April 30, 2019 Teaching/Learning Sub Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Teaching & Learning Subcommittee

Mrs. Emily Lebo, Chair
Mr. Doug Gutro & Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Subcommittee Members

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 6:05 pm
Coddington Building

  • Middle & High School Library/Media Update - Dr. Hallett

  • Lowest Performing Students - Ms. Perkins, Ms. Roy

  • Social Studies Curriculum & Professional Development - Mrs. Lebo

  • Health Education Curriculum & Professional Development - Mrs. Lebo


Quincy School Committee
Teaching & Learning Subcommittee Meeting -April 30, 2019

A joint meeting of the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee was held on Tueadau, April 30, 2019 at 6:00 pm in the Coddington Building. Present were Mayor Thomas Koch, Mr. Anthony Andronico, Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, and Mrs. Emily Lebo, Subcommittee Chair. Also attending were Superintendent Richard DeCristofaro, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Ms. Melinda Adams, Ms. Natalie Coady, Ms. Joanne Collins, Ms. Brandy Danner, Dr. Beth Hallett, Ms. Anna Jorgensen, Ms. Janet Loftus, Ms. Helen Mastico, Ms. Courtney Mitchell, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Erin Perkins, Ms. Kimberley Quinn, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Edward Smith, Ms. Bridget Vaughan; Quincy Education Association President Allison Cox; Citywide Parent Council Co-Presidents Scott Alessandro and Courtney Perdios; Ms. Kerri Darcy from Thomas Crane Public Library; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

The Middle & High School Library Media Teachers presented an update on their program. Circulation has increased district-wide 116% since 2016 and there is an increase in sharing books across school system. Instruction has expanded as there are now full-time librarians at each middle school. All QPS middle school students receive instruction beginning in Grade 6 (Grade 5 at Sterling and Point Webster) with the physical library layout, the Dewey Decimal system, types of books, online research skills and validation/evaluation of sources, keyboarding/coding, catalog navigation, digital safety, Google platform tools, and using library databases. In Grades 7-8, these topics expand on using sources, online safety and digital citizenship, plagiarism/paraphrasing, database usage, citation training, keyboarding/coding, and reading appreciation.

Middle School Librarians serve as extracurricular advisors for activities such as Lego Robotics, Book Clubs, Debate, Homework Center, Game, Community Service, and SAFE Clubs. Librarians collaborate with colleagues by co-teaching topics such as research and citation skills, resource evaluation, academic integrity and plagiarism, preparation for STEM Fair, hosting department meetings, and resource support and lesson planning assistance. On a district level, librarians are part of the Digital Learning Team, assist in administering MCAS and administrate Destiny and Aspen.

Family Engagement includes participating in Parent Academy events, assisting with Aspen and MCAS training, collaborating with PTOs on Book Fairs and Book Swaps, working with the Thomas Crane Public Library on developing and publicizing events, homework assistance and connections. The middle & high school librarians work collaboratively on collection development, actively reviewing and weeding/discarding. The team strives to be future-ready librarians, in the forefront in the transformation of digital learning.

Mr. Andronico asked about MCAS training, Ms. Mastico said that to assist families in understanding the transition to online test administration, the librarians developed a presentation shared at the Parent Academy.

Mr. Gutro thanked the presenters, asked about the circulation numbers increasing. Not one factor, as the position moved from part time to full time, increased opportunities for circulation. Mrs. Lebo said that this was a multi-year effort to reinstate these positions.

Mr. Gutro asked about the librarians’ roles around Digital Literacy. Ms. Mastico said in some ways, the librarians are managers as they guide students through digital literacy, but they are also a resource for teachers to supplement the curriculum areas. Ms. Adams said that teachers sometimes have ideas for projects, through sharing a lesson plan development, can provide the technical expertise to create the project. Ms. Danner said it is a constantly evolving process, as digital literacy becomes embedded in classroom instruction, more opportunities present themselves for collaboration. Ms. Darcy from TCPL said that collaboration extends between the school and library, a student query or need can be met on an individual basis.

