Nov. 7, 2012 School Committee Meeting


Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
City Council Chambers, Quincy City Hall
7:00 p.m.

I. Approval of Minutes: Regular Session Minutes for October 24, 2012

II. 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. An individual may not exchange their time or yield to others.

III. Superintendent’s Report:

A. Student Recognition: Amelia Wool, Quincy High School

B. American Education Week Celebration, December 12

C. Fall Gathering, November 14 and “Tis the Season, Symphony and Song, December 4

D. Student Support Services: Rachel’s Challenge Presentations

E. Appointment of North Quincy High School Principal

IV. Old Business:

V. New Business:

A. Education Technology Team Update and Technology Planning for the New Central Middle School - Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Nicholas Ahearn, Mrs. Jennifer Fay-Beers, Ms. Maureen MacNeil, Mr. Robert Shaw, Mr. Stephen Sylvia

B. Out of State Travel: Sterling Middle School Grade 6 to Providence College, Providence Rhode Island, November 28, 2012.

VI. Additional Business:

VII. Communications:

VIII. Reports of Subcommittees:

  1. Teaching and Learning Subcommittee: Mrs. Lebo to report on the October 29, 2012 and November 5, 2012 meetings.

  2. Health, Transportation, and Safety Subcommittee: Mrs. Hubley to report on the November 6, 2012 meeting.  

IX. Executive Session:

X. Adjournment:

Subcommittees of the School Committee

Subcommittee Items

Budget & Finance

School Facilities & Security

  1. Sterling Building Plans Referred to Subcommittee by the School Building Task Force in 1998.

  2. Coddington Hall  Referred to Subcommittee at the May 18, 2011 School Committee Meeting. The City of Quincy has appropriated funds to refurbish Coddington Hall to serve as the Quincy Public Schools administrative offices. Wessling Architects has completed the design phase of the project and construction bids are scheduled to go out in early October. All bids being in order, construction should begin in January 2013.

  3. Houses on Saville Avenue Referred to Subcommittee at the May 18, 2011 School Committee Meeting. Currently home to the School Maintenance and Public Building departments, the School Committee and Superintendent see no future educational uses for these properties.

  4. Outside Lighting Audit Referred to Subcommittee at the February 8, 2012 School Committee Meeting. To address safety concerns, an audit was requested to look for lights that need repair or replacement and locations that would benefit from additional lighting.

  5. President's City Inn Referred to Subcommittee at the October 10, 2012 School Committee Meeting. Safety concerns have been expressed about this property that abuts the new Central Middle School.

Health, Transportation & Safety

  1. School Meal Charges Referred to Subcommittee at the March 21, 2012 School Committee Meeting. New state and federal regulations require formalization of the school meal charges policy.

  2. School Wellness Policy Referred to Subcommittee at the March 21, 2012 School Committee Meeting. New state and federal guidelines will require revision of the existing Wellness Policy.

  3. Science Lab Safety: Referred from the Teaching and Learning Subcommittee at the April 2, 2012 meeting. High School Science labs have been reviewed and needed updates for compliance completed; Middle School Science labs still to be evaluated.

  4. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Referred to Subcommittee at the September 24, 2012 Special School Committee Meeting. Student Support Services working with Lincoln Hancock, Clifford Marshall, and Parker Elementary Schools on piloting this initiative.

School Policy

  1. Graduation Requirements Referred to Subcommittee at the September 7, 2011 School Committee Meeting and discussed at the October 11, 2011 School Policy Subcommittee. The discussion centered around adding a fourth year of Math as a graduation requirement and all agreed to table the issue until more is known about the impact of the new Common Core Standards on the Massachusetts frameworks.

  2. New Educator Evaluations Referred at the September 7, 2011 School Committee Meeting and shared with the Teaching and Learning Subcommittee. Further discussion will be held in joint Subcommittee Meetings and Executive Session as it pertains to collective bargaining.

  3. High School Community Service Referred to Subcommittee at the December 14, 2011 School Committee Meeting. A resolution was introduced proposing a Community Service requirement; pilot program for Grades 10 and 11 is underway for 2012-2013 school year.

  4. Conflict of Interest: Volunteering, Tutoring, Hiring Referred to Subcommittee at the January 11, 2012 School Committee Meeting. Review and discussion of existing policy requested.

  5. Adding CPR as a Graduation Requirement Referred to Subcommittee at the March 21, 2012 School Committee Meeting. Review and discussion of existing policy requested.

