March 4, 2013 Teaching/Learning Sub Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Joint Teaching and Learning/Policy Subcommittee Meeting
Monday, March 4, 2013, 5:00 pm
NAGE Building, 2nd Floor Conference Room
Mr. Paul Bregoli, Chair, Policy Subcommittee
Mrs. Emily Lebo, Chair, Teaching and Learning Subcommittee


  1. New Educator Evaluations - Superintendent’s Leadership Team

  2. Media Specialists - Superintendent DeCristofaro

  3. Adjournment


Joint Teaching and Learning/Policy Subcommittee Meeting

Monday, March 4, 2013

A joint meeting of the Teaching and Learning and Policy Subcommittees was held on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm in the 2 nd Floor Conference Room at the NAGE Building. Present were Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Ms. Barbara Isola, Mr. Paul Bregoli, Policy Subcommittee Chair, and Mrs. Emily Lebo, Teaching and Learning Subcommittee Chair. Also attending were Superintendent Richard DeCristofaro, Assistant Superintendent Colleen Roberts, Mrs. Mary Fredrickson, Ms. Beth Hallett, Mr. Kevin Mulvey, Mr. James Mullaney, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, Ms. Judy Todd; Ms. Allison Cox, President, Quincy Education Association; Mrs. Tracey Christello, Citywide Parents’ Council Representative to School Committee, Mrs. Susanne O’Neill, Citywide Parents’ Council, and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Mrs. Lebo called the meeting to order at 5:00 pm

The first item on the agenda was a review of progress towards implementing the new Educator Evaluation system. Mrs. Roberts noted that Level 4 and Race to the Top districts are in the process of implementing new Educator Evaluation system this school year; QPS is scheduled to begin in 2013-2014 and the implementation is phased in over two years (50% of staff evaluated each year). Mrs. Roberts shared information from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website with the Subcommittees, including an overview that outlined the five-step evaluation cycle, the Statewide Standards of Effective Practice, the Three Categories of Evidence, the Four Performance Levels, the Four Educator Plans, and the Three Impact Ratings.

Districts may adopt, adapt, or revise the model system created by DESE, but Quincy must notify DESE of which option will be selected. An Ad Hoc team made up of members of the Superintendent’s Leadership Team (SLT) and School Committee, selected in consultation with the School Committee Vice Chair will work with the Quincy Education Association (QEA) on model contract language to be adopted by the Quincy Public Schools (QPS). Performance rubrics are very detailed; teachers and evaluators will be trained in the use of these. Rubrics are available for superintendent, administrators, principals, teachers, and will be developed for other professional staff, including nurses, guidance counselors, and special education staff.

Extensive Educator Evaluation training is required by DESE for all evaluators. DESE has developed training for evaluators (11 hours) and teachers (a minimum of four hours). Since the beginning of December, SLT members have been evaluating model materials and gathering information about how implementation has gone with districts involved in this year’s rollout. Ten administrators are attending a three-hour DESE training on March 13. There will be a full presentation and an update on negotiations and model contract language at the April 3 School Committee meeting. A schedule for QPS implementation is due to be submitted to DESE in November 2013. A draft timeline focused on training will be shared on April 3.

Ms. Isola asked whether we know about whether this year’s school districts adopted, adapted, or revised the DESE model system. Mrs. Roberts said it seems that most districts adopted the DESE model system because they can later apply to adapt or revise the model system. Mrs. Lebo asked about software support for the evaluations. Mrs. Roberts said that QPS has reviewed three different software packages and are leaning towards one that is an app that can be run on iPads. Mrs. Roberts also confirmed that the training is a train the trainer model. Mrs. Lebo asked if School Committee should be trained in order to evaluate the Superintendent. Mrs. Roberts will investigate whether this is needed.

Mr. Bregoli asked about how often teachers will be evaluated and observed. Mrs. Roberts said 5-8 unannounced 10-15 minute observations are recommended; specifics will be negotiated with the QEA during the discussions about contract language. Professional status teachers are evaluated every other year; non-Professional Status teachers are evaluated every year.

