July 29, 2020 Special Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Special Meeting

Coddington Building
Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 6:05 p.m.

Per Governor Baker’s order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, 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, July 31, 2020.

I. Chairman’s Update - Mayor Koch

II. Approval of Minutes: July 8, 2020 and July 16, 2020 Special Meeting Minutes

III. Open Forum - Mr. Andronico
Open Forum items may be submitted to School Committee via email to: [email protected]. Please include your full name and mailing address as part of the email.

IV. Quincy Public Schools Fall 2020 Re-Opening Plans - Interim Superintendent Mulvey, Ms. Papile, Ms. Perkins, Ms. Roy

V. QPS COVID-19 Communications - Interim Superintendent Mulvey

VI. QPS Athletics COVID-19 Waiver - Interim Superintendent Mulvey

VII. Update of School Committee Policy 9.9.3 - Mr. Andronico, Mr. Bregoli
Technology Acceptable Use (currently in Policy Subcommittee)

VIII. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Subcommittee Items - Mr. Andronico

IX. Private School Application (Vote) - Interim Superintendent Mulvey
Rising Tides Academy

X. Quincy Public Schools Superintendent Search - Mr. Andronico, Mr. Santoro

XI. Adjournment


Quincy, MASSACHUSETTS – July 29, 2020

Special Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Special Meeting

A special meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 6:20 p.m. Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey 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: Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Mr. James Mullaney, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Erin Perkins, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Robert Shaw, Mr. Lawrence Taglieri, Ms. Ruth Witmer; Commissioner Ruth Jones; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk. There was a moment of silence for those affected by COVID-19.


Chairman’s Update

Mayor Koch updated on COVID-19, currently 60 active cases in Quincy, which is up from eight cases a few weeks ago. The Health Department has issued reminders of guidelines for restaurants and to residents to be cautious and stay home when not feeling well.

Mr. Bregoli asked about the more recent cases, Mayor Koch said there are more cases of people in their 20s and 30s, increased levels of socialization with the warm summer months.


Approval of Minutes

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 8 and July 16, 2020 Special School Committee meetings. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.


Open Forum

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


QPS Fall 2020 Re-Opening Plans

Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey presented on the Quincy Public Schools Fall 2020 Re-Opening Plans; preliminary plans are due to the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education by July 31. Final plans are due to DESE by August 10. 30 Focus Groups have been completed to date with parents, students, and staff plus six Task Force meetings and multiple Principal Team meetings. Ms. Perkins reviewed that both a Parent Choice and Staff survey have been completed. 4,404 students were accounted for in the parent responses (multiple students in many families). Of the three options, high school parents chose the hybrid model (39%), full time in-school (34%), and remote learning (27%). Middle school parents chose the hybrid model (34%), full time in-school (34%), and remote learning (32%). Elementary parents selected the hybrid model (35%), full time in-school (41%), and remote learning (24%). Staff selected the hybrid model (40%), full time in-school (25%), and remote learning (35%). Of the staff members who opted for the hybrid model as their first choice, 65% selected 2 days per week as their preference.

During the focus groups, parents and students were grouped by grade level and staff were grouped by position (elementary, middle, high school, academic program, administrative, paraprofessionals). The questions raised in the focus groups are being compiled and will be shared with School Committee and the Quincy Public Schools website. Questions included communication on students or staff testing positive, transportation, cleaning procedures, support for social-emotional needs, after-school activities, lunch and breakfast delivery, additional student support, nursing, and substitute staff; technology use, services for special education and English learner students, sharing of materials and supplies, school calendar and the length of the school day; and completing requirements for technical majors.

Ms. Roy outlined the three plans being submitted to DESE: (1) the in-person model, which would follow the 3-foot physical distancing requirements and is not supported by Quincy Public Schools; (2) the hybrid model which would support students returning to school on a fixed and consistent schedule, combining in-person instruction on two consecutive days (Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday). Wednesdays would be the weekly elementary early release day and most students will be home, with special education students in person; and (3) the fully remote model which would be live, synchronous instruction with asynchronous assignments. There are variations for Pre-Kindergarten & Kindergarten, Grades 1-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12.

