Dec. 6, 2023 School Committee Meeting

Dec. 6, 2023 Subcommittee Meeting
Posted on 12/01/2023
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Quincy School Committee Teaching & Learning Subcommittee

Mrs. Emily Lebo, Chair
Mrs. Tina Cahill & Mr. Frank Santoro, Subcommittee Members

School Improvement Plan Presentations
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at 6:00 pm
Coddington Building, School Committee Room

Presentation Schedule:

6:00 pm Keith Ford/ Quincy High School

6:15 pm Robin Moreira/Atherton Hough Elementary School

6:30 pm Jim Hennessy/Wollaston Elementary School

6:45 pm Renee Malvesti/Montclair Elementary School

7:00 pm Heather Patch/Clifford Marshall Elementary School

7:15 pm Peter Dionne/Bernazzani Elementary School

Members of the public can access the meeting in person or live on QATV Channel 22 or at The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast and posted on Friday, December 8, 2023 on the QPS YouTube channel




Quincy School Committee Teaching & Learning Subcommittee Meeting

A meeting of the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee was held on December 6, 2023 at 6:00 pm in the Coddington Building. Present were Subcommittee members Mrs. Tina Cahill, Mr. Frank Santoro and Mrs. Emily Lebo, Subcommittee Chair. Also present were Mayor Thomas P. Koch, School Committee Chair; School Committee Member Mr. Doug Gutro; Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, Ms. Kim Connolly, Mr. Peter Dionne, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Mr. Keith Ford, Ms. Julie Graham, Mr. James Hennessy, Ms. Renee Malvesti, Mr. Michael Marani, Ms. Robin Moreira, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Heather Patch, Ms. Kimberley Quinn, Mr. Edward Smith, Ms. Justine Sullivan, Ms. Bridget Vaughan; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Quincy High School Principal Keith Ford and Assistant Principal Edward Smith presented the 2023-2024 School Improvement Plan, students and staff are being challenged to create a respectful and responsible school environment, to be ambitious, and collaborative. The School Improvement Plan is a collaborative effort of the staff. The three priorities from the NEASC December 2022 visit include developing a vision for the graduate, developing written curriculum in a consistent format, and documenting a uniform process for student support interventions. The staff engaged in a robust reflection on last year’s initiatives, met or partially met the majority of goals, clear path for moving forward and developing specific goals and action steps to complement the NEASC action plan. There will be Decennial visit in December 2024 for a review of progress towards these priorities.

Each department has created a data-driven goal, to increase student achievement and engagement, and action steps will be monitored throughout the school year. Climate & Culture team meets weekly to create lesson scripts for community building, mental health awareness, and study habits. Extensive extended day offerings are another way to connect students to the community and engage them in their interests. Family engagement was strengthened through the SMORE platform which provides translations in multiple languages and a school-based Portuguese-speaking Family Liaison has assisted greatly in communicating with the newest families. The focus is on increasing enrollment in Advanced courses for groups not currently well-represented.

Mrs. Lebo noted that all SIP facilities items are being referred to the Facilities Subcommittee.

Mrs. Cahill asked what the criteria is for a student to be recommended for an Honors or Advanced class. Mr. Ford said for middle school students entering high school, students are recommended by teachers and parents have the opportunity to review. Once a student is in high school, requests for level changes may be made through guidance and reviewed with the department chairs. Students are encouraged to challenge themselves and take on more advanced coursework. Close to 900 students made the Honor Roll for the first term and will be celebrated at school.

Mrs. Cahill asked if all students who want to be in higher level classes can be accommodated, Mr. Ford said for the most part students can be scheduled for the level they wish. Mr. Ford said sometimes students are reluctant to move levels and leave friends behind.

Mr. Santoro said the schedule for Quincy High School is very unique, integrated the CVTE schedule and the academic requirements. Mr. Santoro asked about the TEAMS, still active with more staff participation than in recent years.

Mr. Gutro complimented the data showing progress academically and the expansive amount of extended day activities. Mr. Gutro asked about the incidents reported, Mr. Ford said that these are trending down. The new Dean staff members are fully invested in working with students and vigilant about identifying issues early. Expanding lunches to four to allow for smaller groups and staff on duty monitoring behaviors and restrooms. Mr. Ford said there was a high level of participation in Spirit Week, athletics are well-supported, and clubs have large memberships. Mr. Ford said there are typical high school issues, hearing the same from other local high school principals. Students who are caught vaping go through a 4-week diversion program with the Health Interventionists.

