Dec. 10, 2008 School Committee Meeting


Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee
December 10, 2008

7:00 p.m.
City Council Chambers

I. Approval of Minutes: Regular Session Minutes for November 12, 2008.

II. Superintendent’s Report:

A. “Tis the Season, Symphony and Song

B. Middle School – First Lego League Qualifier Event

C. Refreshed Statement of Interest Form (Sterling Middle School)

D. Drop Out Data 2007-2008

E. Channel 22

III. Open Forum: An opportunity for community input regarding the Quincy Public Schools. After giving his or her name and address, each speaker may make a presentation of no more than four minutes to the School Committee.

IV. Old Business

A. Update on building projects, renovations, and construction: Mr. Murphy to report.

B. Update on the New Quincy High School:

C. Update on Central: Mrs. Bragg and Mrs. Mahoney to report.

V.  New Business:

A. Assessment Information – English Language Learners: Dr. Pattavina to report.

B. Gifts: Approval for a gift of $2,000 donated by the Masons Rural Lodge A.F. & A.M. to benefit Quincy Public Schools Families in need. See Attachment A.

C. Gifts: Approval for a gift of $376.72 donated by the Margaritas Restaurant/Riverway Restaurant Group, Inc. to benefit the CASASTART Program of Quincy Public Schools. See Attachment B.

D Out of State Travel: Quincy High School to New York City. See Attachment C.

E. Appointment of School Nurse: See Attachment D.

VI. Additional Business:

VII. Communications:

VIII. Hearings: - none

IX. Reports of Special Committees:

A. Policy Subcommittee: Mrs. Bragg to report.

B. Health, Safety & Security Subcommittee: Mr. Puleo to report

X Executive Session:

XI. Adjournment:

Subcommittees of the School Committee

Subcommittee Date Referred Business Pending
Budget & Finance
Mariano/Bragg/McCarthy 4/11/2007 HS Health Curriculum
  3/29/2008 Bus Rental Fees
  3/29/2008 Building Rental Fees
  9/10/2008 Revolving Funds 5-yrs. History
School Facilities Management    
Dwyer/Mahoney/Mariano Major Building Projects  
  3/4/98 QHS/Central/Sterling Building Plans
  10/20/2004 ADA Report
  9/7/2005 Alternative Plans for Central Middle School
  2/8/2006 Conservation
  4/9/2008 11.6 School Facility Policy
  4/9/2008 Track
  9/10/2008 NQHS gym floor named
Health, Safety & Security    
Puleo/Mahoney/McCarthy 10/18/2006 NQHS Traffic & Drop off
  4/11/2007 HS Health Curriculum
  3/26/2008 Increase School Breakfast Participation
  5/21/2008 Lockdown Policy
School Policy    
Bragg/Dwyer/McCarthy 1/10/2001 Policy Manual
  2/6/2008 Voting Places
  3/12/2008 Teacher Evaluations
  6/18/2008 Homeless Policy
  9/10/2008 Grade Configurations
  9/24/2008 Warrants
  9/24/2008 Quill Program
  11/12/2008 Title I Supplement Policy
Special Education    
Mahoney/McCarthy/Mariano 1/17/2007 Emergency Information Form
  1/17/2007 Substitute Teachers for SPED
  3/21/2007 Implementation of IEPs
  9/24/2008 INSPIRE Initiative
Rules, Post Audit & Oversight    
Dwyer/Puleo/Bragg 10/29/2008 Faxon Field
Channel 22    
Mahoney/McCarthy 10/17/2007 Encourage greater use of



Quincy, Massachusetts - December 10, 2008
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, December 10, 2008 in the City Council Chambers. Present were Mr. Ron Mariano, Mrs. Jo-Ann Bragg, Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mrs. Elaine Dwyer, Mr. Nicholas Puleo, and Mayor Tom Koch, Chairman.

Chairman Presiding

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The Superintendent called the roll and Mr. McCarthy was absent. Present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary, Mrs. Tefta Burrelli, Clerk. Messrs. O’Brien, Mullaney, Draicchio, Keith Segalla, Ms. Roberts, Dr. Sylvia Pattavina. Ms. Tracey Christello, Citywide, and Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA. The Committee observed a moment of silence for Helen Murphy, Warren Houghton, Frank Mullen, George Page, and Millie Cusser.

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Reg. Mins.Approved 11/13/2008

On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mrs. Dwyer, the Committee approved the regular session minutes for November 13, 2008. The ayes have it.

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Supt’s Report

Superintendent DeCristofaro thanked administrators, high school principals, coaches, players, Jim Rendle, and over 3,000 fans that came to the Thanksgiving Day football game. He thanked the band members, Rich Kenneally and Tracey O’Sullivan, for the music. Thanks also went to Andy Bell and his students for the float in Quincy’s Christmas parade.