  6. Exempting Student Athletes from Physical Education Requirement Referred at the May 2, 2012 School Committee Meeting. Student athletes who compete in three seasons of athletics with parent permission and maintenance of academic eligibility, would not be required to take Physical Education classes. Review and discussion of existing policy requested.

  7. Adopt a Project Referred at the May 2, 2012 School Committee Meeting. Maintenance department requested a review of the policy and process for project approval.

  8. Advertising/Sponsorship Opportunities Referred at the June 13, 2012 School Committee Meeting. Review and discussion of amending the existing policy requested to explore the possibility of raising revenue by accepting advertising sponsorships.

Special Education

  1. Substitute Teachers for SPED Originally referred to Subcommittee at the January 17, 2007 School Committee Meeting. At the Special School Committee Meeting on January 28, 2012 and the Special Education Subcommittee meeting on February 1, 2012, it was agreed that some progress has been made in the way that substitute teachers are informed and educated about accommodations for special needs issues. A form has been developed for classroom teachers to share information and the goal for implementation is the 2012-2013 school year.

  2. Special Education Program Assessment Referred to Subcommittee at the January 28, 2012 Special School Committee Meeting. This will be an ongoing discussion of the curriculum initiatives for Special Education.

Rules, Post Audit & Oversight

Teaching and Learning 

New Educator Evaluations Referred at the September 7, 2011 School Committee Meeting and shared with the School Policy Subcommittee. Two meetings have already been held to begin exploring the requirements of the new regulations (9/21/11 Ad Hoc Subcommittee meeting and February 13, 2012 Teaching and Learning Subcommittee meeting) and further discussion will be held in joint Subcommittee meetings and Executive Session as it pertains to collective bargaining. 

Ad Hoc Committees:

Channel 22

Created at the October 27, 2007 School Committee meeting to encourage the greater use of Channel 22 across Quincy Public Schools.

Central Building Committee

Athletic Rules

Created at the October 24, 2012 School Committee meeting to continue discussion on Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules.


Quincy, Massachusetts - November 7, 2012
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 in the City Council Chambers at City Hall. Present were Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mayor Thomas Koch, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mr. David McCarthy, and Ms. Barbara Isola, Vice Chair.

Vice-Chair Presiding

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There was a moment of silence for Mr. Al Collins, an employee of the Quincy Public Schools Maintenance staff for over 25 years.

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The Superintendent called the roll and Mr. Bregoli was absent. Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary; Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk; Mr. Ahearn, Mr. Draicchio, Mrs. Fay-Beers, Ms. Horan, Mr. Jorgensen, Ms. Maureen MacNeil, Mr. Mullaney, Mr. Mulvey, Mrs. Papile, Mr. Ranft, Ms. Reardon, Mr. Santoro, Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Shaw, Mr. Sylvia, Ms. Todd; and Mrs. Tracey Christello, Citywide Parents’ Council Representative.

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Regular Meeting Minutes Approved 10/24/12

Mr. McCarthy made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Hubley, to approve the Regular Session minutes for October 24, 2012. On a voice vote, the ayes have it.

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Open Forum

As no one wished to be heard at Open Forum, the School Committee moved to the the next item on the agenda.

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Superintendent’s Report

The Superintendent introduced Quincy High School Principal Frank Santoro for a Student Recognition. Mr. Santoro introduced Quincy High School senior Amelia Wool, who recently received a Peer Leadership award from the Norfolk District Attorney’s office. Ms. Wool is a peer leader, an active member of the National Honors Society, writes for the school newspaper and newsletter, coaches youth soccer, volunteers at the Red Cross, works with the Recreation department, and is part of a group creating a learn to swim program at Sterling and Lincoln-Hancock. Ms. Wool was recognized by the School Committee and received a certificate recognizing her accomplishments signed by Mayor Koch, Vice Chair Ms. Isola, and Superintendent DeCristofaro.

The Superintendent noted upcoming Quincy Public Schools events including American Education Week; the poster and essay contest winners will be celebrated at the December 12, 2012 School Committee Meeting. Through the generosity of the Quincy Rotary and the Rural Lodge of Masons, Grade 7 students from all five middle schools and Quincy High School’s Grade 9 students were able to attend a Rachel’s Challenge presentation. The annual Fall Gathering of Quincy Public School staff will be held on Wednesday, November 14; the event’s attendees donate food items to support four local food pantries. ‘Tis the Season will be held on Tuesday, December 4 at Quincy High School.

