9.22.2021 School Committee Meeting

9.22.2021 School Committee Meeting
Posted on 09/20/2021

AGENDA

Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 6:30 pm

Coddington Building

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 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, September 24, 2021.

I. Approval of Minutes:  Regular Meeting Minutes for September 8, 2021

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 to: QSCOpenForum@quincypublicschools.com.

III.  Superintendent’s Report

A. Chairman’s Report     Mayor Thomas Koch

B.  QPS Back to School Update

  • Preliminary Enrollment
  • QPS COVID-19 Metrics (Cases, Vaccines, Testing)
  • Flu & COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics
  • Technology
  • Transportation Update

C. Parent & Community Events:

  • Back to School/Open House Dates
  • ESSER III Virtual Community Meetings

D. Green Communities Grant

IV.  Old Business:

V.  New Business:

 A. Student Support Services Program Improvement Plan    Ms. Papile

 

 B. ESSER III Grant       Superintendent Mulvey

                      Assistant Superintendent Perkins

C.  Resolution:QPS Website School Pages  Mr. Gutro

The QPS Website School pages should be consistently updated by posting of all principal newsletters and communications to families.

D. Middle School Athletics    Mr. Bregoli

For referral to the Athletics & Wellness Subcommittee to review the program offerings and staff compensation.

 VI.      Additional Business:   

VII. Communications:

  1. Upcoming School Committee Meetings: October 13, 2021; October 27, 2021; November 10, 2021; December 8, 2021, all at 6:30 pm in the Coddington Building
  2. Upcoming Subcommittee Meetings:September 29, 2021 (Facilities, Security & Transportation, 6:00 pm; Policy, 6:45 pm); October 20, 2021 (Budget & Finance, 6:00 pm; Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, 6:15 pm)

VIII.    Reports of Subcommittees:  None

IX.       Executive Session:    None

X.        Adjournment:

Quincy, MASSACHUSETTS – September 22, 2021

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Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

A meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at the Coddington Building. Superintendent Kevin Mulvey called the roll and present were Mayor Thomas P. Koch, School Committee Chair, Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mrs. Courtney Perdios, Mr. Frank Santoro, and Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Vice Chair.

Also present were: Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, Ms. Rita Bailey, Ms. Allison Cox, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Mr. Daniel Gilbert, Ms. Julie Graham, Mr. Terrell Johnson, Ms. Andrea Marzilli, Ms. Courtney Mitchell, Mr. James Mullaney, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

School Committee observed a moment of silence for the men and women in the armed forces serving at home and overseas.

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Regular Meeting

 

Chair Presiding

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Meeting for September 8, 2021. Mr. Bregoli seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

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Approval of Minutes

Mr. Robert Ryan submitted a letter for Open Forum asking School Committee to open meetings up to the public.

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Open Forum

Mayor Koch’s Chairman’s Review was postponed as he was delayed in arriving at the meeting.

Superintendent Mulvey reviewed that there are currently 9,592 students registered in Quincy Public Schools for Pre-K through Grade 12, with additional new registrations pending at Central Registration and school sites. Enrollment data will be submitted to the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education on October 1 and shared at the October 13, 2021 School Committee meeting.

For COVID-19 metrics: 19 students and 2 staff cases were reported in the two weeks September 8-21. There was evidence of in-school transmission, 105 close contacts: 67 test & stay, 12 quarantine, 26 vaccinated so exempt from testing or quarantine with no symptoms. For vaccines, 65% of 12-15 year old and 76% of 16-19 year old Quincy residents are fully vaccinated. COVID-19 Pooled Testing is underway with all negative pools to date, all vaccinated and unvaccinated staff are urged to participate in these safety checks. Quincy Public Schools is once again partnering with Walgreens to schedule onsite flu and COVID-19 vaccine clinics at all school sites in the next few weeks.

Mayor Koch arrived at 6:45 pm.

Superintendent Mulvey updated School Committee that the IT department will have distributed Chromebooks to all students in Grades 6-12 by the end of next week. Students in other grade levels will receive their Chromebooks when the next shipment is received later in the fall. Hotspots are available for families to borrow, please contact your school principal.

Mr. Bregoli asked for data on the number of homeschooled students this year. Superintendent Mulvey will follow up with that information.

Mr. Bregoli asked about return to play protocol for COVID-19 positive cases for high school athletes. Superintendent Mulvey said that the American Pediatrics Association recommends that doctors prescribe a return to play protocol based on the severity of the symptoms. Superintendent Mulvey reviewed the protocol and suggested that families work with their pediatricians to determine the best plan for their students.