Staff & Student Recognition

The Superintendent recognized Ms. Tracey O’Sullivan, the combined high school chorus, for Tis the Season… held at the Marriot. He thanked Harvard Pilgrim for giving 60+ tickets to students for the performance. The Committee recognized Amanda Lee who played the violin. Thanks went to Keith Segalla and Janice Erler for coordinating the concert.


Mr. Keith Segalla introduced Jane Bowe, Central’s Technical Ed teacher, and members from Team Hyper, the middle school robotics team. In all, Central had 56 students participating. A competition was held on December 6 at North Quincy High School. Over 40 teams participated. All of the Quincy’s middle schools took part and will participate in the state finals.

Quincy’s bus drivers, had their Professional Development class from the Registry of Motor Vehicles which was well received by the bus drivers. It stressed driver safety education.

Drop Out Figures

The Committee received the 2007-2008 Preliminary Student Drop out figures for their review. Mrs. Janet Powell, Student Support Services, and her team will take a look at every student and the Superintendent will share with the Committee some of the details.

Mr. Puleo asked if we have data as to why the drop out rates have picked up. The Superintendent answered there are a lot of different elements. Mrs. Powell and her staff will study that and then come back and share the details with the Committee.

Channel 22

Improvements have been made in Channel 22. Principals have been asked to consistently give Brian Smith any information from their PTOs, their councils, anything they are doing in their schools. We have enhanced the amount of community access to Channel 22.

Sterling Middle School

The Refreshed Statement of Interest for Sterling was submitted to the MSBA to make sure we are in the queue for further funding for renovation at Sterling Middle School. The refreshing piece focused on how the building deficits affect the education.

The Superintendent reminded everyone about the students’ concerts and invited them to attend any of them.

The members received poinsettias from the leadership team for a Happy Holiday. Mayor Koch congratulated all the volunteers and everyone for a terrific job at the holiday concert Tis the Season…...

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Open Forum

At the Open Forum, Mr. Chris Chapman said he had attended the Mayor’s press conference and the proposed savings of $45 a year on the tax rate is not enough to justify the loss of school services. The teachers contract was changed and $300 to all employees. This will add $700,000 to the school budget. A lot of money will be taken out of the school budget and it is not worth a savings of $45.

Paul Phillips, QEA President, handed out an article from Education Week to the members regarding Ed Reform efforts and MCAS.

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New QHS Update by Mrs. Dwyer

At this time, Mrs. Dwyer introduced Jim Driscoll and Mr. Kincade (Gilbane) Eugene Caruso, Ed Frenette, (SMMA) and Principal, Frank Santoro. On February 23 students will enter into a new Quincy High School science technology academy. They gave an update on the moving process, furniture, and technology equipment budget.

Jim Driscoll - The new Quincy High is on schedule. There was an issue yesterday, however, while planting trees, a worker broke a gas line. The high school had to be evacuated. Now, before anyone puts a shovel in the ground, they need to check with the project managers. Mr. Santoro narrated slides of the classrooms, the cafeteria, the restaurant, and labs. Mr. Puleo suggested putting a sign in the area noting the gas line so that people know where it is.

Eugene Caruso - We are in the process of moving into the new site. The shops have all been relocated out of the fourth floor. He commended the Maintenance staff for their work. The vocational equipment will be transferred into the new building around January 12. New vocational equipment is scheduled to be delivered from January to early February. Furniture will be relocated into the gym during the February break.

Ed Frenette - The new furniture was bid at in one lump sum for phase delivery. The rest of the furniture will be coming in over two years. Shop equipment was bid in phase delivery. Computer equipment, smart boards will be bid twice. We are on budget, on schedule, and deliveries are being coordinated. Some of the other schools that are in need of furniture will get some of the older furniture

Mr. Puleo inquired about the Smart Boards as sometimes they go unused because people don’t understand how to use them. Mr. Santoro reported that all staff will be trained on January 13 and every classroom will have a smart board (Inter Write),

The new building will open first and then two weeks later, Mr. Santoro is planning fly-up dates. He will hold fly-ups in the day time for students and night time for parents.

Mrs. Mahoney inquired as to how long to take down the old CTE building. Mr. Driscoll answered 4-6 weeks for asbestos removal. At the end of April, the building will come done and 90% of the building will be recycled. They don’t anticipate any problems.

Mrs. Bragg requested that the plaque for Dr. Carol Lee Griffin be kept in storage and the Tot Playground equipment in safe keeping. Mr. Santoro said they have preserved all the plaques and the tot playground has been dismantled.

