Letter: Based on performance, Mt. Hope needs a new leader

Posted 6/29/22

To the editor:Ana Riley made the right decision to remove Deb DiBase as the principal at Mt. Hope High School. Anyone who spends time to look at academic performance, student (and teacher) attendance …

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Letter: Based on performance, Mt. Hope needs a new leader

Posted

To the editor:

Ana Riley made the right decision to remove Deb DiBase as the principal at Mt. Hope High School. Anyone who spends time to look at academic performance, student (and teacher) attendance and who has witnessed the chaos at Mt. Hope, including fist fights in the cafeteria, students damaging rest rooms so they are out of service and students having sex in the handicapped bathroom, would agree.

Taxpayers are hoping that Ms. DiBase’s new district-level position is not a new one invented to accommodate her departure from Mt. Hope. It is too bad that the Phoenix editorial writer didn’t look at the data about student performance at Mt. Hope before writing the editorial castigating the school committee and the superintendent for moving Deb DiBase out as principal at Mt. Hope “because she is beloved.”

It’s nice to be liked, but the traditional role of a high school principal is to be an authority figure, to ensure academic performance is excellent, that order and discipline are maintained and students are treated with respect. That does not seem to be the case at Mt. Hope.

It was puzzling to read the earlier congratulatory story in the Bristol Phoenix about the “historic level of achievement” in English SATs at Mt. Hope, given that nowhere in the story were the “historic scores” noted. The RIDE data shows that only 48 percent of its students were proficient in English.

It’s hard to master academics without attending school. RIDE data shows that 42 percent of Mt. Hope students are chronically absent, defined as missing 10 percent or more of school days. And, it’s tough on the students who do attend when teachers are chronically absent—more than 13 percent of Mt. Hope teachers were chronically absent.

In Portsmouth, 16.7 percent of the students were chronically absent and only 1.4 percent of teachers. Why aren’t the Bristol Warren School Committee members taking steps to enforce students attending school and firing chronically absent teachers?

In looking at the 2021 Math assessment on the RIDE website, 24 percent of the students taking the test (92 percent took the test) were proficient. That means that 76 percent of all Mt. Hope graduates are not “proficient” in math. In Portsmouth, 60 percent of the students who took the math assessment were proficient and 74 percent of the students proficient in English.

Deb DiBase may be very well liked, but Mt. Hope is NOT getting the education job done.

Taxpayers should be mindful that more than 55 percent of our tax dollars pay for our school system. The cost per student at Mt. Hope is $17,453 – compare that to Barrington at $15,230 per student. Spending more money and expecting a better result has been the Bristol Warren school district’s mission for 20+ years.

The Bristol Phoenix could do an enormous public service by actually delving into the RIDE statistics each year and documenting the lack of academic achievement so the public without the patience to use the RIDE website could see the data.

Georgina Macdonald
Bristol

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Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.