Dec. 1, 2023 School Committee Special Meeting

Dec. 1, 2021 School Committee Meeting
Posted on 11/29/2021
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Quincy School Committee Special Meeting

Coddington Building, School Committee Room
Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 6:00 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 live on QATV Channel 22. The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast and posted on the QPS website on Friday, December 3, 2021.

I. Chairman’s Update - Mayor Koch

II. QPS Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Update - Superintendent Mulvey Ms. Perkins, Ms. Papile, Ms. Roy

  • Review of Student, Staff, and Parent Forums

  • DESE Recommended Consulting Supports

  • VISIONS Inc. Report

  • Timeline/Next Steps

III. Adjournment


QUINCY, MASSACHUSETTS – December 1, 2021
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Special School Committee Meeting

The Special Meeting of the Quincy School Committee was called to order in the School Committee Room at the Coddington Building on December 1, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. with the following members present: Mayor Thomas P. Koch, Mr. Douglas Gutro, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mrs. Courtney Perdios, Mr. Frank Santoro, and Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Vice Chair. Also present were Superintendent Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Assistant Erin Perkins, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Madeline Roy, and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.


Special Meeting

Mayor Koch opened the Special School Committee Meeting by thanking the young people of Quincy, including the high school football players, cheerleaders, marching band and color guard who were all part of Sunday’s Christmas Parade. Under the direction of the Recreation Department, many Quincy Public Schools students and graduates were involved in building floats, wearing character costumes, and organizing the weekend’s community events.


Superintendent Mulvey reviewed the recent incidents that have caused significant upheaval and effects on climate and culture of the school community, especially at Quincy High School. On November 5, a Quincy High School student created a song using racial and sexist language, targeting specific students at North Quincy High School. On November 9, an altercation was the result of a video created by a Quincy High School student several years ago which expressed racist thoughts, and was witnessed by many students and staff members. On November 12, several hundred students walked out at Quincy High School in protest and were later joined by students from North Quincy High School. On November 13, a video of a Point Webster Middle School student using racist language was shared among students. Information about all of these shared with community through letters, posts on the Quincy Public Schools website, and social media posts.

In each case, appropriate disciplinary action was taken, the specifics are confidential information. There was no disparity in discipline based on race or ethnicity. Superintendent Mulvey emphasized that the goal is always to provide the community as much information as possible while still respecting student privacy rights. In subsequent days, there were multiple meetings with staff members, in person and remote parent forums, student forums at both high schools, community circles, student and staff DEI meetings, meeting with Citywide DEI representatives, and consultation with the Department of Education. Superintendent Mulvey reiterated that these events and the responses are being taken very seriously, these are long-term issues that must be addressed collectively by the entire community.

The most common feedback received from these meetings and forums is for (1) revising and updating the student handbook (including restorative procedures and policies for resolving incidents; more transparency and clearer consequences for incidents involving discrimination; a system for reporting micro-agressions and bias incidents; mediations and reflection opportunities); (2) curriculum revisions (continue to update book selections including works by authors of diverse backgrounds; updates to history curriculum, culinary options; and adding classes for social-emotional learning and DEI/culture classes); (3) education and professional development for staff (culturally responsive teaching and continued training on restorative practices); (4) increased student involvement (student mentoring, peer mediation, training students in restorative practices, student-run assemblies); (5) Communication (translation for PTO meetings, letters, and other documents); (6) celebration of our diverse cultures (spirit week, woven throughout school year, inclusive food options for meals, more visual representation throughout schools); (7) employment (diversification of staff; hiring School Adjustment Counselors and a DEI Coordinator).

Ms. Papile shared recommendations from the VISIONS Inc. report: hiring for diversity at all levels throughout the district; DEI training for all employees; support and sustainability for the District DEI Subcommittee; curriculum examination and change to course offerings and curriculum resources; increasing community activities related to DEI; encourage and support parent/guardian groups, forums, and community resources; effective communication, including increased translation and access to information; support for district leadership through coaching; training and skill building for students; re-examination of policies and practices with a multi-cultural lens and enhance inclusiveness; engage and collaborate with students on relevant issues and changes sought; evaluate and monitor progress in addressing core issues. Ms. Papile said that Dr. Pinderhughes is available to appear at a School Committee meeting to present his full report.

Ms. Perkins said an Equity Work Group will be formed, consisting of students, staff, administrators, and parents/guardians that will create a vision and action steps for the district, update the student handbook, and review/update the process for reporting micro-aggressions and bias incidents. For students, restorative practices training will be offered, along with peer mediation and student DEI groups at both high schools. Improved communication between student groups and administration is underway with more frequent opportunities for meeting and collaborating. Superintendent Mulvey is proposing to use ESSER funds to hire district-wide EDI Coordinator and school adjustment counselors at both high schools. Long-term goals include curriculum revisions and creating new course offerings, leadership coaching, diversification of staff, and securing a long-term relationship with an outside organization with expertise in providing a culturally-responsive, inclusive, and equitable climate.

