Nov. 6, 2014 Teaching/Learning Sub Meeting


Teaching and Learning Subcommittee
School Improvement Plan Presentations
Thursday, November 6, 2014, 3:30 pm
Coddington Building

Presentation Schedule:

  1. Montclair Elementary School
    Principal Renee Malvesti

  2. Clifford Marshall Elementary School
    Principal Nicholas Ahearn

  3. Merrymount Elementary School
    Principal Ann Pegg
    SIP presented by Andrea Santoro and John Rogan

  4. Lincoln Hancock Community School
    Principal Ruth Witmer

  5. Snug Harbor Community School
    Principal Margaret MacNeil

  6. Parker Elementary School
    Principal Maryanne Palmer


Quincy School Committee
Teaching & Learning Subcommittee Meeting
Thursday, November 6, 2014

A meeting of the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee was held on Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm at the Coddington Building. Present were Mr. Bregoli, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, and Ms. Barbara Isola, Chair. Also attending were Superintendent DeCristofaro, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Mr. Nicholas Ahearn, Mrs. Mary Fredrickson, Ms. Beth Hallett, Ms. Margaret MacNeil, Mrs. Renee Malvesti, Dr. Maryanne Palmer, Mrs. Maura Papile, Mrs. Erin Perkins, Mr. John Rogan, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mrs. Andrea Santoro, Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Steve Sylvia, Ms. Judy Todd, Mrs. Ruth Witmer; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Ms. Isola called the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee Elementary School Improvement Plan presentation to order at 3:30 pm. She asked the principals to present highlights of their School Improvement Plans, focusing on what they want School Committee to know about their schools.

Principal Renee Malvesti presented the Montclair School Improvement Plan, very happy to report that Montclair achieved Level 1 status based on Spring 2014 MCAS results. Montclair is celebrating the huge effort of the whole community, raising scores and accountability, and narrowing the achievement gap. Cumulative PPI indexes were all 75 and above, an increase of 13 points over last year. The student growth percentile was very good for both Math and ELA; ELL students were 30% above state averages at some grades.

Montclair’s goals for 2014-2015 are: students will demonstrate (1) an increase of 2% average percent correct over the 2014 MCAS results at each grade level in the area of Mathematics through focus on constructed responses as measured by the June 2015 MCAS standards report and (2) and increase of 2% average percent correct over the 2014 MCAS results at each grade level in the anchor standard for Reading as measured by the June 2015 MCAS standards report. (3) Staff and students will have the opportunity to participate in a minimum of three wellness activities; wellness initiatives will be identified and implemented based on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation framework and school inventory.

This year, Montclair is beginning the Positive Behavior Interventions & Strategies initiative. Teachers have volunteered to be trained, along with the Guidance staff covered under the Student Support grant. Technology initiatives have received support from Granite Telecommunications, George Burke, and the Montclair School PTO. Each grade level has one complete Mimeo setup, and there are document cameras and projectors in most classrooms.

Principal Nicholas Ahearn presented the Clifford Marshall School Improvement Plan, a work of collaboration among the school’s staff. Mr. Ahearn was proud to report that the school moved to Level 2 status, closing the achievement gap for students with disabilities. For last year’s goals, the ELA was not met, although there was growth in Grade 3. For Math, there was not progress for either grade. Clifford Marshall’s third goal was implementation of the PBIS model now in its second year. 90% of students responded to Tier 1 classroom reinforcement and Tier 2 support was provided for students with more significant needs. Tier 3 interventions will be implemented this year.

For 2014-2015, Clifford Marshall’s goals are: (1) to increase the total Average Percent Correct by 2% over the 2014 MCAS results in ELA as measured at every MCAS tested grade and documented by June 2015 MCAS report. This will be evident by an increased focus in the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard for ELA (from a base of 71%), specifically Key Ideas and Details as monitored through the use of common grade-level writing benchmarks, assessments, and rubrics. (2) To increase the total Average Percent Correct by 2% over the 2014 MCAS results at every MCAS tested grade in Mathematics (from a base of 69.5%) as indicated by the June 2015 MCAS Standards Report. This will be evident by an increased focus on constructed response and specifically Open Response questions. (3) To implement the PBIS program to create a healthy school environment by promoting positive behavior interventions and consistent expectations and consequences during the 2014-2015 school year for 100% of the school population with a direct focus on implementing Tier 3 interventions while improving Tier 1 instruction. (4) The Clifford Marshall School Wellness Team will utilize the Healthy Schools program to create a healthy school environment by promoting social, emotional, and physical well-being. This will be accomplished by providing nutrition education, increased physical activity, and student, staff, and family wellness initiatives during the 2014-2015 school year.

