Nov. 28, 2007 School Committee Meeting


Quincy, Massachusetts - November 28, 2007
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, November 28, 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: Drs. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary, Mrs. Tefta Burrelli Clerk. Dr. Pattavina, Messrs. O’Brien, Ryan, Walsh, McPhee, Canavan, Kevin and Keith Segalla, Ms. Powell, Hughes, and Roberts. Mrs. Jo-Ann Bragg and Paul Phillips, QEA President, were present.

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Reg.Mins Approved 11/7/2007

On a motion by Ms. Stice, seconded by Mr. Mulvey, the Committee approved the regular session minutes for November 7, 2008. The ayes have it.

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Mr. Timmins leaves at 7:11 p.m.

Am. Ed. Winners

For American Education Week, this year’s theme was “Great Public Schools, a Basic Right and our Responsibility.” Ms. Roberts introduced the top three winners in each category. First place winners read their essays to the Committee. The kindergarten class winners from Snug Harbor displayed their poster, Judy Li, 3rd grade at Marshall School, Maggie Garvey, grades 4-5, at Beechwood Knoll, Mark Hanna, Atlantic Middle School, and Victoria Wong, North Quincy High School. The students read their essays, and received a certificate and a gift card to Barnes & Noble from the Committee.

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Supts. Report

The following events have been scheduled: Tis the Season…. will be held on December 4 at the Marriott-Quincy. There will be a City Council meeting on December 17 to update them on the new Quincy High School, a Partnership Breakfast with State St. tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. at North Quincy High School. The First Lego Tournament will be held on December 8 at North Quincy with Robotics partner, Gillette. The Superintendent thanked Jim Rendle for a successful Thanksgiving Day game. There were about 3,000 people who came to the game. The Superintendent has appointed Ms. Angela Miller as the new System-Wide Art Department Chair.

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Open Forum

At the Open Forum, Mr. Ed McDonough and Mr. Bob Haley thanked Ms. Stice and Mayor Phelan for their work with the school system -- the literacy program, full day Kindergarten, the new Quincy High school. They appreciate their efforts and the amount of hours they put into their jobs.

Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA President, thanked the out going School Committee people for all they have done. There is a joint effort by the MTA and the Reni Center for Education. He went to look at a program that is being run in eight states. Surveying teachers about working condition and their affect on students. Working conditions have a direct impact. The teachers conditions are the learning conditions for students. Governor Patrick and he talked about his educational preparation for school programs the first role out from that is going to be a survey of educators in the state. It has been endorsed and approved by the MASC and MASS. He wants to make sure that they’re going to be asking educators across the state about the conditions in which classroom teachers operate in five areas -- Teacher empowerment, resources, facilities, school leadership and time. This will give us new data about a whole area of the functioning of our school system that we have never had in the past. The TELLS Survey will occur in January and February next year.

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Bldg. Update

Mr. Joe Canavan reported that Maintenance finished floor tile work at Bernazzani, painting at Snug Harbor, additional lighting outside Quincy High School East campus, the sewing room has been rewired and the North Quincy High School gym floor is finished. Mr. Mulvey asked Mr. Canavan to check out the large tree limbs ready to fall at Atlantic Middle School.

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Mr. Ryan reported that he and the Quincy High School staff continue to meet weekly. Steel is being installed in the new building, and they are working on Woodward Ave. Gilbane has hired a security guard, and the guard is posted at the gate all day.

Mr. McCarthy asked if there were any problems with the neighbors and if we are keeping them updated. Mr. Ryan said he has had no complaints from the neighbors. Next week he will be updating the website.

With regard to Honeywell, the mechanical rooms have been completed. All lighting has been completed. Honeywell will be working into next summer.

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Central Middle School

Mrs. Dwyer reported that we received good news with regard to Central Middle School. Eighty-three cities and towns made the first cut by the state. Central was on the list. This does not guarantee we will be funded, but the State has marked Central at “feasibility study.”

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Mr. Rich O’Brien, Mary Fredrickson, Colleen Roberts and Judy Todd reported on MCAS AYP Data presentation. Over the last few years when the MCAS AYP results came in, we compared Quincy Public Schools results first with the state as our benchmark and then we start to look at our overall strengths and weaknesses. This analysis is translated into our DIP. At the elementary level we recognize the importance of literacy as the foundation skills for future success. In the middle school we’ve focused our efforts in math, and at the high school level, we do all that we can to make sure that our students meet the local requirements and then pass the MCAS so that they can get their high school diploma. This information is given to principals and they focus on the school results for the purpose of identify goals for their school improvement plan and individual student results. The needs of each school are then coordinated and become part of the professional development plan. All of these elements have been tied together. The first look is to look at all of our students that passed last springs MCAS compared to the state and in typical fashion mirrors the state averages. We’re more interested in looking at a particular spike in a particular grade. The ELA is pretty much on average. Math pretty much a comparison to the state. Ms. Todd spoke to the sub group for SPED and their results compared to the state. Mary Fredrickson spoke about the conversion MCAS scores and how they relate to adequate yearly progress. If one subgroups doesn’t meet the expected progress than the entire school gets put in that list of “needing improvement.” This is the way the system is designed.

