Feb. 6, 2020 Teaching/Policy Joint Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Joint Meeting of Teaching & Learning and Policy Subcommittees

**This meeting is a Committee of the Whole**

Mrs. Emily Lebo, Teaching & Learning Chair
Mr. Paul Bregoli & Mr. Frank Santoro, Subcommittee Members

Mr. Paul Bregoli, Policy Chair
Mr. Anthony Andronico & Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Subcommittee Members

Thursday, February 6, 2020, 6:00 pm
Coddington Building

  1. Financial Literacy Curriculum Presentation -  Mr. Keith Segalla, Ms. Marianne Collins, Ms. Rebecca McInnis

  2. New QPS Website Update - Vice Chair Andronico Mr. Robert Cavallo, Mr. Keith Segalla

  3. Proposed Revision to Policy 9.11.1 Homework - Mrs. Lebo

  4. Proposed Revision to the QPS Homework Guide - Mrs. Lebo

  5. Review of Policies 11.12.1 and 12.2 Relations with other Schools and School Districts  - Mr. Bregoli, Dr. DeCristofaro


Quincy School Committee Joint Teaching & Learning and Policy Subcommittees Meeting ~ Thursday, February 6, 2020

A joint meeting of the Teaching & Learning and Policy Subcommittees was held on Thursday, February 6 at 6:00 pm in the Coddington Building. Present were Mr. Anthony Andronico, Mr. Paul Bregoli (Policy Chair), Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo (Teaching & Learning Chair), and Mr. Frank Santoro. Also attending were Superintendent Richard DeCristofaro, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Mr. Robert Cavallo, Ms. Marianne Collins, Ms. Marisa Forrester, Ms. Rebecca McInnis, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Erin Perkins, Ms. Kimberley Quinn, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, and Mr. Edward Smith; Quincy Citywide Parent Council President Scott Alessandro; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Mrs. Lebo called the Joint Teaching & Learning and Policy Subcommittees meeting to order at 6:00 pm. Executive Director of Career Technical Vocational Education Keith Segalla and CVTE Department Chairs Marianne Collins (NQHS) and Rebecca McInnis (QHS) reviewed the Financial Literacy courses available at both high schools. Both offer a full-year course in Personal Finance and a half-year course in Financial Literacy. Topics covered include: compensation, taxes, budgeting, checking and savings accounts, electronic and online banking, interest, investments, borrowing (credit cards, mortgages), planning for retirement, and leasing/depreciation. Facets of Financial Literacy are also integrated into Mathematics classes and Business Technology, Accounting, and Entrepreneurship courses. There are currently 93 students enrolled in the half-year Financial Literacy courses and 39 in the Personal Finance class. Quincy School~Community Partnership members are active resources for these courses, sponsoring access to online content, and the annual Credit for Life Fair.

Mr. Gutro arrived at 6:15 pm.

Mr. Santoro asked and received clarification that these courses are open to all students. Mr. Segalla said the full-year course can be an elective or assist students who need additional Math class to fulfill their Educational Proficiency Plan.

Mrs. Lebo said that this financial literacy education is so important and would like to see additional assistance for students and parents in analyzing financial aid awards.

Mr. Andronico thanked the presenters, would like to see the course offerings expanded so there are additional opportunities to reach more students. Former School Committee member James DeAmicis had presented this as a topic to explore for expansion, especially for students to understand the cost of college.

Ms. McInnis said that QHS has had recent alums come back and speak to the classes about the costs of college.

Mr. Gutro thanked the presenters and noted that the high schools are working to reach the parents through College Information and Financial Aid Information nights.

Mr. Bregoli asked about the grade level of students in these courses, Mr. Segalla said they are offered to juniors and seniors and there are CCP and Honors level classes.

Mr. Andronico introduced the new Quincy Public Schools website which launched on January 31, 2020. The response has been generally positive and there are areas for improvement, some related to the new website, others that are carryover from previous site. Suggestions include creating a page for the Special Education Learning Center project, making the Special Education resources more prominent, updating the format of the School Committee Policy page, and create a feedback form of bigger picture items that can be addressed over the summer.

Mr. Cavallo demonstrated the navigation of the new website: Student Registration, Special Education Program resources, and Staff email. Mr. Cavallo also demonstrated how to pay User Fees for Athletics at the high school level, how to view the lunch menu, and how to access news items. Staff training, which began with a Webex in mid-January, will continue with onsite training on February 27-28 and ongoing training for site Webmasters.

Mrs. Lebo complimented the photography, the aerial shots of the schools are very nice and noted that she has heard positive feedback.

Mr. Gutro asked how the comments were generated, Mr. Andronico said they were on his Facebook post and other Facebook group posts. Mr. Cavallo said a feedback form will be directed to him for filtering about the new website. Mr. Gutro asked if responses will be tracked or categorized. Mr. Segalla clarified that we have already been receiving emails inquiries through the older website and he shares them with the appropriate staff members for response.

Mr. Gutro asked about a calendar feature, there is an option on the website but this feature has not yet been activated for the district. Mr. Cavallo said that each school also has its own calendar. Mr. Gutro suggested that the Athletics information be included on the school level calendar.

Mr. Santoro noted that this would be complicated to keep updated as there are multiple events on most days for Freshman, JV, and Varsity teams for several sports.

Mr. Gutro asked about forms being completed online, for example, health forms or field trip forms. Athletics registration and fees are all submitted online.

Mrs. Hubley suggested a community calendar that PTO events could be posted would be helpful to avoid overlaps of events. Dr. DeCristofaro suggested this could be something that Citywide PTO coordinates.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the Accountability Data, the DESE Report cards for the District and all schools are posted under “Our District”.

Dr. DeCristofaro thanked Mr. Andronico for his leadership, Mayor Koch for providing the funding, and Mr. Segalla and Mr. Cavallo for their management of the new QPS Website project.

