7-8-2020 Special SCHOOL COMMITTEE Meeting

Quincy School Committee

Special Meeting
Coddington Building
Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.

Per Governor Baker’s order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law,
G.L. c. 30A sec. 20, the public will not be allowed to physically access this School
Committee meeting. Members of the Public can access the meeting audio live on
QATV Channel 22 or at www.qatv.org. The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast
and posted on the QPS website on Friday, July 10, 2020.

Agenda

I. Chairman’s Update - Mayor Koch
II. Approval of Minutes: June 24, 2020 Special Meeting Minutes
III. Open Forum  - Mr. Andronico
Open Forum items may be submitted to School Committee via email to:
QSCOpenForum@quincypublicschools.com. Please include your full name and
mailing address as part of the email.
IV. Visions Inc. - Presentation Interim Superintendent Mulvey, Ms. Papile
V. School Committee Resolution: School Culture - Mr. Andronico
VI. Establishment of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Subcommittee - Mr. Andronico
VII. QPS Reopening Task Force - Interim Superintendent Mulvey
VIII. Quincy Public Schools Superintendent Search - Mr. Santoro
IX. Adjournment

Quincy, MASSACHUSETTS – July 8, 2020

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Special Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

 

A special meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday,                Special

July 8, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.  Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey called the                    Meeting

roll and present were Mayor Thomas Koch, Mr. Paul Bregoli,

Mr. Douglas Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mr. Frank Santoro,             Vice-Chair

and Mr. Anthony Andronico, Vice Chair.                                                                                  Presiding


Also present were:  Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Mr. James

Mullaney, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Erin Perkins, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Robert

Shaw, Mr. Lawrence Taglieri, and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

 

There was a moment of silence for retired educators Leo Donovan (Atlantic

and North Quincy High School), Richard Kenneally (Instrumental Music

Teacher and Band Director at NQHS and QHS), and Diane Willard (Squantum)

who all passed away recently.

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Mayor Koch updated on COVID-19, currently nine active cases in Quincy. The City has moved into Phase 3 with additional businesses and services open. Summer Recreation programs are underway at parks and playgrounds; the ribbon-cutting for Kincaide Park will be Monday, July 13, the park received very extensive renovations benefitting the neighborhood of South~West Quincy. The skate park and basketball park construction at Pond Street is close to completion and the tot lot/playground projects across the city are all close to completion.

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Chairman’s Update

 

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the minutes of the June 24, 2020 Special School Committee meeting. Mr. Bregoli seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

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Approval of Minutes

Mr. Andronico read letters submitted to Open Forum: Ms. Karen Norris Ramirez suggesting hybrid model for school re-opening with synchronous remote learning. Mr. Tim Glynn-Burke suggested that community participation opportunities at School Committee be expanded especially given the issues being addressed on the agenda. Ms. Elizabeth Kerfien submitted a letter about school re-opening, concerned about the weather being warm in September and students wearing masks. Mr. Tim Egan submitted suggestions for addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion through curriculum, professional development, and culturally responsive teaching. Mr. Scott Alessandro and Ms. Courtney Perdios, Citywide Parent Council Co-Presidents wrote to ask School Committee to address the inappropriate behavior of a School Committee member during the previous meeting’s Open Forum.

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Open Forum

Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey reviewed Quincy Public is committed to addressing the concerns around race raised recently locally and nationally. Thanks to the students, teachers, parents and administrators for their willingness to participate in these important discussions and move the city and school system forward.

Senior Director of Student Support Services Maura Papile introduced Dr. Rick Pinderhughes from Visions, Inc. who reviewed the Professional Development being offered to Quincy Public Schools administrators and principals. Quincy Public Schools has worked with Visions, Inc. since 2016 on building inclusive and resilient school cultures and climates. In recent weeks, the posts on social media platforms were painful to read and reflect on and shows that there is always work to do on these issues. Forty-five teachers have volunteered to attend professional development over the summer and become site leaders. Principals and Assistant Principals have had the first of their two Visions sessions and next steps include parent and student engagement opportunities. As a school district, we know that positive change comes from within and student-led.

After a brief recess for technical difficulties, Dr. Pinderhues gave the background on Visions, Inc. which has worked with businesses and education for thirty-six years, working with clients to develop tools and skills, awareness for cultural learning, unpack challenges, strategies and actions for changing the institutional and cultural practices and behaviors and attitudes. The dominant norm culture dictates the values and forces assimilation lest the minority group not be included in the distribution. The practice of equity and inclusion requires a sustained commitment. Policy and practice examination is ongoing and leads to culture shifts over time. This is a long-term project to address all of the levels and involves training. First steps are to assess the challenges and determine what success looks like, including focus groups that would reach out to recent graduates or recently employed staff. Next steps would be informed by this assessment and an equity and diversity team of cross-sectional community members. It is good to have a timeline and overall picture of the goals, with the flexibility to re-assess and re-prioritize. Building internal capacity will include staff understanding the model and becoming multicultural mediators. Peer leadership is an important component and the cycle of training new staff and students annually.

