Nov. 15, 2016 Teaching/Learning Sub Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Teaching and Learning Subcommittee
Ms. Barbara Isola, Chair
Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 5:00 pm
Coddington Building

Elementary School Improvement Plan Presentations

  • 5:00 pm Bernazzani - Principal Peter Dionne

  • 5:15 pm Snug Harbor - Principal Margaret MacNeil

  • 5:30 pm Clifford Marshall - Principal Nick Ahearn

  • 5:45 pm Beechwood Knoll - Principal Diane O’Keeffe

  • 6:00 pm Lincoln Hancock - Principal Ruth Witmer


Quincy School Committee
Teaching & Learning Subcommittee Meeting
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A meeting of the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee was held on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm in the Coddington Building. Present were Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, and Ms. Barbara Isola, Chair. Also attending were Superintendent DeCristofaro, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Mr. Nicholas Ahearn, Ms. Nancy Barron, Mr. Peter Dionne, Ms. Roberta DiTullio, Ms. Elizabeth Hallett, Ms. Janet Loftus, Ms. Margaret MacNeil, Mr. Michael Marani, Mrs. Diane O'Keeffe, Mrs. Maura Papile, Mrs. Heather Patch, Mrs. Erin Perkins, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla,Mrs. Ruth Witmer; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Principal Peter Dionne presented the Bernazzani Elementary School Improvement Plan, noting that Bernazzani is a community school with strongly supportive families. Bernazzani has implemented the Peace Builders program as part of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Systems. Reflecting on MCAS, both the ELA and Mathematics goals were exceeded, 74% Average Percent Correct for both, a 4% increase. No students in Grade 3 scored in the Warning category. An area of focus is continuing to move students into Proficient and Advanced and to become a Level 1 school again, which requires a PPI of 75 for all students (currently 68) and High Needs students (currently 83). The Rapid Reset initiative supported Professional Development for Close Reading and Mathematics, homogeneous groups and is continuing to sharpen individualized instruction for all students.

Mrs. Hubley asked about successful parent involvement activities. Mr. Dionne said that PTO provides $25,000, but the focus has shifted from fundraising to activities such as dances, the Spring Fair, and other community events. These type of events gather a wider range of parent volunteers.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the 1% goal, is that enough to achieve Level 1 status. Mr. Dionne said that full year focus of the differentiated instruction should make the difference.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to approve the Bernazzani Elementary School Improvement Plan. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Principal Margaret MacNeil and Assistant Principal Michael Marani presented the Snug Harbor Community School Improvement Plan, representing a collaborative effort on behalf of the entire school staff. Snug Harbor’s diverse community is celebrated, parents are partners (monthly ParentChild Kindergarten day, other activities emphasize wellness, including family kickball and soccer), and there is a safety net for students needing intervention. PBIS is continuing to be implemented, celebrating the accomplishments of the whole child. Snug Harbor has an extensive array of before and after school activities. Snug Harbor's students know that their school is a safe place and the student support program builds self-esteem and consideration for others.

Snug Harbor staff are very proud to have met or exceeded last year's SIP goals for all grades and moving to Level 2; all are looking forward to achieving Level 1 status. Snug Harbor students showed increases in proficient performance across all grades. APC for ELA rose 5% for Grade 3 (68% to 73%); 4% for Grade 4 (60% to 64%); and 5% for Grade 5 (56% to 61%). APC for Math went from 74% to 76% for Grade 3; 6% for Grade 4 (62% to 68%); 4% for Grade 5 (56% to 60%).

In analyzing data, staff felt the Reset initiative brought about curriculum changes to sharpen focus, all grades working together with common goal of improving student achievement. Highlights included increased differentiation and many professional development opportunities, including close reading and mathematics. Teams of teachers worked together in grade level and vertical teams, tested out solutions, looked at data differently and more frequently. Through Reset Renewal in this school year, efforts will continue with all teachers working collaboratively, implementing Guided Math, Walk to Read and common writing units. Behind the data, there are real students and we all owe it to these students to bring them the best opportunities.

Mrs. Hubley asked about technology integration. Mr. Marani said there have been 10 shortthrow projectors installed, all classes now have access to online technology.

Mrs. Lebo said the growth is incredible, as is the achievement of narrowing gaps; she is very proud of the Snug Harbor staff and their focus on moving every student forward. Mrs. Lebo asked about MCAS 2.0. Ms. MacNeil said that with the support of Ms. DiTullio, teachers are beginning to work on the complexity of the questions (2-part questions and more than one answer) and the technology demands are being modeled for students and opportunities for practice provided through the Library Support program.

Ms. Isola asked if the school has a sense of availability of technology at home. Ms. MacNeil said almost all families have access to smartphones, but less availability of laptops or desktop computers.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the Snug Harbor Community School Improvement Plan. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Lebo and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Principal Nicholas Ahearn and Assistant Principal Heather Patch presented the Clifford Marshall Elementary School Improvement Plan, highlighting the school profile: at 581 students in 31 classrooms including the citywide STARS program, Clifford Marshall is the largest elementary school in Quincy. Clifford Marshall is the center of the community, students have 27 different home languages.

In reviewing last year’s goals, the ELA goal was not met, 1% decrease in average percent correct, consistent at both tested grade levels. Clifford Marshall staff are looking to improve close reading instruction and including more informational and non-fiction texts, along with furthering parent engagement that involves as many parents as possible. Math and Literacy nights planned, along with MCAS night. New this year, the Collaborative Connections initiative is underway, providing structured planning times for teachers to work on strengthening the differentiated instruction model.

