy percent (70%) response rate to ensure high statistical reliability. Other districts have produced a higher response, and some have been lower. For response rates below 70%, the RMS analytical team will employ weighting criteria to the findings to ensure representative sampling.

How is student data protected?

As a certified CMS vendor, RMS must maintain strict data security protocols to protect organizational and client data. RMS has a comprehensive data security policy and protocols in place to maintain data security. RMS uses a secure FTP site to exchange data between the client and RMS. RMS also implements security access by employees, limiting access to sensitive information on RMS servers. RMS also engages in Business Associate Agreements, which the RMS HIPAA Compliance Officer reviews and manages on behalf of RMS. Student data will also be encrypted when stored on the server (resting data) and password protected. In addition, RMS has taken steps to proactively monitor IT infrastructure for vulnerabilities, using a contracted vendor to maintain backup and data security, along with conducting voluntary vulnerability audits. All staff must also participate in ongoing education and security policy training. A designated Compliance Officer manages and oversees all security-related policies, including disaster recovery plans, for RMS. These security policies and practices provide a robust approach to data security and are evidence of RMS’s commitment to protecting student information.

What information will be shared publicly?

RMS will provide the Fayetteville-Manlius School District with a report that will be shared with the school district’s Community Relations Committee (CRC) and then with the entire Board of Education at a regularly-scheduled meeting. The results will help to inform the strategic planning process of the school district especially in the priority area of “school environment.” No student data or information will be shared. All survey responses will be reported in the aggregate.

How can I opt my student out of this survey?

Please contact your student’s building principal to opt out before Nov. 15.