6-3-2020 Special School Committee Meeting Minutes

Quincy, MASSACHUSETTS – June 3, 2020

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Special Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Special Meeting

A special meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held remotely on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 6:20 p.m. Superintendent DeCristofaro called the roll and present were Mayor Thomas Koch, Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Douglas Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mr. Frank Santoro, and Mr. Anthony Andronico, Vice Chair.

Vice-Chair Presiding

Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary; Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk; Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Mr. James Mullaney, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Erin Perkins, Ms. Madeline Roy.

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Chairman’s Update

Mayor Koch spoke about recent national events including last night’s vigil in Quincy Center in reaction to the outrageous events in Minneapolis. Thanks to the event organizers, the participants, and the Quincy Police Department for open communication, everyone was peaceful, respectful, and the appropriate public safety level was maintained. Many teachable moments around this, related to local history, and Mayor Koch is proud of our city.

Mr. Gutro agreed and looks forward to opportunities for Quincy Public Schools to be a leader in discussions with students and staff around racism when school resumes in the fall.

Mr. Andronico agreed with being proud of the participants, they assembled peacefully and marched in support of justice and change. Mr. Andronico said School Committee needs to ask if we are doing enough to address the issue of racism in our schools.

Mayor Koch said he is proud of the Quincy Public Schools and the equal opportunity provided to all students to learn, thanks to the Superintendent’s Leadership Team, Principals, teachers, and all of the staff. A solid school system with all the resources goes a long way.

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Approval of Minutes

Mr. Gutro requested two edits to the May 27, 2020 Budget & Finance Subcommittee minutes.

Mr. Gutro made a motion to approve the minutes for the May 27, 2020 Budget & Finance Subcommittee as amended. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the minutes for the May 27, 2020 Special School Committee Meeting. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.

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Open Forum

Mr. Andronico noted that Open Forum participation is through the Quincy Public Open Forum QPS Summer Programs Schools email QSCOpenForum@quincypublicschools.com.

As there were no letters submitted for Open Forum, School Committee moved on to the next item on the agenda.

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QPS Summer Programs

Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey reviewed the presentation shared with School Committee, the plans for the Summer Programs for Grades K through 12 will be online, synchronous learning and serve as a model for moving forward should remote learning be necessary for the 2020-2021 school year. In addition, a Remote Learning survey is in development for students, parents, and staff. A draft will be shared with School Committee, Citywide, QPAC, and the ELPAC for their input.

Mrs. Lebo complimented the wide range of programming for general education, special education, students transitioning between levels, and high school credit recovery. Mrs. Lebo asked if the Professional Development for technology support will be offered to all teachers. Ms. Perkins said initially the Professional Development it will be offered to the Summer Program teachers and then over the summer, the Professional Development will be offered to all staff.

Mrs. Lebo asked if the survey will include questions about social-emotional learning concerns. Ms. Papile said the Student Support Services team is integrating social-emotional skills and wellness into the summer program, building on the progress made this spring. Ms. Papile said there will also be anti-bias education, connecting current events to the curriculum, and emphasizing inclusion and being an ally.

Mr. Gutro asked for the difference between this summer offering and a typical summer program. Ms. Perkins said there is expansion of the curriculum areas from Reading-focused into Math and Science and there is a very high level of interest from students and parents. Ms. Perkins said for elementary schools, the summer programming has traditionally been by invitation for at-risk students only and grant funded. Thanks to Mayor Koch, a wider number of students will have the opportunity to participate.

Mr. Gutro asked about high school credit recovery. Ms. Roy said any high school student who needs to make up a class can participate, it can be from this year or a previous year. Once this term is over, students will be invited to participate. Ms. Papile noted that the Dropout Zero Initiative is working with students who may be in jeopardy of graduating in four years, credit recovery can assist with getting these students back on track.

Mr. Gutro asked if the pool of students needing credit recovery is larger or smaller this year due to COVID-19. Ms. Papile said it seems to be about the same number of students.

Mr. Santoro asked about fees to attend the summer programs. Ms. Roy said thanks to Mayor Koch’s funding, there will not be any fees and we have been able to significantly increase offerings for middle and high school students. A number of students have signed up for the SAT Prep course.

