Jan. 23, 2008 School Committee Meeting


Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee January 23, 2008

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

I. Approval of Minutes: Organizational Meeting minutes for January 7, 2008 and Regular Session minutes for January 9, 2008.

II. Superintendent’s Report:

A. Robotics Schedule - 2008
B. Project Lead the Way Program

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 building projects, renovations, and construction: Mr. Canavan to report.
B. Update on the New Quincy High School: Presented within New Business. Item V.A.
C. Update on Central:

V. New Business:

A. Update on the status of the Construction of the New Quincy High School:

  • SMMA

  • Tishman Construction

  • Gilbane Construction

B. Approval of School Improvement Plans for the Clifford H. Marshall Elementary School and the Reay E. Sterling Middle School: Mrs. Bragg, Policy Subcommittee Chair to report.

C. Out of Country Travel: Approval for North Quincy High School to go to Spain. See Attachment A.

D. Out-of-State Travel: Approval for North Quincy High School to go to New York City. See Attachment B.

VI. Additional Business:

VII. Communications:

VIII. Hearings: - none

IX. Reports of Special Committees:

A. Policy Subcommittee: Mrs. Bragg to report
B. Building Needs Subcommittee: Mrs. Dwyer to report

X. Executive Session:

XI. Adjournment:

Subcommittees of the School Committee

Subcommittee Date Referred Business Pending
Budget & Finance
Mulvey/Bragg/McCarthy 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/Mahoney/Mulvey 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    
TBA/McCarthy/Mahoney 10/18/2006 NQHS Traffic & Drop off
  4/11/2007 HS Health Curriculum
School Policy    
Bragg/Dwyer/TBA 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
  10/3/2007 Student Agenda Books
  11/28/2007 Progress Reports
Special Education    
Mahoney/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    
Channel 22    
Mahoney/McCarthy 10/17/2007 Encourage greater use of



Quincy, Massachusetts - January 23, 2008
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at the City Council Chambers, City Hall. Present were Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mr. Kevin Mulvey, Mrs. Jo-Ann Bragg, Mr. Jim Timmins, Mrs. Elaine Dwyer, Mayor Tom Koch and Mr. Dave McCarthy, Vice-Chairman.

Vice Chairman Presiding

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The Superintendent called the roll and all members were present. Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary, Mrs. Tefta Burrelli Clerk. Dr. Pattavina, Messrs. O’Brien, Walsh, McPhee, Keith Segalla, Ms. Todd, Hughes, and Roberts. Ms. Bonnie Marcel, Citywide, and Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA President, were present.

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Organizational Mins. Approved 1/7/2008 

On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mr. Timmins, the Committee approved the Organizational Meeting minutes for January 7, 2008. The ayes have it.

Reg. Minutes approved 1/9/2008

On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mr. Timmins, the Committee approved the regular session minutes for January 9, 2008. The ayes have it.

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Appointments Asst. Prin. @ Parker Dept.Head @ NQHS

The Superintendent announced that he is appointing Ms. Robin Strempel Moreira to the Assistant Principal position at Parker School, and Mrs. Kelly Stukenborg to the position of Department Head at North Quincy High School The Superintendent thanked the people who participated in the interview process. He congratulated both women on their appointments.

Supts. Report

The Superintendent and Keith Segalla met with 200 Harvard Pilgrim Health Care staff to talk about our Partnership Pathways. We are looking forward to having them join our 85 partners.

Team Hyper

Mr. Keith Segella shared with the Committee the 2008 Robotics schedule. Team Hyper is a collaborative effort with both high school students, alumni, volunteers, and parents. This project incorporates academics, science, engineering and technology. This program lets students learn in a hands-on environment. Team Hyper has received 15 outstanding awards. On March 12-16 the Team will go to Florida. At the end of March they will do a presentation at Children’s Hospital.

Project Lead the Way

Frank Santoro introduced Gina Scanlon and Debbie Barrett members of Project Lead the Way. This is an interdisciplinary study for students which promotes Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM). The program is nationally recognized for college credits. Nancy Leslie, Paul Tully and Alan Barrett gave a quick background of the program. Project Lead the Way is a non- profit education program that works with students to prepare them to be successful in technology and engineering. Rigorous professional development is required to teach the course. Students need to get a 70 or better to be eligible for a three credit transfer from Rochester Technology.

There are three career teachers and two academic teachers. Students start off in the ninth grade, introduced into Engineering in the 10 grade, five courses in the 11 grade are available, and engineering design and development in the 12 grade.

The Committee is very excited about this program. Thanks went to the teachers and Mr. Santoro, Keith Segella, Emily Lebo and Angela Avery. Programs like these are being incorporated into the new high school.