Clifford Marshall has been the beneficiary of additional technology provided through the support of PTO, local businesses, and Quincy Public Schools. All but five classrooms have short throw projectors. Being a Title I school provides tremendous benefits in terms of summer programming and professional development. Through Clifford Marshall’s partnership with the New England Aquarium, the school received a $30,000 grant for Grades K, 2, and 4 in school and outside of school.

Assistant Principal Andrea Santoro and Mr. John Rogan presented the Merrymount Elementary School Improvement Plan, noting that Merrymount is a 2014 Commendation School, 1 of 42 school in Massachusetts cited for narrowing proficiency gap. CPI for all students and high needs were on target and there was an increase for students with disabilities. In reflecting on last year’s goals, ELA goal showed a slight increase and the Mathematics goal was exceeded, with 7% growth from 68 to 75.

Merrymount’s goals for 2014-20154 are: (1) students will demonstrate a growing understanding of increasingly complex text. This will be evident by an increase of 2% or more on the school-wide average percent correct in the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard for Key Ideas and Details from a base of 74% as measured by the 2015 English Language Arts MCAS Standards Report and (2) students will demonstrate an increased ability to persevere and use reasoning to solve increasingly complex math tasks as related to open response-type questions. This will be evident by an increase of 2% or more on the school-wide average percent correct from a base of 75%, as documents on the 2015 Mathematics MCAS Standards Report. (3) The staff of the Merrymount School will provide a safe and nurturing learning environment, offering opportunities that promote physical and emotional wellness.

Mrs. Hubley noted that the Reading Buddy program that pairs Kindergarten and Grade 3 students sounds like a wonderful idea. Mrs. Hubley asked about parents on the School Council, there are six listed, but they were accidentally identified as teachers.

Principal Ruth Witmer presented the Lincoln Hancock School Improvement Plan, proud of the progress made by students at both Grades 3 and 4. The ELA goal was achieved, with Grade 4 increasing 5%. In Mathematics, the main 2% goal was achieved, but a secondary goal for fractions was not achieved. The third goal was the successful PBIS implementation; office referrals are way down, attendance is very improved. For the staff at Lincoln Hancock, the PBIS has changed interaction from a negative focus to positive – it is rejuvenating to spread good news and positive energy.

For 2014-2015, Lincoln Hancock’s goals are: (1) Grade 4 students will improve their average percent correct by 2% or more in the Writing Anchor Standard of Text Types and Purposes from a base of 50% as determined by the 2015 MCAS Standards Report. Grade 3 students will improve their average percent correct by 2% or more in the Reading Anchor Standard of Craft and Structure from a base of 72%. (2) The total average percent correct in Mathematics will increase by 2% over the 2014 MCAS results at each MCAS tested grade through a focus on constructed responses, specifically Open Response. (3) The Positive Behavior Intervention System will decrease office referrals for discipline by 5%.

Mrs. Witmer noted that while Lincoln Hancock remains a Level 3 school, the school moved higher in the percentile ranking to 17; over 20th percentile is Level 2 status. What drives Lincoln Hancock is the teams, both for teachers and students. Teachers are on grade level teams, vertical teams, planning teams, and assessment teams. Mrs. Witmer is very proud of the staff and invited School Committee to visit the school and see the children's pride in their accomplishments. Lincoln Hancock’s active parent group supports technology initiatives and provided document cameras in every classroom, Surface tablets for all Grade 3 classrooms, and projectors in most classrooms.

Ms. Isola asked about time built into the weekly schedule for collaboration. On Mondays, classrooms lessons are conducted for Pride by Mrs. Witmer, Assistant Principal Janet Loftus, and guidance staff, giving each grade level common planning time.

Principal Margaret MacNeil presented the Snug Harbor School Improvement Plan, which is collaborative effort of all staff from K through 5. Snug Harbor is a diverse community, parents who are partners in their student's education. Wellness is supported through extended day programs, parent-child events, and collaboration with the Germantown Neighborhood Center. Ms. MacNeil noted the recent upgrades in the building, especially the Professional Development room that allows for team collaboration. Technology upgrades include document cameras and Mimeoteach equipment.

In reflecting on last year’s goals, although the ELA goal was not met, progress made with a 1% increase in Grade 4 and increased performance on proficient or above. For Math, goal was not met, but there were increases, and significant decreases of student in the Warning category. Physical activity opportunities were before, during, and after school to support the wellness initiative. Guidance counselors are implementing social skills curricula across the grades. Ms. MacNeil is proud of the school's success, looking forward to continued growth.

