Sept. 23, 2009 School Committee Meeting


Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee
September 23, 2009

 7:00 p.m.
City Council Chambers

I. Approval of Minutes: Regular Session Minutes for September 9, 2009.

II. Superintendent’s Report:

A. Report on 2009 MCAS Results: Superintendent and Superintendent’s Leadership Team to report.

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. Murphy to report.

B. Update on the New Quincy High School: Mrs. Dwyer to report.

C. Update on Central: Mrs. Bragg and Mrs. Mahoney to report.

D. Opportunities and Challenges (Representation): Mayor Koch and Vice Chairman McCarthy to report.

V. New Business:

A. English Language Learner Program: Mrs. Roberts and Mrs. Hughes to report.

B. Gift: Donation by the Lincoln Hancock School for services to homeless students. See Attachment A.

C. Out-of Country-Travel: North Quincy High School Italian Class to Italy: See Attachment B.

VI. Additional Business:

VII. Communications:

VIII. Hearings:

IX. Reports of Special Committees:

A. Draft Calendar to Policy Subcommittee

X. Executive Session:

XI. Adjournment:

Subcommittees of the School Committee

Subcommittee Date Referred Business Pending
Budget & Finance
Mariano/Bragg/McCarthy 4/11/2007 HS Health Curriculum
  3/29/2008 Bus Rental Fees
  3/29/2008 Building Rental Fees
  9/10/2008 Revolving Funds 5-yrs. History
  5/6/2009 Advanced Placement Policy 10.15.1
School Facilities Management    
Dwyer/Mahoney/Mariano 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
  2/8/2006 Conservation
  4/9/2008 11.6 School Facility Policy
  4/9/2008 Track
  9/10/2008 NQHS gym floor named
Health, Safety & Security    
Puleo/Mahoney/McCarthy 10/18/2006 School Zone, Traffic Safety Concerns
  4/11/2007 HS Health Curriculum
  3/26/2008 Increase School Breakfast Participation
School Policy    
Bragg/Dwyer/McCarthy 3/12/2008 Teacher Evaluations
  9/10/2008 Grade Configurations
  3/11/2009 MS Interim Letters
  3/11/2009 Naming of QPS schools/places/etc.
  6/10/2009 Classroom Observations
  9/9/2009 School Calendar
Special Education    
Mahoney/McCarthy/Mariano 1/17/2007 Emergency Information Form
  1/17/2007 Substitute Teachers for SPED
  3/21/2007 Implementation of IEPs
  9/24/2008 INSPIRE Initiative
Rules, Post Audit & Oversight    
Dwyer/Puleo/Bragg 10/29/2008 Faxon Field
Channel 22    
Mahoney/McCarthy 10/17/2007 Encourage greater use of



Quincy, Massachusetts - September 23, 2009
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 in the City Council Chambers, City Hall. Present were Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mr. Ron Mariano, Mrs. Elaine Dwyer, Mr. Nicholas Puleo Mrs. Jo-Ann Bragg, Mayor 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; Messrs. Mullaney, Murphy, O’Brien, Draicchio, Segalla, Ms. Roberts, Todd, Tenaglia, and Hughes. Ms. Tracey Christello, Citywide and Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA.

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Reg. Session. Min. Approved 9/9/2009

On a motion by Mayor Koch, seconded by Mrs. Mahoney, the Committee approved the regular session minutes for September 9, 2009. The ayes have it.

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QHS – Adams Hall

The dedication of Adams Hall at Quincy High School was held on Tuesday, September 15, 2009. Quincy High staff, students and decedents of the Adams family was present. It was a great moment for Quincy High School.

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The Superintendent, Rich O’Brien, Mary Fredrickson, and Colleen Roberts gave their presentation on the recent MCAS scores. The AYP/MCAS overview spoke to Performance Targets, Converting MCAS results into “AYP Report Card” Ratings, Quincy’s 2009 MCAS Results, Quincy’s AYUP Report Cards, Assessment, Planning, Implementation, the DESE Performance Ratings, the 2010 Science Requirement, Progress towards Competency Determination and Progression of Cohorts. By 2014, schools need to reach 100%. This, they said, is an impossibility.

The Committee appreciated all the work that went into the presentation. Quincy Public Schools is heading in the right direction and always trying new initiatives to help the students improve.

The Committee stressed that parents need to look at their child’s scores. If they have questions, they need to speak with their child’s teacher. Their child’s teacher is looking at the results also.

Mrs. Mahoney said that it is more important to focus on the children individually. Parents can log on to our website. She thought reaching 100% is unrealistic. There are a lot of tools in the classroom that we are using. There are many other ways to assess our kids.

When the numbers warrant that we have not met AYP for two years in a row, the state says something different needs to be done. Principals will look at what different things they can do to reach the subgroups to help raise scores.

