8.5.2020 Special School Committee Meeting

Quincy School Committee

Special Meeting

Coddington Building

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at 6:05 p.m.

Per Governor Baker’s order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, M.G.L. c. 30A sec. 20, the public will not be allowed to physically access this School Committee meeting.  Members of the Public can access the meeting audio live on QATV Channel 22 or at www.qatv.org.  The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast and posted on the QPS website on Friday, August 7, 2020.

Agenda

  1. Chairman’s Update                                                                                                       Mayor Koch

     

  2. Approval of Minutes:  July 29, 2020 Policy and Special Meeting Minutes

     

  3. Open Forum                                                                                                    Mr. Andronico

    Open Forum items may be submitted to School Committee via email to:  QSCOpenForum@quincypublicschools.com.  Please include your full name and mailing address as part of the email.

  4. Executive Session:Contract Negotiations                               School Committee will return

     

  5. Quincy Public Schools Fall 2020 Re-Opening Plan Discussion

                                                                                    Interim Superintendent Mulvey

  6. Quincy Public Schools Fall 2020 Re-Opening Plan VOTE                        Mr. Andronico

     

  7. QPS 2020-2021 School Year Calendar Update                                           Mr. Andronico

     

  8. Update of School Committee Policy 9.9.3; Establishing        Mr. Andronico, Mr. Bregoli

    School Policies 9.9.4, 9.9.5, 9.9.6, 9.9.7 and 9.9.8

  9. Private School Application (Vote)                                    Interim Superintendent Mulvey

    Rising Tides Academy

  10. Quincy Public Schools Superintendent Search                       Mr. Andronico, Mr. Santoro
  11. Adjournment

Quincy, MASSACHUSETTS – August 5, 2020

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Special Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

 

A special meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday,                Special

August 5, 2020 at 6:10 p.m.  Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey called the             Meeting

roll and present were Mayor Thomas Koch, Mr. Paul Bregoli,

Mr. Douglas Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mr. Frank Santoro,             Vice-Chair

and Mr. Anthony Andronico, Vice Chair.                                                                                            Presiding

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Also present were:  Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Mr. Robert Cavallo,

Mr. James Mullaney, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Erin Perkins, Ms. Madeline Roy,

Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Robert Shaw, Mr. Lawrence Taglieri, and Ms. Laura Owens,

Clerk.

 

There was a moment of silence for those affected by COVID-19.

 

       §

 

Mayor Koch updated that there are 42 active cases currently in Quincy. PPE has been ordered for the school year, City Hall Operations & Finance team have purchased this through FEMA and CARES Act funding. Mayor Koch said that to address concerns about air quality and HVAC systems, the City’s mechanical engineer David Scott and the school buildings benefit from his expertise plus two technicians and four interns. Every building has a ventilation system, some are older but all have a system for air exchange. These systems are being evaluated and tested at this time and there are plans to address additional needs for ventilation. All filters are changed three times a year normally, this will be increased to four times per year. Mayor Koch said that outside contractors will be assisting with the evaluation process. The priority for the City is the health and safety of the staff and students, many departments are collaborating on this and utilizing all available resources. Mayor Koch said that the City IT department has done an analysis on improving the broadband capabilities, which will require an investment of $1 million dollars and be underway shortly.

 

Mr. Gutro asked about the new mascot at North Quincy High School. Mayor Koch said in speaking with Dr. Yacubian over the last year, several ideas were proposed, and the final concept of a patriot was introduced this week. NQHS Principal Shaw will be working with staff and students to create a new name for the school’s teams. Thanks to Dr. Yacubian for hiscollaboration on developing the new concept with the original artist.

 

Mrs. Lebo said that this is meaningful coming from Dr. Yacubian, but suggested that students may want a different mascot. Mayor Koch said it is in Mr. Shaw’s hands now and the school community for them to determine the usage.

 

Mr. Mulvey thanked Mayor Koch for his leadership on the technology issues, this is a critical issue raised in all the focus groups. In addition to the internet connectivity, the proposal will fund an additional server and Quincy Public Schools email addresses for all students.