Mr. Andronico said that DESE has also offered that school districts can delay the opening of school until September 16 to provide additional time for planning and professional development. Mr. Mulvey is recommending that Quincy Public Schools pursue this option.

Mr. Santoro asked if School Committee will vote on the final plan; Mr. Mulvey said that a vote is needed at tonight’s meeting to submit the preliminary plan on July 31 and a final plan for August 10.

Mr. Santoro asked if there are enough teachers to support the hybrid model. Mr. Mulvey said that through analysis at the building level, there are enough staff members.

Mr. Santoro asked if students or staff test positive, would this cause a building to be shut down. Mr. Mulvey said the recent experiences at the summer Special Education programs at the Della Chiesa Early Childhood Center and North Quincy High School allowed for only the classrooms affected to be quarantined and contained the outbreak.

Mr. Santoro noted that Monday holidays would impact the calendar.

Mayor Koch asked about staff members who may be out long-term due to family or personal health issues. Mr. Mulvey said that there will need to be a pool of licensed substitutes to support the students.

Mayor Koch asked if remote learning teachers would be in the school buildings or at home. Ms. Perkins said this will vary, some will be at home and others will be at school. Mr. Mulvey said that the Quincy Education Association has filed a request to bargain and is working on assembling a negotiating team. Mr. Mulvey said the teacher focus groups are consistent with the surveys, the Re-Entry Task Force is a good example of everyone working together to meet the educational needs of students safely.

Mayor Koch said he is appreciative of the work of Interim Superintendent Mulvey and the Leadership Team, many extra hours being put in to create these plans.

Mr. Gutro said that amazing data has come out of these focus groups and surveys and thanked the Task Force participants. Mr. Gutro asked about an FAQs document, Mr. Mulvey said that questions were answered as they are asked and those are being compiled from the focus group minutes.

Mr. Gutro asked if students will have the same number of hours in the classroom under the hybrid model. Ms. Roy and Ms. Perkins shared sample schedules which address the academic time requirements.

Mr. Andronico asked about grading and Mr. Mulvey said the goal is for the hybrid and remote models to be as close to normal as possible, including grading.

Mr. Shaw and Mr. Taglieri outlined the hybrid model, the schools will be split alphabetically into Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday cohorts. Each of the high schools have a slightly different schedule, based on their unique schedules under regular school year parameters. Teachers would have all remote instruction on Wednesdays, so they would see their complete class on that day.

Mrs. Lebo is concerned about the extra pressure on teachers to make the hybrid model work and cover all of the curriculum. Mr. Shaw said the challenge is to help teachers think differently about how they teach, creative thinking and planning will be required.

Mr. Gutro asked how much structure would be provided during the remote learning days. Mr. Taglieri said the teachers will be interacting with their other students in person so there will not be live classes on those days. Mr. Shaw said that creative scheduling should allow for grade level assignments for teachers and then additional opportunities for office hours or other live interaction opportunities on the remote learning days.

Mr. Gutro is concerned about the students who never engaged last spring; Mr. Shaw said ultimately, there were very few students who did not engage at all. However, as the spring went on, consistent engagement of students in all of their classes was definitely an issue. Mr. Shaw said it is extremely important to connect with the new students coming in to Grade 9. Mr. Taglieri said that his experience was consistent with Mr. Shaw and that students earning credit for the year was similar to previous years. Mr. Shaw agreed that most students received credit for full-year classes, consistent with their performance in the terms before schools closed.

Mr. Bregoli thanked Interim Superintendent Mulvey, the Leadership Team, and the Principals for the incredible work on an impossible task. Looking at the parent choice survey, 40% of elementary parents want their children to be in school full time. Mr. Mulvey said that in order to accommodate students in school, 50% of students would have to elect for the full remote model. Mr. Mulvey said that a next step is to get a commitment from parents on which model they will follow for the first 4-6 weeks of the school year.

Mr. Bregoli is concerned about student mental health and also the Massachusetts Teachers Association pushing for teacher strikes over safety conditions. Mr. Mulvey said that Quincy Public Schools and the Quincy Education Association have a very professional relations, have successfully bargained three Memoranda of Agreement during this pandemic. Mr. Mulvey believes that the QEA is focused on giving students the best educational opportunities possible.

