Nov. 25, 2019 Teaching/Learning Sub Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Teaching & Learning Subcommittee

**This meeting is a Committee of the Whole**
Mrs. Emily Lebo, Chair
Mr. Doug Gutro & Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Subcommittee Members
Middle School Improvement Plan Presentations
Monday, November 25, 2019 at 6:00 pm
Coddington Building

Presentation Schedule:

6:00 pm Rick DeCristofaro/Central
6:15 pm Aliza Schneller/Atlantic
6:30 pm John Franceschini/South~West
6:45 pm Dan Gilbert/Broad Meadows
7:00 pm Christine Barrett/Point Webster


Quincy School Committee

Teaching & Learning Subcommittee Meeting ~ November 25, 2019

A meeting of the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee was held on Monday, November 25, 2019 at 6:00 pm in the Coddington Building. Present were Mr. Anthony Andonico, Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, and Mrs. Emily Lebo, Chair. Also attending were Superintendent DeCristofaro, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Ms. Christine Barrett, Ms. Susan Decoste, Mr. Richard DeCristofaro, Jr., Ms. Marisa Forrester, Dr. John Franceschini, Mr. Daniel Gilbert, Mr. Paul Griffith, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Erin Perkins, Ms. Kimberly Quinn, Ms. Madeline Roy, Ms. Aliza Schneller, Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Edward Smith, Ms. Bridget Vaughan, Dr. Adam Wolf, and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Principal Rick DeCristofaro presented the Central Middle School Improvement Plan, reflecting on connections to the students, families, and community. Extracurricular activities include the Coding Club, Debate Club, Art Club, Running Club, among others, and many are initiatives of students and reflect their interests. Last year, the school collaborated with the Grade 8 Mayor and Deputy Mayor on the first evening dance, produced Aladdin Jr., celebrated Central Pride Day and the Lunar New Year, Spring Art Show & Concert. In response to a Grade 8 student being treated for cancer, students and staff came together to show support and raise money for the Jimmy Fund. The impact of PBIS was reflected in VOCAL survey results, with 98% of students indicating they felt respected by staff and 93% felt that all teachers feel they can do challenging work. Teachers are aware of the potential for student stress, working together to create interdisciplinary curriculum and projects. Through Principal’s Path, teachers work together in grade level teams, collaborate on interventions, and the success of this work was shown through strong MCAS achievement.

Mrs. Lebo asked about EL data, but since the subgroup is fewer than 25 students, it is not reported. Mrs. Lebo asked about the RAMCAS program, there is support during the school day. Mrs. Lebo noted that she would have liked to see information about the new Civics curriculum in Grade 8. Mrs. Lebo complimented the plan to present MCAS data to the PTO and asked that VOCAL data be included as well.

Mrs. Lebo concerned about the Facilities Areas of Need, Mr. DeCristofaro said that most items are no longer under warranty. Mr. Gutro, Mrs. Hubley, and Mr. Andronico agreed that this is an extensive list. Mr. Gutro asked whether there are maintenance contracts for the newer buildings, Mr. Mulvey said this will be referred to Mr. Hines. Mrs. Lebo said this will be addressed in Facilities Subcommittee where School Committee will review all school issues and prioritize.

Mr. Gutro agreed that the assessment data is impressive; the culture of the school is reflected in the VOCAL data and the student and staff pride in the school is evident.

Mr. Gutro made a motion to approve the Central Middle School Improvement Plan. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mr. Mulvey said that the recent visit of the Commissioner of Education to Central Middle School was an opportunity to showcase the positive school culture on a larger scale.

Mrs. Lebo said that while the VOCAL data is very good, there is an indication that students feel bullying is an issue at all middle schools.

Principal Aliza Schneller presented the Atlantic Middle School Improvement Plan, reviewing a day in the life of the school beginning with voluntary Design Team meeting at 7:45 am, greeting students as they arrive to school, followed by morning announcements. Once the school day is underway, many administrative activities are going on: family meetings, mediation of student concerns, evaluation of student MAP data, mentoring new teachers, informal and formal observations, are all going on along with instruction in all curriculum areas. A new initiative at Atlantic this year is the Academic Mentoring Period, Atlantic’s take on the Student Support Block. After school hours, the Drama Club, the Robotics team, and Volleyball practice are all going on, along with academic support for individual students. Many staff members are involved in engaging students and families during and beyond the school day.

In reviewing last year’s data, MCAS scores declined in many areas but were still above district and state averages in most categories. Growth was typical for all students. VOCAL data was positive with students feeling respected by teachers and there are opportunities to include student interests in planning activities and lessons going forward.

Mrs. Hubley thanked Ms. Schneller for the presentation, noted Social Media Etiquette as an action step. Mrs. Hubley asked about class size, the larger classes are Grade 8 Spanish and there is a plan to create a new position teacher split between Atlantic and North Quincy High School to address class size.

