LETTER TO THE EDITOR - 14 May 2012:
Dear Goffstown School Board:
I have been reading all the articles in the Goffstown News and The Union Leader regarding the hiring of a consulting firm.
I am in favor of taking up the offer of Ben Hampton to do a study of Mountain View Middle School for free.
I recommend you narrow your scope of information desired for this study for the following reasons.
You have a teacher representative from the grammar schools, Mountain View Middle School and Goffstown High School that sits on your board at every meeting. They consistently report out to you all the good things that are happening at all the schools. We know all the good things that happen at MVMS. The NECAP scores and NWEA scores reported out every year already inform us of the academic pulse of MVMS compared to other middle schools in the state.
So, let's have this study focus solely on the discipline issues as well as the MVMS staff complaints at the school. These are the problems you all have acknowledged you have known for many years. In regards to the staff complaints, let's get the testimonies of the staff, without fear of reprisal, on paper. In regards to the disciplinary issues, Jim Hunt removed the Disciplinary Write-up Forms from MVMS at the beginning of his second year. This would make it impossible for any adult in the building to write-up students. Of course, Mr. Hunt removed the forms without reading the GEA teachers' contract which outlines how administration is to process the disciplinary forms once a form is filed. Because of the language in the contract, Mr. Hunt was forced to return the forms to use however, he returned the forms to the use of teachers only. Para-professionals were no longer allowed to write students up. This created an atmosphere of disrespect of the students to the paraprofessionals which, in turn, increased disciplinary problems. MVMS staff have complained to me that the addition of the Dean of Students has been ineffective because of a lack of follow-through when a write-up occurs and a prohibition of write-ups for certain populations of students such as the special education students. Those students have to go to their case manager for discipline, not the dean of students. This is just one example of how the data collected from discipline forms is skewed because populations of students are not included in the write-up process.
You can see that the two major problems at MVMS are discipline and the treatment of personnel. Narrow the focus of the study to these two areas and let Ben Hampton get to work. He is a very generous man to make the offer.
Manchester, NH 03102