Dr. DeCristofaro noted that school newsletters from the Montclair, Parker, Squantum, and Wollaston Elementary Schools were shared with the School Committee and that the Quincy Elks Lodge has once again donated dictionaries to all of the Grade 3 students in the Quincy Public Schools, over 700 students.

As the Fall sports season draws to a close, Dr. DeCristoforo spoke of the Middle School Cross-Country championship that had 250 student participants, many of whom qualified to attend the state championships. The Girls’ Cross-Country City Championship was won by Broad Meadows and the Boys’ Cross-Country City Championship was won by Central. At the high school level, the Quincy High School Boys’ Soccer team, the North Quincy High School Girls’ Soccer team, and the Girls’ Volleyball teams from both high schools participated in the first round of the MIAA tournament.

Dr. DeCristofaro announced that Mr. Rob Shaw has been appointed as Principal of North Quincy High School. Mr. Shaw is a North Quincy High School graduate, and served as teacher, English department head, assistant principal, and acting principal.

Dr. DeCristofaro concluded his report by thanking the School Committee for their active participation in the review process for the School and Program Improvement Plans, noting the many Subcommittee meetings held in the last few weeks where the plans have been presented by school principals and program directors.

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New Business

Education Technology Team Update

The Superintendent introduced Executive Director of Information Technology Keith Segalla who spoke of the district’s Information Technology plan’s benchmarks and stressed the integration of technology with curriculum. Technology tools are used to engage students and enhance student achievement. Education Technology is a collaborative initiative across the community: the City and School Committee funding and direction; the City’s IT support for the website, the new email system, and fiber lines; and Parent-Teacher Organization funding for equipment.

Mr. Segalla then introduced Atlantic Middle School Principal Maureen MacNeil, who thanked the Mayor and School Committee for the recent funding through Comcast for the school’s new computer lab, 13 MimioTeach suites, 13 projectors. These technology upgrades support hands-on learning and make connection to real world experiences for students. Technology alone will never replace a dedicated teacher but teachers and students are excited and utilize these tools in daily practice. She then introduced Atlantic Science teacher Mr. Chris Ranft, but as there were technical difficulties, the School Committee moved to the next item on the agenda while they were being resolved.

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Out-of-State Travel

Mayor Koch made a motion to approve the out of state travel of the Sterling Middle School Grade 6 students to Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island on November 28, 2012, Mr. McCarthy seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

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Additional Business

At the upcoming Massachusetts Association of School Committee Conference, Mrs. Hubley will be representing the Quincy School Committee. At the General Session, there will be resolutions to be voted on by all representatives present:

  1. Establishment of a special commission of the legislature for the study of mandated reports and data submissions for school districts, given that the time deemed necessary for preparing mandated reports and data submissions detracts from the time allotted to running a school district, directly impacting the students.

  2. Modification of the circuit breaker formula; the spiraling tuition costs for special education are adversely affecting school budgets.

  3. Health insurance coverage for medically necessary treatment in school; an increasing number of special education students come to school needing accommodations for physical health-related issues rather than educational deficits or learning disabilities.

  4. Funding for Educator Evaluation System: the establishment of statewide standards for educator evaluation includes extensive and highly specific requirements for school administrators and may require considerable time and cost to implement.

  5. Adequacy study: For several years, proponents of greater financial assistance to school districts have urged that the state authorize a formal study to determine the adequacy of Chapter 70 funding and the fairness of the distribution formula.

  6. Election of Governing Boards of Commonwealth Charter Schools: Not applicable to QPS, as there are no charter schools in district

Mayor Koch and Mrs. Lebo asked for clarification on Resolution 5. Mr. Mullaney said that with the state’s Chapter 70 formula is a complex computation based on land valuations. Quincy receives significantly less than cities and towns with similar school populations, but there are no guarantees how a change to the formula would affect the distribution of funds.

Mr. McCarthy made a motion to approve the Massachusetts Association of School Committee resolutions. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Lebo and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

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New Business (continued)

Education Technology Team Update

Despite continuing technical issues, Mr. Ranft demonstrated the MimioTeach, which can be deployed on any whiteboard or wall; it is portable, and can be shared between classrooms. The MimioTeach comes with software, including a gallery of photos and lessons,for example, images of chemical models embedded in a Periodic Table of Elements. Content for all primary content areas for Grades K-12 is included with the MimioTeach. Teachers can also add their own content, including images. Mrs. Mahoney asked for clarification of whether MimioTeach can be integrated with new technologies and those that can be integrated include iPads and MOBIs.

