Columbia Public Schools’ surveys measure need for social media

BY ROSELLEN DOWNEY

NEIGHBORHOODS@ColumbiaMissourian.com

“We don’t currently do social media,” said Michelle Baumstark, communications coordinator for Columbia Public Schools.

Columbia Public Schools used a phone survey conducted by Kansas-based Patron Insight in addition to online community and staff surveys.

The Columbia School Board approved the cost of the 400-person phone survey, which was not to exceed $14,000, several months ago. Baumstark said the cost is associated with how many calls Patron Insight needs to make to complete the surveys.

The online portion of the survey features the same 26 questions included in the phone survey. These questions measure each respondent’s interest in Columbia Public Schools Television, the district’s newsletter and a possible district Facebook page and Twitter feed.

This survey is a part of Columbia Public Schools’ five-year Comprehensive School Improvement Plan. According to Baumstark, the survey looks at how the district communicates with those who live within its boundaries. She said the results of the survey may help them decide if social media are something they should embrace and utilize at the district level.

“I think it’s a very helpful process in building a stronger school district,” said Michele Clark, communications coordinator for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Baumstark said the district plans to conduct a similar study each year for the next few years as part of the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan.

The survey closed at 5 p.m. Friday. The results will be tallied and presented to the Columbia School Board at a yet-to-be-determined date.

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