1-13-2021 School Committee Meeting

1-13-2021 School Committee Meeting
Posted on 01/11/2021

AGENDA

Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 6:30 pm

via Zoom

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 SchoolTube website on Friday, January 15, 2021.

  1. Approval of Minutes:   Meeting Minutes for December 9, 2020

II.        Open ForumAn opportunity for community input regarding the Quincy Public Schools.  Community in this context is defined as a resident of the City of Quincy, a parent of a student who attends the Quincy Public Schools, or an employee of the Quincy Public Schools.  Non-community persons not permitted to speak at Open Forum may submit written statements to the School Committee.  After giving his or her name and address, each speaker may make a presentation of no more than four minutes to the School Committee.  An individual may not exchange their time or yield to others.        

To participate in Open Forum, interested parties may submit written statements or may speak live at the meeting by submitting a request to: QSCOpenForum@quincypublicschools.com.

III. Superintendent’s Report

Chairman’s Report   Mayor Thomas Koch

QPS COVID-19 Metrics  (see QPS website)

COVID-19 Vaccination Program

QPS Enrollment  

Technology Update

Virtual Parent Academies Update

QHS at Yale Model Congress

 

IV. Old Business:

V. New Business:

  1. Resolution in Recognition of Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Ronald Mariano  QSC Resolutions        Vice Chair Andronico 
  2. QPS School Nutrition Program  School Nutrition School Committee Presentation   Ms. Dufour, Ms. Minton                
  3. QPS Grants Updates  CVTE_STEM SC Presentation    Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Smith                
  4. Gift:  $6,300.00 to the QPS Music Program 

    from the Randy C. Wolfe Music Trust  Superintendent Mulvey

  5. Gift:$25,600 from Reebok International for 

    BOKS Programming  Superintendent Mulvey

  6. 2021-2022 School Committee Meeting Calendar

    For referral to Policy Subcommittee

  7. 2021-2022 QPS School Year Calendar  For referral to Policy Subcommittee

VI.  Additional Business:   

 

VII.     Communications

  1. Upcoming School Committee Meetings:January 27, 2021; February 10, 2021; March 10 and 24, 2021 (Regular Meetings, 6:30 pm, Coddington Building)
  2. Upcoming Subcommittee Meetings:January 27, 2021:Budget & Finance, January at 5:30 pm; Teaching & Learning at 5:40 pm

 

VIII.    Reports of Subcommittees:  Athletics & Wellness  Mr. Gutro to report on the December 9, 2020 meeting.

IX.       Executive Session:    None

X.        Adjournment:

Quincy, MASSACHUSETTS – January 13, 2021

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Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

A meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 6:30 p.m via Zoom. Superintendent Kevin Mulvey called the roll and present were Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mr. Frank Santoro, and Mr. Anthony Andronico, Vice Chair.

Also present were: Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, Ms. Allison Cox, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Ms. Sara Dufour, Ms. Julie Graham, Ms. Jane Minton, Mr. James Mullaney, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Edward Smith; Quincy Education Association President Sean Greene; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Mayor and School Committee Chair Thomas Koch was absent.

School Committee observed a moment of silence in memory of the following former Quincy Public Schools employees who recently passed away: Joanne Potter, a 27 year lunch attendant and paraprofessional; Jane Williams, a bus driver for 17 years; Arpi Hovagimian, a Kindergarten and Grade 1 teacher for 29 years; and Helen Donovan, librarian and media specialist for 34 years.

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Regular Meeting

 

Vice-Chair Presiding

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Meeting for December 9, 2020. Mr. Bregoli seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 6-0. Mayor Koch was absent.

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Approval of Minutes

Mr. Andronico read a letter from Ms. Christina Feeney who urged School Committee to develop a plan to return students to school full time and Ms. Kristen Kindred who is concerned about Superintendent Mulvey and the temporary suspension of the High School Varsity Hockey program earlier this week due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

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Open Forum

Superintendent Mulvey recognized City of Quincy Health Commissioner Ruth Jones who will be retiring on January 15, 2021. Commissioner Jones has been integral the successful re-opening of Quincy Public Schools this fall, serving on the Re-Entry Task Force and attending meetings with QPS staff members and parents and supporting the school nurses, principals, and Superintendent’s Leadership Team throughout the pandemic.

Superintendent Mulvey then reviewed the statistics for the last two weeks (December 30 through January 12), including 86 positive students (44 hybrid, 8 in-person and 34 remote) and 39 positive staff members. The two-week positivity rate is currently 8.0% and in the red.

Mr. Gutro asked if the average daily positivity rate is higher than prior to vacation and Mr. Mulvey confirmed this. Mr. Gutro asked about the six-foot requirement and Superintendent Mulvey confirmed that this is a district’s discretion but following the request of the Task Force, the six-foot distance is still the optimal for contact tracing purposes. (At three feet, additional close contacts are possible for every COVID-19 case.)