North Quincy High School Principal Rob Shaw then reviewed the 75 hours of training received by fourteen Quincy Public Schools staff members over the summer; these trainees will then train other staff members. North Quincy High School English Department Chair Mike Jorgensen demonstrated MimioTeach’s interaction with the Microsoft Office Suite (specifically Word and PowerPoint. The system has drag-and-drop capabilities, allowing teachers to manipulate and update existing content. There is an Activity Wizard that allows the teacher to build quizzes. System-wide, teachers are very willing to learn and invest the time to create the student-centered activity; ease of use makes every teacher a specialist in instructional design. Mrs. Lebo asked about correlation to the Common Core Standards; Mr. Jorgensen spoke about the developing online community of lesson sharing and the ability to adapt lessons through the technology.

Clifford Marshall Elementary School Principal Nick Ahearn then gave an overview of the MimioView document camera. He reiterated that educational technology is a collaborative effort with funding from business partners,, and the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization. Ms. Reardon, a Grade 1 teacher at Clifford Marshall, demonstrated a document camera which allows a teacher to project items onto the whiteboard. Uses for the document camera include sharing student work and peer editing. The camera is also useful as a science tool to demonstrate concepts, and can be used with a microscope. Ms. Reardon noted that she also utilizes the camera’s audio feature by having students read aloud to benchmark fluency at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year.

Squantum Elementary School Principal and Education Technology Team Co-Chair Steve Sylvia spoke about the Educational Technology team’s collaboration with the Principal Team, the Curriculum Team, and cited the team’s ambitious goals for 2012-2013, including piloting online curriculum and media center resources, continuing to support existing programs, and revising the acceptable use policy. Squantum Grade 4 Math Teacher Mrs. Horan demonstrated the MOBI View using a page from the Go Math textbook; mobility within the classroom allows for individualized student instruction. The MOBI allows teachers to save annotated lessons, share with students and parents, and share student work across different sections. Thanks to Squantum’s supportive PTO, there are eleven MOBIs in use at the school.

Dr. DeCristofaro complimented Mrs. Horan and all of the presenters on their technical skills; Ms. Isola reiterated the compliments and requested updated information about computer access at home for Quincy Public Schools students. Mrs. Mahoney asked for smartphone access to be included in the survey.

Central Middle School Principal Jennifer Fay-Beers then spoke about the preparation underway for technology in the new Central Middle School. In anticipation of the move next fall, the staff are working together to bring technology into the school this year, sharing knowledge and areas for growth. Five EnoBoards are currently installed at Central; six staff members have been trained and will train other teachers in their curriculum area beginning in January. Every staff member will have the opportunity to practice and present a lesson of their own by the end of the year. In addition, five document cameras and LCD projectors have been purchased. At the new Central, there will be EnoBoards and document cameras in every classroom. A pilot of iPads in the classroom will begin shortly and help determine the ratio of mobile devices to static computer labs. Central’s goal is to share knowledge and discoveries with other schools and reach out to parents through technology training. Central is using the online grade book EnGrade and online scheduling for parent teacher conferences. Technology allows parents to be invisibly supportive at a stage when students want more independence.

Mr. McCarthy noted that the middle schools received a large amount of funding recently and expressed hopes that the elementary schools might be addressed next; he also thanked the PTOs across the school system for their support. Mrs. Lebo asked for an update on the technology deployment across the schools so that the School Committee could assess equity. She also asked about the new student information system and whether online grading would be available for all schools. Mr. Segalla replied that as of next school year, all schools will have access to online grading. Dr. DeCristofaro finished by thanking all of the teachers and principals for presenting and for their diligence in pursuing the technology options. Mayor Koch thanked Mr. Segalla and the teachers and principals for their excitement and willingness to adapt to the new tools. The city is committed to going forward and support for the elementary schools will be forthcoming through the Comcast money.

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Mayor Koch announced that a ribbon-cutting ceremony would be held on November 18 for the new track facility.

Mayor Koch also announced that the city has received a grant for drug awareness education and cited the work of the Drug Task Force including members of the Quincy Public Schools staff. Quincy Police Lt. Glennon was recently commended by the White House for his work on implementing the NarCan program in the city.