Mr. Gutro thanked Mr. Mulvey for his words and actions over the last few weeks. The Instagram posts were difficult to read but it took courage for the posters to come forward. Mr. Gutro is concerned about the opportunity for direct communication or engagement during the summer months to keep the momentum between members of the school community. Dr. Pinderhughes agreed that this is difficult to do in a broad way when students and families are disengaged from school, agreed that spending the time now planning and communicating about what is coming is important. Mr. Gutro asked about the Professional Development, this is a nine-hour training and Dr. Pinderhughes offered to create a training tailored for School Committee.

Mrs. Lebo agreed that this a long-term ongoing commitment and asked Ms. Papile about ongoing student leadership opportunities; Ms. Papile said there are a student-led POC groups in addition to student government. At the middle schools, the student support teams do this work as part of the PBIS initiative. Mrs. Lebo asked if the forty-five teachers participating in the training represent all schools, Ms. Papile said there are two per elementary and middle school and four per high school. Ms. Papile said that the VOCAL surveys from the 2019 MCAS provided recent data around some of these issues.

Mr. Bregoli suggested that a climate survey would be important to assess how deeply these issues are affecting students. These issues do not begin in high school, reaching students in earlier grades would be important.

Mr. Andronico thanked Dr. Pinderhughes for making the time to address School Committee. The presentation has given the School Committee a lot to think about and focus on how to co-create policies that are inclusive.

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Mr. Andronico introduced the School Committee Resolution on School Culture and urged those with concerns to report them so they can be investigated and not identify staff by name who are not in a position to defend themselves. The School Committee’s policies make clear the difference between hate speech and bullying, provide clear avenues to reporting; a School Committee goal is increasing efforts to diversify workforce and all of these require regular reflection.

Mr. Andronico presented a resolution for consideration by School Committee.

Mayor Koch said that this is an important issue, we can all do better, the goal of the city is opportunity for all. Mayor Koch agrees with reaffirming the commitment at end of the resolution but requested a language change in the opening sentence to replace “lived experiences” with “concerns”. Mayor Koch said inappropriate behavior is dealt with as it is reported, there have been difficult issues resolved in compassionate ways, person to person. It is very important for the public to know that students or parents should contact the Superintendent’s Office with concerns.

Mr. Santoro supports the resolution, especially reaffirming the commitment of our teachers, guidance, peer leaders, coaches, school resource officers, and parents work together to provide a learning environment that is supportive. Mr. Santoro echoed the call for reporting of issues to the Superintendent.

Mrs. Lebo agreed that what is reported is investigated, but all those involved may not agree with the resolution. We have to be sure that people feel supported in their concerns.

Mr. Bregoli also supports the amendment to the resolution, we all have a part in recognizing issues in the school system. It is important to reaffirm commitment to welcoming environment.

Mr. Gutro disagrees that the wording is an issue, these are students’ experiences, more than concerns; he will vote for regardless of the language amendment.

Mr. Andronico accepted the Mayor’s friendly amendment.

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to approve the amended resolution:

WHEREAS, students and alumni in our community have voiced their concerns with racial bias within our education system; and
WHEREAS, schools have the responsibility to equip students with their civil right of obtaining a free and appropriate public education, it is the responsibility of each school to ensure we create a welcoming community for ALL students; and
WHEREAS, it is the responsibility of our district to provide to all staff, including School Committee members, ongoing professional development on diversity, equity, and inclusion; and
WHEREAS, the School Committee approved recruiting and retaining a diverse and culturally responsive workforce as a 2019-2020 goal; and
WHEREAS, institutional and systemic racialized practices have no place in Quincy Public Schools and all policies must be sustainable and evidence-based; and
WHEREAS, incorporating into our curriculum works from diverse perspectives is critical; and
WHEREAS, we as leaders have a responsibility to speak to the issues of racism and implement positive change; be it
RESOLVED: that the Quincy School Committee reaffirms its commitment to ensuring that the qualities of diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded and practiced for our students, families, faculty, and staff.

We must ensure our own school culture is one where every student feels they are treated with dignity and respect.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Gutro and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it 7-0.

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School Committee

Resolution: School

Culture

Mr. Andronico would like to establish a permanent Subcommittee for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. This will provide a structure to continue these discussions and would put Quincy ahead of many local school districts.

