New “iSight” program tracks student behavior


Photo: Sam Doan

Sam Doan, Staff Writer

BHS implemented a new program this year called “iSight” which collects data on incidents involving bullying, harassment and hazing. Tracking such issues is a requirement for the school due to the 2019 settlement between BSD and the Department of Justice.

iSight is an online system similar to PowerSchool where teachers and administrators can report severe cases of student misbehavior.

Valerie Lodish works in the IT department at Hunt Middle School and is the current project manager for the newly implemented iSight program. Lodish is working with iSight engineers and the BSD data team to configure the program’s software.

Usually schools have firm placements when it comes to these types of systems, so it was a very sudden change when iSight got implemented

— LeVar Barrino

“My goal is to have the software running smoothly,” Lodish said.

iSight needs to be up and running this year to meet the requirements of the 2019 settlement which states that BSD must use a system that electronically tracks all forms of in-school harassment.

“The system will also be used to generate data that is necessary for [Vermont’s] reporting on discipline, suspensions and other related information we send to the AOE (Agency of Education) annually,” Lodish said.

BSD will submit an annual report of cases filed in iSight to ensure that all student conflict has been appropriately handled. 

“iSight was forced to be implemented. We had no choice or say in what we could do with the referral system,” Dean of Students LeVar Barrino said. “It got to the point where we as a school had to implement another program to capture all the evidence. So now if we went to the court of law, we would have everything documented.”

iSight has been a work in progress for 3 years. Before iSight, PowerSchool was used to track student behavior. However, PowerSchool monitored all types of behavior from cutting class to harassment, hazing and bullying. Not only did this overwhelm the administrators, but it was also unreliable when it came to catching severe situations.

“It was hard to control everything since there was so much to look at,” Barrino said. “And for me, there’s a drastic difference between someone who is skipping class [and] someone who is being harassed or bullied.”

Privacy can often be an issue when implementing a new program such as iSight.

“We’re not disclosing all the information,” Barrino said. “Unless we’re in court or we’ve had parent permission.”

iSight is still in its earlier phases and administrators are currently testing to see if the system is reliable.

“Usually schools have firm placements when it comes to these types of systems, so it was a very sudden change when iSight got implemented,” Barrino said.

The well-being of students remains the highest concern. 

“We’re just trying to find the best system for BHS as a whole,” Barrino said. “It’s a system where we’re prioritizing the students.”