Goffstown school consultant effort questioned
The study, to be conducted by Learning Innovations at WestEd, a national company headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., carries a price tag of about $35,500.
Lisa Pomerleau, a staff member at MVMS, said she doesn’t agree with the study because it won’t be an accurate reflection of the school.
“The results will not be a true picture of our loving and caring staff, minus current administration,” Pomerleau said in an email to Donna Pinard, a staff member at Goffstown High School who hosts the public-access show “Goffstown School Board Watch” on Goffstown’s local cable station.
Pomerleau suggested the district hire local educator Ben Hampton to conduct what she described as a “legitimate study” of the school.
Hampton was one of four candidates who submitted a proposal to the district to conduct the study, at a cost of $1.
Hampton said his proposal was submitted on Sept. 12, five days before Buckley made her recommendation to the school board, and did not find out what consultant was chosen until he read it in the newspaper.
Hampton would have taken a top-down approach at the school if he had been selected, he said.
“If you’re having problems, look at leadership and work your way down,” Hampton said, which includes leadership at the SAU.
In recommending WestEd, SAU 19 Superintendent Stacy Buckley told the School Board at a September meeting that it was the most qualified for the job.
Representatives at WestEd did not return calls for comment.
Pinard, in the email thread with Pomerleau and Burt, said the consultant is beginning by examining classrooms instead of dealing with school management issues, but Buckley said Pinard’s assertions are “totally inaccurate.”
Buckley said academics won’t be the only area studied.
“This is a comprehensive study,” Buckley said, “and academic rigor was an issue that was brought up.”
Buckley said WestEd will study a wide range of issues.
“We’re not just targeting administration,” she said. “We’re looking at everything.”
Buckley said classroom observations aren’t scheduled until January, after surveys that will be distributed in November, and public forums with the community in December and January.
According to Buckley, all surveys will be sent directly to WestEd, not to the SAU, in order to keep the study as unbiased as possible.
State Representative John Burt, who is on the Goffstown Budget Committee, also weighed in on the issue, blaming MVMS principal Jim Hunt and the SAU for the issues at the school.
“The children are having troubles learning at MVMS and I blame Mr. Hunt and the superintendent department,” Burt said in an email response to Pinard.
Burt also said Hampton should lead the study in order to save the town money.
“Many of the people I have spoken with told me Mr. Hampton would have down a great job and been the most honest,” Burt said. “WestEd will give the report Ms. Buckley wishes to see.”
Hampton said he was honored and humbled by the recommendation, but said any further action would be more trouble than it is worth.
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