Oct. 3, 2007 School Committee Meeting


Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee
October 3, 2007

City Council Chambers
 7:00 p.m. Regular Meeting

I. Approval of Minutes: Regular Session minutes for September 19, 2007 and executive session minutes for September 5, 2007 and September 19, 2007.

II. Superintendent’s Report:

A. October 1 Enrollment
B. Class Size Information
C. Instant Alert
D. School Improvement Plans
E. Literacy Matters
F. Quincy High School Construction
G. Outward Bound - Mrs. Powell

III. Open Forum: An opportunity for community input regarding the Quincy Public Schools. After giving his or her name and address, each speaker may make a presentation of no more than four minutes to the School Committee.

IV. Old Business

A. Update on the New Quincy High School: Mr. Ryan to report.
B. Update on Central and Sterling:
C. Superintendent's Evaluation:

V. New Business:

A. FMA Live Honeywell Science Presentation: Mrs. Roberts and Brian Smith to report.

B. Assistant Superintendent Job Description:

C. A gift of $850 from the Masons Rural Lodge A.F. & A.M. to benefit Quincy Public Schools Students in Need Fund. See Attachment A.

D. Official Delegate to the MASC Annual Business Meeting. See Attachment B.

E. Out of State Travel: North Quincy AFJROTC to New Hampshire. See Attachment C.

VI. Additional Business:

VII. Communications:

VIII. Hearings: - none

IX. Reports of Special Committees:

X. Executive Session:

XI. Adjournment:

Subcommittees of the School Committee

Subcommittee Date Referred Business Pending
Budget & Finance
McCarthy/Stice/Mahoney 11/19/2003 Vending Machines in Schools
  1/7/2004 Marshall Remedial Action Plan
  5/27/2004 (Subcommittee) Transportation Fees
  4/11/2007 HS Health Curriculum
Building Needs    
Dwyer/McCarthy/Timmins Major Building Projects  
  3/4/98 QHS/Central/Sterling Building Plans
  10/20/2004 ADA Report
  9/7/2005 Alternative Plans for Central Middle School
  1/25/2006 Fire Extinguishers
  1/25/2006 Outdoor Lighting
  2/8/2006 Conservation
Health, Safety & Security    
Mahoney/Dwyer/Timmins 10/18/2006 NQHS Traffic & Drop off
  4/11/2007 HS Health Curriculum
School Policy    
Stice/Mahoney/Mulvey 1/10/2001 Policy Manual
  11/19/2003 Vending Machines in Schools
  10/18/2006 Sliding Scale for Student Fees
  3/21/2007 Student Records/Transfers, etc.
  5/2/2007 Bullying
Special Education    
Timmins/McCarthy/Mulvey 1/17/2007 Emergency Information Form
  1/17/2007 Substitute Teachers for SPED
  3/21/2007 Implementation of IEPs
Rules, Post Audit & Oversight    



Quincy, Massachusetts - October 3, 2007
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, October 3, at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, City Hall. Present were Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mr. Kevin Mulvey, Ms. Linda Stice, Mr. Jim Timmins, Mr. Dave McCarthy, and Ms. Elaine Dwyer, Vice Chairman. Vice Chairman Presiding

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The Superintendent called the roll and Mayor Phelan was absent. Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary, and Mrs. Tefta Burrelli, Clerk; Dr. Pattavina. Messrs. O’Brien, Ryan, Walsh, McPhee, Canavan, Kevin and Keith Segalla, Ms. Powell, Hughes, and Roberts. Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA President, was also present.

The Committee observed a moment of silence for Ms. Ciara M. Durkin, a Quincy resident in the National Guard who died in Afghanistan.

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Reg Mins. for 9/19/2007 & ES 9/5/2007 & 9/19/2007

On a motion by Mr. Mulvey, seconded by Ms. Stice, the Committee approved the regular session minutes for September 19, 2007 and the executive session minutes for September 5, 2007 and September 19, 2007. The ayes have it.

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Supt’s Report

The Superintendent thanked those who participated in the Mayor’s Golf Tournament at Granite Links. Over $350,000 was raised which will be used for early childhood initiatives.

Keith Segalla arranged for 15 Blue Cross/Blue Shield employees to weed, plant, sweep, and rake the grounds of Quincy High School, including the East Wing and Coddington buildings.

Atlantic Middle School will be recognized for improvement in the Planet Health program run by Blue Cross Blue Shield. Congratulations go to Laura Bogan, Principal.

The last of the School Improvement Plans will be reviewed tomorrow at the Point Webster Middle School beginning at 9:00 a.m.