 

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Chairman’s Update

 

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 29, 2020 Special School Committee and Policy Subcommittee meetings. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

 

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Approval of Minutes

Mr. Andronico read a letter submitted by Quincy Education Association President Allison Cox on behalf of the QEA urging School Committee to begin the school year with a remote learning model and introduce the hybrid model phased-in over time in conjunction with community health benchmarks.

 

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Open Forum

Mr. Bregoli made a motion for School Committee to enter into Executive Session at 6: 30 pm for the purpose of contract negotiations. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0. School Committee will return from Executive Session.

 

§

 

 

The Special School Committee Meeting resumed at 7:30 pm with Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Special Education Director Erin Perkins, and Senior Curriculum Director Madeline Roy presenting on the QPS Fall 2020 Comprehensive Re-Entry Plan. The components of the plan include an Executive Summary, a Letter to the Community, State Guidance on the Re-Opening of School, Fall 2020 Re-Entry Communication Plan, Data Sources and Analysis Informing the Plan, the three Learning Models (in-person, remote, and hybrid), the Out of School Time plan, Student Supports and Professional Learning, Certification of Health & Safety Requirements.

 

Interim Superintendent Mulvey reiterated the Quincy Public Schools Commitment to following the Massachusetts and CDC guidelines for schools, adhering to all protocols by state and local health officials for addressing COVID-19 positive cases within the school system, and meets the following benchmarks: incorporate equity as a component in the re-entry plan so that all schools provide students with the opportunity to make comprehensive educational progress; fully support the social, emotional, and nutritional well-being of all students; identify learning gaps; follow and maintain the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and Career Ready Standards; adhere to components of IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitaion Act, and ADA; adopt and follow health procedures outlined by the MDPH and CDC, including cleaning and sanitization; ensure safe transportation for students; ensure an accurate system for tracking attendance; and follow the DESE guidance for interscholastic athletics and extracurricular activities. In the past six weeks, Quincy Public Schools has hosted over thirty focus groups with parents, students, and staff; conducted surveys on the spring Remote Learning with staff and parents; and surveyed staff and families about learning models for Fall 2020. Data from these surveys and focus groups informed the planning process as did the topics raised most often during the focus groups, such as: procedures for students or staff who test positive for COVID-19 or display symptoms; technology (remote learning platforms, Chromebooks, bandwidth, student emails); cohorting students (including keeping siblings on the same schedule); use of masks; selecting the remote learning model; lunch and breakfast procedures; after-school activties, including fall sports; and services for students on IEPs and English Language Learners.

 

The three learning models were reviewed: (1) in-person learning model, which would require 3-foot distancing within classrooms and the use of alternative spaces such as cafeterias, gymnasiums, and libraries to accommodate all students in the school buildings simultaneously. Students would remain in cohorts as much as possible, with academic programs pushing in or being held outdoor weather permitting. Service delivery for English Learner or Special Education services would be push-in whenever possible. (2) Hybrid Learning would involve dividing students into two cohorts who would attend school either Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday. Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students will attend school half-days four days a week. Wednesday will be remote learning for all students and students will learn remotely on the days they are not scheduled to be in school. At the high school level, some curriculum areas will be fully remote. Special Education students in substantially separate programs will attend in-person classes every day. (3) Remote Learning model for all levels will be scheduled, synchronous and organized in cohort models where students will remain in the Google Meet homeroom and teachers will rotate in and out. Special education students in substantially separate classrooms may attend in-person.

 

Beyond the bell programming such as BOKS, homework support, intramural and extramural sports, clubs, and activities that meet the health and safety requirements provided by DESE will be offered at school. Student supports include reaching students through the tiered model of support and providing strategies to address stress, anxiety, depression, physical health and wellness, and cross-cultural communication. Staff professional development will prepare students to intervene and support using evidence-based curriculum and interventions.

 

Mr. Gutro suggested that in addition to parent and staff technology training, students may need support and training as well. Mr. Gutro asked about uniform submission of assignments, Ms. Roy said the initiative to provide each student with a Quincy Public Schools email is important to assisting with this. Mr. Gutro asked about the Aspen grading and attendance, Mr. Mulvey said those expectations are part of the negotiations with the Quincy Education Association.

