Jan. 30, 2017 Teaching/Learning Sub Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Teaching and Learning Subcommittee
Ms. Barbara Isola, Chair
Monday, January 30, 2017, 5:00 pm
Coddington Building 

  1. Welcome - Ms. Isola

  2. Advanced Placement Pathways Update - Ms. Roy

  3. MCAS 2.0 Site-Based Planning for Teachers & Students - Ms. Roy, Ms. Perkins

  4. Dual Enrollment Update - Ms. Hallett

  5. Adjournment/Thank you!


Quincy School Committee
Teaching & Learning Subcommittee Meeting
January 30, 2017

A meeting of the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee was held on Monday, January 30, 2017 at 5:00 pm in the Coddington Building. Present were Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, and Ms. Barbara Isola, Chair. Also attending were Superintendent DeCristofaro, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Ms. Roberta DiTullio, Ms. Elizabeth Hallett, Mrs. Maura Papile, Mrs. Erin Perkins, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Edward Smith; Quincy Education Association President Allison Cox; Citywide Parent Council Board Members Mr. Scott Alessandro and Ms. Kristin Perry; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Ms. Isola called the meeting to order at 5:00 pm. Director of High School & English Learner Education Curriculum Beth Hallett presented a Dual Enrollment Update. The program is called College on My Campus and is held at both North Quincy High School and Quincy High School. Quincy Public Schools teachers are instructing students in aligned courses that simultaneously earn high school and 3 college credits issued by Quincy College, but transferrable to other colleges. Last year’s pilot had 50 students in four courses; this year has 10 courses with 60 juniors and seniors enrolled. Quincy College provided professional development for instructors and site facilitators, sharing of best practices. Facilitators are working on tracking students as they graduate and move onto college.

Goals for next year are to expand courses to include Physics, Chemistry, Math, and additional Humanities courses. Mrs. Lebo asked about college credit for English 101, that would be a key prerequisite along with Math. Ms. Hallett said this is one of the courses hopefully to be added next year.

Ms. Isola said this is a great opportunity for our students an asked about funding at the state level, this may be funded in the FY2018 budget.

Senior Curriculum Director Madelin Roy and Quincy High School Science Department Chair Edward Smith presented an Advanced Pathways Update focused on Science. In the big picture, the initiatives of the Advanced Pathways goal is to vertically align and show the pathways into and through middle school and high school Pre-AP opportunities in ELA, Math, and Science. The original goals were to provide access to Advanced level ELA and Math (2015) and Science (2017) courses at all Quincy Public Schools middle schools; define and refine eligibility and middle to high school transition elements; and support teachers of Advanced level classes at all middle and high schools.

This year’s high school freshman were the first to have Advanced course opportunities in middle school; 1/3 are taking an Advanced Math or ELA course in high school. Currently, over 600 middle school students are in APC or taking one advanced course in ELA or Math.

Mr. Smith reviewed the Advanced Science Pathways planning and development; the team began with determining Advanced Science student characteristics: natural curiousity, the ability to problem solve, observe safety regulations, and the ability to self-direct exploration. Vertical team met over the summer to differentiate the levels of expectations for CCP, Honors, and Advanced students; for example, all advanced students participate in their school’s STEM fair. New Science standards are being explored, so timing is perfect as courses are being aligned. The Advanced Science track different than APC, APC students may not necessarily be Science-focused. Grade 8 recommended differentiation is completed, will begin implementation in the Spring. Evidence of success would be increasing the number of students eligible to take Biology in Grade 9.

Next steps are to complete the design of Advanced Science Curriculum for Grades 6 and 7; work with Elementary and Middle School Principals to refine the process for identifying 5th grade students eligible for Advanced classes in Grade 6; and identify professional development offerings for differentiation and design for learning in order to maximize independent study projects at the middle school level.

Mrs. Lebo said this is great, the numbers are astounding, so many great opportunities for our students based on their abilities and interests.

Ms. Isola said this signals a gradual culture change in Quincy Public Schools. In the past, students were sometimes discouraged from taking more advanced classes. This has changed to challenging students to reach and take a risk.

Ms. Roy presented an update on preparations for the MCAS 2.0 Assessment, a complex task with so much information and planning that involves the Curriculum & Assessment, Principals, Special Education, English Learners, and Superintendent’s Leadership Teams, updating parents and School Committee in the simplest way possible.

Ms. DiTullio spoke about the MCAS preparation course materials developed for the elementary school levels for ELA and Math, resources and lessons presented to support school-based MCAS planning teams. Site-based planning teams first met in November and the request for common materials came from these teams. At the middle school level, Integrated Learning Teams are identifying individual student needs for skills for success. Exploring Keyboarding Without Tears as a curriculum purchase moving forward, most schools are utilizing online programs and prioritizing Grades 4 and 8 time in the computer lab. The IT department is assisting with pre-administration tasks, schedule for computer-based testing at each school supported by IT staff, and assessing equipment needs.

MCAS 2.0 is intended to better measure the critical thinking skills students need for success in the 21st century. The new test will be built upon the best aspects of MCAS but also include the innovative items developed by PARCC along with new items specifically created to assess the Massachusetts learning standards. The transition to online assessment begins with Grades 4 and 8 in 2017; Grades 4, 5, 7, and 8 in 2018; and Grades 3-8 and 10 in 2019. Some school districts are transitioning more or all grades to online testing this year. For ELA, writing is embedded at all grades, there will no longer be a long composition assessment at Grades 4 and 8. All the assessments are untimed this year, blank scratch paper can be utilized, and students are allowed to ask for computer-based support during exam.

Ms. Roy shared examples of Accessibility and Accommodations, some that were previously for Special Education are now available for all students, such as changing the background and font color, screen magnification and zoom tools, line reader and answer eliminator. Students with disabilities and EL students have additional accommodations available. Site-based planning teams are continuing to integrate new information into their preparations for MCAS 2.0. Mr. Segalla updated on the Technology purchased through the Capital Plan funding. New classroom and computer labs have all been completed by the end of this week; mobile technology labs will arrive the week of February 17; and Eno board installation will be done during February vacation.

Mrs. Lebo asked if the Chromebooks will each have a mouse and Mr. Segalla confirmed they will. Mrs. Lebo asked for more information about the binder resources, Ms. DiTullio said these resources will be used for the before and after school programs. Invitations have been extended to students and additional students may opt to participate. Mrs. Lebo is concerned that students who may need the support do not have access. Ms. Roy said the materials can be used in classrooms as well. Mrs. Lebo said we have really done as much as we can to prepare our students.

Dr. DeCristofaro said that many Principals are hosting MCAS 2.0 orientation as part of upcoming PTO meetings.

Ms. Isola said it was comforting during the School Committee STEM presentation when Ms. Jorgensen said students aren’t as worried as adults.

Ms. Isola said we need to keep this need on the radar screen as we go into budget season. Ms. Roy said internal surveys developed by middle school teachers are assisting in determining technology needs.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:00 pm. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.