Mrs. Bragg received a letter from Kevin Madden about a council hearing on December 5 regarding the responsible employee ordinance. There is supposed to be a written report to the City Council and she asked that it is submitted to the School Committee members.

Mrs. Dwyer complimented the work of SMMA, Gilbane, and Tishman. She is very proud of the staff at the high school. Also, Maintenance, our custodians and Lou Ioanilli who has coordinated the entire move.

The Superintendent thanked Mrs. Dwyer for her leadership and her persistance and the QHS Building Committee. Thanks also went to Gary Cunniff.

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Bldg. Update

Mr. Kevin Murphy reported that the Atherton Hough PA system is now working. Atlantic is next. The Squantum generator has been wired and tested. The North Quincy High School Carpentry Shop is working. Electrical wiring at the new Maintenance Shop is almost complete. The North Quincy atrium glass has been repaired. The exterior lights at North Quincy should be installed by National Grid tomorrow. The first phase out of the CTE building into Sterling has been completed.

Mr. Puleo asked about the temperature concerns at Wollaston. Parents complained a thermometer was reading 90° during the day. Mr. Murphy said they are working with Honeywell on this problem to iron out the kinks. Mr. Puleo wanted to know if this was a mechanical issue or a training issue.

Mr. Cunniff said Honeywell is looking at it on several levels --both the dollar figure, energy use and cost. They have presented a range of $600,000 in savings from July 2007 through September 2008. They can show usage. It is a performance base contract. They will tell us if they are doing a good job.

Mr. Puleo asked if there is a projected break even point where our savings on the utilities is equal to what we paid for the system. Mr. Cunniff said yes, but it is a number of years down the road.

Mrs. Mahoney thanked Mr. Murphy for the hinges. The sink in the photo lab at North Quincy is back ordered. He is hoping to get to it next week. He has to get a permit from the Fire Department. Mrs. Mahoney asked him to notify her when it is fixed.

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Central Update by Mrs. Bragg

Mrs. Bragg reported that the Project Manager position for the new Central has been advertised. There should be one on board by March.

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ELL Assessments

Dr. Pattavina gave a brief report on Quincy’s assessment information for ELL students. It was administered in grades K-12. These tests determine fluency achievements for students. There were 855 students who participated in the testing. Seventy-four percent of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students in Grades K-12 showed progress on the Mass English Proficiency Assessment (MEPAS) and or IDEA Proficiency Test (IPT) from 2007-2008. There were a total of 558 students. Fifty-nine percent of Grade 3-12 LEP students scored at the Transitioning performance level on the spring 2008 MEPA or Grade K-2 students who scored Step 4 or 5 on three of the four assessments in MELA-O Speaking, MELA-0 Listening, IPT Writing and IPT Reading. For overall K-12 attainment, Quincy’s performance was 59%. 741 students participated in that measure. We did not achieve the AMAO objective for English but for we did for Math. This is a big accomplishment as they are English language learners so it is very hard measure for them to achieve.

Quincy has trained over 300 teachers in oral language acquisition culture, curriculum, assessment of ELL, and teaching of reading and writing to ELL students.

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Gift - Families In Need

On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mr. Mariano, the Committee accepted a gift of $2,000 donated by the Masons Rural Lodge A.F. & A.M. to benefit Quincy Public School’s families in need. The ayes have it.

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On a motion by Mr. Puleo, seconded by Mrs. Mahoney, the Committee approved a gift of $376.72 donated by the Margaritas Restaurant/Riverway Restaurant Group, Inc. to benefit the CASASTART Program of Quincy Public Schools. The ayes have it.

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Trip to NY for QHS students

On a motion by Mrs. Dwyer, seconded by Mrs. Bragg, the Committee approved a trip to New York City for Quincy High School students on January 16, 2009 to January 19, 2009. The ayes have it.

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Appointments/Nurse Approved Laura A. Sullivan

On a motion by Mrs. Dwyer, seconded by Mr. Puleo, the Committee approved Laura A. Sullivan, R.N. as a part-time (.4) school nurse in the Quincy Public Schools. On a roll call vote, the motion passed 6-0. Mr. McCarthy was absent.

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Additional Business

Mr. Puleo received concerns about teacher absences. Some teachers are out one or two weeks. Parents would like to be informed when they are going to be out. He would like to look at policy about short and long term absences. The Superintendent said teachers have privacy issues. For any extended period of illness, most principals will share that information to the parents to the extent that they can. Mr. Puleo asked if we could tell parents when a teacher is coming back, not why the teacher is out. The Superintendent will speak to the principals and share the concern that there should be some guidelines.

Mrs. Bragg noted the Quincy Teen Mothers Annual Report. This is their 30th Anniversary. She also noted that Pam Mateu and Isabel Ventre are retiring.