For Mathematics, there was also a decline in average percent correct, significantly for Grade 3 (-6% from 2015). Interventions will include the guided math model, meeting students where they are, and addressing the basic skills of the influx of new students annually.

Mrs. Patch spoke about PBIS and the effect on the positive school culture as part of meeting their total needs. Tier 2 student intervention “Check In/Check Out” was implemented for 21 students; students were assigned a mentor teacher. Tier 3 students need an intensive level of support, and this year, building on the success of the Tier 2 interventions, Tier 3 students are being monitored and daily progress shared with parents. Also providing increasing opportunities for inclusion for the STARS students in mainstream classrooms. For the Wellness goals, the school nurse is continuing to collaborate with the cafeteria manager on expanding food tasting opportunities and opportunities for physical activity. A dental hygeniest recently screened over 300 students and the vision van came and 12 students received glasses.

Mrs. Lebo noted that students with disabilities were missing from the charts in the back. Mrs. Lebo said that she is hopeful that the Collaborative Connections will stem the decline in test scores in the last few years.

Mrs. Hubley noted that the areas of need will be put into the Facilities & Security Subcommittee for all schools.

Dr. DeCristofaro said that the Clifford Marshall school culture and community are unparalleled, both Mr. Ahearn and Mrs. Patch do a fantastic job.

Mr. Bregoli said that given the yearly change in population, the school's accomplishments are significant.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the Clifford Marshall Elementary School Improvement Plan. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Lebo and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Principal Diane O’Keeffe and Assistant Principal Nancy Barron presented the Beechwood Knoll Elementary School Improvement Plan, noting that the school is welcoming to students and families, provides a high level of caring and kindness, and have benefitted from the PBIS initiative. Students’ outstanding behavior is recognized through Student of the Week and Month, special privileges and recognitions. Staff have been rejuvenated by the positive school culture and the happiness of students. Families will be engaged through planned Literacy and Mathematics nights, the goal is to become a Level 1 school once again. Wellness initiatives were supported through tracking miles walked and run “across the United States,” the annual Turkey Trot, and family activity nights.

Mrs. O’Keeffe said that Beechwood Knoll has not been successful in narrowing performance gaps for High Needs students. There was a decrease in all grades of the percentage of students who scored Proficient or above on both the ELA and Mathematics MCAS Assessment in 2016. Beechwood Knoll is focusing on the overall Reading Anchor Standard, and looking for a 2% increase in Average Percent Correct for ELA and 1% for Mathematics. Beechwood Knoll is part of the Collaborative Connections initiative this year, a design team has been formed with the goal of improving focus on differentiated instruction.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the sewer pipe issue; the short-term issue was resolved over the summer and through the Mayor’s Capital Improvement Plan there will be further work to the plumbing.

Ms. Isola asked for landscaping at the front of the building to be added to the Areas of Need.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the Beechwood Knoll Elementary School Improvement Plan. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Principal Ruth Witmer and Assistant Principal Janet Loftus presented the Lincoln Hancock Community School Improvement Plan. Over the past ten years, the school’s culture has been built on the concept of PRIDE and the staff working diligently to make learning standards attainable. The collaboration of the staff demonstrates perseverance, integrity, dependability, always giving their best effort. Academically, the staff meets the students where they are, providing whole group, small group, one-on-one instruction, and independent explorations. Lincoln Hancock is implementing Collaborative Connections this year, looking for vertical and grade level team meetings to push the school into Level 2 status.

Lincoln Hancock met the goals for all grades with an 80.2 CPI, an increase over the previous year. Student Growth was high for both Mathematics and ELA. For this year’s goal, Lincoln Hancock is looking for a 1% increase in average percent correct for the ELA Reading Anchor Standard, a schoolwide effort across all grades, focused use of data across all grades in ILT meetings, progress monitoring Walk to Read and writing program. For Mathematics, a 1% increase in average percent correct is the goal, focus on analysis of strengths and weaknesses in specific domains and assisting children in understanding why not just how.

For Wellness and School Culture goals, there will be continued focus on opportunities for activity, nutrition awareness, and PBIS will be provided for all students and staff. Through the Farm to School initiative, raised garden beds were installed and students in Grades 2-4 participated in planting, harvesting, and cooking. For 2016-2017, Lincoln Hancock is looking to decrease office referrals by 1%, data is tracked through the SWIS program, trends can be identified, and certain days of the week or times pinpointed, allowing for proactive work on behavior. There were 189 referrals in 2015-2016, 19 students were 125 of the referrals and these students are now receiving Tier 2 interventions, with individual plans, teacher mentor check in and check out, positive interactions, and goals.

Mrs. Lebo complimented the office referral data and supports for these students. Mrs. Lebo asked about why the goals are by grade focused as opposed to the whole school. Mrs. Lebo said Lincoln Hancock said the school should be Level 2 given the increases demostrated last year.

Mrs. Hubley said the energy of the school was captured during the presentation. Ms. Isola saw Grade 3 students on the news with a weather reporter, the enthusiasm of the students was evident.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to approve the Lincoln Hancock Community School Improvement Plan. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Hubley and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Ms. Isola said she noticed how phenomenal the class sizes are across the elementary levels. Dr. DeCristofaro thanked School Committee for the support through the budget.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:15 pm. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.