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Open Forum

At the Open Forum. Mr. Phillips responded to a recent report on assessing school systems, students and programs. The recent report, Restoring Value to the High School Diploma: The Rhetoric and Practice of Higher Standards, highlighted restoring value to the high school diploma. Businesses and colleges are saying they thought that education reform was going to remove their need to do remediation, but instead, it is increasing. Curriculum has been focused to respond to a test. Scores have gone way up, but we are not getting rid of the complaints. Working on projects, working together in groups is what is meant by education reform. This report recommends the proponents of standards need to consider the conceptions of rigor. Every school will eventually fail AYP. Standards in technology, art, and music are not being valued by the state.

Mr. Phillips said schools need to pay more attention to alternatives to the conventional academics programs. Multiple pathways need to be developed. He was happy to see programs like Lead the Way and Robotics in the schools. He will send everyone a copy of the report.

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Bldg. Update

Mr. Mike Ryan updated the Committee on building projects. Maintenance is trouble shooting heating problems on a daily basis. There are problems with the roof at Sterling over the auditorium. They are evaluating the PA systems throughout the schools and waiting for proposals for the Lincoln Hancock Community School. Mr. Ryan has been meeting with Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Keith Segella concerning computer labs in the middle school. Mr. Mulvey asked if the Sterling roof was part of the Honeywell project. Mr. Ryan said they evaluated the worst --Snug Harbor, Bernazzani, Atherton Hough. Sterling’s roof is just an isolated problem.

Mrs. Bragg said that in the Sterling Improvement Plan the principal discussed the roof leaks, ceiling, and walls in the teachers’ room on the third floor. She asked if Mr. Ryan had evaluated all areas. Mr. Ryan said he was not aware of the problems but will talk to Ms. Barrett.

Mrs. Mahoney asked if Instant Alert was up and running. The Superintendent said that parents can be communicated with by way of the principals and eventually with the Superintendent. Our Technology Department is working with Honeywell representatives and staff members to develop a parental data base. Mrs. Mahoney said she was inquiring because she never received a “no school” call.

The Superintendent said that there was some confusion with who would originate the calls. Mr. O’Brien has spoken to the principals. Every principal has the capacity to call their parents.

Mrs. Mahoney suggested a systematic introduction to all parents telling them to be aware that it’s up and running.

Mrs. Bragg asked the Superintendent to find out why the “no school” announcement was not on TV after 11:00 a.m.

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Mr. Alex Pitkin, Jim Anderson, Jim Driscoll, Eugene Caruso were present to give a progress update on the new Quincy High School. Mr. Pitkin showed slides of the first floor, second, third and fourth floors. He showed classrooms, a quick tour of the floor plans. He discussed phasing. We are now in Phase 2 construction. The steel is going up and we are about 50% underway. All foundations are in. A new mechanical and boiler room that will allow the old building to operate. By next February, the Science and Technology wing will be up and running. A lot of the heavy shops are on the ground floor, electrical, plumbing. Next spring, they will tear down the gym and the old Center for Technical Education building.

The site plan showed a 60’ space between the old and new high schools. A typical classroom was shown. He showed the main entrance, the back entrance side entrances where the tech programs can receive deliveries. The gymnasium has a walking track and will meet MASS CHIPS.

Each classroom has a work counter top with lots of storage underneath. The ninth grade academy will be on the third floor of the building.

They showed slides of the old school being taken down, fences, demolition of the administrative wing, the smoke stack coming down, the new mechanical room in the old school. This will serve to heat both buildings until another mechanical room is built in the new high school

Slides of the new gas line and water lines installed under the street. A new sewer line is being relocated from Woodward Ave. under the new high school. Three sewer lines, which were put in the 1800s, have been replaced. The old lines were in very poor condition and had to be replaced. This has added a cost of $500,000.

Oil tank leaks

Mr. Anderson reported that two oil tanks located in front of the entrance to the Superintendent’s office between the parking garage and the old wing were discovered. The had #6 oil and fed the old boilers. They were discovered around March 2007. An environmental consultant was hired. Borings were done and they indicated that there were leaks. They had 60 days to submit an action plan to the DEP. The immediate reaction plan was to empty the tanks and get rid of the source of the leaks. That was done within the 60 day time frame. In May they made the formal submission of the leaks and the plan to correct the source and the closeout papers. The next step from May to September was to find out the extent of the leaks. More borings were done during the summer. It was thought that the leaks were close to the tanks and it would cost around $500,000. They felt at that time, they could deal with the leaks by excavating the soil when they were digging for the building. As construction started and the building came down and additional borings were made, they determined that the extent of the leaks was much greater. The spill moved down midway to Woodward Ave. They met with the Building Committee and informed them of their progress.

