SPRINGFIELD, NJ—Contrary to speculation that the Springfield school district was moving away from a form of student-teacher communication in use for more than 10 years, the district is expanding use of the “app” from the secondary to the primary grades.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Davino said at Monday’s board of education meeting that StudyWhiz, which has been used in the middle school and secondary schools for more than a decade, will continue as the primary communication mechanism in the district until a “more robust” system as found that will broaden the district’s reach between instructors and students.

The superintendent noted that the server for StudyWhiz is maintained on board of education property and parents and students who have complaints about the app’s connectivity should look more closely at the connectivity of their home systems rather than that of the district.

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He added the app provides the desired security and privacy for teachers and students to community individually or in groups. However, should there be an emergency where students or teachers are unable to use the app they should communicate only through district-assigned email addresses.

The district’s secured email addresses enable monitoring to prevent exchange of inappropriate messages, the superintendent concluded.

On another topic, Davino gave his state-required presentation on violence, vandalism and harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) for January to June 2017.

He reported there were 25 incidents in total during the period, including six involving vandalism, one involving violence, two with weapons, two with substance abuse and 16 HIB incidents.

The superintendent added that, in four of the cases, no police were notified, three of them had police notified with no complaints filed and three with complaints. 

Criminal charges filed resulted from some of the complaints, with 11 resulting out-of-school suspension and one in in-school suspension. 

There were student offenders. 15 students referred to court or other services, five students suspended, and a few told to take home instruction. 

There was one superintendent’s suspension for possession of drugs and a weapon, and that student was removed from school.

One student came to school with a weapon in his book bag, but no criminal intent was found. His parents picked him up and he was suspended.

On a more positive note, Erica Scudera, director of curriculum, assessment and instruction, reported that about 10 Jonathan Dayton High School seniors are expected to qualify for a state  award under a law signed by Gov. Chris Christie in 2016 recognizing proficiency in English and one foreign language.

Scudera said the students would be required to pass an advanced placement test in the two languages along with a state proficiency test. They would receive a certificate on their diplomas for being bi-literate.

Davino added that the winners will have their names announced on senior awards night and the bi-literacy designation will be included on their high school transcripts.

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