 

Mr. Gutro asked about high school schedules, how many times per week do classes meet. Quincy High School classes meet four times in a four day rotation schedule (longer blocks); North Quincy High School classes meet six times in a seven-day rotation. The total amount of instructional time is consistent. Under the hybrid model, the live instructional time is reduced for all classes but there are assignments to be completed in time frames that count as instructional time.

 

Mrs. Lebo asked about the in-person model. Ms. Perkins said there is no limit to the number of students, but must be able to adhere to the 3-foot distance limit. Ms. Perkin said that DESE provided a tool to assist in calculating the capacity of classrooms.

 

Mrs. Lebo asked if assessments can be done remotely, Ms. Perkins said the MAP can be along with some Special Education assessments.

 

Mrs. Lebo suggested that principals have remote focus groupmeetings with parents.

 

Mr. Bregoli asked for clarification on the 3-foot and 6-foot models. Mr. Mulvey said the state asked school districts to determine which is feasible for their schools. Mr. Mulvey said that Quincy Public Schools buildings will not accommodate all students at 6-feet distance and Health Commissioner Ruth Jones will not certify the safety of the 3-foot model based on guidance from the state Department of Public Health. Quincy Public Schools is required to submit an in-person model, but does not find it is feasible.

 

Mr. Bregoli asked about technology concerns for families with multiple students, each would need their own device. Mr. Mulvey said there are conversations with Quincy After School Childcare, the South Shore YMCA, and South Shore STARS about providing supports for remote learning in the school buildings or at their sites.Mr. Bregoli is concerned about the impact on working families.

 

Mrs. Hubley asked for specifics about mask breaks, Ms. Roy said that Commissioner Jones has outlined the parameters and teachers will be cognizant of the students needs.

 

Mrs. Hubley asked about high school students not being able to use lockers. Ms. Perkins said high school students will be able to use lockers, elementary and middle school would not as they will not be changing classes.

 

Mr. Andronico asked about the isolation rooms for symptomatic students or staff in each school building. Mr. Mulvey said a space is being identified in each building, apart from the nurse’s office and with enough space for multiple students with social distancing. A student brought to the isolation room will be picked up or transported home as soon as possible.

 

Mr. Andronico asked about hybrid schedule for Kindergarten, families with students in older grades would have to make multiple trips to the school to drop off and pick up. Ms. Perkins said that remote learning for Kindergarten is very challenging, this will get the youngest learners in school as much as possible. Kindergarten is not a required grade level and the learning time requirement can be met through the half-day model.

 

Mr. Andronico asked about Professional Development. Ms. Perkins said the schedule is based on the current school year calendar, important for staff to be as prepared as possible should there have to be a shift to full remote learning.

 

Mr. Andronico asked about outdoor classroom spaces, Mr. Mulvey said that weather would impact the use of these spaces. There are some classes such as Physical Education and other opportunities to be outside, weather permitting. Ms. Perkins said that school security would be difficult to maintain outside and the safety guidelines are still considerations.

 

Mr. Andronico noted that other school districts are looking at phased openings, Mr. Mulvey said that most communities seem to be in the same place that Quincy Public Schools are with a few publicly committing to fully remote while others are exploring hybrid plans that are phased in with starting out remotely. No district is planning for full in-person return to school that we are aware of.

 

Mr. Gutro asked about the answers to the Frequently Asked Questions, Mr. Mulvey said this is a work in process, and that these are being posted on the website as they are available.

 

Mrs. Lebo asked about the status of the Chromebooks, Mr. Mulvey said that DESE Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston is bringing the issue to the attention of DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley and Governor Baker who will be advocating with Dell on our behalf. Mr. Mulvey said that we are looking at other options, including iPad carts owned by schools.

 

Mrs. Lebo asked about staffing for isolation rooms, Mr. Mulvey said staffing plans still to come.

 

Mrs. Hubley asked if the staff laptops have arrived and Mr. Mulvey said we received 1,000 to date and these are being distributed to staff.

 

Mayor Koch made a motion to delay the vote on the Quincy Public Schools Comprehensive Re-Opening Plan and for Mr. Mulvey to request the extension to the filing deadline to August 17. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Lebo and on roll call vote, the ayes have it 7-0.

