Beginning with the September 2011-2012 school year, Barnegat School District has conscientiously implemented the requirements found in the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act (ABR), by complying with all parts of the act in reporting incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB), in promoting awareness about HIB to staff, students, parents and the community, and in creating a positive school climate in all of our schools.
“Since the implementation of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, our school district/school has made progress in addressing and improving harassment, intimidation and bullying and the school climate and culture within our schools. This is primarily through our swift reporting procedures, the communication of our anti-bullying coordinators, school safety teams, administration and staff, and especially through the implementation of school-based programs and initiatives to target anti-bullying behavior and to improve school climate overall.
The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) directed all school districts to assess their progress in the implementation of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act (ABR), at the end of the 2013-14 school year, in order to be able to evaluate and report it during the 2014-15 school year in a district and school HIB grade report. A link to Barnegat School District’s HIB Grade Report is attached in PDF format. The report lists the grade for each school in the district and the grade for the school district.
As explained by the NJDOE, “the school grade is a raw score of data and the sum of the ratings for all indicators within each core element on the School Self-Assessment (e.g., 65 of 78 points). The maximum total score for a school is 78 points. The school district’s grade is an average of the total scores of all schools in the school district. The department issued grade is not represented as a letter grade.”
The raw number scores are attached for public view, then, as the NJDOE directs, so that “the score for each core element must be reported as a number (e.g., 12 of 15 points for Core Element #1, 5 of 9 points for Core Element #2, etc.) and the grade must be reported as a number (e.g., the grade is 65 out of 78 points).”
The NJDOE “is not issuing any associated value or ranking for the raw and average scores. The raw and average scores reflect the school and school district’s degree of compliance with the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act (ABR), as determined primarily through each school’s self-assessment of its implementation of the ABR”.
While completing the Self-Assessment, Barnegat School District learned that all of our schools have demonstrated strengths in the areas of our HIB reporting procedure, our investigative procedure and our communication and teamwork throughout the entire investigative and reporting process. Our other strengths are in HIB curriculum and instruction, and in the development and implementation of HIB initiatives and programs, at all primary and secondary levels, to target bullying, harassment and intimidation, and to provide for the creation of a safe and nurturing school environment.
The Self-Assessment also helped our school district to identify areas for improvement in such core elements as training, concerning BOE and district HIB policy, as well as other training, on general HIB awareness and prevention. Another area for improvement is HIB personnel, in the amount of staff dedicated to the HIB reporting procedure and in the implementation of HIB programs.
During the upcoming school year, our school district will be working towards improving training for staff as well as involvement of staff, which will then build upon our strengths in the areas of our HIB reporting procedure, in HIB curriculum and instruction, and in the continued implementation of HIB initiatives to target bullying, harassment and intimidation, and to provide for the creation of a safe and nurturing school environment.
In addition to schools completing self-assessments of their HIB policy and implementation of the ABR, school districts must also publicize the grade reports and allow for public review. This will occur through posting and updates on our district and individual school websites, as well as at Board of Education meetings, where HIB prevention programs, approaches and other initiatives will continue to be reviewed, as required in N.J.S.A. 18A:37-17a, as well as the review of the BOE’s HIB policy, as required in N.J.S.A. 18A:37-15c. As always, students, staff, parents and community members are always welcome to share their insights, ideas and concerns with Barnegat School District personnel at any time.