Mr. Bregoli asked about if remote school would remain an option if the distance requirement was reduced and Superintendent Mulvey confirmed that this is a requirement of the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.

Mr. Bregoli asked about streaming of classes so that hybrid and remote classes can be taught simultaneously and Superintendent Mulvey confirmed that planning for this at the high school level is underway and may require impact bargaining. In some classrooms, this is already happening, including Quincy High School Special Education department.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the City of Quincy being in the state’s DPH red status and remaining in hybrid learning. Superintendent Mulvey said since there have been very few cases of in-school transmission, the Quincy Health Department has been comfortable with remaining in hybrid learning.

Superintendent Mulvey reviewed the timeline for the High School Boys Varsity Hockey teams not observing COVID-19 protocols at the Quincy vs. North Quincy game on Saturday, January 9, 2021. Group photos and game photos posted on social media and local news websites showed students not properly distancing or wearing masks correctly. Superintendent Mulvey was concerned because of previous COVID-19 cases on the hockey teams. On Sunday, January 10, 2021, in consultation with the Quincy Health Department, the decision was made to ask students to quarantine for 10 days, seek testing, and to suspend the Varsity Hockey program for that same period. On Monday, January 11, 2021, the state Department of Public Health and the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education were consulted and since there were no known positive cases, the students were allowed to return to school on Tuesday, January 12. At the same time, meetings were held to assess additional safety protocols needed for the Hockey program to resume, including helmet-integrated masks. The Quincy Youth Arena also closed for deep cleaning due to COVID cases among their staff and will re-open on Thursday, January 14. Additional distancing markers and the new masks are available for the teams going forward.

Mr. Bregoli noted that the QPS Athletic Directors had earlier suggested that the Patriot League adopt these integrated masks, unfortunately this was not approved before league play was underway.

Mr. Gutro asked for clarification on the parent communications and the timeline. Superintendent Mulvey reviewed the timeline and communications, a judgement call had to be made on Sunday when the state DPH was not available for consultation.

Mr. Santoro noted that the QPS Athletic Directors were clear with student athletes and parents about the expectations for playing under COVID-19 restrictions. Mr. Santoro thanked Superintendent Mulvey for his leadership on this issue.

Mrs. Hubley asked about the communication with parents, the Athletic Directors and Principals called each parent, in addition to the written communication. Mrs. Hubley asked about missing games, Superintendent Mulvey said at least one game was missed and noted that other Patriot League teams are also struggling with COVID-19. The Athletic Directors are working on rescheduling games to the extent possible.

Mr. Bregoli noted that the deep cleaning of the Quincy Youth Arena was not initiated by the Quincy Public Schools and Superintendent Mulvey confirmed. Mr. Bregoli said that some Patriot League schools have gone to full remote and suspended athletics as a consequence.

Mrs. Lebo asked about contact tracing once Commissioner Jones retires; Superintendent Mulvey said that the QPS nurses and Ms. Bailey will continue to work with the Health Department staff.

Mr. Andronico asked about the news story on WBZ-TV, the reporter misunderstood that the student-athletes were all tested and were negative. Superintendent Mulvey explained that students who tested negative were subject to a shorter quarantine. The reporter has corrected the transcript online.

Superintendent Mulvey reviewed that on January 5, a citywide department chair meeting was held to begin the planning process for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Manet Health has been a partner and vaccinations for first responders are currently underway. QPS nurses will be vaccinated in the next round and assist with vaccinations moving forward. There are three phases for vaccine rollout: (1) first responders, health personnel; (2) educators, residents over age 75, and residents with more than two co-morbidities; (3) the general public.

Mr. Bregoli asked if staff members are required to accept the vaccine and Superintendent Mulvey said this is not a state requirement for staff members. In speaking with the QEA President today, it seems like a majority are interested in receiving the vaccine.

Mr. Gutro asked about the timeline for staff vaccinations, Superintendent Mulvey said the conservative timeline is that all staff will be vaccinated by the end of the school year in June. Superintendent Mulvey is hoping for availability to increase so this can be accomplished earlier in the school year. Mr. Gutro requested that this item remain on the meeting agenda as a standing item for updates.

Mr. Gutro asked about Governor Baker’s recent announcement about “pool testing”. Superintendent Mulvey explained that a defined pool of staff and students would have their swabs tested as a group (for example, an elementary school class). If a positive case turns up in the pool, all members would have to quarantine until individual testing could be completed. Superintendent Mulvey said this could be challenging to implement as school nurses would also have to administer the testing, in addition to contact tracing and regular responsibilities. QPS has submitted the form to DESE to indicate preliminary interest in pool testing.

