Teachers must report bullying

Trustees air concerns on progress in academic improvement plans
Reporter Editor

School trustees were told Monday that Rockdale ISD employees must report any incident of bullying, or related categories, under a new procedure designed to reflect state legislation.

Pam Kaufmann, assistant superintendent for instruction and administration, told board members the comprehensive new policy establishes a procedure for dealing with both victims and alleged perpetrators.

Meeting Monday in the Central Administration Building, trustees also discussed the district’s progress in its school improvement plans, triggered by the RISD’s “academically unacceptable” rating in the 2011 state accountability system.

Kaufmann assured trustees the district is “heading in the right direction.”

BULLYING—Kaufmann said the bullying procedure requires any district employee to report any suspected incident of bullying, cyberbullying, sexual harassment or dating violence. “It’s not that you can (report a bullying incident), you must.” she said.

“They would report it to an administrator and then it becomes the administrator’s responsibility on whether to proceed,” Kaufmann said.

Students may also report incidents of suspected bullying.

She said the policy is specif ic. “ The administrator is given a checklist to follow,” Kaufmann said. “There is a parents’ rights page and the definition of bullying is spelled out.”

“ That’s very important,” she said. “Just because someone calls you a name, or you disagree on something, not everything rises to the level of bullying.”

Procedures for investigating a bullying incident, and penalties, are also spelled out.

Kaufmann said the overriding goal is that students “can feel safe at school.”

97-PERCENT—Kaufmann gave a progress report on the district’s school improvement program, drawing questions from several board members.

Lee Jenkins, board president, said the report stated during unannounced classroom visits by administrators, teachers were found to be teaching at the appropriate level 97 percent of the time.

Jenkins pointed out the same report also reflected some failure rates going up. “I’m not sure we know where the disconnect is,” he said.

“Yes, the failure rate does fluctuate,” Supt. Dr. Howell Wright said. “Ninety-seven percent is a very high level. You’ve got to feel eventually that will lead to a higher number of students performing at a higher level.”

Trustee Kent Bowermon, a former administrator, noted that appropriate teaching is only part of the equation. “About 75 percent of failures come from students not doing their work,” he said.

Kaufmann noted that curriculum has become more rigorous. “ What we’re doing is different than last year and our expectations are different than last year,” she said. “But we are absolutely, 100 percent, going in the right direction.”

In other business, trustees:

• Accepted the resignations of John Kovar (ISS/coach) and math instructor Bradley Charanza.

• Hired Hunter Hamrick (ISS teacher, offensive coordinator) and Jamie Bird (Burleson-Milam Special Services coordinator).

• Heard a report from the Student Health Advisory Council.

• Heard a report on the iTigers federally-funded afterschool program.

• Were given a preview of the RHS murals project, narrated by art student Benito Castillo.

• Accepted the district’s new random drug testing policy which will require parents of students participating in extracurricular activities next term to sign consent forms.

• Okayed open enrollment slots for full day pre-kindergarten.

• Approved a food management contract with Southwest Food Ser v ice and okayed an increase in cafeteria prices.

• Selected Atchley & Associated to perform the district’s 2011-2012 audit.

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