The Committee received information regarding student transportation delays. The Registry of Motor Vehicles has initiated a new School Bus Inspection. This is causing difficulty in keeping our total fleet on the road. Our mechanics are working hard to correct problems. While we work on a solution, Ms. Constantino has been reworking routes in an effort to get it back on track.

A mini-grant reception will be held on October 16 from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. sponsored by our Partnership. There are three categories: Aviva Grants (Community Service), Uncle Sam (Flag Education), and Honeywell (Science Technology). We have received 200 requests and expect to award 150 which will total $40,000.

Student Trip

Mrs. Powell spoke to the request for seven eighth grade at-risk students to do a week long camping experience on Thompson’s Island. Outward Bound is a non-profit educational organization whose programs change lives through its emphasis on character development, respect for differences, team building, and hands-on learning experiences. The Masons have committed $4,800 to cover the cost of seven students and one teacher. The dates would be October 22-26, 2007.

Outward Bound Approved

On a motion by Mr. Timmins seconded by Mrs. McCarthy, the Committee moved approval of the request presented by Mrs. Powell for the Outward Bound trip. The ayes have it.

Ms. Edie Hughes updated the Committee on the status of the Literacy Program for 2007-2008.

Ms. Colleen Roberts reported on the Honeywell and NASA program put on at North Quincy High School. Over 1,200 fifth and sixth grade students watched a science rock concert - FMA Live! on Newton’s three Laws of Motion. A power point presentation done by Brian Smith was shown to the Committee.

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Agenda Books

The Committee received a listing of agenda books and items used by each school. Every elementary school uses agenda books, but not all grades. All middle schools grades require agenda books and they are required at North Quincy High grade nine and Quincy High grades 9-12.

Mrs. Mahoney asked why there is a discrepancy. She made a motion to make it mandatory that all students use agenda books beginning in the third grade. Mrs. Roberts answered that it began four years ago but has never been a requirement in any of the schools. It is usually what the principals and teachers want. They use many different ways.

Mrs. Mahoney agreed that there are many ways, but the discrepancy comes because some are funded by PTOs, some by the school system and some schools have to fund their own. She was very impressed with the agenda books and feels it is an incredible tool.

Mayor arrives at 7:40 p.m.

Mr. Timmins thought it would be good to establish uniformity. Ms. Stice was not in agreement to mandate agenda books. She did not want to second guess teachers and principal. Mr. Mulvey thought it was a good idea but would like to hear from principals. Members were concerned if there was a discrepancy in acquiring them. Mrs. Dwyer would like teachers to have some independence.

Agenda Books to Policy Subcommittee

Mrs. Mahoney withdrew her original motion and moved that the agenda books issue be put into Policy Subcommittee. Seconded by Ms. Stice. The ayes have it.

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Official Enrollment

Mr. O’Brien reported that the official October enrollment for this year is 9,083 students.

Class Size

He reviewed class size in more detail. K-3 is in excellent shape, grades 4-5 is in excellent condition. There were 3 classrooms at 25 in a class. It turns out that those students are in the same school in the same grade. They provided a skill support in grade 4. At the Middle School level the concern was that five classes were 25-26 and one at 28. Atlantic has two grade 7 divisions at 25, Central at 25, 26 and 25. In speaking with principals their response was that they have worked with their staff and these students are very capable to work at this pace. Sterling has one grade 8 with 28. This is an algebra class. This is not new. The Principal reports she spoke with parents; and parents are adamant they want their children to stay in this class. At the high school level there are two classes over 30. These classes are in Social Studies. At North Quincy these are honors level courses and Philosophy, which is a popular subject. Teachers and students are not concerned. The World History honors course cannot be moved. At Quincy High School, there is one advanced placement course in US History. The teacher does not consider this a problem.

Ms. Stice asked if we should hire another social studies teacher. The Superintendent said he would look at it. Three teachers were hired this year to address class size.

Mr. McCarthy was concerned that science classes at North Quincy were high. Mr. O’Brien said no but that he would get him a list of the advanced science classes at North for him.

Instant Alert

Mr. O’Brien reported that the Instant Alert system will be installed at the elementary schools. This is a call messenger service provided to us free of charge by Honeywell. It is instant calling to all students at once. It also offers multiple means of contact -- home phone numbers, emails, cell phone, all are options. Parents and staff would have control of what information is on the system. We will have training from Honeywell. We will also install it at Quincy High School because of all the construction issues. Middle schools and North Quincy High will come later.

Mr. Mulvey inquired as to the privacy issues. Mr. O’Brien answered that Honeywell has installed this all over the country. This is encrypted and not for sale. Once the initial application is set up, parents can have a customized log in wherein they can change their data. Honeywell guarantees that they are aware information needs to be secure, encrypted, and not for sale.