Ms. Roberts talked about the system response. The no child left behind law mandate requires schools in all state to notify parents of student achievement on their states comprehensive testing results. It is also a requirement that districts in schools notify families of the AYP of both the school and the district. In response to the ratings the Superintendent’s Leadership Team has met with administrators and staff members to review and analyze these results. By working with the schools’ administration and teachers, we are beginning the process of rewriting the school improvement plans at the schools where this is necessary. These schools are in the process of addressing their performance or improvement concerns in the SIP which will be presented to the Committee this January. Staff and administration are working together to revise site professional development opportunities for staff.

Ms. Stice asked if any parents had requested their children be moved to another school? No one has asked for that as yet.

Mr. McCarthy asked of the four schools and two schools that declined, is there anything we’ve done differently? Mrs. Fredrick pointed out that the decline is all about the improvement. We have so many schools that already have a very high rating. Once you get a high rating and you’re above the target, it’s hard to stay there. If you are achieving a score above the performance target that’s very high, it’s hard to continue that pattern of improvement so every school will go back to the same starting point.

Mayor Phelan asked if the specific strategies using to improve the special ed MCAS scores in elementary schools. Ms. Todd answered that we have turned our sped teachers into interventionists. All the training we’re doing for literacy teachers, we are doing for SPED teachers.

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Gifts: Sterling

On a motion by Ms. Stice, seconded by Mr. Mulvey, the Committee accepted a gift of $2,500 from the Rural Masonic Lodge to Sterling Middle School. The ayes have it.

Dictionaries to all 3rd. Graders

On a motion by Ms. Stice, seconded by Mr. Mulvey, the Committee accepted the donation of 600 dictionaries from the Quincy Lodge of Elks. These dictionaries will distributed to all third graders in the school system. The ayes have it.

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QHS to NY City

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mrs. Mahoney, the Committee approved a trip for Quincy High School students to go to New York City. The ayes have it.

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Budget Subcommittee

Mr. McCarthy reported that the Budget Subcommittee met on November 27 where Mr. Mullaney presented the Quarterly Budget report. A review of the payroll and expense budget accounts show that most all lines are in agreement with budgeted figures for the first three months with one major exception -- the “Reserve for Negotiated Increased” account. There was a 1% retroactive payment made to the QEA members for FY07. This amount was not included in the budget. This has resulted in an anticipated deficit of $492,988. The members discussed ways of addressing this deficit. An additional meeting is being scheduled to go over this and other financial matters.

Quarterly Budget Approved

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

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Mr. O’Brien appointed Asst. Superintendent

On a motion by Mayor Phelan, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, the Committee approved the Superintendent’s recommendation to appoint Mr. Richard O’Brien as Assistant Superintendent of Schools for School System Operations and Student Achievement. On a roll call vote, the motion passed 6-0. Mr. Timmins was absent.

Mr. O’Brien has been in the school system for over 30 years and has held positions as teacher, coach, Asst. Principal, Principal, Professional Development Specialists and currently is in the position of Director of Information Technology and Media Services.

The members said they were very pleased with the appointment and Mr. O’Brien accepted the position.

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SPED Subcommittee

Mr. Mulvey reported that the Special Ed Subcommittee met with the parents of QPAC along with Mr. Timmins, the Superintendent and Mr. McCarthy. They had a successful meeting and discussed issues of transportation and involvement in decisions on various in-house programs.

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North Quincy AFJROTC

Mr. McCarthy commended the North Quincy AFJROTC who received a letter of recommendation from the Department of the Air Force. The North Quincy AFJROTC earned an overall unit assessment score of “Exceeds Standards” the highest rating attainable.

Progress Reports to Policy Subcommittee

Ms. Mahoney spoke to student progress reports in middle and high schools. She would like us to regroup to come up with better idea. On a motion by Mrs. Mahoney, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, progress reports was put into the Policy Subcommittee to be revisited. She would like a better system of communications.

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The Committee noted the following resignations:

Café Helper: Claire Maloney

Sr. Custodian: Kevin Burke


The Committee noted the following appointments:

Teachers: Matthew Reggiannini,  Michael Hanson

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On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mr. Mulvey, the Committee voted to adjourn at 9:40 p.m. for the evening. There was no executive session. On a roll call vote, the motion passed 6-0. Mr. Timmins was absent.