School Staff Provide Discipline, Other Updates to School Board

Assistant Principals from Londonderry High School (LHS) and Londonderry Middle School (LMS) provided their update on student second semester discipline issues at the schools. Katie Sullivan covered LHS and David Sutherland covered LMS.

At the high school there were 346 incidents during the second semester, an increase of 33% compared to last year’s second semester.  The increase is almost entirely attributable to students in 9th and 10th grades.

Sullivan noted that 89.7% of students had no discipline incidents. What’s more, 93 of the 346 incidents were from one-time offenders. In contrast, 31% of the incidents came from just 13 students who each had five or more incidents.

Compared to semester one, there was a significant decrease in incidents categorized as disruptive behavior, gross misconduct, misuse of electronic devices, abusive language and truancy. Conversely, there were substantial increases in cutting class, leaving school grounds, vaping and theft.

Referring to a previous School Board meeting where parents talked about bullying at LHS, Vice Chair Nancy Hendricks asked Sullivan whether there is a culture of insensitivity to bullying with many incidents going unreported.

Sullivan felt that the teachers and administration where very approachable to students and that most students would feel comfortable reporting issues. Hendricks highlighted that parents said at the earlier school meeting claimed there are hundreds of bullying incidents that go unreported and wondered why a student wouldn’t report issues.  Sullivan reiterated that she thought that issues would be reported to teachers, parents and the administration.

Prior to the updates from Sullivan and Sutherland, School Superintendent Scott Laliberte provided an update on what the district was doing to try to better capture data on bullying and harassment incidents. He shared that while bullying/harassment is a specific category on discipline reports, sometimes bullying may only be part of the issue and so they incident can end up in a different category.

The district is working on ways to capture data related to bullying. He plans to present plans at a future School Board meeting and have the new approach ready for the start of the school year.

Lisa McKenney, Financial Services Manager for the School District, informed the board that the district will be rolling out a new online payment system that parents can use to pay for lunch and activities fees. The new software from Rycor Software will be accessed through the X2 parent portal system currently used by the district to show grades and another student information.

Rycor will replace the district’s current payment system. Like the current system, there is a $1.95 fee for each payment made. As is the case today, parents can still send in checks to make deposits without incurring a fee. The plan is to roll out the new system for lunch payments in August and then add the ability to make activities payments in the fall.

An additional feature of the new system is that any payments made will automatically be applied to overdue balances on lunch and other payment accounts.

On the subject of overdue accounts, the district is continuing its efforts to collect lunch money from parents whose accounts are overdue.  The overdue balance has been reduced from about $32K to $24K.  Twenty-five families have been sent collection notices. Those who do not reply by 7/20 with a plan to pay in full or establish a payment plan could eventually be taken to small claims court.

Curro also shared that he has had some exploratory discussions with Litchfield to see if it would make sense for the towns to combine bus transportation programs.  With further discussion between the school districts he hopes to determine if cost savings or service enhancements could be had by combining operations. The School Board granted him permission to continue the discussions and report back his findings.

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