March 28, 2022 Subcommittee Meeting

March 28, 2022 Subcommittee Meeting
Posted on 03/24/2022
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Quincy School Committee Athletics & Wellness Subcommittee

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

Mrs. Tina Cahill, Athletics & Wellness Chair
Mr. Doug Gutro & Mrs. Emily Lebo, Subcommittee Members

Monday, March 28, 2022, 6:00 pm
Coddington Building, School Committee Room

  1. Winter 2022 Athletics Update - Mr. Mahoney, Mr. Niamkey

  2. Spring 2022 Athletics Overview - Mr. Mahoney, Mr. Niamkey

  3. Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum Update - Ms. Papile

Members of the public can access the meeting in person or live on QATV Channel 22. The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast and posted on on Friday, April 1, 2022 on the QPS SchoolTube channel.


Quincy School Committee Athletics & Wellness Subcommittee Meeting ~ Monday, March 28, 2022

A meeting of the Athletics & Wellness Subcommittee was held on Monday, March 28, 2022 at 6:00 pm in the Coddington Building. Present were Subcommittee members Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Emily Lebo, and Mrs. Tina Cahill, Subcommittee Chair. Also present were School Committee member Mr. Frank Santoro, Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, Ms. Rita Bailey, Ms. Molly Belovorac, Ms. Colleen Connerty, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Mr. Terrell Johnson, Mr. Michael Lorenzano, Mr. Kevin Mahoney, Mr. Jean-Jacques Niamkey, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Caitlin Plaskasovitis, Ms. Madeline Roy, Ms. Keith Segalla, and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Quincy High School Athletic Director Kevin Mahoney and North Quincy High School Athletic Director Jean-Jacques Niamkey presented a review of Winter 2021-22 Athletics. Students were allowed to return to play without modifications in rules and participation numbers exceeded pre-COVID levels. Each Athletic Director reviewed the 5 MVPs and 32 All-Stars for Winter Athletics and the MIAA tournament qualifiers and records. Mr. Niamkey noted the single-game scoring record of NQHS Basketball player Orlagh Gormley and the undefeated season and Patriot League Championship for the NQHS Girls Basketball team. At Quincy High School, Maggie Lynch became the all-time program scoring leader for QNQ Girls Hockey. The co-op Ski club had a good turnout and will become a sport for Winter 2023.

Mr. Gutro said that as a parent, the teams were amazing, great performances in so many sports, the successes brought the schools and the city together.

Mrs. Lebo said that the excitement was shared in the community, it gave the whole city a boost.

Mr. Santoro said this winter was so meaningful, the students were excited to have the opportunity to be together. Mr. Santoro asked about MIAA sharing of the admission fees for games. Mr. Niamkey said that there is a split between the MIAA and the host school

Mrs. Cahill asked about leadership opportunities. Mr. Niamkey said that prior to COVID, there was an annual student leadership summit for 100 juniors who are athletic leaders and this event will be returning this year.

Mrs. Lebo asked if there is an orientation package for the coaches, each Athletic Director meets with the coaches to set expectations at the beginning of the season: schedules, buses, expectations for student athletes, anti-hazing and concussion training.

For the Spring 2022 season underway last week, both Mr. Mahoney and Mr. Niamkey said that participation has skyrocketed with 360 students at QHS and 330 students at NQHS signed up. QNQ track, QNQ Boys Lacrosse, Boys & Girls Tennis, and Boys Volleyball are all showing an increase. Mr. Niamkey said that Commissioner Murphy and the Parks Department staff have done a great job preparing the fields.

Mr. Gutro asked if the students will all have the opportunity to participate or if there will be roster cuts. Mr. Niamkey said they are looking at establishing three levels of teams that previously had two. Boys Volleyball is the only sport that has cuts traditionally.

Mr. Gutro asked if there are emerging sports for Spring, Mr. Niamkey said Rugby is something that is being considered for next year. Mr. Niamkey said the schools have badminton and table tennis clubs.

Mrs. Cahill asked if the increase in participation affects the budget. Mr. Mahoney said that the increased participation can be accommodated, for track & field some decisions may be made on which athletes will travel. Mr. Niamkey said there are challenges in scheduling the third level of lacrosse, but these are good problems to have.

Senior Director of Student Support Maura Papile presented on Social Emotional Learning along with Elementary School Guidance Counselor Ms. Molly Belovorac, Middle School Guidance Counselor Ms. Colleen Connerty, High School Health Inverventionist Mr. Terrell Johnson, Middle School Health Teacher Mr. Michael Lorenzano, and High School Health TeacherMs. Caitlin Plaskasovitis. Social- Emotional Learning consists of social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision-making, self-management, and self-awareness. These are supported by curriculum and instruction in the classroom, school-wide practices and policies, and family and community partnerships. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion are integral to Social-Emotional Learning, especially cultural competency, identity, and self-reflection.

