Oct. 6, 2014 Teaching/Learning Sub Meeting


Teaching and Learning Subcommittee
Program Improvement Plan Presentations
Monday, October 6, 5:00 pm
Coddington Building

Presentation Schedule:

  1. Title I Program Improvement Plan - Mrs. Erin Perkins

  2. Pre-Kindergarten Program Improvement Plan - Mrs. Erin Perkins

  3. Literacy Program Improvement Plan - Mrs. Erin Perkins


Quincy School Committee
Teaching & Learning Subcommittee Meeting
Monday, October 6, 2014

A meeting of the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee was held on Monday, October 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm at the Coddington Building. Present were Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mr. David McCarthy, and Ms. Barbara Isola, Chair. Also attending were Superintendent DeCristofaro, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Mr. Robert Cavallo, Mrs. Kerri Connolly, Mrs. Mary Fredrickson, Ms. Ellen Garofalo, Ms. Beth Hallett, Mrs. Ellen Hunter, Mrs. Maura Papile, Mrs. Erin Perkins, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, Ms. Judy Todd; Ms. Allison Cox, President of the Quincy Education Association; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Ms. Isola called the meeting to order at 5:00 pm and introduced Elementary Curriculum Coordinator Mrs. Perkins who presented the Early Childhood Program Improvement Plan with Team Administrator Kerri Connolly. This year, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten are presented together as a team plan. The mission of the team is to provide a high quality, enriching program for young children identified with special needs as well as their typically-developing peers. Mrs. Perkins thanked School Committee for the reinstatement of the full-time Kindergarten paraprofessionals in this year’s budget.

Quincy Public School’s Early Childhood programs are funded in part by the Title I and Full-Day Kindergarten Grants and the Community Partnership for Children. Pre-Kindergarten curriculum is based on Tools of the Mind, while Kindergarten uses Journeys and Go Math!, both aligned to Massachusetts 2011 Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics.

Reflecting on last year’s goals, the Pre-Kindergarten team created benchmark assessments for literacy and mathematics, which were administered three times over the course of the school year. Teachers developed these in an effort to increase the alignment between Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. The Pre-Kindergarten team also continued to work to increase and sustain family engagement by increasing opportunities for parents to participate within the activities in the program. Each Pre-Kindergarten site has special events, multiple opportunities for volunteering throughout the year, and shared information through newsletters.

Mrs. Hubley and Ms. Isola asked about participation levels and Mrs. Perkins said that parent surveys were completed as part of the NAEYC accreditation process and both sites received an 80% or above rating. Mrs. Connolly said that alternate times for activities are planned as much as possible. This goal will continue into future years.

For 2014-15 the goals for Early Childhood are: (1) By June 2015, the Kindergarten teachers will continue to prepare for and complete the NAEYC accreditation process. Snug Harbor was completed last year and all remaining schools will be completed during this school year. This is an extensive amount of preparation for Kindergarten teachers, including completing notebook portfolios for review and site visits. (2) By June 2015, the Kindergarten programs will comply with the Massachusetts Kindergarten Entry Assessment (MKEA), a directive from the Office of Early Education and Care and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Kindergarten teachers are being trained on this formative assessment and standards. (3) During the 2014-2015 school year, the Pre-Kindergarten Team will work collaboratively to plan, develop, and implement an interdisciplinary model curriculum unit with either a Science or Social Studies focus. (4) During the 2014-2015 school year, the Pre-Kindergarten Team will analyze and assess their use of strategies that support and develop social-emotional and self-regulations skills. The team will work to develop a collection of assessments and materials that support the development of this important domain.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the Early Childhood Program Improvement Plan. Mrs. Mahoney seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Dr. DeCristofaro thanked Mrs. Connolly for all of her work at the Della Chiesa Early Childhood Center.

Mrs. Perkins then presented the Literacy Program Improvement Plan, reminding School Committee that Tier 1 students receive instruction inside the regular classroom, Tier 2 students require some additional supports, and that Tier 3 students are considered at risk for reading achievement and receive pull-out services for Literacy support. DIBELS and GRADE are the assessments used to measure students' growth and outcomes. Multiple curriculum interventions are used to support Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension.

In reflecting on last year's goals, the first goal of increasing the Tier 1 student population by 3% was exceeded as the final figure showed an increase of 9%. The corresponding decrease of Tier 3 students by the end of the school year was -8%. This is the lowest level of Tier 3 students since the introduction of the more stringent DIBELS benchmarks. Mrs. Mahoney asked about the difference in total enrollment between the start and end of the school year; students move, go to outside placements, and enter substantially separate classes.

