Jonathan Diaz/The Sun: The Mount Laurel Board of Education presented 2020-’21 HIB grade reports for the township school district at its regular meeting on Jan. 25.
Mount Laurel Superintendent of Schools Dr. George Rafferty, presented the HIB (Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying) grade reports for the school district and elected Melissa DeClementi as vice president at the school board’s regular meeting on Jan. 25.
The HIB report is a school level, self-assessment program to determine grades under the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act. According to Rafferty, there are eight core elements that make up the report; they can be viewed on the school district website. Each school must reach a minimum score of 52 to show it is meeting all requirements in the HIB self-assessment.
The highest score a school can achieve is 78, which would indicate it is exceeding on every indicator of the HIB assessment.
Scores for the eight schools in the district are as follows: Countryside, 69; Fleetwood, 75; Hartford, 63; Hillside, 77; Larchmont, 76; Parkway, 75; Springville, 72; and Thomas E. Harrington, 57
Rafferty ended the presentation commending all staff, parents and students in the district for meeting the HIB self-assessment requirements and for encouraging positive behavior every day.
“I want to thank all of our parents, our staff and our students,” he noted. “We have a lot of dedicated staff and students who work hard to be good role models and treat each other with respect.
“It takes everybody working together to improve and keep our school operating above our expectations.”
Board member Susan Fortuna raised concern about the amount of middle-school suspensions reported at Harrington.
“I went back over a lot of the different board meeting agendas, and I think that the increase in suspensions is concerning at Harrington specifically,” she said. “I know we are in a pandemic and emotional (health) is an issue: I just wondered how we could maybe adjust the situation.”
Rafferty attributed the misconduct to a rough adjustment period when schools transitioned to full time, in person learning.
“Unfortunately, we have to administer discipline to help students stay in line and understand the boundaries of in person learning and behave accordingly,” Rafferty explained. “ We’ll continue to work on this; it’s a challenge, and we’ll need everyone’s assistance to help move forward in a positive manner.”
In other business, DeClementi was elected vice president after two new board members abstained, resulting in a tie at the board reorganization meeting earlier this month.
In other news:
- Rafferty announced that selections for the Governor’s Educator of the Year awards will be recognized at the February board meeting.
- The township and Gov. Phil Murphy observed January 2022 as school-board recognition month.
- The Board announced that the Mount Laurel Library will now be fine free.
- The Board approved a resolution that allows the World of Learning Institute to provide virtual-language instruction for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year.