Mt. Laurel BOE reviews latest self-assessment under the state’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act

School districts in New Jersey are required to annually conduct a self-assessment to review their implementation of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act.

Mt. Laurel Schools scored in the 93rd percentile on the district’s latest self-assessment for determining grades under the state’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act.

Superintendent George Rafferty presented the results at last week’s Mt. Laurel Schools Board of Education meeting.

As noted by Rafferty, school districts in New Jersey are required to annually conduct a self-assessment to review their implementation of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act.

Rafferty said that review includes using a state-issued rubric that judges eight core elements of how a district is implementing programs and initiatives to prevent harassment, intimidation and bullying.

As outlined by the state-issued rubric, core elements include elements such as the district annually establishing anti-Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying programs, approaches or other initiatives, training for staff on BOE-approved HIB policy and procedures, having curriculum and student instruction on HIB and related information/skills, having HIB personnel in a district, having a HIB incident reporting procedure and more.

Then, breaking down those core elements even further are 26 individual indicators, of which the district can self-assess with a score from zero to three.

A score of zero means a district is not meeting expectations, a score of one means a district is partially meeting expectations, a score of two means a district is meeting expectations and a score of three means a district is exceeding expectations.

Then, a perfect score of three in each of the 26 different indicators would lead to a perfect total score of 78 for a district’s annual self-assessment.

“There are a number of different items,” Rafferty said. “The state gives us the assessment tool, and each of the schools complete that.”

According to Rafferty, this year Mt. Laurel’s K-8 district achieved an overall score of 73, placing the district in the 93rd percentile.

When broken down by individual scores, Countryside Elementary received a 71 and placed in the 91st percentile; Fleetwood Elementary, Springville Elementary and Hartford Upper Elementary schools received a 73 and placed in the 94th percentile; Hillside and Parkway Elementary schools received a 75 and placed in the 96th percentile; Larchmont Elementary School received a 70 and placed in the 90th percentile; Harrington Middle School received a 72 and placed in the 96th percentile; and Hartford School received a score of 70 and placed in the 92nd percentile.

“I thought overall with all of our schools we did quite well,” Rafferty said. “We were in the 90th percentile range to the 96th percentile range. I think we’re doing quite well in this area.”

According to Rafferty, the district will now submit these scores to the state for review, with the state then set to issue an overall score back to the district.

“The state will review these assessment scores, and if necessary, audit the assessments,” Rafferty said.

Rafferty said the state Department of Education would then use the information to issue a school “report card” regarding the district’s efforts to combat harassment, intimidation and bullying, which the district would then post on its website.