October 18, 2006 School Committee Minutes


Quincy, Massachusetts - October 18, 2006
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. Present were: Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mr. Kevin Mulvey, Mr. Dave McCarthy, Mr. James Timmins, Mayor Phelan and Mrs. Elaine Dwyer, Vice Chairman.

Vice Chairman Presiding

The Superintendent called the roll and Ms. Stice was absent. Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary, and Mrs. Tefta Burrelli, Clerk; Drs. Mariano and Pattavina. Messrs. O’Brien, Ryan, Walsh, McPhee, Keith and Kevin Segalla, and Mr. Mullaney; Ms. Todd, Hughes, Powell, and Roberts. Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA President; Mr. Henry Brawley and Ms. Barbara Isola, Citywide; and Paige Neumann, QHS Associate member.

Reg. & Exec. Minutes Approved 10/4/2006

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mrs. Mahoney, the Committee approved the regular and executive session minutes for October 4, 2006. The ayes have it.

French Exchange Students

The Committee welcomed the French Exchange students who are visiting North Quincy High School. The students and their teachers introduced themselves to the members. They received a certificate of welcome and a small gift from the members.

The Superintendent thanked the Committee for participating in the Mini-grant reception. A total of $27,000 was given to 115 staff members.

Partner Recognized

At this time, the Committee honored Business Partner, Aviva Insurance, for their contribution of $10,000 and their student support. They participate in Jr. Achievement at Beechwood, they provide site support, they donated $2,500 in trees and shrubs to Sterling and Lincoln Hancock. They provided job shadowing for 12 Quincy High School students. Aviva also donated $34,000 worth of office furniture to the school system. Ms. Jennel Foy,
Marketing Director, was present to receive a plaque in appreciation from the Committee.

Mrs. Emily Lebo introduced Mr. Scott Holbrook, Auto Mechanic Instructor from Quincy High School. This program is now certified in all eight areas of auto mechanics. Students graduate with certification from this program and can also qualify for a four-year school. Mr. Holbrook is ASC Certified. He is considered a master auto mechanic. Mr. Holbrook introduced three of his students, two of whom are going on to college and an eleventh grader. They will graduate with an auto mechanics certification and are eligible to go on to college. These students now work part time at Boch and Quirk. This program benefits from its partners.

The dedication of the Atherton Hough gymnasium in honor of James “Red” Riley will be held this Sunday, October 22 at 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. The 10th. Annual Community Service Learning Celebration will be held on November 16. The Committee received the Fall Scene brochures, a listing of quality after school programs.

Open Forum

Ms. Barbara Isola and Mr. Hank Brawley, Citywide, spoke to the issue of traffic safety at North Quincy High School. They have been observing the drop off patterns and have met with Mr. McPhee and Mr. McNulty. They came up with recommendations which they presented to the Committee.

Mr. Ed McDonough spoke to the music program. There are 10 students city wide in the instrumental music program. Because of the previous cuts, the present eighth graders had no formal education in music. His concern is that if the present fourth grade isn’t introduced to instruments we will lose them. He also asked that we look at the teacher retention issue.

Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA President, reminded the Committee that it is 48 days that teachers don’t have a contract.

Bldg. Update

Mr. Joe Canavan reported that the lockers at the Stadium are finished, the additional lights at Central are completed, and the Wollaston oil tank was repaired. The school heating systems were turned on this week. Fifteen schools are now on line with work orders. The members are invited to drop in and see how this program works.

Update on New QHS

The Building Committee has not met lately, however, much is going on behind the scenes. This week borings will be done on 20 locations-- the East campus, the marsh area, Woodward Ave, Personnel, Special Ed office and the administrative office. Mr. Timmins asked if any boring had been done or are planned at Faxon Field. Mr. Ryan answered that one has been done along the parking lot. Mr. Timmins thought it would be helpful to do test borings at Faxon with regard to the track. Mrs. Dwyer said that a lot of testing had been done previous. That information already exists. Mr. Ryan will check into that.

Career/Vocational Advisory Boards

Chapter 74, sec. 4.05 of the General Laws governing Career/Vocational Education programs require that each program have an active advisory committee consisting of business and industry representatives, teachers, parents, and students. They provide advice on new technologies, help update and refine the curriculum, assist in placing students, generate positive public relations and assist program planning and evaluations. In addition, a General Advisory Committee must be formed to guide the work of these committees and report back to the School Committee. Mrs. Lebo presented a list of people and asked the Committee for their approval.

List Approved

Mr. McCarthy made a motion, seconded by Mayor Phelan, to approve the list of names for the Career and Technical Education General and Advisory Boards. The ayes have it.