The next item on the agenda was a discussion about Media Specialists. Mrs. Lebo shared information from DESE including a Crosswalks/Common Core matrix for School Librarians, a sample job description, and the DESE standards for licensure. Mrs. Lebo also shared contact information from a resource at Simmons College and suggested that Newton is a school district to contact for information about their middle school library program. Mrs. Lebo requested that Ms. Owens research library staffing and budgets in other school districts, especially the Gateway cities, other cities and towns that are comparable demographically through DESE’s DART tool, MSBA model school communities, including Lynnfield and Natick, and neighboring communities.

Superintendent DeCristofaro reviewed that while the rebuilding from the staff positions cut in FY2010 continues, there are several programs that have not yet been reinstated, in addition to the Media Specialists: Middle School Reading, Technology, and Grade 7 Foreign Language; and High School Health. As part of the recent contract negotiations with QEA, each elementary school will receive a building support teacher to assist with restoring elementary teacher planning time and professional development. In addition, this position will provide library support – during the school day, and possibly after school and open library opportunities in the summer. The Activity Stipend budget account may be used to supplement the budget line or there is a possibility of flex time arrangements within the support teachers’ hours.

The support teachers will be licensed teachers, hired by each elementary school’s principal. Dr. DeCristofaro and Mrs. Roberts met with an Ad Hoc team of Elementary principals and they shared ideas about how these teachers would provide library and technology support. In the computer lab, they could utilize Study Island or other software in 20 minute blocks. The support teacher could also provide library support in 30 minute blocks, reading aloud to the primary grade classes and assisting with book selection for all grades. The library support person could work with each school’s parent volunteers, who are integral for shelving, book checkout, and assisting with helping students select books. Additional opportunities could include completing library materials inventories under the direction of the high school media specialists (who could also assist with selecting new materials). Since these support teachers will be integrated into the classrooms in each school, they will be in a position to select read aloud books that relate to classroom topics. For Grades 3-5, they could integrate informational text, technology, and research skills to build on classroom instruction. Mrs. Roberts is reviewing possible technology options for the primary grades, including Study Island.

The support teachers will also have scheduled prep time and could assist with literacy, special education, or student support issues. Dr. DeCristofaro said that for the first month or so, the support teachers could come in on Tuesdays for training and orientation to technology. Mr. Bregoli asked whether principals could customize the schedule so that some grades could have longer blocks; some principals thought they would use an A/B week model as they do for other specialists. Mrs. Roberts said the principals they met with had already worked with this year’s schedule to see how this additional support teacher would best be utilized in their school. The principals may attend an upcoming Teaching and Learning Subcommittee meeting to share more specific information as the planning process moves forward.

For the middle schools, the proposed new position for the Central Middle School library is still being researched. Mrs. Lebo asked for and received confirmation that all elementary and middle schools still have intact library collections. Mrs. Hubley asked about schools that use the libraries for classroom space part of the day. Dr. DeCristofaro noted that the library’s use would have to be scheduled to accommodate this. Ms. Isola thanked Mrs. Lebo and Dr. DeCristofaro for their work in gathering information and coming up with a proposal for the support teachers to provide library and technology support. Ms. Isola noted that the QPS budget has been about rebuilding over the last couple of years, focusing on class size, increasing Literacy support, additional Special Education, ELL, Career & Technical Education, and Elementary specialist positions. She noted that unless there is a huge windfall, the media program cannot be completely reinstated. Ms. Isola would be very interested in hearing about the Newton library program and other cities and towns and learning how library usage has changed in schools over the years. She would like to focus on how we can create a program that gets the most for our students at a dollar value we can afford, integrating information from professionals in the field and our own principals. Mrs. Lebo agreed that library programs have evolved beyond the program that QPS had several years ago. Mr. Bregoli agreed that this is a good first step, ensuring parity for all elementary students in terms of library access. Mrs. Lebo said that she would work on setting up a visit to the Newton middle school; Mrs. Christello and Mrs. O’Neill from the Citywide Parents’ Council would be welcome to accompany the School Committee on the visit.

At the last Teaching and Learning Subcommittee meeting, Mrs. Lebo had asked for information about the Math Program of Studies at each high school. That information was shared with the Subcommittee and a further request was made to add the number of students taking each course.

Mrs. Lebo noted that the March 11 Teaching and Learning meeting would be rescheduled due to a conflict.

Ms. Isola made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:00 pm. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.