At the elementary school level, there is a tiered support model. Tier 1 is for all students, social skills presented in the classrooms; Tier 2 is for identified students to work in groups on developing targeted skills; Tier 3 is intensive support for students at high risk including check-in/check-out on a daily basis with trusted staff. Elementary schools also utilize large group events such as grade-level assemblies and smaller groups for community circles and mindfulness and empathy-building activities. Curriculum supports include Second Step (skills for learning, developing empathy and emotion management, and problem solving), Steps to Respect (anti-bullying) and Superflex or Incredible Flexible You (depending on grade level). Elementary schools also have outside partnerships such as Boston vs. Bullies (from the New England Sports Museum) and the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State.

Middle school uses the same tiered supports, utilizing PBIS to recognize and reward positive behaviors, community circles with more complex themes, including conflict resolution. The community circles have been an important way to include student voices in the classroom and school. At the middle school level, navigating media challenges is particularly important. Reframing terminology about balancing media use in school and outside of school, students have the power to make choices about how media affects their lives. In the Health classes, character development is the starting point: respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, trustworthiness, and citizenship. Critical support for students around developing positive self-image, especially as a means for resisting negative peer pressure and recognizing direct and indirect influences, surrounding yourself with people who have similar values as you, and ultimately making healthy choices.

At the high school level, the Health Interventionists work with Grade 9 students in the Freshman Seminar rotation and Health teachers for Grade 10 (semester course for all students). In addition to grade-level assemblies, students have leadership opportunities for extracurricular and peer support groups. Community circles were introduced this year, facilitated by teachers, emphasize taking time for self-reflection during the day, among their many other activities and responsibilities, sharing is more difficult for high school students as a concept. There are community building activities for small and larger groups, continuing education on social media including privacy, building healthy relationships. The new Health Teacher positions are supporting Wellness during the school day, students learning skills to support friends and peers with problems (validate-appreciate-refer), lunchtime self-care activities (pilot at NQHS), set up the Auditorium as a reflection space (Calm app, dim lights). Outside supports have been provided by the Samaritans (suicide prevention), dispelling the stigma around mental health issues; Beth Israel Deaconess Milton Hospital recently awarded QPS a grant for vaping education for students and families (Parent Academy on April 5). Other community partners include DOVE, Walker Therapeutics, QARI, Restorative Education, May Institute. Quincy Public Schools is collaborating with the Citywide EDI Subcommittee on a Multi-Cultural family event, food trucks and sports around the world at Veterans Stadium on May 5.

Ms. Papile concluded the presentation by thanking all of the dedicated professionals that are working with the students and their families, doing such a phenomenal job.

Mrs. Lebo thanked the presenters, so thankful to see the comprehensive range of offerings. Mrs. Lebo said the DESE Health frameworks haven’t been updated since 1996 and don’t really include mental health issues. Ms. Papile said CASEL Framework and Teaching Tolerance have been valuable resources. Mrs. Lebo said there are many resources, would like to see a correlation of state standards by which area of responsibility (Health, Health Interventions, Guidance, Physical Education). Mrs. Lebo said DESE was supposed to have new Frameworks for public comment in the 2019-2020 school year.

Mrs. Lebo asked about opportunities for parent notification. In the middle and high school level, syllabi are shared with parents and there is the opportunity to opt out. In Grade 5, parents are notified about the sexual health curriculum. Ms. Papile would like to revive the Health newsletter, providing parents with assistance on different topics and external supports.

Mr. Gutro thanked the presenters, the impact of the pandemic has been widespread, depression, anxiety, social isolation and students re-integrate into school. School Committee wants to focus the comprehensive package of supports, so impressive about how they are woven together. Mr. Gutro asked about how outcomes can be measured.

Ms. Belovorac said that students are more open about topics, normalizing the concept of getting help before it is a crisis. Ms. Plaskasovitis said that the focus is on connection and student buy-in once students were all back in person, student anxiety was more visible, constant reminders about sharing and recognizing what they have in common. Mr. Johnson uses ambient sounds and scents, allowing students to choose where they sit and the atmosphere of the room, helps unblock

Mr. Gutro asked for a follow up about the DOVE curriculum impact at the end of the school year. Ms. P said that they are revamping curriculum, asked the high schools for input

Mr. Santoro asked about the scheduling, Mr. Lorenzano said Middle School Health is once per the six-day cycle. Ms. Plaskosovitis said that each Grade 10 student has 10th grade Health daily for one term. Ms. Belovorac said that classroom lessons are on a rotating basis, but she interacts with students in many different ways individually and in small groups.

Mr. Santoro is concerned about Grade 8 to Grade 9 transition, especially for students who were not successful in middle school. Ms. Papile said the May Institute is working with the high schools, strategic planning for tiered interventions. QPS is fortunate to have special programs and family assistance for high risk students for re-engagement and student success. Ms. Papile said this year there are double the number of mental health referrals from previous years. The new school adjustment counselors are very important, we are looking at data points to build the road to recovery.

Mrs. Cahill said the presentation really highlighted all of the important work that the presenters are doing. Academically, students build on skills learned in Kindergarten throughout their lives. The presentation showed how the social-emotional learning works in the same way to support students as they grow and mature and is just as important as the academic foundation we provide for students.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to adjourn the Athletics & Wellness Subcommittee at 8:00 pm, seconded by Mr. Gutro. On a voice vote, the ayes have it.