Mr. Puleo made note of the Quincy Music Notes the Committee received- a very successful newsletter about concerts, schedules, and big events.

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Policy Subcommittee Report by Mrs. Bragg

Mrs. Bragg reported that the Policy Subcommittee met on November 18 2008 and reviewed the Atherton Hough and Wollaston, School Improvement Plans. On a roll call vote, the Committee approved the Atherton Hough and Wollaston School Improvement Plans. The ayes have it.

The Subcommittee worked on Policies 10.5.4, 10.5.5, 10.7, 10.7.1, and 10.8.7. The revised policies will come up for final approval. We are now half way through the last section for approval of the entire manual. The Subcommittee also discussed the business warrants. Along with information Jim Timmins sent on the procedure for weekly warrants and the law, they decided to make it more in line with what is done with the payroll. They authorized the Superintendent and Business Manager to draft a policy covering a single warrant system and come back to the Committee for approval. They feel strongly that there should be four signatures, but the recommendation is that the School Business Manager, one School Committee member, the Mayor, and the City Auditor will sign.

Mrs. Bragg made a motion, seconded by Mr. Mariano, to approve the minutes. The ayes have it.

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Health, Safety & Security Subcommittee Report by Mr. Puleo

Mr. Puleo reported that the Health, Safety & Security Subcommittee met this evening to discuss the lockdown policy. There was an incident where police action occurred in the area of one of our elementary schools when students were coming out. There was some conversation as how the lockdown policy works when students are getting out. We have a policy for when a lockdown is necessary at the close of school. It will work similarly to a reverse lockdown. A horn will sound and we will retake attendance to make sure all students are there to avoid confusion. Mr. Puleo took this out of Committee

The second item discussed was the daily tasks for security guards at the high schools. Mr. Draicchio reported that the security guards take their directions from their principal. There are issues that happen on a daily basis, but every day is different.

Traffic Safety. While the School Committee does not fund or control traffic signage, it is our responsibility to tell city hall where are concerns are. North Quincy High has a continuous problem. We have had a great deal more help with police presence. There are complaints from Atlantic and Wollaston regarding traffic safety. Mr. Draicchio has done a wonderful job in a short period of time assessing where all of our school related traffic issues are and designing safety issues into our School Improvement Plans. Mr. Puleo made a motion to forward a list from Mr. Draicchio to the Traffic Department and City Council. All our elected officials will know what our traffic issues are. Mr. Puleo kept North Quincy traffic in Subcommittee but change the name to School Zone, Traffic Safety Concerns.

On a motion by Mr. Puleo, seconded by Mrs. Dwyer, the Committee accepted the report in totality. The ayes have it.

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Budget Subcommittee Report by Mr. Mariano

Mr. Mariano reported that the Budget Subcommittee met earlier this evening. After much discussion a motion was passed 4-2 to work with the Superintendent and his team to prepare some alternatives that would cut as much as $150,000 in this year’s school budget. He hoped the City Council understood that this process was done before in the spring and was very difficult. There is still discussion of potential cuts from the State budget this fiscal year. It is possible that Chapter 70 and local aide could be cut further. On a motion by Mr. Mariano, seconded by Mrs. Bragg, the Committee accepted the report.

Mr. Puleo added that the state had to lay off 1,000 employees. He thought we should wait until the Chapter 70 information comes out. He thought we should look at deeper cuts and that means the school system will get more cuts than what was discussed tonight. It is his feeling that more relief is needed for the taxpayers.

Mrs. Mahoney added she had issues with coming up with a number before looking at what we can cut out of the budget. The subcommittee met and in 15 minutes they had to come up with a figure.

M. Mariano made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Bragg, that the School Committee work with the Superintendent towards a goal of cutting $150,000. On a roll call vote, the motion passed 4-2. MRS. DWYER and MRS. MAHONEY voted NO. Mr. McCarthy was absent.

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The Committee noted the following retirements:

Asst. Principal: Pamaela Mateu

Homeless Coordinator: Isabel Ventre


The Committee noted the following resignations:

Mechanic & Bus Driver: Peter Brown

Paraprofessional: Julianne Fonseca

Leaves of Absence

The Committee noted the following leave of absence:

Teacher: Kathryn Burns


The Committee noted the following appointments:

Teachers: Charles O’Brien,  Elise Higgins Steele, Leslie Wagner

Paraprofessionals: Jeanne Carnell, Andrea Glasheen

Master Electrician: Edward Davis

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Policy Subcommittee

Mrs. Bragg took the Homeless Policy out of the Policy Subcommittee.

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On a motion made by Mrs. Mahoney, seconded by Mr. Puleo, the Committee adjourned for the evening at 9:10 p.m. There was no executive session.