NB Committee On School Climate Makes Recommendations
While a study by the state found that New Bedford elementary schools are performing above expectations in math and language, the study also found an increase in conduct cards at middle schools in the past year.
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education officials presented their report at Monday's School Committee meeting. The Ad Hoc Committee on School Climate also presented their recommendations on possible solutions to the behavior issues in New Bedford.
The small committee began meeting in March after student safety became a concern in New Bedford middle schools, most notably Keith Middle School, due to violence and other behavior problems.
The recommendations include adopting more consistent discipline methods district wide.
With most middle schools finding some level of success with their Student Success Centers, an in-school suspension system, the committee wanted to implement a similar system at elementary schools.
The Ad Hoc Committee also suggested expanding the Whaling City Alternative School by 16 students at the middle school level. According to Ad Hoc Committee Chairman Bruce Oliveira, the move would cost about $188,000, which has already been included in next year's school budget.
Oliveira said the committee also wanted to take a closer look at student resource officer's role in schools, and clarify what they are with school administration and the New Bedford Police Department.
The final recommendation from the Ad Hoc Committee was to bring in a fresh pair of eyes. Oliveira said it would be helpful to bring in an independent group to conduct a climate and culture survey to bring in more data.
Oliveira said the Ad Hoc Committee's recommendations won't solve the behavior problems alone, but noted that many issues are being dealt with.
"We realized as a committee, I believe... that we've got a ways to go. We're not there yet, but they're making every effort to get there," Oliveira said.