 

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QPS Fall 2020

Re-Opening Plans

The current version 2020-2021 School Year Calendar was shared with School Committee. Mr. Andronico shared that per the DESE guidelines, school districts may defer the start of school by up to 10 days.

 

Mayor Koch asked for a recommendation from Mr. Mulvey.

 

Mr. Mulvey recommended moving the start of the school year to Wednesday, September 16 to allow for better preparation for the transition to hybrid or remote learning model.

 

Mayor Koch made a motion to move the start of the school year to Wednesday, September 16. The motion was seconded by Mr. Santoro.

 

On the motion, Mr. Santoro asked about the end of the school year. Mr. Mulvey said that the school calendar requirement has been adjusted to 170 days.

 

Mr. Gutro asked about the last day for seniors, this is in June because of the late date of Labor Day.

 

Mrs. Hubley asked if other school districts have deferred the start of school. Mr. Mulvey said other school districts start before Labor Day so will likely delay the start of the school year. Mr. Mulvey said he can research and provide a list of districts who have deferred their start date.

 

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

 

§

 

Mayor Koch left the meeting at 9:00 pm.

 

 

QPS 2020-2021

School Year Calendar

 

 

Mr. Andronico asked for comments on the School Committee Policies 9.9.3, 9.9.4, 9.9.5, 9.9.6, and 9.9.7 discussed earlier at the Policy Subcommittee.

 

Mr. Gutro asked about digital submission of assignments. Mr. Andronico said that the Remote Learning Policy Section 9.9.8 would address that.

 

Mr. Gutro asked about costs associated with remote learning, Mr. Mulvey said that with a Quincy Public Schools Google account, there is free access to all required software.

 

Mrs. Lebo said that software outside the Google suite, such as Adobe for Graphic Design or engineering software would be better served by the hybrid model where students can take thoseclasses at school.

 

Mr. Gutro made a motion to accept the amendments to Policies 9.9.3, 9.9.4, 9.9.5. 9.9.6, and 9.9.7 as proposed. The motion was seconded by Mrs Hubley and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 6-0. Mayor Koch was absent.

 

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to extend the Special School Committee meeting, as the meeting was now over three hours long. The motion was seconded by Mr. Gutro and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it 6-0. Mayor Koch was absent.

 

Mr. Andronico said that Section 9.9.4, the Acceptable Use Policy for Employees will be reviewed by the Quincy Education Association so the vote on these sections will be held for that.

 

Mrs. Hubley noted that the insurance issue needs to be addressed in the Section 9.9.7 1:1 Chromebook Policy.

 

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Update of School

Committee Policies

9.9.3, 9.9.4, 9.9.5, 9.9.6,

9.9.7 and Establishing

Section 9.9.8

 

Mr. Mulvey reviewed that the documentation supporting the application for the Rising Tides Academy has been submitted; the occupancy permit has been verified. The curriculum plan aligns with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks; the materials used will also meet the requirements. In summary, the application meets all the requirements set out by the Quincy School Committee, the recommendation is to approve the application.

 

Mrs. Lebo asked that the approval be noted as being for the establishment of the private schoolas reviewed on this date. Mr. Mulvey agreed, noting that the approval is for the criteria for establishing a private school and that educational outcomes are not guaranteed to be equivalent to Quincy Public Schools.

 

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to approve the application of the Rising Tide Academy, seconded by Mr. Santoro.

 

Mr. Santoro asked if the school is planning to open this fall and if so, using what instructional model.

 

Mr. Mulvey said there are nine students, most likely sufficient spacing for full in-person instruction.

 

On a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 6-0. Mayor Koch was absent.

 

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Private School

Application

Mr. Andronico updated that the first finalist interview was completed last night, OmarEasy, Ph.D. The other interviews are scheduled for August 11 (Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, J.D.) and August 13 (Jahmal Mosley, Ed.D.) with deliberations and selection of the new Quincy Public Schools Superintendent on August 14.

 

Mr. Gutro asked about meeting being posted on SchoolTube, the July 29 meeting is available and this week’s interview and tonight’s meeting will be available August 4.

 

§

 

QPS Superintendent

Search

 

 

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to adjourn the Special School Committee meeting at 9:20 pm. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Hubley and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

 

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Adjournment