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No changes to bus route in Barnstead

December 01, 2010
BARNSTEAD — The Barnstead School Board looked into changing the Brown Bus Route after several suggestions by parents in the community, but the board announced at its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 23, that no changes would be made.

Judy Chase addressed the board and thanked them for looking into the issue.

"Did the administration do due diligence?" Chase said. "We felt that did not occur."

The board recently received a letter from Police Chief Kenneth Borgia deeming the Brown Bus Route safe.

Chairman Keith Couch felt the bus company should be making decisions on safety.

"It is the bus company's prerogative to drive where they drive," Couch said. "I consider it a closed issue from the school board level."

Earlier in the meeting, the board approved the appointment of John Uhouse, a teacher at Pittsfield Elementary School, to coach the boys' 5/6 basketball team at Barnstead Elementary School.

The enrollment at BES was announced by Principal Tim Rice as 498 students. BES started the year with 510 students.

Vice-Chairperson Diane Beijer suggested using the Alert Now system to promote different events held throughout the school as a way to promote events to parents and students.

Rice said that he would look into using Alert Now as a way to promote events like a recent Barnstead Family and School Connection meeting, which was sparsely attended.

Anna Williams, director of pupil services, said even though the meeting didn't have a strong turnout, it was still a productive meeting.

"We are being role models and reaching out to the community," Williams said.

Shawn White addressed the board and expressed his support for Heather Deluca. Deluca is White's son's first grade teacher.

"I can't be more pleased with her as his teacher," White told the board.

White also said Theresa Grow is doing a great job with his daughter at the pre-school level.

The board thanked White for coming to the meeting and sharing his support.

Rice announced that BES was recently named a "Blue Ribbon School" by the New Hampshire Partners in Education.

Superintendent Dr. William Compton presented the board with a first reading of the school policy of bullying (JICK).

Compton pointed out to the board some important highlights of the document, which was recently reviewed by attorney David Bradley.

Compton stressed to the board that the policy must be approved before Jan. 1.

When dealing with a bullying case, the school is to notify parents of both the victim and alleged perpetrator within 48 hours.

Students who violate the policy are subject to discipline from the school, which includes suspension up through expulsion.

The principal is expected to review bullying cases within five days and complete a report. Within 10 days, the principal is required to issue a report to the parents of the victim and perpetrator.

The board tentatively approved the document for a first reading, with a request to clear up some of the wording dealing with students in and out of BES.

Couch talked about the BES Effectiveness Improvement Team. This project was put together to bring the teachers, the administration, the school board and teachers' union together to look at how they communicate.

Through several meetings, Couch said that the group had developed lists showing similar issues. The two issues that came up the most were communication and the special education department.

Member Eunice Landry expressed her disappointment with a lack of updates on the project.

She felt that this project is a lot for Couch to take up on his own.

"I wanted to engage the board for suggestions on how to proceed," Couch said.

Beijer said that these meetings have been a great step and have opened the door to communication.

Compton reiterated her point.

"To me, having a conversation is a great first step," Compton added. "To have a vehicle to start a conversation will help us avoid things that have been going on for a long time."

Couch is excited about what the meetings have produced so far.

"There is a buzz and energy about what this group is doing," Couch added.

Kristine Jannini, a para-professional at BES, expressed her support for the recent meetings and getting some time to meet with members of the administration and the school board.

"We like seeing the administration in the class room," Jannini added. "I appreciated the input from Keith to the committee."

The board held a moment of silence for Rhonda Sandborn, who recently lost her battle with cancer.

The board's next meeting is set for Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. at Barnstead Elementary School.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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