May 22, 2019 Special Ed. Sub Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Special Education Subcommittee Meeting -May 22, 2019

A meeting of the Special Education Subcommittee was held on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 6:10 pm in the Coddington Building. Present were Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. James DeAmicis, Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, and Mr. Anthony Andronico, Chair. Also attending were Superintendent Richard DeCristofaro, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Ms. Sarah Anderson, Ms. Catherine Carey, Mr. Joseph Edgerly, Ms. Julie Graham, Mr. Richard Kelly, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Erin Perkins, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla; Quincy Parent Advisory Council to Special Education President Cassandra Beck; Citywide Parent Council Co-President Courtney Perdios; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Mr. Andronico called to order the Special Education Subcommittee at 6:10 pm.

Special Education Coordinator Sarah Anderson presented the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI) program at Massasoit Community College, where two Quincy Public Schools graduates still eligible for Special Education services attend college supported by a Quincy Public Schools Educational Coach, attending classes, receiving career planning and employment, self-advocacy, and social skills. The two students and a parent spoke about their experiences. This is part of a national movement where over 6,000 students are attending programs in 49 states.

Mr. Gutro thanked the students for being the ambassadors for Quincy Public Schools to this program, making us proud and paving the way for future students.

Mrs. Hubley thanked the students, so important to hear their experiences first-hand.

Dr. DeCristofaro thanked Ms. Anderson for her leadership, this is an amazing program. He thanked all the parents, they have been persistent in supporting their students and wanting the best for their students.

Special Education Director Erin Perkins and Team Administrators Catherine Carey, Donna Cunningham, and Julie Graham presented an overview of the Special Education Pathways, Service Levels, and Practices. Ms. Perkins reviewed the concept that Special Education is not a place, but a unique service for over 1,700 Quincy Public Schools students. Quincy Public Schools Special Education services are constantly evolving, the MAICEI program presented earlier did not exist two years ago.

At the Pre-Kindergarten level, the goals are to identify students as early as possible, to maximize exposure to language, to meet students at their developmental level both academically and socially, and to prepare students for the transition to Kindergarten and beyond. Integrated Kindergarten classes are at the Amelio Della Chiesa Early Childhood Center (5 teachers), Snug Harbor (5 teachers), and Point Webster (currently 1 teacher, but for 2019-20, 1 teacher is moving from Snug Harbor to Point Webster). The CARES Pre-Kindergarten program is at the Della Chiesa ECC (8 classes) and Point Webster (1 class). For Kindergarten, students may attend their neighborhood school, the Transitional Kindergarten program at Atherton Hough or Lincoln Hancock, or the CARES program at Snug Harbor or Squantum.

For elementary school students, the goal is to provide a free and appropriate education for all of our students so that they may be successful in the least restrictive environment. Educators work to identify students as early as possible and provide scientifically research-based reading, math, and writing interventions based on individual student needs. General Education students with Special Education needs are supported through Literacy and Special Education Resource Room services at all elementary schools. There are four citywide specialized programs: CARES (for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders) at Squantum (1 K-2 and 1 3-5 class) and Snug Harbor (4 K-2 and 3 3-5 classes); the Learning Center (for students with intellectual or developmental delays) at Squantum (1 K-2 and 1 3-5 class); the Language Development class (for students with a language-based learning disability) at Atherton Hough (5 classes, one each for Grades 1-5) and Snug Harbor (1 Gr. 1-3 and 1 Gr. 3-5 class); and STARS (for students with emotional impairment) at Parker (3 multi-grade classes for Grades 1-5).

For middle school students, the focus expands to promote collaborative practices across educational settings between general education staff, special educators, and related service providers. In addition, the academic, social, and emotional supports necessary so that students enter high school on the path to college and career readiness are emphasized. Inclusion support is an important component of the middle school experience. The same four citywide specialized programs are available: CARES students from Squantum and Snug Harbor will attend South~West Middle School, along with the Learning Center students from Squantum. (This program was formerly at Broad Meadows Middle School). Language Development students from Snug Harbor and Atherton Hough attend Broad Meadows Middle School. STARS students from Parker transition to the PASS program at Atlantic Middle School or the stand-alone GOALS program, depending on student needs.

For high school students, the emphasis is on providing academic, social, and emotional support necessary so that students fulfill their potential and become productive members of society. Both Quincy and North Quincy High School offer Resource Room supports and Inclusion classes for core curriculum areas. NQHS is home to the PASS, Learning Center, and LEAP (for students from 18-22) programs and QHS is home to the PACE program for LDC students.

In addition to the many in-house special programs, Quincy Public Schools currently has 154 students in Out of District Special Education placements tailored to specific student needs. Ms. Perkins recognized Team Administrator Richard Kelly who is retiring at the end of the school year. Mr. Kelly has long managed students with out of district placements, some of the most complex situations.

Mrs. Hubley thanked the team for the focus on consistency for Special Education students.

Mrs. Lebo said that the parents are universally complimentary of the caring and responsiveness of the Special Education team. Their attention makes the difference to families

Dr. DeCristofaro said there has always been support for Special Education from this and previous School Committees. The DESE Promising Practices team were impressed with the array of programs offered and that starts with the School Committee Budget.

Mr. Bregoli said the collaboration between the staff and parents cooperating with the best interests of the students and families in mind is much appreciated.

Quincy Parent Advisory Council to Special Education (QPAC) President Cassandra Beck updated on the recent Sensory Night, which featured several outside resources for parent support, yoga, and sensory activities. The last event of the year will be the annual trip to Wahlburgers.

Ms. Perkins said the Special Education Track & Field event will be this Friday, May 24 at 9:00 am.

Mr. DeAmicis made a motion to adjourn the Special Education Subcommittee at 7:00 pm. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.