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Open Forum

Mr. Chris Chetwynd inquired about a letter written and signed by Mrs. Bragg, Mr. Mariano, and Mr. Puleo. He didn’t think that the letter was accurate. Mr. Mariano asked for a point of order and said that it was not a School Committee issue. The rest of the School Committee did not participate in the letter. Mr. McCarthy told Mr. Chetwynd to speak to Mr. Mariano, Mr. Puleo, and Mrs. Bragg personally.

Ms. Tracey Christello, Citywide, said that Citywide is concerned with the safety and security of the children during any election process. They asked that the polling locations in the City be changed.

Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA President, spoke to the proposed Charter School. The application he said has no merit. No representative of the QEA or School Committee ever approved it.

He commended the administration for working very hard on the MCAS presentation. In 2014, he predicts that 97% of Massachusetts schools will have failed to meet the target. The MCAS system was designed for failure. Every student must be above average. The idea that all children are “above average” is a joke. Teachers now think we are testing too much. Parents need to look at their child and judge it based on their own child.

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Bldg. Update

Mr. Kevin Murphy reported that Maintenance continues to work on the IT closets. Over the summer, the carpenters built a new bathroom at Sterling, put in library shelving at Bernazzani, painted at Atherton Hough and Broad Meadows. The majority of the needs identified on the School Improvement Plans have been addressed. Most school PAs have been replaced. Pot holes have been filled by DPW. Mr. Murphy will email the SIP list to Mrs. Dwyer

With regard to crosswalks, Mr. Draicchio said work on all school crosswalks is completed. Mrs. Mahoney inquired about the crosswalk at Wollaston school. Mr. Draicchio said there never was one. However, Mrs. Mahoney asked that now that we have additional walkers, he should take a look at it.

The Superintendent will get the ADA report to Mrs. Dwyer.

Mr. McCarthy asked for a report on what Honeywell has done, what they were supposed to do, and what was completed for the schools. Mayor Koch will get Mr. Timmins and Mr. Cunniff to provide a simple report on those issues that relate directly to the schools.

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New QHS Building Mrs. Dwyer Reports

Mrs. Dwyer spoke to the security issue at the new Quincy High School. There were two incidents this summer. Gilbane has assigned a person for each night of the week. At their last meeting, they discussed the problem with the electrical outlets in the Science labs at the new Quincy High School. In the Science labs, there is water nearby and the circuits trigger failure. If students are working with a hot plate, it trips the plug. This still remains on the punch list. Everyone has met for months for a solution without rewiring the whole room. The situation is not resolved yet.

Mrs. Bragg asked if our own Maintenance Staff had looked at the situation, and Mrs. Dwyer answered that they were instructed by Mr. Timmins not to touch anything in case it is a design flaw and they decide where the responsibility lies.

Mr. McCarthy asked the Superintendent to get Mr. Cunniff at the next meeting to give an update on the QHS project. He asked for a full presentation of the status of the project. Mr. Santoro will be part of the presentation.

Mr. McCarthy added that the gate near the tennis courts is too high and kids can roll underneath it. He wants the security guards moving around the site.

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Central Bldg. Committee Mrs. Bragg reports

On September 14, the Central Building Committee met with the OPM sub- committee at the SBA. They explained the process used to pick Tishman. The SBA has approved Tishman as Project Manager for Central. They have negotiated a contract which the Mayor will sign. Previously, they met at Central to come up with their next steps:

  1. Acquisition of property

  2. Presentation of the site at next meeting

  3. Three appraisals on the property

  4. Hire an architect

  5. Come before the Committee for approval of the site

  6. Request that Mr. Timmins evaluate to make sure money is in place to do these step. Sterling

The MSBA wants the Sterling SOI reopened to keep Sterling on the flow chart. The Superintendent has faxed that to the SBA and we are in the queue for refreshing.

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Opportunities & Challenges

The Committee received a memo from Mr. McCarthy and Mayor Koch with a listing of groups/contacts for the Ad Hoc Committee. The Superintendent will work with the groups/contacts to enlist representatives. The Superintendent will present the representatives to the Committee at the October 21 meeting. Also, a Quincy residence requirement will be adhered to with the exception of administrators within our school system. They will work through the Superintendent in order to get the right balance on the committee to look at open enrollment city wide.

Mrs. Bragg said she is fine with this process. She asked that one of the representatives be from the Chapter 74 Programs.

Ad Hoc Committee list approved

On a motion by Mr. Puleo, seconded by Mr. Mariano, the Committee approved the listing for the Ad Hoc Committee for Open Enrollment city- wide and will come back on the October 21st with names. The Mayor said the committee will bring a report back to this body and the School Committee will make a decision. It is a School Committee decision. On a roll call vote, the motion passed unanimously 7-0.