Mrs. Lebo asked about collaboration between the Elementary Library Support teachers and Middle & High School Librarians. This is an area to look into expanding, as there is very little interaction now.

Mrs. Hubley thanked the presenters, especially the emphasis on identifying credible sources. Book sharing between schools is such a great enhancement. Mrs. Hubley asked whether teachers use online features to evaluate for plagiarism and they do.

Dr. DeCristofaro thanked the presenters, they have realized the goals of the School Committee in reinstating the positions. Impressed with the personalization that they offer to students, incredible teachers and appreciative of all that they do.

Mayor Koch left the meeting at 7:00 pm

Dr. DeCristofaro reviewed that the focus on Lowest-Performing Students (LPS) is one of the two newe accountability indicators that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is monitoring. The District Improvement Plan is based on the Frameworks, the Team Organization & Alignment, and the System Initiatives. New items such as LPS are integrated into the structure in place and through Principal’s Path, staff involvement is expanded through Design, Vertical, Grade-Level, and Integrated Learning Teams; site-based Professional Development, Beyond the Bell Focused Academic opportunities, Family Engagement, and Communication.

In looking at the Lowest Performers, principals began with identifying the students and where in the curriculum they need support, why are they having difficulties, and how can we intervene and support. As part of the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA), DESE is placing a greater emphasis on improving the performance of each district and school’s lowest performing students. QPS has long focused on closing the achievement gap for High Needs students on MCAS. Each elementary and middle school has a cohort made up of 25% of their tested students based on the ELA and Math MCAS results. Students must be enrolled in the school for two years, have two years of consecutive ELA and Mathematics data, not be a first or second year EL student, and not taking the MCAS ALT assessment. For high school students, it is the apple to orange conundrum as students are only tested once while students there.

There are a total of 611 students spread over 16 schools identified by DESE as LPS students, 44% in elementary schools and 56% are in middle schools. 23% are in Grade 4, 21% are in Grade 5, 6% are in Grade 6 (only PW & Sterling), Grade 7 is 23%, and Grade 8 has 28%. In analyzing data versus High Needs categories, 21% are English Learners, 61% are Economically Disadvantaged, 51% are Special Education. Only 16% are non-High Needs students.

Academic supports, interventions, and resources for LPS are planned, analyzed, discussed at Integrated Learning Team meetings and mini-ILT meetings at the elementary schools, Vertical and Grade-Level Teams, and at the Symposiums. Middle schools will be rolling out the ILT model for the 2019-20 school year. Principals are documenting the supports and interventions in the Data Collection Toolkit, reviewing these for the greatest impact on the students, focusing on the needs of the whole child. Increasing parent communication is also the key to this, targeted invitations. At the elementary and middle school levels, the high frequency supports and interventions including Khan Academy MAP lessons, Literacy support, small group instruction and flexible targeted grouping, assistive technology, check in/check out, Math reteach, MCAS prep, and the middle school Student Support Block. At the high school level, MCAS tutoring and practice tests, inclusion, Resource Room, and strategies classes, boost after-school sessions, Khan Academy online lessons. Most high school students pass the ELA MCAS, therefore the emphasis is on Mathematics.

The Data Collection Toolkit is for the collection of information for both the LPS and Chronic Absenteeism indicators. Supports and interventions are documented, including social emotional, academic, technical support (and home usage), and extended day activities. Beyond the Bell Activities provide extended day before and after school, over 70% of elementary and middle school students participate in one or more activity. LPS students participate at rates of 77% for elementary and 64% for middle school and only 11% at high school. At the high school level, students are more independent and it is difficult to get students to stay after school as many have jobs or participate in athletics. Looking ahead, there will be a focus on building activities to match student interest and make the most impact. Participants in the Saturday STEM program were surveyed; students are being invited to targeted activities.