The Environmental consultation looked at doing and in-place treatment. Mr. Anderson explained the steam extraction method which was done through July and August to test the process didn’t work. Then it was suggested trying Surfactant. The design was finalized and pricing from contractors came in at $1.3 million. The cleanup of this area is tied into the construction schedule. They are planning to do the clean up during the months of February and March.

They will give a final recommendation to the Building Committee next week. They will continue construction around the leak.

Mrs. Dwyer added that this was brought to the Building Committee’s attention in March 2007. The Building Committee meets every other week and was informed of the clean up options that were being explored. All the Building Committee minutes were distributed to the Committee. Everyone was aware there were oil tanks that had leaked--the DEP knew, the Building Committee knew and the School Committee knew. They just learned of the cost last Thursday.

Mrs. Dwyer read excerpts from an article in today’s Ledger where it quotes Mayor Koch saying “What are we hiding that stuff for? Let’s get it public.” Mrs. Dwyer took exception to the remark and said they had not hidden anything and that the remark questions the integrity of the Building Committee. The members never hid that. She told Mayor Koch she was very upset by the remark.

Mr. Timmins said he had gone through all his records and could not find any communication to all parties since September. He was under the impression that the scope of this leak was under control and that it was contained. He thinks this is a communications issue. He hasn’t received any building committee minutes for some time. He was confident the work was being done properly.

Mrs. Bragg said she was not aware until last week. She is not part of the Building Committee, however, in the future, she would like to know any time during a construction project of cost overruns of half million dollars or more. All the members should be made aware of that as well changes in any ed specifications.

Mr. Anderson reported that it wasn’t until two weeks ago that they were aware the cost had risen to $1.5 million.

Mrs. Mahoney said that this was a large scale project and they ‘ may have many more surprises. These things need to be unveiled. She questioned if there is seepage going up to the garage. Mr. Anderson said they know where the contamination stops at Woodward Ave.


As it stands now, the budget is $3.6 million over. The sewer lines costs $500,000, the oil tank spill remediation will cost $1.3 million, and $2 million for demolition and abasement.

They will meet with the Building Committee tomorrow to look at potential funding sources. Choices need to be made.

Preserve Tot Lot

Mrs. Bragg inquired about the Tot Lot named after Dr. Carol Lee Griffin behind the old CTE building. She wants that and the plaque disassembled, stored, and then put back together.


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Central Middle School

A meeting has been scheduled for March 12 with the School Building Authority regarding Central Middle School.

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Sterling & Marshall SIPs approved

On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mr. Mulvey, the Committee approved the School Improvement Plans for Marshall and Reay E. Sterling. Ayes have it.

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Trip Approved NQHS to Spain

On a motion by Mrs. Dwyer, seconded by Mr. Timmins, the Committee approved the trip request for North Quincy High School to go to Spain. April 19-26, 2008. The ayes have it.

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Mr. Timmins resigns from SC

At this time, Jim Timmins tendered his resignation as a member of the Quincy Schools Committee, effective 11:59 p.m., January 23, 2008. He thanked his colleagues, both present and former, for their dedicated public service and the assistance rendered to him in the performance of his obligations. Mr. Timmins will be the City Solicitor for Quincy.

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Policy Subcommittee

Mrs. Bragg reported that the Policy Subcommittee met and reviewed the dropout report information. They discussed ways to identify attendance problems. They heard about programs that the schools are using to help students in an effort to reduce dropouts. They discussed the GOALS Program and need to expand it. Administration is looking at the demo- graphics and will continue to update the Committee. All elementary students receive the School Attendance Brochure.

The Subcommittee will begin to work on Sections 10, 11, and 12 of the Policy Manual. The goal is to complete the manual this year.

Vending Machines Off Subcommittee

With regard to Vending Machines - It was decided that we wish to make no changes as to the way vending machines are presently used in the school system. No further action is required on this item and it can be removed from Subcommittee.

The Committee recently approved language to add to all notices at the elementary level that involves a fee of any kind regarding a Sliding Scale for Students fees. The Superintendent will report back on the progress at middle schools.

At the next Policy Subcommittee they will discuss Student Records and Bullying.

Student Agenda Books Off Subcommittee

Student Agenda Books was resolved and can be removed from the Subcommittee.

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The Committee noted the following appointments:

Lunch Attendant: Mary Carchedi

Sr. Clerk & Typist: Mary McDonald

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On a motion by Mr. Timmins, seconded by Mrs. Dwyer, the Committee adjourned for the evening at 9:29 p.m. There was no executive session. On a roll call vote, the motion to adjourn passed unanimously 7-0.