Mrs. Perdios asked and received confirmation that the twelve students close contacts who are in quarantine were offered Test & Stay option but declined. Ms. Perkins explained the livestreaming options available to these students.

Mrs. Perdios asked about School Committee deciding to open the meetings to the public. Mayor Koch said that would be a School Committee decision but a larger venue may not have the livestreaming option. Superintendent Mulvey will follow up about possible locations.

Mr. Gutro, Mr. Bregoli, and Mr. Santoro agreed that opening the meetings up to the public is a goal.

Mrs. Lebo noted that School Committee will need to wear masks if the meetings are held within a school building.

Under the Chairman’s Report, Mayor Koch noted that Massachusetts’ high vaccine rate is a key to keeping COVID-19 cases down. Mayor Koch thanked the North Quincy High School ROTC students and the Quincy-North Quincy Combined High School Band for their participation in the General’s Bridge celebration on September 11.

National Guard members are assisting with Transportation, driving Quincy Public Schools vans on three routes, accompanied by Quincy Public Schools staff. Thanks to Governor Baker, DESE Association Commissioner Russell Johnston, Mayor Koch, and the Massachusetts National Guard for supporting the Transportation program.

Superintendent Mulvey noted that an updated schedule of Back to School/Open House dates were shared with School Committee.

Quincy is the recipient of the Green Communities Grant funding to replace the bathroom, locker room, and gym lighting at North Quincy High School and the interior lighting at Parker Elementary School with LED fixturesand to expand the building controls at Beechwood Knoll Elementary School and Atlantic Middle School to control the exhaust fans. Further details and project timelines will be shared in future Facilities Subcommittee meetings. Thanks to Public Buildings Commissioner Paul Hines and Director of Energy & Sustainability Shelly Dein for submitting the grant proposal on behalf of Quincy Public Schools.

Mrs. Perdios asked about any work happening during the school day. Superintendent Mulvey said all contractors will be fingerprinted and CORI’d and wearing masks.

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Superintendent’s

Report

 

There was no Old Business.

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Old Business

 

 

Senior Director of Student Support Services Maura Papile presented the Student Support Services Program Improvement Plan, accompanied by Principals Daniel Gilbert and Courtney Mitchell, Health Interventionist Terrell Johnson, and Science Teacher Andrea Marzilli. Ms. Papile said that this is a re-entry plan, how Quincy Public Schools will support students and staff returning to school full-time in person. In reflecting on last year’s goals, these were COVID-19 focused and re-entry after the extended school closure of Spring 2020. Student Support staff worked with students in the multiple learning models in Fall and Winter 2021, in-person, hybrid, and fully remote. In addition, there was a focus on expanding effective communication and collaboration with all stakeholders to ensure parallel access to engagement opportunities.

Looking ahead to this school year, the first priority is to assist students to re-engage in their school community, develop empathy and critical relationship skills. Under the Restorative Justice Education professional development, staff will be able to engage in and train others to facilitate community circles for building a sense of belonging and connectedness in schools. Student Support staff will help create a school-wide action plan that focuses on repairing harm, including student voices in the process, and integrating a whole-school approach.

Principal Courtney Mitchell reviewed Social-Emotional Wellness and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives at the Merrymount Elementary School, including morning check-ins, projects that celebrate students uniqueness and commonalities, school-wide “one book” events, and discussion circles. All these initiatives are focused on understanding differences, respect for peers, and showing care for others.

Broad Meadows Middle School Principal Dan Gilbert said that the relationships with the students is the most important part of being a principal, last year was difficult with half of the school learning remotely. Caring for the students and ensuring that students have a trusted adult at their school and a voice in their classes are priorities. Middle schools are expanding on the “one book, one school” initiative, utilizing community circles including creating norms (staff and students). Mr. Gilbert shared community building activities used in classrooms to build connectedness.

Quincy High School Health Interventionist Terrell Johnson and Science Teacher Andrea Marzilli presented on the social-emotional supports for students, creating team-building opportunities based on the Project Adventure curriculum to support an inclusive and supportive learning environment that teaches relationship skills needed to connect, bond, and build community. For the staff, the COVID-19 pandemic caused fears about illness and adapting to new teaching challenges. At the Professional Development meeting, staff used the community circle model to build awareness of each other’s concerns and created space to acknowledge and release tensions. For students, most teachers will provide Tier 1 supports in classrooms, which are preventative/proactive practices around relationship building and creating norms around behavioral expectations. The goal is to keep students in classroom, addressing why behaviors are occurring, and working together to meet the needs of the individual.