PDP/DIP Presentations

 Dr. Mariano, Mrs. Roberts, and Mr. O’Brien presented to the Committee the District Improvement Plan and the Professional Development Plan. The District Improvement Plan offers a vision that is reflective of managing the changes necessary to maintain and improve an educational organization. The concept is that those who will be impacted by a decision should be part of that decision. Teams comprised of teachers, department head, counselors, principals, directors and other professional and para profession staff consistently examine and assess the many aspects of our school system. Their task is to identify areas in need of improvement and to establish goals.

Mrs. Roberts presented the Professional Development plan. This plan offers professional development to strengthen educational skills for teachers in the Quincy Public Schools and increase educational knowledge of subject matter. Mrs. Roberts explained how Early Release Days are structured.

The Mayor said he finds the time spent on the School Improvement Plans very productive. He asked that the Superintendent schedule an hour perhaps in a subcommittee to show the DIP, how it works and how it trickles down into the schools.

Mrs. Mahoney said that people don’t understand what happens on a Tuesday afternoon. She suggested a demonstration at a School Committee meeting and include a Trophies presentation. This would be helpful. 

Mr. Timmins asked that the Professional Development plan booklet be available at the schools to demonstrate what happens on a Tuesday. This would help the parents understand as well.

Quarterly Budget

Mr. McCarthy reported that the Budget Subcommittee met on October 16 to review the Quarterly Budget Report. They reviewed the salary side and the expense side. The salary side is right on target. There are two issues on the Expense side that need to be watched -- Special Ed Tuition and Transportation. There are a lot of out-of-district placements that are very expensive.

Mr. Mullaney reported that we didn’t get as much in breakage as was expected. We will be attacking the Tuition line on a monthly basis. We are working with SPED in placements for cost savings. Mr. Mullaney will be applying for extending relief. With regard to transportation, we are trying to bundle up on some routes.

Quarterly Budget Approved

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mr. Timmins, the Committee accepted the Quarterly Budget Report. The ayes have it.

The Mayor told the Committee to have a plan ready to address this issue if it hasn’t started to resolve itself, as any deficit will be addressed within the school budget.

Sliding Scale to Policy Subcommittee

The Mayor asked how students qualify for free and reduced benefits. Is there a formal policy that addresses kids that need it and do we do outreach. The Superintendent answered that other than lunch, we do it informally through the school system. If there is something we are offering and a student can’t afford it, it’s usually handled through the principals--Summer school, instrumental, etc., all done informally. There is tremendous outreach. We would never have is so that our children are not able to participate.

On a motion by Mayor Phelan, seconded by Mr. Timmins, the Committee referred this issue to the Policy Subcommittee. The ayes have it.

The Mayor wants a formal vehicle in place whereby children can qualify for some activity. He would like to see a sliding fee in place. Mrs. Dwyer said that PTOs have money set aside for field trips, etc. 

Traffic @ NQHS Subcommittee

Mr. McCarthy made a motion, seconded by Mayor Phelan, to refer the traffic and parking issue at North Quincy High to the Health, safety to Subcommittee. The ayes have it.

The Mayor said new stripes have been painted and they looked at the lights. Someone is going down there to get a look at it next week. We should be able to review some of these action items. It may be that it will take more time for parents to drop off students. You can’t add another lane. The only way to get it safer is to required all right hand turns. A Traffic Engineer will go down and watch the students being picked up and dropped off at peak times and take a look at the suggestions and see if they are feasible or if he can see anything else being done that would make it a safer condition. Mrs. Mahoney asked that the Committee get feedback and give the recommendations to the Subcommittee. They Mayor will have the Traffic Engineer come to the Subcommittee meeting to discuss it.

SPED Subcommittee

Mr. Timmins reported that the Special Ed. Subcommittee met. Ms. Todd introduced new staff members. Communication seems to be the biggest problem. Ms. Todd has established Team Administrator Grid to make sure SPED people are available. All the schools fall under one of her administrators. There is a new protocol being developed for the IEP process. We are dividing up the IEP process and steps. The President of QPCAC will present it to the parents. There is another meeting scheduled for January.


The Committee noted the following retirements:

Teachers: Rita Siciliano, Anne Vella


The Committee noted the following resignations:

Lunch Attendants: Susan Stone, Lisa Sullivan

Paraprofessional: James Whealan


The Committee noted the following appointments:

Psychologist: Meghan Cuff

Teacher: Qing Tian Ruan

Sr. Clk & Typist: Linda Lombard

Lunch Attendants: Janet Barry, Mary Ellen Grasselli, Kerri Merrifield, Mary Moriarty


On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mr. Timmins, the Committee adjourned the meeting at 9:17 p.m. On a roll call vote, the motion passed. Ms. Stice was absent. There was no executive session.