Mr. Bregoli asked about full-time return to school, what are the measures that allow this to happen. Mr. Mulvey said there are many variables, including the development of a vaccine, the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control, the state Department of Public Health, the local Health Department, and the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.

Mrs. Lebo said that students may enroll in home schooling and online charter schools, especially if we push to resume in-person instruction and parents are uncomfortable with this. Mrs. Lebo asked specific questions about the high school schedules, Mr. Taglieri said that there is a CVTE subcommittee at the school and there is discussion about how to bring the students in at the end of the day.

Mrs. Lebo noted that DESE just released the guidance on CVTE plans today and Mr. Mulvey said those will be integrated into the final plans.

Mrs. Lebo asked about air filter systems, Mr. Mulvey said that Commissioner Hines is a Task Force member and would be evaluating that in all buildings.

Mr. Andronico clarified that it is parent and student choice about hybrid vs. remote learning. Mr. Mulvey agreed, Quincy Public Schools is required to provide a synchronous live remote learning model regardless of whether there is hybrid or in-person instruction.

Mr. Andronico asked about substitute teachers for staff who are not available due to family or personal health issues. Mr. Mulvey said that through the CARES funding, we will be recruiting highly qualified license staff to be permanent long-term substitutes potentially with benefits. Mr. Mulvey said there are also options to potentially shift academic program teachers with multiple licenses to cover classes, and using administrators if needed.

Mr. Andronico asked for and received clarification that the vote is to support the submission of the preliminary plan document due to DESE by July 31.

Mrs. Lebo suggested that 504 plan accommodations be added to the final plan. Mrs. Lebo suggested that the substitutes are part of the professional development and Mr. Mulvey agreed that they will be, including the New Educator Orientation.

Mr. Gutro asked for the Chromebook distribution plan to be included in the final plan.

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to approve the preliminary plan, seconded by Mrs. Lebo. On a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.


QPS COVID-19 Communications

Interim Superintendent Mulvey reviewed that there have been a number of COVID-19 communications in recent weeks, specifically the recent letter that outlines the protocols followed by Quincy Public Schools in notifying staff and families. City of Quincy Health Department Commissioner Ruth Jones has been instrumental in evaluating each case as it arises and clarified levels of exposure. Commissioner Jones said there are a number of different scenarios and when the state Department of Public Health notifies the Quincy Health Department of a case, they open an investigation to document contacts and impact on schools or local businesses. The Health Department determines the infectious period, 48 hours prior to the development of symptoms or 48 hours prior to a test and determines who needs to be quarantined and/or tested. A confirmed case needs to be quarantined for 10 days and asymptomatic for 24 hours on the last day. A contact has to quarantine for 14 days from the date of contact as symptoms may develop during that time, even if they received a negative test. Commissioner Jones said that the recent cases at North Quincy High School, Quincy High School, and the Della Chiesa Early Childhood Center have not resulted in any additional cases.

Mrs. Lebo is concerned that at the high school level, where students change classes, it will be difficult to contain an active case. Mrs. Lebo asked about rapid testing in schools, Commissioner Jones said that the answer is different whether it is a confirmed case or the contact of a confirmed case. The rapid tests are improving in quality as are the antibody tests and she noted that it is taking longer to get test results due to the surge in other parts of the country.

Mr. Bregoli thanked Commissioner Jones for her availability and asked about fall Athletics and testing athletes. Commissioner Jones said that in professional sports, there are differences between basketball and baseball because the athletes are not living in a bubble and could become positive. It is very important to observe the protocols set forth by the state.

Mr. Gutro said that from personal experience, the ripple effect of a youth baseball team member playing while positive was extraordinary. Commissioner Jones had to contact the Health Departments of four other towns and luckily no other cases have come from this.

Mr. Mulvey said that the Athletics Directors have set up activities under the current guidelines, it is important to get the students active again safely. Commissioner Jones has been involved in the discussions with Athletics and the Recreation Department.

Mrs. Lebo said that she had asked for this item as she was informed of the second case by a reporter.


QPS Athletics COVID-19 Waiver

Mr. Mulvey reviewed that the waiver shared with student athletes, their parents, and coaches was adapted from the waiver used by the Recreation Department.