Mr. Bregoli is concerned about the vaccine rollout for staff impacting the ability for students to return to school full time. Superintendent Mulvey said planning is underway on developing opportunities for additional student time in school.

Mrs. Lebo noted that Braintree has already begun immunizing school nurses, agrees that this item should remain on the agenda. Mrs. Lebo also noted that older students can swab themselves but the pool testing may be more problematic at the high school level when students have very different schedules.

Mrs. Hubley said that the Governor’s announcement about pool testing said that funding would be available from the Federal government. Superintendent Mulvey said the source has not yet been identified. Mrs. Hubley asked when the educator vaccinations would be available and Superintendent Mulvey said tentatively February and March. Mrs. Hubley asked if DESE will issue revised guidelines once the educator vaccinations are complete and Superintendent Mulvey said this is likely.

Superintendent Mulvey reviewed that there are currently 9,685 students enrolled in the Quincy Public Schools, with 52% hybrid and 48% in-person or remote.

Mrs. Lebo feels that once high school students can return to full in-person learning, the majority of high school students will return to school.

Mr. Gutro asked about families opting for private school, Superintendent Mulvey said that some private schools are offering five days per week in-person instruction, so families may opt for that.

Mrs. Lebo noted that the number of students who opted to attend school hybrid or in-person and are accessing one or more classes online because the teacher is teaching remotely is high: 75% at North Quincy High School and 96% at Quincy High School.

Superintendent Mulvey reviewed upcoming Virtual Parent Academies will be held on January 19 (Grades K-2) and January 26 (Grades 3-5) highlighting Picture Books for Tough Times with Dr. Nancy Boyles and February 2 (Grades 3-4) Family Math Night with Greg Tang.

Superintendent Mulvey concluded his report with recognizing the 14 Quincy High School students who participated at the Yale Model Congress, thanks to Social Studies teacher Meg McMillen. Congratulations to Brian Gutro for winning the top recognition for participants for his role as Chief of Staff in the Presidential Cabinet; Charles Codner (Senate Foreign Relations Committee) and Hannah Murphy (Supreme Court) received Honorable Mention awards.

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Superintendent’s

Report

 

Vice Chair Andronico moved the agenda out of order and recognized School Nutrition Director Sara Dufour and Assistant Director Jane Minton for the annual School Nutrition update. The School Nutrition department has contracted with a new vendor for menu development; from the Quincy Public Schools website, families can link to review menus and nutritional information; subscribe to a monthly menu email; make payments to student accounts; and access applications for free and reduced meals. Nutritionist interns are assisting with creating blog posts and recipes.

All meals served in Quincy Public Schools, whether for students attending school in person or the grab and go meals at every building, are at no charge for this school year. The meal program is operating under the Summer Feeding program model, which has a higher rate of reimbursement from the federal government. For long weekends, extra meals are provided to replace the holiday meal distribution. There has been a significant increase in breakfast service due to the grab and go program where lunch and breakfast for the next day are offered on weekdays. Thanks to COVID-19 training and protocols, there have been no positive cases among the staff. The elimination of Styrofoam products has been completed and all residual stock depleted.

The School Nutrition department has received several grants recently: $20,285 to purchase three new refrigerators for Montclair; two milk coolers; and dollies and flatbeds for drivers. Through the DESE Corona Virus Relief Fund, $38,891 has allowed for purchasing of Grab & Go packing machine for each school; plexiglass barriers for each register; masks and hand sanitizer dispensers. Meal kits were available for families for Thanksgiving (400 families, serving 2,500 meals) and Christmas/New Years (262 families, 2,620 meals). For the upcoming vacation weeks in February and April, families will be provided five breakfasts and lunches for each student.

When COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, all Quincy Public Schools locations will have salad bars and the work with the NQHS LEAP program will resume, along with the Intern Tasting Events. At Broad Meadows, a new serving line will be installed over the next few months and the purchase of a new Food Services truck is out for bid. For the students currently attending school in person, field testing has continued with students having the option to try the new recipes.

Mr. Gutro asked about varying the menus since hybrid cohorts always attend school on the same days. Ms. Dufour said the staff are working on ways to do this.

Superintendent Mulvey said that Ms. Dufour and Ms. Minton are the best School Nutrition director and assistant director in the state, the families of QPS are so grateful for their efforts, especially at the holiday meal distribution events.