Mr. Gutro said that the VOCAL data was encouraging for the most part, there were a few concerning points about students perception of safety. Mr. Ford said these reflect the incidents that happened last school year, he is holding firm on the belief that the school is building a stronger culture. The school conducted their own culture and climate survey which included students in all grade levels, staff diversity has continued to grow, created the advisory period for community building which includes circles.

Mr. Gutro noted that the dropout data shows a slight increase for students with disabilities and black students. Mr. Ford said these represent two students, is very pleased that the rate for EL students went down from 12.9% to 4.9%.

Mrs. Lebo said that NEASC highlighted the class size, extended day offerings, and comprehensive schedule of CVTE and academic classes. Mrs. Lebo said the food waste diversion volunteering has been a positive experience, so many wonderful students at Quincy High School.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the student advisory period, the homeroom teachers are working to strengthen relationships to the students they have for their four years of high school. Mrs. Lebo is hoping this will improve the VOCAL student perception of having a staff member they can depend on and go to in a crisis.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to approve the Quincy High School Improvement Plan. Mrs. Cahill seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Atherton Hough Principal Robin Moreira presented the School Improvement Plan, noting that the school is the smallest elementary school in Quincy Public Schools, with twelve general education and seven special education classrooms (Language Development and Transitional Kindergarten). Thanks to School Committee, the school has an additional Guidance Counselor this year. The VOCAL survey data reflects the efforts of the staff to create and sustain a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students. New data reports in the MAP will give teachers another level of detail for achievement, quickly identifying students who need interventions. For MCAS achievement, writing was solid but selected responses seem to be an area for targeting with strategies for students. Ms. Moreira is articularly proud of the achievement in Science MAP for Grades 4 and 5 and solid achievement for MCAS was shown as well, as growth was shown for both general and special education students. This year’s school-wide book is Coffee Bean for Kids.

Mr. Santoro said that Mrs. Moreira is a wonderful leader, the students and families are happy and want to stay at Atherton Hough.

Mr. Gutro said the strong VOCAL data was impressive, asked about students seeing themselves in instructional materials. Mrs. Moreira said there have been a lot of intentional steps to highlight students of different cultures, plus the new CKLA ELA program has rich literature and resources that will increase that.

Mrs. Hubley asked if students express their ideas of what students who look like them means. Mrs. Moreira said that Atherton Hough is in a pilot program with Boston University’s Boston vs. Bullies, students answered a similar question in this survey and this gave an opportunity to discuss. Mrs. Moreira said students want to see about different kinds of families not just different cultures.

Mrs. Lebo said these are tricky questions for young students, they may not know what they are answering. Mrs. Lebo said data is great, class sizes are amazing, and the community is happy.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to approve the Atherton Hough Elementary School Improvement Plan. Mrs. Cahill seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Wollaston Elementary School Principal Jim Hennessy presented the School Improvement Plan, thanked Mayor and School Committee for the constant support, the dedicated staff and optimal class sizes. Parents and guardians are partners in their students’ education, hard work is reflected in the results of the family survey conducted last year with 94% of families strongly agree that their family feels a sense of belonging at Wollaston School. For MAP data, all grades exceeded national norms for all subject areas. For MCAS, all grade levels and subjects showed growth and exceeded state achievement levels. Looking ahead, the new curricula for ELA and Mathematics offer the foundation for expanding student achievement, additional opportunities for project-based instruction, connections between curriculum areas. Open Parachute themes have been analyzed and areas of focus identified, robust communication with parents is enhanced by SMORE, Boston vs. Bullies will be working with Grade 4, and a wide array of extended day activities and community activities enhance the experience.

Mrs. Hubley complimented the VOCAL data, 100% of Grade 4 students said they were happy to be at school and they felt safe at school.

Mr. Gutro said the improvement in Chronic Absenteeism is impressive and the VOCAL data identified many positive areas about the school. Areas of growth include strengthening students feeling secure about having a trusted adult.

Mrs. Lebo said the assessment and VOCAL data is amazing, the parent group is very active.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to approve the Wollaston Elementary School Improvement Plan. Mrs. Cahill seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Montclair Elementary School Principal Renee Malvesti and Assistant Principal Mary Hurley presented the School Improvement Plan, highlighting the schools enrollment with over 400 students with 28 home languages. Montclair was a DESE School of Recognition (1 of 66 schools in Massachusetts) due to MCAS achievement which is a reflection of the committed staff who nurture students academically and social-emotionally. 90% of EL students in Grades 1-5 improved in achievement, all grades and subject areas exceeded national norms for MAP. For MCAS, exceeded state levels for achievement yet did not meet the MCAS goals which were focused on percent correct. Goals for this year include all grade levels, so DIBELS and MAP are used for Grades K-2 for ELA and Mathematics.