Snug Harbor’s goals for 2014-2015 are that students will demonstrate: (1) a growing understanding of increasingly complex text by analyzing key ideas and details. This will be evident by an increase of 2% on each grade’s average percent correct over the 2014 MCAS results in the Anchor Standard for Reading for all students, as measured by the June 2015 MCAS Standards Report; and (2) an increased ability to solve complex math tasks supported by an added focus on the Standards for Mathematical Practice. Each grade’s total average percent correct will increase over the 2014 MCAS results by two percentage points. (3) The Snug Harbor Community School will continue to provide educational activities and opportunities that enhance development of lifelong wellness practices. This will be evident by the school’s Wellness Team aligning their individual improvement goals, as shown by successful completion of Action Steps, detailed agendas and notes from regular Wellness Team meetings, related Professional Development and consistent reflection of ongoing goal assessment.

Principal Maryanne Palmer presented the Parker Elementary School Improvement Plan, a collaborative effort of the school’s teachers at all grade levels. In reflecting on last year’s goals, for ELA, the goal was surpassed at all grade levels, with a 6% overall increase. CPI rose to be above the state target and student growth also surpassed state's goal for Parker. In Mathematics, the goal was surpassed goal with a school-wide average increase of 4%. Parker is in the 2nd year of the PBIS implementation and is finding that students’ actions reflect the clearly stated behavioral expectations and positive reinforcement from the school staff. Parker also had a parent engagement goal, which teachers included in their educator evaluation goals. QPS provided increased resources for translation, and Parker saw a 40% increase attendance at PTO meetings. Parker also benefits from support from NQHS students for translation and tutoring.

In addition, one of Dr. Palmer’s goals was to focus on decreasing the achievement gap for special education students and this was decreased by 19% for this year. Dr. Palmer attributes this to the collaboration of teachers reviewing student work together and sharing best practices. Grade level teams meet weekly to strengthen their professional practice and look at fluid grouping. Parker is a professional learning community with trained facilitators on the staff. Teams have norms and are mindful of the focus of the team time.

Parker’s goals for 2014-2015 are that: (1) total average percent correct will increase by 2% over the 2014 MCAS base of 70% at every MCAS tested grade in the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard for Reading, as measured by the June 2015 MCAS Standards Report and (2) total average percent correct in Mathematics will increase by 2% from the base of 74% over one year at every MCAS-tested grade, as measured by the June 2015 MCAS Standards Report. (3) The Wellness Team will identify and implement wellness initiatives based on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools program framework and school inventory.

Mr. Bregoli asked about the NQHS students who volunteer at Parker. Dr. Palmer said about 40 students are volunteers for the homework assist program after school. Students are mentors and the younger students look forward to the interaction. Students from the Early Childhood program at NQHS also work in the classrooms at Parker. High school students assist with translation for report card conferences and PTO meetings (babysitting and translation). North Quincy Youth Partnership is a long-established club at North Quincy High School and many of the students are Parker alums.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the Montclair, Clifford Marshall, Lincoln Hancock, Merrymount, Snug Harbor, and Parker School Improvement Plans. Ms. Isola seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Ms. Isola asked what the principals would like School Committee to focus on in terms of support. Mr. Ahearn said that keeping up with the demands of technology, not just hardware but software. Mrs. Malvesti agreed with technology, it really raises the level of student engagement. She also thanked School Committee for small class sizes. With growing population and PBIS implementation, additional Student Support staff would be helpful.

Mrs. Witmer said the improvements to the Lincoln Hancock building have made a difference: technology, classroom walls, and the new windows and doors to be installed next summer. She is concerned about student wellness, and is looking forward to the Farm to School projected and would like more green space.

Dr. Palmer said that technology is a concern, would like to have more short-throw projectors and document cameras. Top of the wish list would be a RTI Math program along the same lines as the Literacy program.

Ms. MacNeil agreed with the need for additional technology, and noted that new shrubs were installed at the front of Snug Harbor recently. At last week's PTO meeting, parents were thrilled at the school's new look. The Custodians do a great job inside the building.

Mr. Rogan said that Merrymount just received new computers for the lab, and that an iPad cart would be a welcome addition. Teacher desktop computers are also on the older side and classroom furniture could use replacement in some cases. Merrymount has a generous PTO who recently purchased folding chairs for auditorium.

Ms. Isola thanked all of the Principals and administrators for their work. Dr. DeCristofaro said we are very lucky to have the leadership of principals, assistant principals, teacher leaders, and the Superintendent’s Leadership Team.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to adjourn the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee meeting at 4:40 pm. Ms. Isola seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.