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Reports of Subcommittees

Teaching and Learning Subcommittee

Mrs. Lebo reported on the Teaching and Learning Subcommittee meetings that were held on October 30, 2012 and November 5, 2012. The eleven elementary school principals presented their School Improvement Plans and reflected on their schools’ 2011-2012 goals and achievements. For 2012-2013, all of the schools have goals related to English Language Arts and Mathematics MCAS achievement and are utilizing school and district-wide initiatives related to the rollout of the new Common Core State Standards. In addition, all schools have a goal related to student and staff Wellness. Mrs. Lebo noted that all School and Program Improvement Plans are posted on the individual school and program pages on the Quincy Public Schools website

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to approved the minutes from the October 30, 2012 Teaching and Learning Subcommittee and the School Improvement Plans for the Montclair, Bernazzani, Squantum, Parker, Wollaston, and Beechwood Knoll Elementary Schools. Mrs. Mahoney seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to approved the minutes from the November 5, 2012 Teaching and Learning Subcommittee and the School Improvement Plans for the Atherton Hough, Snug Harbor, Clifford Marshall, and Merrymount Elementary Schools. Mr. McCarthy seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

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Health, Transportation, and Safety Subcommittee

Mrs. Hubley reviewed the Health, Transportation, and Safety Subcommittee Meeting that was held on November 6, 2012. Mrs. Maura Papile presented the Student Support Services Program Improvement Plan, noting that the team continued to monitor the school system’s high-risk population and focused on providing professional development on barriers to learning. In addition, all levels of guidance staff participated in updated 504 plan training, including permission forms and ways to assess students remaining on these plans, more closely aligning the process with the Special Education Department’s IEP process. The School Psychologists participated in all professional development with the guidance staff. The Supervisors of Attendance maintained the residency hotline and worked with school sites on attendance issues; they also hosted professional development with school sites on intervening with residency and attendance issues. The Homeless Liaison worked on educating staff at school sites about issues related to homelessness and kept updated on outside resources to assist students and families. For this year, there are many new initiatives for the Student Support Services team supported through professional development. For the upcoming professional staff evaluation, the DESE rubrics will be utilized as a practice exercise with staff creating goals and evaluating their own progress.

Mrs. Jane Kisielius presented the Health Services Program Improvement Plan. Last year’s goals of revising the medication self-administration policy was completed in collaboration with the School Committee; the school nurses provided outreach and training for parents and staff on concussion awareness, in addition to the development of the Concussion Policy again in collaboration with the School Committee. For this year, the nursing staff is continuing to work with high school and middle school staffs to monitor concussion diagnosis and treatment, including academic accommodations and medical follow-up. The main initiative for Health Services is to spearhead the development of school site Wellness Teams and coordinate with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Health Services’ second goal focuses on the Essential School Health grant and the project to create a district portfolio related to the scope of requirements for the grant. For the Health, Nutrition, and Wellness Team, the goal is to revise the QPS Wellness policy. A draft will be reviewed at a joint Policy and Health, Transportation, and Safety Subcommittee meeting on December 3. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation will be making site visits in the next couple of months.

Mr. Michael Draicchio presented the Transportation Program Improvement Plan by giving a brief overview of the program. Most of the Transportation department’s goals are ongoing, including professional development for all staff before the school year begins that reinforces best practices. Operational effectiveness is a focus of the department, route planning for regular and special education, and constant communication and resolution of issues. In addition, the collaborative working relationship with the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the preventative maintenance program ensure the safety of the QPS vehicles on the road.

Mrs. Joanne Morrissey presented the Food Services Program Improvement Plan by noting that some goals are ongoing from last year. The implementation of the point of sale system was completed at North Quincy and the middle schools, and will be rolled into the elementary schools beginning with Wollaston next month. Last year, QPS was a pilot district for direct certification for those students receiving transitional assistance from the state (close to 1,800 students); also implemented a direct verification process for a sample review of eligibility. An ongoing goal is the development of performance evaluation procedures that will need to be implemented for food services workers. The final goal is to work with the Health, Wellness, and Nutrition team on the revision of the QPS Wellness Policy.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approved the minutes from the November 6, 2012 Health, Transportation, and Safety Subcommittee Meeting and the Student Support Services, Health Services, Food Services, and Transportation Program Improvement Plans. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

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Mayor Koch made a motion to adjourn at 8:45 pm. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it. There was no Executive Session.