Mrs. Lebo asked about PTO donations, these will total $17,000 this year. Mrs. Lebo asked about the Civics curriculum, Ms. Schneller said the rollout is underway. Mrs. Lebo said the MAP growth is very impressive. Mrs. Lebo asked whether the VOCAL data will be shared with the PTO.

Mr. Gutro thanked Ms. Schneller for her presentation, very informative. Mr. Gutro asked about lockers, there is a locker for every student but not all of them are secure.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the Atlantic Middle School Improvement Plan. Mr. Gutro seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Principal John Franceschini presented the South~West Middle School Improvement Plan, representing the efforts of the dedicated and hard-working staff to address the needs of the diverse population of students focused on education and community, all in the beautiful new building. South~West has extended day programming with both academic and extracurricular options that has strong participation from staff and students. In reflecting on MCAS data, goals for last year were not met, but MAP data for Grades 5 and 6 met the goal of increasing RIT scores. VOCAL data was positive, with students feeling supported by staff, safe at school, and that teachers have high expectations for them. Areas of improvement are to increase representation in the curriculum materials and increasing students feeling secure from bullying. Increased opportunities for family engagement are planned this year to showcase the new facility and emphasize openness to the community.

Mrs. Hubley noted that she has attended PTO meetings, very positive school culture. Mrs. Hubley asked about drama program, this is an afterschool club, still have not selected a play for spring production.

Mrs. Lebo mentioned Civics curriculum, Dr. Franceschini said that Grade 8 rollout is underway. Mrs. Lebo mentioned VOCAL data on bullying, thanked Dr. Franceschini for addressing in action steps.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the South~West Middle School Improvement Plan. Mr. Gutro seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Principal Daniel Gilbert presented the Broad Meadows Middle School Improvement Plan, thanked School Committee for the opportunity to speak about the students and staff. MCAS Alternative Assessments were completed by 53 students, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their achievement in a way that the typical MCAS assessment cannot. Mrs. Lebo noted that this is an enormous amount of work for the staff, teachers are creating an individualized assessment program. Parents appreciated the opportunity for students to receive a score based on appropriate assessment. As a result, scores exceeded targets across all categories. Principal’s Path has become embedded in the school culture, with Integrated Learning Teams support the 140+ students receiving Tier 3 interventions. Interventions on chronic absenteeism resulted in lower rates in all categories. VOCAL results are a reflection of the culture at school, students feel valued and cared for at school.

Mrs. Lebo said the progress towards goals is incredible, very impressed with Grade 6 ELA and the portfolio assessment. Mrs. Lebo said the staff is clearly committed, the relationships with students are evident.

Mrs. Lebo noted the concerns around bullying at all middle schools, this will be something for School Committee to look at across the board.

Mr. Gutro made a motion to approve the Broad Meadows Middle School Improvement Plan. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Principal Christine Barrett presented the Point Webster Middle School Improvement Plan and introduced new Assistant Principal Susan Decoste. Point Webster Middle School staff support the students and families in many ways, including a collaborative PTO, to create positive climate. Point Webster has Pre-Kindergarten and Grades 5-8, a unique grade level configuration. MCAS and MAP data were very positive, with goals met or exceeded for categories across the board. Science achievement was strong with both Grades 5 and 8 well above district and state averages. Principal’s Path keeps the staff focused on action steps, growth data reflects their efforts and the chronic absenteeism rate improved. The Integrated Learning Team is new this year and interventions will be implemented for students at risk of low achievement against grade level expectations. For Wellness, positive school culture and climate is supported through work with Charlie Appelstein, the SADD chapter, and Healthy Choices day coming up on Wednesday. VOCAL survey data was positive for both Grades 5 and 8, students feel safe and respected and students feel that their parents are respected. Last year’s Cultural Fair was a huge success, with many families volunteering to share their food, music, and heritage.

Mrs. Hubley asked about the one class of 28, it is now smaller due to schedule adjustment. Mrs. Hubley asked about drama club, Ms. Barrett said auditions were last week. Mrs. Hubley asked about the paving work needed for the Pre-Kindergarten play area, this is a safety priority.

Mrs. Lebo said the progress towards goals is incredible and the MAP growth as well. Thanked Ms. Barrett for addressing bullying concerns and asked about Civics, Grade 8 teacher is rolling out.

Mrs. Lebo said that the Superintendent’s Leadership Team is impressively supportive, evident to School Committee.

Mr. Gutro thanked Ms. Barrett for her presentation, asked about lockers. The project will begin in December and be completed in February. There will be a meeting on December 11 to discuss the CPA funding available for Point Webster with Parks and Public Buildings.

Mr. Andronico supports prioritizing the Point Webster Middle School outside space.

Mr. Gutro made a motion to approve the Point Webster Middle School Improvement Plan. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:30 pm. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.