Ms. Papile shared the EDI timeline, beginning with the work initiated during Summer 2021 and documenting the responses to recent incidents. This document will continue to involve as continued collaboration with students, staff, administrators, parents, Citywide EDI.

Ms. Roy reviewed the consultation with the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston, who provided references for outside resources. Superintendent Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent Perkins, Ms. Roy and Ms. Papile have met with two groups: BlackPrint and AdaptiveX with two more meetings to be scheduled with Overcoming Racism and All Aces, Inc. AdaptiveX, through the support of DESE, will be hosting a reflective workshop with the Assistant Principals and Department Chairs at both high schools for the next three Fridays.

Superintendent Mulvey said that the most critical part of addressing these issues is creating the position of EDI Coordinator and finding the person with the expertise to manage these initiatives.

Mrs. Hubley noted that the ESSER fund budget was previously reviewed with School Committee and asked how the EDI Coordinator salary would be funded. Ms. Perkins said that QPS would need to file an amendment, possibly move funding from the Social-Emotional category. Ms. Perkins noted that the ESSER grant has not technically been approved.

Mrs. Lebo supports creating this position, requested that Mr. Mullaney look for funding in the QPS budget that can be spent before waiting for the ESSER funding.

Mrs. Perdios also supports the position and asked how the hiring process will work. Superintendent Mulvey said the first step would be to develop a position description. This position will require critical expertise in a number of areas, including strong communication skills, social-emotional background, and work with all school levels. The position description will be shared through the Massachusetts Partnership for Diversity in Education and SchoolSpring.

Mr. Gutro asked about parent input for the hiring process, Superintendent Mulvey said there will be representation on the interview committee as always.

Mrs. Lebo thanked the Quincy High School students for their presentation which was shared with School Committee, would like them to present to School Committee. Mrs. Lebo agreed that the consequences for student’s actions need to be defined in the Student Handbook. Mrs. Lebo said that the community is sometimes frustrated by the communications because the details or resolution can’t be shared to protect student privacy. Mrs. Lebo said that staff diversity should be reflected in all types of positions, custodians, security staff, secretaries, food services. Mrs. Lebo is disappointed about the VISIONS report, is not interested in seeing them present.

Mr. Gutro thanked the presenters for the listening that has taken place over the next few weeks and would like to invite students to the EDI subcommittee and give them a voice on the agenda, in addition to re-opening meetings to the public.

Mr. Gutro asked how the Student Handbook is disseminated, each school does an assembly at the beginning of the school year. Mr. Gutro agrees with short-term recommendations, is concerned about the VISIONS report, doesn’t see anything innovative but sees as reinforcement of the things QPS was already doing.

Mr. Gutro asked about discussions with staff following the walkout, Ms. Papile said that there were meetings at both high schools with staff to ensure they felt prepared to address the student concerns. All principals met to discuss the student meetings, incidents had taken place at elementary and middle schools, the group will work together as a Professional Learning Community to address issues. Ms. Papile said these are painful discussions and staff need to be supported. Ms. Papile said the Citywide PTO EDI group came to the meeting with a review of positive things that are happening in the school system.

Mr. Gutro asked about the community circles, Ms. Papile said that these were conducted at the classroom level. Mr. Gutro said these conversations are difficult but the information is important to be shared with School Committee.

Mrs. Perdios asked about the strategy of using ESSER funds to create positions, Superintendent Mulvey agreed this is not the optimal way to create new positions. These are long-term positions and would be absorbed in the Quincy Public Schools budget when the ESSER funds are expended in three years.

Mrs. Perdios said that these seem like Tier I supports, how do we address the need for accountability and quantify the outcome and any progress made. This will require things to be uncomfortable and disrupted, the school system must highlight inequities within schools publicly and commit to changing them.

Mrs. Lebo said that QPS does great things for students and is proud of everyone for having the courage to face these issues, the most important thing is getting a qualified EDI Coordinator in place as soon as possible.

Mr. Santoro said the structure exists for students to be hear and express their opinions, Student Council and class officers are elected and they are there to hear student concerns. The importance of these needs to be reinforced, in the past, class meetings were run by class president, the handbook was changed based on student participation and taking ownership. Mr. Santoro thanked everyone for their efforts and time, this has taken a tremendous amount of time for SLT. The new position is very important to allow the SLT to refocus on the work that they need to be doing.

Mayor Koch thanked Superintendent Mulvey and his team, the incredible work by the Principals and all of the staff. Mayor Koch said there has been solid listening to the challenges of the school communities and that is the starting point for the work to be done. Mayor Koch encouraged Superintendent Mulvey to move as quickly as possible to get the EDI position up and running.

Mr. Gutro suggested discussing the meetings be re-opened to the public and a personnel issue for Executive Session, Mayor Koch requested these items be added to the December 8 School Committee meeting agenda.


Mrs. Lebo made a motion to adjourn the Special Meeting at 7:30 p.m., which was seconded by Mrs. Hubley. On a voice vote, the ayes have it.