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Coordinated Review

Quincy is undergoing a Coordinated Review this year by the Mass Department of Ed. which they do every six years. Two reviewers from the Department of Education and one from OSHA met with the Superintendent and his Team. All documentation needs to be in order the second week in January. It is an extensive program. It will involve all Special Ed. regulations, Civil Rights, ELE Career/Vocational Technical Education. After all the documentation is collected, in January they will select 100 specific students records that to review. They will schedule their school visits and their interviews. They will put together an exit interview with the Superintendent. We will receive a report within 90 days.

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Mike Ryan reported on an incident whereby gas fumes from the outside of the building entered Quincy High School. The gas company was scheduled to come in on Friday afternoon, after everyone had left the building. They came instead on site on Monday morning. Every contractor who comes in on site needs to sign in. They walked in and began to purge the gas line before they set the meters. This is standard procedure. The fire department was on site on another issues and somebody notified them so they proceeded over. I told them that the gas company was making the new connection. We went down to the site and stopped the operation. We went through the building and the fire department said it wasn’t dangerous. The students went back into the building after we opened the windows.

We met with the Keyspan people and expressed displeasure with them. They assured Mr. Ryan that would not happen again. A meeting was held with Paul Phillips, Mr. Santoro, Department Heads and the Superintendent to discuss the situation.

Last Friday, a meeting with the Superintendent was held to discuss some of Mr. Phillips’ concerns. Mr. Phillips would like to see more communication with staff. Mr. Ryan will start attending the Principal’s Council Meetings on Monday and bring the contractors to answer any concerns.

Another concern was made about the plastic liners in trucks. There are some old oil tanks buried around the building. Over the years the tanks deteriorated. The bad soil was taken away in these trucks. Everything is monitored and documented.

Phones for Codington Hall are on order. They will be installed via the IT Dept.

Drafts of the final copies of the drawings will be available for the Building Committee. The Building Committee will review them and make changes if needed and then sign off. All drawings meet the educational specification approved by the School Committee.

Mr. Timmins asked how Keyspan could access what was a secure site. He thought there was somebody doing a job and that the person was on the site. Mr. Ryan answered that they did not sign in. They walked through the main gate and proceeded to do their work. The gate is not locked, but he will speak with Gilbane and report back.

Mr. Timmins said he would like to see how they monitor the gate and if there had been any change in the protocol.

Mr. Timmins also inquired how the gas actually got into the building. and if there was any review on how the school staff reacted in terms of evacuation. Were there any concerns on the part of the Fire Department on how we handled it that day?

The Superintendent answered that they went by the established protocol. The principal and he make the decision. There was some misinformation gathered by a few of the parties involved. Everyone had a different opinion as to what the principal should do. Principals do what they think is best for their school. Keyspan, Mr. Ryan and the Fire Department gave us their information and we made the decision. The Superintendent said he stands behind Mr. Santoro 300%.

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There will be an MCAS analysis the first week in November.

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The Superintendent notified the committee that we may lease two buses for the remainder of this year. We are experiencing delays transporting elementary students. Mr. McPhee said that the Registry has taken over the buses and the standards for putting buses on the road are more stringent. If any of 68 items that are inspected needs work, the bus can’t leave the yard. Parents are getting upset. Many of our buses had problems.

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Open Forum

Linda Perry, President of the Quincy Parent Advisory Council announce their next meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 24. There will be a lot of information available. Ms. Lynn Summerill from the Department of Education will speak.

Mr. Bob Haley spoke to about the 90% reimbursement of the schools. Any financial problems that Quincy has is beyond their control is due to inflation.

Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA President, spoke to the gas leak at Quincy High School. He was very encouraged to hear Mr. Ryan’s report. His presence at Council meetings is very encouraging. Posting what is going to happen at the Quincy High School site is also a very useful thing. He has been barraged with questions from people who work at Quincy High School. Keyspan is the problem. They need to know what they’re doing. When Mr. Phillips contacted them they were adamant that they were not purging anything. They were installing meters. Mr. Ryan’s report makes that clearer that there is purging going on with meter work as well. It's been very disturbing that Keyspan wasn’t monitoring any adjacent structure to find out if there were any pools of gas forming.

The fire department was there for another purpose and then they ran into an incident. He agrees with Mr. Timmins that they have to determine the lines of communication. Mr. Santoro as the principal determined that evacuation was not necessary and his information from many acquaintances in the fire department is that they strongly disagreed with that.


If someone pulled the alarm then the fire department is in charge and they make those determinations. In that case that didn’t happen because they just happen to be there for something else. Some kind of discussion on how to handle a situation like that needs to occur. His personal feeling and the personal feeling of many of the people at Quincy High School is that they agreed with the fire department in this case that evacuation was necessary.