Mr. Gutro asked about the data, Ms. Roy confirmed that this is solely based on test data. Student data is confidential but Mr. Gutro is concerned about the stigma for students being on the list, an impressive amount of effort being put into assisting these students. When they take the next assessment, they may come off the list, but they may not. Ms. Roy said there is always a bottom quartile, another student will take that student’s place. Ms. Roy said we have always done this as educators, teachers are always looking for students who need interventions. Ms. Loftus said that sometimes it is assessment anxiety that contributes to student struggle.

Mr. Bregoli asked how we are identifying student areas of need prior to Grade 4, Ms. Perkins said the MAP is used in Grades 2 and 3. For K and 1, DIBELS, DRA, and other benchmark assessments. MCAS Grade 3 scaled scores are also analyzed.

Mrs. Lebo would like to see overlap between Economically Disadvantaged and EL and Special Education, can be added for next school year. Mrs. Lebo would like High School activities measurement to include Athletics so that number is more accurate. Mrs. Lebo is hoping to compare absenteeism data and VOCAL survey data to look at high school student engagement. Mrs. Lebo asked if accountability extends to these subgroups as well as LPS and Chronic Absenteeism.

Mr. Gutro asked if this category will be in School Improvement Plan going forward and it will be, along with Chronic Absenteeism.

Mrs. Lebo presented the following information on Social Studies curriculum and Professional Development: [embedded document reads as follows]

I was excited to see that our City Council on April 22nd resolved to support Muhheconneuk Intertribal Committee on Deer Island (MICDI) and North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB), in their efforts to preserve the Indian Burial Grounds on Long Island. I was at the previous meeting when five local tribes presented to the City Council on how important it is to preserve their cultural. Members of the local tribes are so grateful that they have reached out to City Wide and would like to get involved with us around curriculum.

New educational reform partnership formed between the MICDI and NAICOB in August 2017

Following events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, and with an extension of discussions that had already begun, the board of the North American Indian Center of Boston voted in August 2017 to join with the Native governments of the Muhheconneuk Intertribal Committee on Deer Island in a new joint educational initiative. In December 2017, the tribal government of the Chaubunagungamaug Nipmuck Tribe took the lead among the MICDI governments and passed a resolution in support of the MICDI Joint Educational Initiative and formally joining together with NAICOB on this new education reform effort. The educational reform initiative, first conceived in 1996, had finally begun to take form. 

This group had presented to DESE last spring on the need to increase Native American content into the new Frameworks. DESE did not include it in the frameworks, I believe, mainly because of the timing but they did include information in the supplement to the frameworks that they encourage communities to use.

There are ten topics that they wanted included and the MA tribes have offered to join with the city on providing resources to include this content. They are very committed to students understanding that American Indians are not a past civilization but are current members of our local communities.

  1. The Native Nations of the Commonwealth and adjacent areas: Geography, history and governance

  2. European claims and subsequent occupation of Native lands of the Commonwealth

  3. Treaty Relations between the Native Nations and the English Crown and English settlers

  4. Religion as a factor in Native-European/English relations

  5. Military conflict between the Native Nations and the English settlers and the use of war-time justified policies of genocide (including the use of Deer Island/Boston Harbor Islands as a concentration camp(s))

  6. The changing shape of Massachusetts and how changes in its boundaries affected Native-Colonial (and later, Native-State) relations

  7. The Establishment of the Guardianship policies of the Province of Massachusetts Bay for the Indian population (with its developments in both positive (protection of population and land bases) and negative (paternalistic and at times negligent care) aspects) from the 1740s onward

Part of and After the American Revolution:

  1. The development of the Constitutional relations between the Native Nations and Massachusetts Bay/Continental (and later Federal) governments during and after the American Revolution