Ms. Papile thanked the presenters, a lot has been accomplished in the first few weeks of the school. Special thanks to the staff members who participated in the professional development over the summer and brought it back to the schools.

Mrs. Hubley said that many parents are concerned about their children and depression, how are we identifying students who are not comfortable sharing and supporting them. Ms. Papile said the students will become more comfortable with the circles over the course of the year and that hopefully positive relationships will develop. Ms. Papile offered to assist families who are looking for outside counseling resources. Ms. Papile said students would not be put on the spot or made to participate.

Mrs. Hubley asked for the homeless student data to be shared, broken out by grade level.

Mr. Bregoli said that Kindergarten teachers have used the circle concept for many years, it may be easier to implement at elementary schools where students are generally with the same teacher for the whole day. In middle and high school, where students have a number of teachers this may be more difficult. Mr. Bregoli asked about moving away from “zero tolerance” policies, Ms. Papile said serious incidents call for consequences. In many instances, there are incidents that can be mediated and students made accountable, for example, two students fighting online. Ms. Papile used vaping as an example, interventions are used rather than moving immediately to exclusion. Mr. Bregoli said in the end, this is about students learning to treat each other as they want to be treated and builds on many long-standing practices in Quincy Public Schools.

Mr. Gutro thanked the presenters, all School Committee is concerned about re-entry issues, the Student Support Staff is working to meet the moment. Acknowledging all that students have been through is important, innovative ideas to engage with students, and how we are assessing student anxiety and behavioral changes.

Mrs. Perdios said that how re-entry to school would work is a concern for many parents. Ms. Papile said that all staff are re-trained on the protocol around student privacy issues, any concern about student safety must be immediately reported to an administrator and subsequently their parent.

Mrs. Perdios asked if all schools are using these practices and Ms. Papile confirmed. A district-level team has been collaborating and training staff members to get started with community building at a top level.

Mrs. Perdios asked about the line between supportive for behavioral issues versus addressing safety/disciplinary issues. For example, the Tik Tok challenge about destroying school property or the role of high school Security staff. Ms. Papile said there are not changes to the disciplinary procedures in relationship to safety, thankfully, QPS does not have a lot of incidents but there will be consequences. A minor issue in a classroom could be resolved at the classroom level but nothing beyond that.

Mr. Santoro said there are differences between the elementary, middle, and high school approaches. In his experience, celebrating positive behaviors is very important.

Mrs. Lebo asked for and received confirmation that the majority of students will remain at the proactive/preventative level. Mrs. Lebo asked and received confirmation that all students will have the opportunity to do this in at least one class.

Mrs. Lebo asked how staff ensure that some students don’t dominate the circle, Mr. Johnson said that there is a talking piece that moves around the circle giving each person the opportunity to talk, but there is no cross-talk.

Mrs. Lebo asked about analyzing the responses of those who don’t feel comfortable about sharing, teachers will be working on restorative chat module next.

Mrs. Lebo asked about student surveys, Ms. Papile said those are to be developed as a district-wide team.

Mrs. Lebo noted that Quincy High School Health Teacher is missing from staff list and several other issues with these pages. Ms. Papile will share updated pages.

Mr. Bregoli noted that there are eleven elementary schools and seven Physical Education teachers.

Mrs. Lebo requested the specialist staff schedules and enrollment figures that correspond.

Mrs. Perdios asked about the Family Liaison positions, Superintendent Mulvey said these will be part of the English Learner Education programs. Two excellent candidates

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the Student Support Services Program Improvement Plan. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

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New Business

 

Student Support Services

Program Improvement

Plan

 

Superintendent Mulvey introduced the ESSER III Grant Funding stakeholder feedback that was generated from a series of Webinars and surveys to Quincy Public Schools staff, students, and parents. Superintendent Mulvey noted that there are concerns at the state level about using the funding to create staff positions that cannot be sustained in the long run. Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins reviewed that Quincy Public Schools will receive $16,043,084 over the next three years in ESSER III funding, grant applications are due October 4, 2021. Districts must set aside 20% of the funds to combat loss of instructional time/learning loss, use evidence-based practices to address the academic and social needs of students.

