March 27, 2019 Joint Teaching/Special Ed. Sub Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Joint Teaching & Learning and Special Education Subcommittee Meeting

Mr. Anthony Andronico, Special Education Chair
Mrs. Emily Lebo, Teaching & Learning Chair

Mr. James DeAmicis & Mrs. Emily Lebo, Special Education Members
Mr. Doug Gutro & Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Teaching & Learning Members

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 6:00 pm
Coddington Building

  • Co-Teaching Initiative Update - Ms. Anderson, Ms. Quinn, Ms. Vokey

    • Co-Teaching Professional Development Update

    • Coaching and Co-Teaching Model within Math Classrooms

  • History, Social Science Timeline Update - Ms. Perkins, Ms. Roy

  • Special Education Rights & Responsibilities - Ms. Perkins

  • QPAC Update - Ms. Beck


Quincy School Committee
Joint Teaching & Learning and Special Education Subcommittees Meeting -March 27, 2019

A joint meeting of the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee was held on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 6:00 pm in the Coddington Building. Present were Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mr. Anthony Andronico, Special Education Chair and Mrs. Emily Lebo, Teaching & Learning Chair. Also attending were Superintendent Richard DeCristofaro, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Ms. Sarah Anderson, Ms. Catherine Carey, Ms. Donna Cunningham, Ms. Julie Graham, Dr. Beth Hallett, Mr. Richard Kelley, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Erin Perkins, Ms. Kimberley Quinn, Ms. Madeline Roy, Ms. Bridget Vaughan; Quincy Education Association President Allison Cox; Quincy Parent Advisory Council to Special Education President Cassandra Beck; Citywide Parent Council Co-President Courtney Perdios; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Special Education Coordinator Sarah Anderson reviewed the Co-Teaching Initiative for Middle and High School where general and Special Education teachers collaborate and co-teach an integrated class. There are currently 29 middle school classes, split between ELA and Mathematics and 15 High School classes, split between English, Math, and Science. Targeted professional development for these teachers and school administrators was completed in the fall; a survey was completed to solicit input on future professional development topics. Many teachers expressed an interest in the opportunity to observe in co-taught classrooms, planning is underway to facilitate this. The May 14 Professional Development will focus on best practices and effective strategies for successful co-teaching and the Google Classroom site is up to share materials. There will also be summer Professional Development opportunities for co-teaching available.

Mrs. Lebo asked how the co-teaching teams were established, some were voluntary, others are schedule-driven. Ms. Anderson confirmed that each middle and high school have classes in each of the topics. Mrs. Lebo asked about Educator Evaluation and the principals and program administrators collaborate on evaluations.

Curriculum Team Administrator Kimberley Quinn and Molly Vokey from Looney Math Consulting presented on the Middle School Math Coaching & Co-Teaching Initiative. Over the last three years, teachers have been learning about Mindset, Discourse, and Rigor through thoughtful lesson planning and reflective teaching. At each of the middle schools, four Mathematics general and special education teachers have been part of the coaching and co-teaching initiative this year.

Ms. Vokey reviewed the Growth Mindset in the classroom, developing the confidence that skills and intelligence can be grown and developed, that effort is an important part of learning, that mistakes are a learning opportunity, and the value of persevering and working through complicated challenges. Teachers learn to emphasize positive perspective and provide more opportunities for student dialogue and differentiation. The impact on math teaching practice allows for meeting the needs of all students while incorporating rigorous tasks. Next steps include designing a new structure that allows planning to occur the week before the co-teaching lesson; supporting and encouraging the shift to a growth mindset philosophy among teachers and students. Ultimately, the math and special education teachers are incorporating these practices into their daily and weekly lessons.

Senior Curriculum Director Madeline Roy and Special Education Director Erin Perkins presented an update on the new Massachusetts Standards for History and Social Science Practice for Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12. In June 2018, the standards were adopted by DESE and the full implementation is planned for September 2019. History, Geography, Civics, and Economics are the four core areas. A variety of topics are included such as state and local history and politics, anthropology, art and science advances. Standards for Personal Financial Literacy and News Media Literacy are new for this release. High School staff are proposing an American Studies course incorporating US History and American Literature for Grade 11. Grades 9 and 10 Social Studies teachers are incorporating reading and writing of primary and secondary sources as part of preparation for MCAS. There is a significant increase in emphasis on the history of Economics in these standards. At Grade 8, the course and student learning outcomes will be refocused. In Grades 6 and 7, Geography and Ancient Civilizations will be integrated to create a new two-year course, with emphasis on map skills and economics.

There are seven practices that encompass the processes of inquiry and research that are integral to rich and robust social science curriculum and the foundation for active and responsible citizenship. (1) Demonstrate civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions; (2) develop focused questions or problem statements and conduct inquiries; (3) organize information and data from multiple primary and secondary sources; (4) analyze the purpose and point of view of each source and distinguish opinion from fact; (5) evaluate the credibility, accuracy, and relevance of each source; (6) argue or explain conclusions, using valid reasoning and evidence; and (7) determine next steps and take informed action, as appropriate.

At the elementary level, new materials that are aligned to both the English Language Arts and the History and Social Sciences frameworks. As with the middle and high school levels, there is an emphasis on reading and writing about non-fiction topics. At all elementary grades, there is more emphasis on geography and economics along with the standard concepts of local and state history. Creating new curriculum maps and adapting pacing guides, plus creating new materials is underway and will continue throughout the spring in summer.

