Survey: JPS anti-bullying programs effectiveThe Jamestown Public School Board learned at its Monday meeting that the anti-bullying curriculums in place around the district are largely effective.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Public School Board learned at its Monday meeting that the anti-bullying curriculums in place around the district are largely effective.
The report from administrators and counselors came as the Olweus survey results. Olweus is a district-wide anti-bullying program that has not been formally adopted throughout the district, although the survey was approved by the board earlier.
“If this data came back and looked differently I would suggest going K through 12 with Olweus,” said Amy Walters of Jamestown, a certified Olweus instructor with the South East Education Cooperative based out of Fargo. “I think what the data is showing you is we’re very positive and what we’re doing seems to be going well.”
Each school in the district uses different types of anti-bullying curriculums. Board member Roger Haut previously suggested the district adopt a uniform program, Olweus. The district-wide survey is the first step.
Some generalizations the data showed: bullying is more prevalent amongst girls; verbal exclusion and physical are the most common types of bullying; and the playground is the most common place for bullying in the elementary schools, along with the lunchroom and hallways or stairwells.
A number of different factors contribute to bullying and it varies at different grade levels. Middle school, however, tends to be a level where more bullying does happen.
“Traditionally at the middle school level has been an area where they’ve done research about bullying — that seems to be a time in kids’ lives where bullying seems to peak,” said Diane Crowston, middle school counselor.
Assistant Principal Mark Stillwell said after Christmas break the survey results will be presented to middle school students so some of the issues can be specified and worked on.
“I think each school has different dynamics,” Crowston said. “I like our program, I like that we can target if we see something that’s coming, we can address that issue, we can change up our guidance lessons a bit to change that.”
At Roosevelt Elementary School, Principal Pat Smith said the school will develop programs for recess to try and cut down on bullying on the playground.
Principals and counselors from across the district presented information on their individual schools, but several themes remained common.
One such theme was the need for parent education and involvement in the fight against bullying.
Sherry Schmidt, Lincoln principal, said it’s easier said than done.
“How do you get them there? Our biggest challenge for us is how to do you get parents to come. How do you get parents involved in that process?” Schmidt said.
Lincoln will pilot the Olweus program in Jamestown. But staff at the meeting didn’t recommend endorsing the program district wide, which would cost an estimated $20,000.
“It’s hard for me to speak on how you want to spend money,” said Gayle Nelson, counselor at the high school. “I would not want to make that decision here on the spot.”
The board received more good news later in the meeting when Superintendent Bob Toso announced that Gussner Elementary School has been selected by the North Dakota Department of Instruction to apply as a Blue Ribbon School.
Gussner is one of three schools in the state selected to apply for the award which honors only the highest achieving schools in the country. It’s the first time a school in Jamestown has been selected to apply.
A federal evaluator for the district’s title programs also told Toso that Jamestown was the only Class A school district in the state to have all elementary schools make Adequate Yearly Progress.
In other news the board unanimously approved entering into a contact for strategic planning with Dr. Marv Earhardt, who does strategic planning across the state. Although Toso is retiring in July the board will start some groundwork on the planning with Toso still on board.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org