Mayor Koch made a motion to establish the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Subcommittee. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Hubley and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.

Mr. Andonico will chair the Subcommitee and Mr. Gutro and Mrs. Lebo will be the Subcommittee members.

Mrs. Lebo thanked Mr. Andronico for his leadership on these issues.

Mr. Gutro said this is an opportunity to meet the moment and look at issues that would traditionally be under other Subcommittees together.

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Establishing the

Equity, Diversity, and

Inclusion Subcommittee

Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey reviewed the members of the Quincy Public Schools Re-Entry Task Force: Coordinator of Health Services Rita Bailey, Quincy Parent Advisory Council to Special Education President Cassandra Beck, Director of Traffic & Parking Chris Cassani, Director of Transportation & Security Michael Draicchio, Director of School Nutrition Sara Dufour, Teacher Sean Greene, Commissioner of Public Health Paul Hines, Health Commissioner Ruth Jones, Director of Business James Mullaney, Senior Director of Student Support Services Maura Papile, Citywide Parent Council Co-President Courtney Perdios, Teacher Michelle Perfetuo, Special Education Director Erin Perkins, Senior Director of Curriculum Madeline Roy, Principal Aliza Schneller, Coordinator of Custodians Kevin Segalla, Executive Director of Career Vocational & Technical Education and Instructional Technology Keith Segalla, Principal Robert Shaw, Principal Larry Taglieri, Library Media Teacher Anna Tennyson, and Principal Ruth Witmer,

Thanks to Mayor Koch, the personal protective equipment for staff has been purchased. The Task Force is in the process of assessing needs for school building modification, furniture and technology needs; student occupancy limits for classrooms, common areas, school buses; student transitions; social-emotional well-being; food services; shared specialists; staffing; and related impact-bargaining. A Communication Plan was shared with School Committee, parent focus groups will begin next week for Grades 9-10, 11-12, 6-8, 1-5, and Pre-Kindergarten & Kindergarten. There will be student focus groups for Grades 6-8, 9-10, 11-12 and educator focus groups by level and program area. A draft table of contents for a Re-Entry design plan was also shared with School Committee. A Parent Choice survey is being reviewed by the Task Force and hopefully shared with School Committee on Thursday for release to the parents by Friday.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be reviewing the Quincy Public Schools plan in August and it will be shared with School Committee prior to submission. Mr. Mulvey said DESE is recommending that schools have a remote learning option for those families who choose not to send their students back to school.

Mr. Andonico thanked Mr. Mulvey and suggested a dedicated page on the website, this is currently under development.

Mrs. Lebo asked about a teacher choice survey, Mr. Mulvey said there are discussions about this with the Quincy Education Association. Mrs. Lebo said that parents are enthusiastic about the synchronous summer program, would like to see this inform any remote programming in the fall.

Mr. Mulvey said School Committee is welcome to attend any of the focus groups scheduled.

Mr. Bregoli said that the state’s Phase 3 Guidelines were released on July 6 and could be further adjusted, so it is possible that the DESE guidelines will be revised. Mr. Mulvey said that the planning has to be flexible and cover all eventualities so that Quincy Public Schools is ready to respond to whatever changing regulations or health information evolves.

Mrs. Lebo said that a QHS alum is producing face shields for donation and is offering to donate medical grade face shields for staff members.

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Mr. Andronico noted that the QPS Superintendent Leadership Profile Report, complete with data tables has been shared with School Committee and also posted on the Quincy Public Schools website.

Mr. Santoro thanked the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and Ms. Owens for their assistance with the search process. Mr. Santoro said that there were twenty applicants, which have been reviewed and narrowed to eight semi-finalists who will be interviewed on July 10; July 15-17; and July 20. The final interview questions have been posted online. The interviews will be held in person at the Quincy High School Auditorium.

Mrs. Lebo said that direct reports of internal candidates cannot participate in their interviews or ranking discussions. Mr. Santoro will review the issue with Mr. Koocher.

Mr. Gutro asked when School Committee will be expected to be available to interview finalists. Mr. Santoro said that the last interview is July 20 and the Search Committee will need at least one meeting to deliberate on the semi-finalists to make recommendations of finalists to School Committee.

Mr. Andronico said School Committee will need to meet to develop interview questions and he will work on establishing additional meeting dates.

Ms. Owens will share the MASC interview questions booklet and the Search Committee interview questions for the School Committee members who were not on the Search Committee.

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QPS Superintendent

Search

 

 

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to adjourn the Special School Committee meeting at 8:45 pm. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Hubley and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

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Adjournment