The second goal of developing an interventions and assessments alignment guide was completed and the guide will be distributed later in October. Through the alignment process, needs for additional professional development and training were identified and are incorporated into this year's plan. Mr. Bregoli asked if classroom teachers are trained in any of these interventions and Mrs. Perkins said that many of our teachers have been trained and our literacy specialists work very closely with the classroom teachers to support them. Classroom teachers are able to utilize the leveled components in the Journeys program to assist in working with students of various literacy levels.

Mrs. Perkins thanked School Committee for the continued budget support for the Literacy program, each elementary school has at least one full-time Literacy teacher.

For 2014-2015, the Literacy Team goals are: (1) to support the district goal of developing proficient students through the building of foundational skills in Grades K-3 so that students read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. This will be evident by a decrease in the number of Tier 3 students by 5%. Action steps include Orton Gillingham training for a number of new Literacy Specialists, working with a consultant from Commonwealth Learning for tailoring individual assessments, and a refresher course in LIPS. (2) The Literacy Team will investigate possible ways to incorporate the use of technology during literacy intervention sessions by piloting and researching various technology options.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the Literacy Program Improvement Plan. Mrs. Mahoney seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mrs. Perkins then presented on the Title I Program Improvement Plan, noting that the grant level has increased for this year. The focus is on English Language Arts and Mathematics at Snug Harbor, Parker, Lincoln Hancock, and Clifford Marshall. Measures of student achievement include MCAS, DIBELS, GRADE, and benchmark assessments within the Journeys and Go Math! programs. Title I funds Literacy specialists and Math Interventionists, as well as after school and summer programs.

In reflecting on last year's goals, the Title I team collaborated on the development of benchmark assessments for English Language Arts and Mathematics across all grades. They also created draft curriculum maps currently in review and refinement stage. The Great Books program was implemented again for the summer of 2014 and 90 teachers were trained in the Shared Inquiry Model. For the second goal, the Coordinated Program Review is scheduled for December 18, 2014 and the preparation work continues. The third goal related to the planning and implementation of the Bridge to Reading Summer Program, expanded this year to students entering Grade 5 at Point Webster, will expand to Sterling next summer. Over 180 students participated in the program that featured the Great Books Shared Inquiry model.

Mrs. Perkins shared the MCAS results for all Title I schools, including the Grade 5 students at Sterling and Point Webster Middle Schools. These results will be analyzed at the individual School Improvement Plan presentations coming up in November.

For 2014-2015, the Title I goals are (1) to participate in the development of a consistent, coherent, and systematic writing process implemented in Grades K-5 with a focus on writing across the curriculum to support their progress in opinion/argument, information, and narrative writing. Using the Lucy Caulkins Units of Study model, principals and teachers will participate in professional development in the fall, followed by analysis and implementation. (2) The Title I team will work together to increase and sustain family engagement by increasing opportunities for parents to engage with the Title I program. Initiatives include the Parent-Child Day at Snug Harbor, Lincoln Hancock's Math night, visibility at parent-teacher conferences, and the upcoming Parent Academy at Point Webster focusing on homework assistance.

Dr. DeCristofaro asked Mrs. Perkins to speak to the Grade 5 services provided at Sterling and Point Webster Middle Schools. Currently, we are funding after school programs through the Title I grant, teachers are part of Professional Development, and principals are part of the Title I team.

Mr. Bregoli asked about Grade 5 Title I services during the school day. Mrs. Perkins said that the state does not consider Sterling and Point Webster to be Title I schools. Mrs. Mahoney asked if there could be an exception given by the state. Dr. DeCristofaro said that when the Title I grant was cut, the decision was made to focus on early childhood and literacy. Now that the grant has increased, we can look to adding supports for Grade 5 at all Title I schools. Dr. DeCristofaro reminded School Committee that at one time Quincy High School, Point Webster, and Sterling were all Title I eligible schools. When we moved to a school-wide model, it changed the program in Quincy. Mrs. Perkins said Montclair is also a possibility to receive additional funding under the new grant. Currently, Grade 5 students at Parker and Snug Harbor do not receive Title I services.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the Title I Program Improvement Plan. Mrs. Mahoney seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mrs. Mahoney made a motion to adjourn the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee meeting at 5:55 pm. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.