Mr. Gutro asked if this is a common template shared statewide. Mr. Mulvey said that this was based on the Quincy Recreation Department waiver, he found it suitably comprehensive, so supported the usage.

Mrs. Lebo asked if students are asked to waive rights elsewhere, and Mr. Mulvey said that has been reviewed by outside legal counsel and while it is not usual for students to be asked this, it is recommended at this time.

Mayor Koch supports the use of the waiver.


Update of School Committee Policy 9.9.3 Technology Acceptable Use

Mr. Andronico updated that the item has been moved to the full School Committee from the Policy Subcommittee earlier this evening.

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to table the discussion of the update of School Committee Policy 9.9.3 and the establishment of School Committee Policies 9.9.4, 9.9.5, 9.9.6, and 9.9.7. The motion was seconded by Mr. Santoro.

On the motion, Mrs. Lebo asked to create a policy on Remote Learning at a later date.

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


EDI Subcommittee Items

Mr. Andronico reviewed the list of items to be placed into the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Subcommittee: EDI Professional Development; Reporting of Microagressions, Harassment, and Discrimination; Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining a QPS Workforce reflective of Student Population; Incorporating EDI into Curriculum; Incorporating EDI into Leadership Structure; Student Climate Survey (Student VOCAL Survey); Teacher and Administrator Climate Surveys; Translation Services; QPS Community Listening Sessions; Restorative Practices; Reviewing Policies and Practices for Bias.


Private School Application

Interim Superintendent Mulvey asked to table the Private School Application item to the next meeting, some of the supporting documentation was submitted yesterday and has not yet been reviewed.

Mayor Koch made a motion to table the Private School Application, which was seconded by Mr. Bregoli. On a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.


QPS Superintendent Search

Mr. Andronico thanked the Superintendent Search Committee for their work reviewing the initial applications and interviewing the semi-finalists; all did an outstanding job and adhered to a demanding timeline. Mr. Santoro reviewed that there were twenty applications, and eight semi-finalist candidates were interviewed; four finalists were brought forward and one withdrew last week.

The finalists are Dr. Omar Easy, currently the Executive Vice Principal of Business Engagement and Innovation in the Everett Public Schools; Dr. Jahmal Mosley, currently Superintendent of Nashua Public Schools; and Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey.

Mr. Andronico reviewed a proposed schedule of additional meetings: August 4, Interview of Dr. Omar Easy; August 5 Special School Committee Meeting; August 11, Interview of Kevin Mulvey; August 13, Interview of Dr. Jahmal Mosley; and August 14, Vote to Select the Next Superintendent. All meetings will be at the Coddington Building.

Mr. Gutro thanked the Search Committee and asked that since one finalist withdrew, was there another name to be brought forward.

Mr. Andronico said since there was a request to bring forward 3-6 names, the Search Committee cannot re-open the discussion

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to accept the School Committee Special Meeting calendar for August, seconded by Mr. Gutro. On a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.

Mr. Andronico asked to discuss the format of the interviews. Mr. Gutro suggested that each member is given a 10-minute time allotment to ask questions.

Mr. Gutro made a motion for each School Committee member to have a ten minute allotment for the Superintendent Finalist interviews.

Mr. Andronico suggested that each candidate get five minutes to open and close the interview and then 10 minutes per School Committee member, still leaves 10 minutes extra in case a segment runs long.

Mr. Bregoli asked if questions related to the application are allowed and they are. Mr. Bregoli asked about the reference verification process. Mr. Andronico and Mr. Santoro have started that process and the findings will be shared during deliberations.

Mrs. Lebo would like to have the reference information before the interview so that questions can be asked about any concerns.

Mayor Koch asked about the reference conversations being kept confidential.

Mr. Andronico will follow up with Mr. Koocher from MASC.

Mr. Santoro seconded the motion, and on the motion asked if School Committee can identify the areas they will ask about.

Mayor Koch said each School Committee member should have a number of questions on different topics.

Mrs. Lebo asked if someone didn’t use their time allotment, can it be yielded to others.

Mr. Andronico and Mayor Koch did not agree with this idea.

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



Mrs. Lebo made a motion to adjourn the Special School Committee meeting at 9:10 pm. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Hubley and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.