Mrs. Lebo asked if high school guidance is involved in steering students towards credit recovery and Ms. Papile said there is a team of staff who will continue to reach out to students.

Mrs. Lebo asked if the Science MCAS will be waived for the current Grade 10 students and Ms. Roy confirmed. Mrs. Lebo asked about Grade 9 Biology students, will this apply to them and Ms. Roy will follow up.

Mr. Gutro asked about report cards and whether there will be opportunities for parents to speak with teachers about their progress. Ms. Roy said there have been many discussions with the principals and the grading is credit/no credit for high school and comments for elementary and middle schools. Report cards will be posted in Aspen on June 19.

Mr. Bregoli asked for clarification on how students will be assessed and determination made about gaps in curriculum concepts. Ms. Roy said that per the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, students are held harmless so credit/no credit is in place and parameters set for prerequisite skills to be covered.

Mr. Andronico moved the discussion back to the QPS Summer Programs and closed the item as there were no further comments.

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Student Opportunity Act Update

Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey reviewed that on Tuesday, June 2, there was a presentation of the Student Opportunity Act for parents, representatives from Citywide Parent Council, the Quincy Parent Advisory Council to Special Education, and English Learner parents were all present.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the Task Force that Mr. Mulvey mentioned at last night’s meeting. Mr. Mulvey said this will be representative of all stakeholders, principals, administrators, teachers, and parents who will work together to address potential issues for re-opening school in the fall. There are many factors, including health regulations, distancing, capacity, hybrid models, plus costs associated with cleaning and equipment. DESE will be providing additional guidance, but communication is going to be key.

Mr. Andronico said that at the June 10, 2020 Special School Committee Meeting, there will be a vote to approve the submission of the Student Opportunity Act.

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FY2021 QPS Budget (Discussion)

Mr. Andronico asked for comments on the FY2021 Quincy Public Schools budget and seeing none, he noted that this will be eligible for vote at the June 10, 2020 Special School Committee Meeting.

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QPS High School Graduations Update

Mr. Mulvey said a Graduation Team is working on planning a live, in-person graduation event for each high school. Team members include Mr. Mulvey, Mr. Taglieri, Mr. Shaw, Mr. Kevin Segalla, Mr. Keith Segalla, Commissioner Murphy, and Mr. Paul Doherty. North Quincy High School Graduation is scheduled for Friday, July 24 at 6:00 pm. Quincy High School will be split into two groups, 10:00 am and 4:00 pm on Saturday, July 25. The graduations will be held at Veterans Stadium and rain dates are scheduled for Monday, July 27; Tuesday, July 28; and Wednesday, July 29. Based on the stadium capacity, each student would be allowed two guests in assigned seating and students and guests will pre-register. A letter to students and families will be sent out this Friday and online registration links shared. The seating plan will be determined by CDC guidelines.

Mr. Gutro asked if the ceremony will be broadcast live on QATV and this will confirmed.

Mrs. Lebo said that she is confident that the City will be able to provide a safe environment for graduates and their families.

Mr. Andronico thanked the team for creating a plan to recognize the graduates.

Mr. Mulvey thanked Mr. Murphy and Mr. Doherty for their assistance, they have been very accommodating.

Mrs. Hubley asked about small children, including infants. Mr. Mulvey said that the goal is to limit the guests to two adults and he will look into the CDC guidelines with City of Quincy Health Commissioner Ruth Jones.

Mrs. Lebo said that she thought the DESE guidelines state that no children under age 5 should be allowed. Mrs. Lebo is concerned that additional guests will preclude social distancing.

Mr. Gutro asked if the family can choose the family members, it could be one parent and a sibling. Mr. Mulvey agreed and the family members name need to be on the manifest.

Mayor Koch said common sense needs to prevail here, younger children will be less willing to sit in their seats and maintain social distancing.
Mr. Andronico said per the DESE guidelines attendees are limited to immediate family; children under the age of five, older adults, and those with health conditions are discouraged from attending. Mr. Andronico thanked the team for the planning.

