Oct. 23, 2012 Teaching/Learning Sub Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Teaching and Learning Subcommittee
Ms. Emily Lebo, Chairman
October 23, 2012 - 4:30 P.M.
NAGE, 2nd floor Conference Room

  1. Welcome - Mrs. Lebo

  2. Educational Technology Program Improvement Plan - Mr. Keith Segalla

  3. English Language Learners Program Improvement Plan - Ms. Hallett

  4. Title I Program Improvement Plan - Ms. Roy

  5. NCLB Waiver - Mrs. Roberts, Mrs. Fredrickson

  6. Adjourn


Teaching and Learning Subcommittee Meeting

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A meeting of the Teaching and Learning Subcommittee was held on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm in the 2 nd Floor Conference Room at the NAGE Building. Present were Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Ms. Barbara Isola, Mr. Dave McCarthy, and, Mrs. Emily Lebo Chair. Also attending were Superintendent Richard DeCristofaro, Assistant Superintendent Colleen Roberts, Mr. Robert Cavallo, Mrs. Mary Fredrickson, Ms. Ellen Garofalo, Ms. Beth Hallett, Ms. Ellen Hunter, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Mrs. Lebo called the meeting to order at 4:35.

Mr. Keith Segalla presented the Educational Technology Program Improvement Plan, noting that Educational Technology is an integral part of the Quincy Public Schools with the achievement of goals a collaborative effort between the Mayor, the School Committee, City IT and School IT, the Districtwide teams Curriculum and Principal Teams, and the schools PTOs to enhance and enrich educational opportunities for all students. Mr. Segalla reflected on the program’s 2011-2012 goals including supporting the rollout of the new QPS website through training, which was completed; the transition to Staff Academy, which is still ongoing, and the Educational Leadership Team Event about Technology which was deferred by the focus on the transition to the Common Core State Standards, but extensive training was provided for new products which 22 ELT team members took part in. The Education Technology program’s goals for 2012-2013 are: (1) Collaborate with the Information Technology Team to research, design, and develop scholastic components of the QPS 2013-2016 Technology Plan, specifically Technology Integration and Literacy, Technology Professional Development, Accessibility of Technology, Virtual Learning and Communications; (2) research educational technology programs across different grade levels in the areas of credit recovery, digital textbooks, digital library programs and continue to support existing instructional technology programs; and (3) research, develop, and recommend to the Superintendent an effective acceptable use policy for all staff and students outlining appropriate behaviors and guidelines for access to educational technology, access to the internet, and access to the QPS technology network. Ms. Isola requested that an updated home access survey be completed and asked for breakdown by school and summarized by elementary, middle, and high school levels. Mrs. Lebo asked about any online school/virtual learning courses currently in use; PASS and the Quincy Evening High School are using Plato and at Quincy High School, an AP Physics course is using an eTextbook. Mrs. Lebo suggested that the Acceptable Use goal will be ongoing as we will always have to monitor and update the policy to align with changing technology, especially when it comes to protecting student privacy. Mrs. Lebo asked about Curriculum Guide availability; Mrs. Roberts said that the high schools were updated for NEASC and the grades K-8 Curriculum Guides are in development, but not completed.

Ms. Isola made a motion to approve the Educational Technology Program Improvement Plan. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Ms. Hallet then presented the English Language Learners Program Improvement Plan and noted the many from previous years in terms of new initiatives. As of September 2012, there is an ELL program in every school including both high schools having parallel programmatic access. For the ELL program design, the new framework is called World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) but the number of hours of instruction per day has not changed. New ELL students will be tested using a new tool: WIDA Access Placement Test, since this is aligned to new standards/framework and the new English Language Proficiency test (ACCESS for ELLs) which will be given in January 2013 for the first time.

Reflecting on the 2011-12 goals, all five goals were completed: (1) fully implemented the ELL Reading program Cornerstones through multiple professional development sessions; (2) streamlining of data collection across all grade levels; (3) reviewed procedures and protocols for implementing MEPA online. This was completed, although the MEPA test has now been replaced by WIDA, the lessons learned will carry forward into the new testing era. Three middle schools and NQHS successfully completed their testing online. (4) Re-evaluating and updating the process for formal monitoring of FLEP students was completed and the process will be used going forward and (5) continuing to offer academic and community support for LEP students and their families through the very successful programs at Parker and Snug Harbor that will be continued this school year. In the MCAS results for Spring 2012, Quincy outperformed the state levels for ELA, Math, Science (all grades, all subject areas). Since the AMAO Data will not be available until December 2012, the student growth measures will be shared at a later meeting.

The goals for 2012-2013 (elementary/middle and middle/high school vertical teams) are: (1) to begin implementation of the newly-adopted WIDA Framework through professional development, training and instructional practice for the purpose of ELL Program curriculum development and alignment and (2) to successfully complete mandatory training of all ELL staff for the January-February 2013 implementation of MA DESE’s new English Language Proficiency assessment, ACCESS for ELLs. Mrs. Lebo asked about the complexity of administering this test, given student population (1300 students) who will be tested by 31 ELL teachers and supplemented by other teachers across the 5-week testing window. Ms. Hallett replied that this test is very challenging to administer system-wide; there are three levels of testing and each ELL student will be assigned to a level and testing scheduled based on that level. Anticipating students who may move in between November and January also part of the planning.