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ELL Report

Ms. Colleen Roberts and Ms. Eddie Hughes gave an overview of our ELL program. They spoke about the ELL students currently enrolled in the Quincy Public Schools, the variety of languages and staffing, the assessments, fluency levels, student programmatic services, implementing services and ELL category trainings. The ELL teachers have to be ELL licensed teachers. Quincy sends teachers to the DESE training programs and they come back and teach our teachers. There are 54 different languages being spoken in the QPS. All ELL students have to take the MCAS test. We are looking at different grants and programs to help these students reach the competency determination. .

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Gift – LH Homeless

On a motion by Mayor Koch, seconded by Mrs. Bragg, the Committee accepted a gift of $325.00 donated by the Lincoln Hancock School for services to homeless students. The ayes have it.

Out of Country Travel NQHS to Italy

On a motion by Mayor Koch, seconded by Mrs. Bragg, the Committee approved a request by the North Quincy High students to go to Italy from April 12 to April 24, 2010. The ayes have it.

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Financial Advisors Approved

On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mr. Puleo, the committee approved the 403 vendors, Oppenheimer Funds and Waddell-Reed Financial Advisors. The ayes have it. This was presented by Mr. James Mullaney.

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Charter Schools

Mr. Puelo spoke against the proposed charter school in Quincy and all charter schools. He thought it was a detriment to public education when certain schools without taxpayers oversight can draw public funding away and keep their costs down. We would have to pay them $9,000 for the average student. Looking at the Quincy proposal that focuses on Mandarin speaking ELL students as their prime target, they are only a small percentage of our ELL population. This charter school focuses on Mandarin but there are 54 other languages in Quincy. There is no obvious indication that ELL learners will out perform ELL students in local schools. The public schools, he said, serve the ELL population very well. He did not retract statements he has made. No one from the proposed Quincy Charter School has come to the School Committee. He vehemently opposes this.

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Additional Business Furnace Brook Golf Course

The Licensing Board approved the request by the Furnace Brook Golf Course to have liquor. Since the School Committee is opposed to this, Mr. McCarthy asked that Mr. Mulvey pursue this. Mr. Mulvey added that the matter has been addressed and the Committee should work with the City Solicitor.

Busing for Bernazzani

Mrs. Bragg asked the Superintendent to take another look at busing for the Bernazzani School. The Superintendent said they sat down with Mr. Draicchio, Mrs. Constantino and Mr. Mullaney to try to do different things with the resources we have. It is impossible to shift things around with time constraints. The cost for a bus would be $45,000 for the year. Mrs. Bragg asked that they take another look at it. These distances are too far for a young child to walk.

Mrs. Bragg asked for the list of 16-20 clubs--which ones have been around for years and the budgetary figures.

Mrs. Bragg will hold a policy subcommittee on October 7 or 14.

Mr. McCarthy asked that Mr. Rendle come before them some time in end of October with a draft schedule of the fall sports that involve the Quincy High School gym we are lacking.

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Letter by 3 Members of the SC to the public

Mr. McCarthy spoke to a letter that appeared in the Quincy Sun signed by Mrs. Bragg, Mr. Puleo and Mr. Mariano. He said he was disappointed that the rest of the membership didn’t get a courtesy call to tell them it was going out. He has received many phone calls about the letter and had no knowledge of it.

Mrs. Bragg, Mr. Mariano and Mr. Puleo stated that the letter went out as an individual letter and didn’t name the School Committee.

Mr. McCarthy answered that when a letter of this magnitude goes out, a courtesy and professionalism is given to the other members. The letter that went out was very disturbing, and he was very upset about it.

Mrs. Dwyer also spoke against the letter. She thought it was unethical and a violation of the Open Meeting law. She thought it misrepresented the School Committee and a disservice to their colleagues. They signed their names and Quincy School Committee on the letter.

Mayor Koch answered that those statements are far reaching and outrageous. This was three elected officials expressing an opinion about a candidate. The charge that it is unethical is outrageous

Mrs. Dwyer answered that they wrote about the high school, Central, Sterling and the GIC. She was going to call the State Ethics Commission and the DA. She asked the Mayor if he knew about the letter before it went out.

Mayor Koch said yes he absolutely knew about the letter and he encouraged Mrs. Dwyer to contact the Commission.

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The Committee noted the following appointments:

Jennifer Dodge, Deborah Durkin Finn, Thomas Mullen, Susan Newcomb

Carpenter: Vincent Contrino

Paraprofessional: Donna Roganito

Maintenance: Patrick Stedman


The committee noted the following resignations:

Paraprofessionals: Serena Limoncelli, Carol Shields, Suzanne Spargo

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On a motion by Mrs. Mahoney, seconded by Mr. Puleo, the Committee adjourned for the evening at 10:15 p.m. On a roll call vote, the motion passed unanimously, 7-0. There was no executive session.