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QPS Superintendent

Mr. Andronico said over 650 survey responses have been received to date and he QPS Superintendent has requested that Mr. Koocher and MASC to provide the detailed data for analysis. Mr. Andronico has also scheduled the focus groups and the information will be shared with the invited participants on Thursday, June 4.

Mr. Santoro updated that the Orientation Meeting for the Superintendent Search Committee will be held on Thursday, June 4 at 5:00 pm via Google Meet. The Search Committee has received a packet of materials, including the preliminary survey data, and evaluation matrices. A meeting schedule will be created for review of applications and Mr. Santoro requested direction on the number of candidates to be brought forward as finalists.

Mr. Andronico said there is usually a range, such as 3-5, 4-6, or 5-7 and also that there should be discussion on internal candidates. Mr. Andronico suggested 4-6 as the range for finalist candidates.

Mr. Gutro made a motion to support the range of 4-6 candidates. Mayor Koch seconded the motion.

On the motion, Mrs. Lebo requested discussion of the internal candidates first.

Mr. Gutro withdrew his motion.

Mrs. Hubley asked if the internal candidates count in the range of finalists.

Mr. Andronico said School Committee can define either way, the range can include or nor include the internal candidates.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion that all internal candidates are semi-finalists. The
motion was seconded by Mr. Gutro.

On the motion, Mayor Koch asked about what other communities have done.

Mr. Andronico said that according to Mr. Koocher, there is no one way to do this.

Mr. Santoro will not support the motion, feels strongly that internal candidates should be finalists.

Mrs. Lebo wants to be sure external candidates can be included.

Mr. Santoro said that internal candidates should not be included in the total, we should at least give internal candidates the opportunity to interview with School Committee.

Mr. Gutro asked about the role of the Search Committee with internal candidates.

Mrs. Lebo said the internal candidates should be documented on the assessment matrix.

Mrs. Hubley said the internal candidates should meet the criteria.

Mayor Koch noted that any internal candidates would need the appropriate licensure and asked Dr. DeCristofaro about licensure.

Mrs. Lebo would like to limit internal candidates to be no more than six
candidates. Mrs. Lebo believes there are five internal staff members with
appropriate licensure.

Mr. Andronico said the qualifications include the ability to be licensed which is a larger pool. Mr. Andronico would like to interview all internal candidates and 3-5 or 4-6 external candidates.

Mr. Bregoli agrees with Mr. Andronico and would limit external candidates to 3-5.

Mrs. Hubley would like to stay with 4-6.

Mrs. Lebo withdrew her motion.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion that all internal candidates plus 3-6 external candidates be interviewed by the School Committee as finalists. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion

On the motion, Mr. Gutro asked if the external candidates are interviewed twice.

Mr. Andronico said internal applicants with appropriate qualifications are automatically referred to School Committee and will not be interviewed by the Search Committee. External candidates will be screened by the Search Committee and the Search Committee will select and interview a number of semi-finalists and then advance 3-6 candidates along with the internal applicants.

Mr. Gutro asked for clarification, Mr. Andronico confirmed that School Committee will not interview semi-finalists.

Mr. Gutro asked for clarification, the Search Committee will meet via remote technology and the interviews are not public meetings.

Mr. Santoro said the Orientation Meeting is a public meeting.

Mr. Gutro asked if School Committee will get the information on the other candidates. Mrs. Lebo said the evaluation matrix can be shared.

On a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.

Mr. Andronico thanked Mr. Santoro for Chairing the Search Committee and Mr. Bregoli and Mrs. Lebo for participating.

Mrs. Lebo asked how the Superintendent vacancy posting is being shared.

Mr. Andronico said the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, and the National Association of School Superintendents all have the posting on their website.

Mrs. Lebo asked that the posting be done internally; Ms. Owens will add to the Quincy Public Schools website.

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Adjournment

Mayor Koch made a motion to adjourn the Special School Committee meeting at 7:50 pm. The motion was seconded by Mr. Santoro and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0. § -7- June 3, 2020

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