The system-wide ELL team goals are (1) to assist with the introduction and initial implementation of the new English Language Development framework adopted by Massachusetts WIDA in curriculum planning and classroom instruction; and (2) to ensure successful training and certification by January 2013 of ELL and SEI content area teachers who will administer for the first time the Massachusetts English Language proficiency assessment, ACCESS for ELLs.

Mrs. Lebo asked about Category training and what will replace this requirement at the state level. RETELL (Rethinking Equity in Teaching ELLs) will be rolled out over the next six years; any teacher who took 2 of 3 Category training will be grandfathered. There will be bridge courses for these professional staff members. Administrators who evaluate ELL teachers will now be required to have this training as well. This is a very ambitious DESE initiative with a goal of July 2016 completion. For new teachers, the training will be integrated into their higher education training. Mr. Bregoli asked about the parenting courses; Ms. Hallett said that the courses were offered in conjunction with Quincy Asian Resources and South Shore Mental Health. This course is based on the Active Parenting concept and taught in the parents’ native language to orient them to the school community and establishing contact with teachers and administrators. The initial program was a 2-hour seminar for six weeks; some sites have had a follow-up support group. Mr. Bregoli asked about service delivery at the high school level vs. the elementary school levels. Ms. Hallet explained that the elementary programs are pull-out, usually during the Literacy block, 2.5 hours of service per day for Levels 1 and 2 students. As students become more fluent, the hours of service decrease. In high school, the ELL courses are curriculum based and satisfy graduation requirements.

Mr. McCarthy made a motion to approve the English Language Learners Program Improvement Plan. Ms. Isola seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Ms. Roy presented the Title I Program Improvement Plan, reviewing the Title I mission to provide increased and improved educational opportunities for students in schools with a high incidence of poverty. Success is measured through student performance on MCAS, literacy assessments, benchmark screenings, family participation, and family and staff surveys. Title I is a federal program, administered by the state through grants to cities and towns; QPS operates a school-wide model rather than targeted assistance so all students and families benefit from the upgrading of the school’s entire instructional program. Early literacy and math are targets for all four of the Title I schools; all instructional materials, assessments, and professional development are evidence-based programs.

Reflecting on last years’ goals, the first related to developing a unified writing curriculum for Grades 2 and 3, but this will be ongoing given the changes to the framework. The second goal was a review of Professional Development initiatives and coordinating the implementation of these program elements to form a coherent unified curriculum for effective Response to Intervention; this goal was completed, with the Title I Professional Development Plan being the result.

Goals for this year include developing a comprehensive program of appropriate and effective services at all levels to address the needs of underperforming students. In addition, the team will continue to review new and existing writing resources and support staff in developing year-end writing benchmarks, a common writing task, and rubric for grades 2-3 in the Title I schools. The Title I team will begin to identify and organize documents required for the Coordinated Program Review. In addition, the HILL for Literacy will provide consultation for ILT facilitators and administrators, and for the Literacy Leadership team, focused on the effective use of the DIBELS Next data to identify and plan for students in need of Tier 2 and 3 support and intensive intervention. HILLS will provide the professional development service and the team will support the PD and carry the message forward. HILL is helping the Integrated Learning Teams look at the data differently. Professional development will support all of these goals and focus on effective use of data, literacy, writing, and comprehension. Set-aside plan for grant funds will provide for additional professional development, after school activities and summer opportunities.

Mrs. Hubley inquired about Math initiatives and Ms. Roy spoke of Snug Harbor’s initiatives in Math and the intention to expand these over time. Mr. Bregoli asked about private schools participating in the Title I grant; Ms. Roy noted that the Quincy Catholic Academy and Mutafasin Academy both have eligible families. Neither school has responded beyond participating in professional development. (Title I, Title IIA, and Title III all require outreach to the private schools; many teachers from these schools took the QPS Category trainings.)

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

The last item on the agenda was a review of the No Child Left Behind Waiver. Mrs. Fredrickson presented a brief overview beginning with what was waived: Adequate Yearly Progress, the goal of 100% proficiency, levels based on achievement alone, classification of schools based on one subgroup, school choice, and supplemental education services. The new focus is on School Improvement and a reduction in the proficiency gap by half by 2016-2017. Accountability decisions are calculated for achievement and growth. High schools are also accountable for increasing Cohort Graduation and decreasing Dropout Rates.

The PPI classification is based on all students and high needs (sped services/FLEP/low income); weighted four year analysis. Districts are still classified based upon lowest performing schools. Elementary and Middle schools have 5 indicators (except Marshall and LH, which do not have Grade 5 Science); High Schools have 7 indicators because of the cohort graduation rate and annual dropout rate. Quincy is classified as Level 3, since there are several Level 3 schools. Title I set-asides will be affected since the reserves for Supplemental Education Services and School Choice are no longer needed. This will allow QPS to offer programs to students beyond the four Title I schools.

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