Mrs. Lebo introduced the next item on the agenda, the proposed revision to School Committee Policy Section 9.11.1 Homework. The Policy is purposely generic, respecting the professionalism of the teachers and giving them latitude in assignments. Mrs. Lebo noted that Quincy Education Association President Allison Cox was unable to attend tonight’s meeting, but wanted School Committee to know that the QEA was involved in the discussions and support the changes to the Homework Guide and the Policy. The revised Policy and Homework Guide will be shared with all staff once it is finalized.

Mr. Bregoli said the time guidelines are good, but how do students struggling with an assignment know to stop and not spend hours on an assignment they cannot complete. Mrs. Lebo pointed out that there is a note about this in the Homework Guide.

Mrs. Hubley asked about students in middle school advanced courses, they might have more complex assignments that take longer amounts of time.

Mr. Gutro asked about the changes from the previous Policy. Mrs. Lebo said the main language change was to clarify that teachers don’t feel they have to assign homework every night. Mr. Gutro asked how the revised Policy will be communicated to students and parents. Mrs. Lebo said the Homework Guide will be disseminated through the new website and emailed out to families. Dr. DeCristofaro said there are many parents invested in this process.

Mrs. Lebo said the Homework Guide Introduction addresses who was involved in the process of creating the survey, analyzing the responses.

Mr. Santoro said that in his experience, the scheduling of assessments so they don’t overlap is the biggest challenge. Mrs. Lebo said this was discussed, very difficult since students in the same English class may be in six different Math classes.

Dr. DeCristofaro said that students have more extensive extracurricular schedules than twenty years ago, the notion of 4-5 hours of homework per night is not tenable. High school students have family and job responsibilities as well.

Mr. Bregoli agreed that consideration for the student is first and foremost. At the high school level, homework is part of the student grade, should School Committee determine the appropriate weight for homework. Dr. DeCristofaro said that the high school department chairs and principals are responsible for reviewing the course syllabi and keeping these balanced.

Mrs. Hubley said that if homework is graded, what will happen when a student cannot complete an assignment due to struggling with the material. Dr. DeCristofaro said that this is where communication with the teacher and the school so important. Mrs. Lebo suggested that the syllabi reflect the statement about struggling with assignments for students. Dr. DeCristofaro said that teachers and principals understand that students have unique situations.

Mr. Bregoli asked for more time to review the proposed revised Policy and Homework Guide. Dr. DeCristofaro suggested discussing at the February 26 Joint Teaching & Learning and Policy Subcommittees meeting.

Dr. DeCristofaro said this is the product of many important discussions, lots of thought went into creating the revised Policy and Homework Guide.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to continue discussion of the revised School Committee Policy 9.11.1 Homework at the February 26, 2020 Joint Teaching & Learning and Policy Subcommittees meeting. Mr. Andronico seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to move the review of the revised Homework Guidelines to the the February 26, 2020 Joint Teaching & Learning and Policy Subcommittees meeting. Mr. Andronico seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Dr. DeCristofaro introduced the last item on the agenda, the review of School Committee Policies 11.12.1 and 12.2 Relations with Other Schools and School Districts. Dr. DeCristofaro said that under Massachusetts law, the Quincy School Committee reviews requests for the establishment of a new private school in Quincy. School Committee has received a request to approve the establishment of a new private school in Quincy. The current Policy is not reflective of current Massachusetts regulations, so Sections 11.12.1 and 12.2 will need to be revised.

Mr. Mulvey is concerned about limiting School Committee liability with regard to approval of private school meeting the same standards as Quincy Public Schools. If a student or parent is not satisfied with the private school education, they cannot hold the Quincy School Committee liable for that. Mr. Mulvey supports adapting the Wareham Public Schools Policy shared through the Massachusetts Association of School Committees Clerks group.

Mrs. Lebo asked about monitoring the school going forward, Dr. DeCristofaro said there is no requirement. Mrs. Lebo said she would like to see this added to the Policy.

Mr. Santoro asked if existing private schools would have to be re-evaluated.

Mr. Gutro asked for background on this request. Mrs. Lebo said we have a request from an applicant who would like to establish a private school for students ages 4-10.

Mr. Santoro asked if there is a time limit between the request and the vote. Mr. Mulvey said the law is not specific, but the applicant plans to open the school in Fall 2020.

Dr. DeCristofaro said the applicant wrote to him for guidance, did not know how to pursue getting approval.

Mr. Gutro asked if there is appeal process should School Committee not approve the request. Mr. Mulvey said there is no appeal process, the authority lies with School Committee.

Mr. Mulvey said that the criteria needs to be uniform, we must treat all applicants the same.

Mr. Andronico said that the Wareham Policy reflects the DESE advisory and with Mr. Mulvey’s liability language, are a good starting point.

Mr. Mulvey said he will have a draft of the revised Policy ready for the next Policy meeting.

Mr. Andonico said once the Policy is adopted, if School Committee rejects the proposal, and the school files a lawsuit, who would make the decision. Mr. Mulvey said it would be up to the courts, so the goal is to establish a clear and concise Policy and criteria and adhere to it.

Mr. Andronico asked if there are recent cases where private schools who were not approved have sued the School Committee; Mr. Mulvey will research.

Mrs. Lebo said that the School Committee decision could be a deferral and request for additional information.

Mrs. Lebo asked for clarification that the School Committee would not have to review private schools that were pre-existing before 2007 regulations changed.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to continue this item to the the February 26, 2020 Joint Teaching & Learning and Policy Subcommittees meeting. Mr. Andronico seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to adjourn the Joint Teaching & Learning and Policy Subcommittees meeting at 6:20 pm. Mr. Andronico seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.