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New Business

 

School Nutrition Update

Executive Director of Career Vocational and Technical Education Keith Segalla and Science Curriculum Team Administrator Edward Smith presented an update on recent grants received by the Quincy Public Schools. The QPS Ladders to Success ($72,00) is a state-funded Youth Employment Program that supports teens and young adults obtaining work experience during the summer months and the school year. The JASON Learning Grant ($36,000) is providing QPS with digital STEM resources and teacher professional development opportunities, thanks to funding from Dell Technologies. The Massachusetts Capital Skills Grant ($141,200) will fund the purchase and installation of equipment and related improvements or renovations to support CVTE programs. Recent Robotics grants include P&G Gillette ($10,000), Lockheed Martin ($2,250), National Grid ($2,000), and NASA ($450).

Mrs. Lebo thanked the presenters, over $260,000 in grants, incredible opportunities for our staff and students. Mrs. Lebo asked for clarification about JASON Learning, it is accessible through the student’s Google accounts. Mrs. Lebo suggested a Parent Academy to publicize this STEM education resource.

Mr. Gutro echoed Mrs. Lebo’s comments, it is great to see all of the efforts to advance education still happening during the pandemic.

Mr. Andronico asked how long the Capital Skills Grants have been given, Mr. Segalla said over the last five years.

Superintendent Mulvey thanked Mr. Segalla and Mr. Smith for the presentation, highlighting the work of the staff to provide the innovative and exciting programs for our students.

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New Business

 

CVTE & STEM Grant

Update

 

Superintendent Mulvey reviewed that annual generous gift from the Randy C. Wolfe Music Trust has been received.

Mr. Gutro made a motion to accept the Gift of $6,300 for the QPS Music Program from the Randy C. Wolfe Music Trust. Mr. Santoro seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 6-0. Mayor Koch was absent.

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New Business

 

Gift: $6,300 from the

Randy C. Wolfe Music

Trust

 

Superintendent Mulvey reviewed that annual donation from Reebok Internation has been recently received.

Mr. Gutro made a motion to accept the Gift of $25,600 for the School Music Program. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 6-0. Mayor Koch was absent.

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New Business

 

Gift: $25,600 from

Reebok International

Mr. Andronico noted that the 2021-22 School Committee Meeting and School Year Calendars have been referred to the Policy Subcommittee for review and approval. A meeting will be scheduled in the next few weeks.

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New Business

 

Referral to Policy

Subcommittee

Mr. Andronico introduced a resolution to recognize the new Massachusetts Speaker of the House of Representatives Ron Mariano:

Whereas, Ron Mariano served as an elementary school history teacher in Quincy Public Schools for twelve years; and

Whereas, Ron Mariano also served on the Quincy School Committee from 1989 to 2009; and

Whereas, Ron Mariano has dutifully served the people of Quincy as a State Representative since 1991; and

Whereas, Ron Mariano was elected speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives by his peers on Wednesday, December 30th, 2020; and

Whereas, Ron Mariano becomes the third Quincy resident elected Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives after Col. John Quincy, who served from 1729 to 1741, and John Hancock, who served from 1779 to 1780;

Be It Resolved: that the Quincy School Committee formally extends its congratulations and well wishes to the new Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Ron Mariano.

Mrs Hubley made a motion to support the resolution to recognize Speaker of the House Ron Mariano. The motion was seconded by Mr. Gutro.

On the motion, Mr. Santoro noted that he served with Mr. Mariano on the School Committee many years ago, and Mr. Mariano always had the best interests of the students and staff of Quincy Public Schools in mind.

Mrs. Lebo said she is pleased to see an educator in this role as it will benefit education throughout Massachusetts.

Mr. Andronico noted that the Senate Majority Leader is also a former School Committee member.

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New Business

 

Resolution of

Recognition for Speaker

of the House Ronald

Mariano

 

Mr. Santoro asked for a future presentation about assessing and addressing the learning gap for students due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs. Lebo would like to schedule an Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Subcommittee meeting to receive an update on activities underway in the school system.

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Additional Business

Mr. Andronico noted that the next Regular School Committee meetings are scheduled for January 27, 2021; February 10, 2021; March 10 and 24, 2021 at 6:30 pm at the Coddington Building. On January 27, 2021 the Budget & Finance Subcommittee meeting will be held at 5:30 pm at the Coddington Building, followed by Teaching & Learning Subcommittee.

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Communications

Mr. Gutro reported on the Athletics & Wellness Subcommittee meeting held on December 9, 2020. The Athletic Directors presented a review of the Fall 2020 Athletics season and an update on the modifications for Winter 2021 Athletics.

As there were no further changes requested, the minutes of the December 9, 2020 Athletics & Wellness Subcommittees were accepted as amended (Mrs. Hubley was not listed as attending).

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Reports of

Subcommittees

There was no Executive Session.

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Executive Session

 

 

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to adjourn the Regular School Committee meeting at 9:00 pm. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 6-0. Mayor Koch was absent.

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Adjournment