Senior Curriculum Director Madeline Roy shared a breakdown of parent survey responses, 740 total with 70 parents participating in the two webinar opportunities. Parents identified combating learning loss due to COVID-19 the highest, followed by curriculum revision and update to curriculum resources and monitoring student progress. For social-emotional priorities, parents identified therapeutic programs, both individual and group interventions as a top priority. For English Learner education, acquiring a new K-8 English Language curriculum was the top priority. For Special Education, afterschool programming and tutoring were identified as parent priorities. For Technology priorities, Chromebooks for all students and additional educational software were identified. Other suggestions and comments included expanding after school programs, academics, arts & music, sports. Building improvements were also suggested and specific social-emotional supports.

Quincy Public Schools staff members were surveyed, with close to 200 responses to the survey along with a sparsely attended webinar. Similar to the parent survey, curriculum revision and updating curricular resources and combating learning loss were priorities. For social-emotional learning, school-based clinicians were identified as the top priority. For English Learners, translation services support was identified, specifically at the school level for daily interactions with parents. For Special Education, supplemental resources and supports and adaptive technologies and equipment were identified as priority areas. For Technology, the responses mirrored the parent priorities of student Chromebooks and educational software. Other suggestions included increased support staff and increased opportunities for art and drama. Ms. Perkins noted that the student survey is still open until the end of the week.

Next steps include posting the ESSER data presentation on the QPS website; meet again on September 29 Teaching & Learning Subcommittee to review the final implementation plan; submit the plan to DESE by October 4, 2021; and post the approved plan to the QPS website.

Mrs. Lebo asked about whether funding would be available to assist students who graduated during the pandemic in 2020 with supports.

Mr. Gutro asked about headset microphones for teachers because of mask wearing. Mr. Gutro asked about air quality upgrades, will there be additional opportunities for work in schools.

Mrs. Perdios agreed about the HVAC, hopes that Commissioner Hines been asked for input.

Mrs. Perdios asked if staff members can be hired under contracts for specific time periods. Mrs. Perdios is concerned about the long-range plan around Chromebooks, will we continue the 1:1 implementation in the long term.

Mrs. Perdios supports the priorities outlined tonight, especially the Special Education after school activities and segmenting by age to encourage peer interaction. Even if all of these items can’t be funded with ESSER funding, these could be considerations for future budgets.

Mayor Koch agrees that the after school programming is very important, drama, music, sports, presenting opportunities to be part of team or production. Would especially like to see expansion of middle school athletics.

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New Business

 

ESSER III Grant Funding

 

 

Mr. Gutro said that some of the Quincy Public Schools website school pages are not updated and would like to see all communications posted there by principals. Mr. Gutro made a motion to move the resolution to the Facilities, Transportation & Security Subcommittee. The motion was seconded by Mr. Bregoli and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mrs. Hubley asked for clarification on what is being moved into Subcommittee, does not support the resolution, but will wait for subcommittee discussion.

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New Business

 

Resolution: QPS
Website School Pages

 

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to refer Middle School Athletics to the Athletics & Wellness Subcommittee for further review.

On the motion, Mrs. Perdios asked for specifics, Mr. Bregoli would like to add more extramural team sports options such as Basketball and Soccer.

Mrs. Perdios asked if this will be expanding opportunities or the level of competition. Mayor Koch said this is discussion for Subcommittee.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Santoro and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

 

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New Business

 

Middle School Athletics

Referred to Athletics &

Wellness Subcommittee

 

There was no Additional Business.

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Additional Business

Mrs. Hubley noted that School Committee will be meeting on October 13, 2021; October 27, 2021; November 10, 2021; December 8, 2021, all at 6:30 pm in the School Committee Room at the Coddington Building.

Subcommittee meetings will be held on September 29, 2021 (Policy and Teaching & Learning) and October 20, 2021 (Budget & Finance; Facilities, Security & Transportation; and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion).

Mrs. Perdios requested that the Facilities meeting not be moved to October, wants an update on the Grade 5 Feasibility Study. Mayor Koch said this is a long-term discussion and will include the revision of the City’s Capital Plan. Superintendent Mulvey said that programmatic issues have been addressed, but to move any further would require Public Buildings input.

Mrs. Lebo said that the Feasibility Study would be more than Grade 5 issues, would like to include the Reach program and expanding Pre-Kindergarten, and wants time to fully discuss this.

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Communications

There were no Subcommittee meetings to review.

 

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Reports of

Subcommittees

There was no Executive Session.

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Executive Session

 

 

Mr. Santoro made a motion to adjourn the Regular School Committee meeting at 9:00 pm. Mr. Bregoli seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

 

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Adjournment