For social-emotional skills, Open Parachute lessons provide students with skills and strategies. The Student Support staff is supported by the Physical Education staff in integrating these lessons into practice. Beyond the school bell, extended day programs are enhanced by the NQHS students (Montclair alums) volunteering to provide after school tutoring. Ms. Malvesti said the Language Line is used on a daily basis to communicate with families and the SMORE platform is also a great communication enhancement. Montclair is fortunate to be surrounded by community members who care about the school and students.

Mrs. Cahill agreed that the success at the school is a collaboration of the whole city, starting with the Mayor and continuing through the district and school leadership. The parent engagement and support is phenomenal, reflected in the student achievement.

Mr. Gutro congratulations on MCAS recognition, liked the Open Parachute themes and plan for the year. Mr. Gutro said that students see themselves reflected in materials, Ms. Malvesti said the Citywide PTO has collaborated with the schools on developing monthly themes, acquisition of newer titles supported by PTO. Mr. Gutro noted that Chronic Absenteeism declined for some, but not all subgroups.

Mrs. Lebo noted that Montclair’s level for Chronic Absenteeism is among the lowest in the district, almost back to pre-pandemic levels.

Mrs. Cahill made a motion to approve the Montclair Elementary School Improvement Plan. Mr. Santoro seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Clifford Marshall Elementary School Acting Principal Heather Patch and Acting Assistant Principal Justine Sullivan presented the School Improvement Plan, noting that the school has welcomed 75 new students in Grades 1-4 in addition to almost 100 new Kindergarten students to date this school year. In addition to being proud of the academic achievements, students and families happily engage in extended day activities and family events. In terms of assessment data, there is evidence of growth in all areas and grades. Writing was a strong area of achievement, and math data showed a need to focus on numbers and operations strands. Foundational reading skills are being emphasized through the new CKLA curriculum and problem-based learning is emphasized in the new Illustrative Math curriculum. Areas for social-emotional growth were identified through analyzing the VOCAL data, especially in the area of self-regulation.

Mrs. Cahill said that the Clifford Marshall population is very diverse with a number of different languages. Mrs. Cahill asked about whether students struggling with language acquisition are showing frustration, Ms. Patch agreed that this can be a challenge for them. Translation apps are very helpful, along with the Language Line. The Family Liaisons are also a valuable resource in orienting students.

Mr. Santoro asked how many of the new students are new to the United States, Ms. Patch said 50%.

Mr. Gutro asked how many languages, Ms. Patch said 34 at last count. Mr. Gutro said the school has a strong parent support through the PTO, noted the significant decrease in Chronic Absenteeism for most subgroups. Ms. Patch said the solution is relationship building with the families, an ongoing effort to identify the barriers to consistent school attendance.

Mrs. Lebo agreed the family liaisons are so important, making the students and families as comfortable as possible. Mrs. Lebo noted that not only do new students move in but almost an equal number move out as the overall enrollment is consistent with previous years.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to approve the Clifford Marshall Elementary School Improvement Plan. Mrs. Cahill seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Bernazzani Elementary School Principal Peter Dionne presented the School Improvement Plan, noting that the school exceeded last year’s goal for almost all MAP and MCAS goals. VOCAL survey results had many highly rated categories, for teachers supporting and caring for students and students feeling safe at school. Mr. Dionne said that there will be a version of the one book, one school initiative each month this year, but focused on EDI topics, book purchases are supported by the PTO. Goals for this school year are based on MAP data and student achievement is analyzed at the Integrated Learning Team meetings held three times per year. Social-emotional goals integrate Open Parachute, Peace Builders, PBIS, and other strategies.

Mr. Gutro is impressed with the family engagement activities and the VOCAL data that shows the strength of the staff.

Mr. Gutro noted that Chronic Absenteeism remains an issue, Mr. Dionne said that the focus has been on intervening with families earlier.

Mrs. Lebo agreed with Mr. Gutro, the family engagement is great. Bernazzani is a great school with great achievement.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to approve the Bernazzani Elementary School Improvement Plan. Mrs. Cahill seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mrs. Cahill made a motion to adjourn at 8:00 pm, seconded by Mr. Santoro. On a voice vote, the ayes have it.