  2. The Earle Report and the 1862 and 1869 Enfranchisement Acts by the Commonwealth to define the Indian Tribes resident in the Commonwealth and to terminate Tribal rights and identity through the granting of citizenship and citizenship rights to the Indians in the Commonwealth, affecting the then 16 tribes of the Massachusett, Nipmuck and Wampanoag nations, and other Indians, listed in that report

  3. The Impact of Oneida Indian Tribe of New York v. County of Oneida, 414 U.S. 661 (1974), a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, on the Indian tribes of the original thirteen states, including those within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

So the ask here, is to get this information to our SS teachers and Dept heads to see if and where this content could be implemented in our secondary school US History curriculum. Tribal members are interested in speaking with the SC or Academic Team as a continuation of the Quincy MICDI partnership.

Ms. Chen said that some of the Native American representatives worked with the History Girls project at Broad Meadows, would like to see this integrated in Grades 3 and 4 when there regional standards are covered.

Mr. Alessandro emphasized opportunities for integration through the school year.

Mrs. Lebo introduced information on the Health Curriculum, [embedded document reads as follows]

Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework is from 1999, the last time it was updated.

We know how our Curriculum has expanded to include new science and new issues around addiction. And that there will be a closer look at anti vaping strategies.

We have heard how our Social and Emotional Learning covers through Grade 8 with STEP 2 and PBIS.

We heard recently about our anti bullying process and asked if we could see a curriculum map showing where the Strands are covered.

We have heard from some parents that our curriculum may not be as comprehensive as it should be at the HS level around sexuality.

We asked the Superintendent to look at other districts to see what they were doing around human sexuality education as part of the health curriculum.

We were most impressed with the course descriptions coming out on Newton and asked if we could get a look at their curriculum.

I would like to ask the Health teachers and Health Interventionist and maybe the PE teachers and guidance to review the topics covered in the Newton Public Schools curriculum and let us know which of those are currently covered by our MS and HS curriculum. And which they think should be included.

We have parents looking at this also to get their feedback, and some are here today. Feedback from them has been in wanting certain components for sure: sexual orientation, building and ending relationships, ways to refuse unwanted sexual encounters, consent, STI's,

I am not asking our teachers to look at the particular projects/assignments in Newton as I think you would probably have developed or would develop those ourselves for our community.

We also would like to know if our current educators have been prepared to teach this content and what PD they might want if we were going to increase this subject matter.

Since Ms. Papile has agreed to work on a curriculum map for the Social and Emotional curriculum, maybe we can get the map for the K-12 Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework and its Strands and Standards which include:

Physical Health Strand
Social and Emotional Health Strand
Safety and Prevention Strand
Personal and Community Health Information Strand

MA DESE Licensure website

Physical Education content

Human biology

Musculo-skeletal system

Circulatory system

Physical injuries

Anatomy and physiology

Sports psychology


Nutrition and diet

Motor skill development

Health - Health/Family and Consumer Sciences content

Human growth and development: physical (anatomy and physiology), emotional/mental, social, intellectual, and moral

Food science and nutrition

Physical fitness

Human sexuality

Disease prevention and control

First aid, safety, and injury prevention

Tobacco, alcohol, and other substance abuse prevention

Current topics in health education, including family violence, child abuse, suicide, sexually transmitted diseases (including AIDS), teen pregnancy, violence prevention, and eating disorders

Parenting skills, early childhood education, and care

Family and interpersonal relationships

Public health functions and responsibilities

Management skills for family/consumer health and finance

Quincy Public Schools has independently addressed many of the increasing issues of the last 20 years, Mrs. Lebo is not asking for specific implementation of Newton curriculum. Mrs. Lebo asked if we have teachers that have the licensure for these areas, wants to be budget consideration for professional development.

Dr. DeCristofaro said creating an initiative would involve evaluating and documenting what is currently taught and how would this fit in. QPS covers many of these topics in middle school, but reinforcement and more depth needed in the high school level.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to adjourn the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee meeting at 8:30 pm.