Mrs. Hubley asked about a Social Studies MCAS; DESE has not confirmed a date, but it is at least three years out. Ms. Roy said that adapting to these standards without an assessment right now has made things easier.

Mr. Andronico noted that Quincy has long offered the high school electives recommended by the new standards, including the Advanced Placement US Government &Politics course at both high schools.

Mr. Andronico asked about Native American history and whether there is more emphasis in the new standards, particularly at high school level. Ms. Perkins said there will continue to be coverage in Grades 3 and 4. Dr. Hallett said that in the current high school US History 1 and 2 courses, there is not a strong presence but the new standards are an opportunity for expansion. Mr. Andronico asked about the Elementary Digital Literacy teachers and Ms. Perkins said they are going through a rotation with Social Studies teachers.

Mrs. Lebo is looking forward to see the revised POS for the high school courses and asked about whether new curriculum materials will be needed. Ms. Roy said the immediate needs can be accommodated through this year’s Text & Learning budget. Additional Ancient Civilization materials may be needed for Grade 6. Mrs. Lebo said that this is a huge shift and impact and would like to see more specific presentation for high school next year.

Director of Special Education Erin Perkins and the Special Education Team Administrators Catherine Carey, Donna Cunningham, Julie Graham, and Richard Kelley shared the annual Special Education Rights & Responsibilities presentation, the goal being so that educators will understand their role regarding special education; to enhance collaboration between family and school personnel; and so that parents and school personnel will participate in special education matters as knowledgeable partners. The Quincy Public Schools Special Education Department operates under the federal Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Massachusetts Special Education Law administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Students are eligible for Special Education if all three of the following are true: (1) the student has one or more disabilities; (2) the student is not making effective progress in school as a result of their disability or disabilities; and (3) the student requires specialized instruction in order to make effective progress. There are 12 different types of disabilities defined by state and federal regulations: Autism, developmental delay, intellectual impairment, sensory impairment/hearing; sensory impairment/vision loss; sensory impairment/deafness and blindness; neurological impairment; emotional impairment; communication impairment; physical impairment; health impairment; a specific learning disability; or any combination of the above.

Special Education is specially-designed instruction to meet the unique needs of an eligible student and/or related services necessary to access and make progress in the general curriculum. The timeline for entry into Special Education is up to 45 school working days, beginning with the parents’ consent to evaluate, followed by evaluation and a team meeting to determine eligibility. A proposed IEP is then generated and /or placement recommendation. Services begin upon parental consent.

There are six principles of Special Education: (1) parent and student participation – it is the obligation of the school district to make strong efforts, in multiple ways, to ensure parental and student participation; (2) Free and appropriate public education; (3) Appropriate evaluation and three-year re-evaluation; (4) Individualized Education Program (IEP) which contains written information on the parents’ concerns and the students skills, a written explanation of how the disability affects the student’s ability to learn and to demonstrate his or her learning; an identification of specific, measurable goals which can be reached in a year’s time; and a listing of the services to be provided to the student. (5) Least Restrictive Environment – to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities have the right to be educated in the general education environment and in the classroom they would have attended if they did not have disabilities. Removal from the general education program occurs only if the nature or severity is such that education in general education classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be satisfactorily achieved. (6) Procedural Safeguards include right to written notice; right to consent/refuse; right to “stay put”; problem resolution system; mediation and due process; timelines; confidential records; right to receive any evaluations 2 days in advance of Team meeting, if requested.

Mr. Bregoli asked about the procedural safeguard when parents disagree with the Special Education team recommendations. Ms. Graham said an outside evaluation is now sought.

Mrs. Lebo asked about monitoring students who have come off IEPs. Ms. Perkins said the majority of those students remain on a 504 as they have necessary accommodations within the classroom. Mrs. Lebo noted that the new legislation around dyslexia may not have an impact as we are doing many of the suggestions.

Mrs. Lebo asked if any of the parents present have questions. A parent asked how students are screened for dyslexia. Ms. Perkins said that the DIBELS and the DRA are screening tools; literacy services would be implemented and if student does not make progress, the CTOP would be used to assist in determining further needs.

Mrs. Lebo asked about if there is any progress on adding dyslexia as its own category, Ms. Perkins said she hasn’t heard of anything about this yet.

Ms. Beck suggested a clarification of Principle 6, the right to consent or refuse; there is also the right to partially accept or refuse. Ms. Perkins said that rejecting a section does not delay the implementation of the remainder of the IEP services. Ms. Perkins said that the Special Education progress report should be shared at the same time as the school’s report cards.

Mr. Bregoli noted that if the goals a not being met, the Special Education team should be reconvened to revise the goals if necessary.

A parent asked if anti-bias will be part of the Civics curriculum. Ms. Perkins said the standards have an emphasis on equality and respecting diversity from the earliest levels. Another parent asked for opportunities for parent involvement/collaboration in anti-bias and anti-bullying. Mrs. Lebo said this seems like a topic for a Parent Academy.

Ms. Beck announced that QPAC will host a Sensory Night on May 17 at 6:00 pm at Quincy High School.

For next year, QPAC would like to collaborate on making the Special Education section of the website more user-friendly. Ms. Beck has found that Special Education parents don’t want group meetings, want one-on-one collaboration. The Special Education team has been great about resolving issues as they arise.

Mrs. Hubley suggested that high school students can assist with the Sensory Night for Community Service hours and Ms. Perkins will follow up with that.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to adjourn the Joint Teaching & Learning and Special Education Subcommittees meeting at 7:45 pm.