He believes Mr. Santoro worked in good faith. Mr. Phillips spent a lot of time talking to the state associations health and safety group and the Mass Teachers Association’s legal group and he said he wanted to make sure that the parents know that if teachers run into a situation like that, the teachers are going to use reasonable adult decision-making processes and if they determine it’s time to evacuate, they’re going to take the kids out and they’re going to pull the alarm. If there’s a problem with that, if there’s any disciplinary action the Mass Teachers Association will be defending any teacher who has decided that was necessary for the safety of anybody. Safety first for the kids, safety first for the teachers.

Also, he mentioned the plastic wrapped trucks that people saw. He explained that if they know in advance, the concerns should dissipate. He is glad Mr. Ryan will be meeting with the Principal’s Council every week.

Mr. Phillips was concerned that the Committee is starting to think on voting on pedagogical methodology. That could become a problem as one size fits all is not going to work. As much as he approves of agenda books, the Committee needs to let people deal with these in an individual manner.

The QEA will have a general membership meeting on October 16. They will be discussing the participating in the GIC negotiations.

The Superintendent said he wanted to make sure that Mr. Phillips understands that more than anything else at Quincy High School, we need unity and we need people to work together and we need collaboration and we need people to understand there are rules. We need to all follow the rules just like students do in classrooms. So, he was a little bit dismayed by that end, and Mr. Phillips and ‘ he can talk about that, and come to a reasonable solution. He was very concerned that teachers would do some things on their own versus what their they’re ordered to do at a certain time. He understands there are certain situations that happen, and he’ll talk about those situations, but he would be concerned that unity is the word and to work together and to protect kids, protect staff, protect administration and make sure that the learning environment is absolutely positively the safest and he knows that Mr. Santoro has that in mind. He knows that the council he met with has that in mind and he knows that collaborative feeling at Quincy High School will make sure that our students are safe. But that needs to be done absolutely positively together. Divisiveness is not going to make it. The Superintendent will spend as much time as he has at the high school to help maintain the best possible environment for students and working together in unity and in team work will make it work.

The Committee asked Mr. Ryan to check to see if the power outage had any effect on the school messenger.

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Supt’s Eval.

The members received a packet of additional information from Mr. Timmins regarding the Superintendent’s evaluation. He is recommending that a special subcommittee be established to discuss it. The format of the evaluation will be discussed. On a motion by Mr. Timmins, seconded Mrs. Mahoney, the Superintendent Evaluation Subcommittee is established. The ayes have it. Mrs. Dwyer will be the chair.

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Asst. Superintendent Job Description

The members received a proposed job description for the Assistant Superintendent’s job. The emphasis of this job is for someone to handle the many different entities that are looking at the school system all the time - local and federal. This is an enormous job. This job moves away from the personnel part. This position should keep us on track with all the regulatory agencies. Ms. Stice made a motion to approve the job description or the Assistant Superintendent, seconded by Mr. Mullaney. The ayes have it. The motion passed unanimously.

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Gift Mason’s to Students In Need Fund

On a motion by Mr. Mulvey, seconded by Ms. Stice, the Committee accepted a gift of $850 from the Masons Rural Lodge A.F. & A.M. to benefit Quincy Public Schools Students in Need Fund. The ayes have it.

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MASS/MASC Official Delegate

The Committee nominated Mr. Mulvey as the official delegate to the MASC/MASS meeting in Hyannis.

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NQ ROTC Trip to NH Approved

On a motion by Mr. Timmins, seconded by Mrs. McCarthy, the Committee approved the trip to New Hampshire for the North Quincy High School ROTC October 26 to October 28, 2007. The ayes have it.

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Mr. Timmins commended Kevin Segalla and his staff for the fine work they did at Central Middle School.

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The Committee noted the following resignations:

Teachers: Caitlyn Curley, Jessica DelGizzi, Tammy Duncan, Toni Fitzgerald, Anthony Green,  Andrew Hamilton, Sarah Korbut,   Amy Kotsonis, Kathleen Richardson,  Stephanie Scanlan, Theresa Sprague,  Peter Umbrianna

Psychologist: John Benz

Nurse: Jacqueline Brady

Asst. Principal: Darrin Reynolds

Occup. Therapist: Lisa Tracy

Café Helper: Carol McNulty, Jennifer Toldness

Lunch Attendant: Susan Gillespie

Paraprofessional: Janet Shiels


The Committee noted the following appointments:

Teachers: Barbara Cross, Ryan Durst

Lunch Attendants: Catharina Enbar, Gail Hankin, Christopher Shionis

Paraprofessional: Marisa Ngo

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On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mrs. Mahoney, the Committee adjourned for the evening at 9:30 p.m. There was no executive session. On a roll call vote, the motion passed unanimously 7-0.