Jan. 25, 2022 Subcommittee Meeting

Jan. 25, 2022 Subcommittee Meeting
Posted on 01/20/2022
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Quincy School Committee Teaching & Learning Subcommittee

**This meeting is a Committee of the Whole**

Mrs. Emily Lebo, Chair
Mrs. Tina Cahill & Mr. Frank Santoro, Subcommittee Members

School Improvement Plan Presentations
Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at 6:00 pm
Coddington Building, School Committee Room

Per Governor Baker’s order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A sec. 20, the public will not be allowed to physically access this School Committee meeting. Members of the Public can access the meeting live on QATV Channel 22 or at www.qatv.org. The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast and posted on the QPS website on Friday, January 28, 2022.

Presentation Schedule:

6:00 pm Larry Taglieri/Quincy High School

6:20 pm Keith Ford/North Quincy High School

6:40 pm Steve Sylvia/Squantum

7:00 pm Peter Dionne/Bernazzani


Quincy School Committee Teaching & Learning Subcommittee Meeting ~ January 25, 2022

A meeting of the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee was held on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at 6:00 pm in the Coddington Building. Present were Mrs. Tina Cahill, Mr. Doug Gutro, Mr. Frank Santoro, and Mrs. Emily Lebo, Chair. Also attending were Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, Mr. Peter Dionne, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Mr. Keith Ford, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Stephen Sylvia, Mr. Lawrence Taglieri, and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Principal Lawrence Taglieri presented the Quincy High School Improvement Plan, reflecting on the 2020-2021 school year, the constant need to adapt as the educational models evolved through the school year, from fully remote to hybrid/asynchronous to hybrid/streaming to fully in-person while always offering the remote model. Every staff member at Quincy High School was a critical team member to ensure the school provided support and outreach to students and families. The emotional well-being of the students has been at the forefront, supported by the Mayor and School Committee. The Quincy community provided critical supports to provide important experiences adapted for safety, including Athletics, the prom, Senior Night Out, and graduation.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion has been included in School Improvement Plans for the last few years, but the events of this fall revealed a greater need to build an inclusive culture. Health Education has been restored to Grade 10 curriculum, the partnership with DOVE has been strengthened, and collaborations in the community for Student Support staff including Walker Therapeutics. The many extracurricular activities support student interests and provide opportunities to be involved in the school. VOCAL Survey data and MCAS data inform action steps for learning loss. The new Career Liaison is working with juniors and seniors not planning to immediately pursue post-graduate education to find opportunities for job placement, apprenticeships, and military careers. The Early College program is providing a pathway for students to earn college credits while taking classes at high school and opens opportunity for families who many not have considered college a possibility.

Mrs. Cahill asked about other assessments beyond MCAS. Mr. Taglieri said the curriculum departments have common assessments that were created in teams. Mrs. Cahill asked about how the community circles work at the high school level. Mr. Taglieri said that these are done in classrooms, but there is not a designated time. Mrs. Cahill asked about Early College, 69 students are currently enrolled. For Dual Enrollment, 19 classes are offered.

Mr. Santoro thanked Mr. Taglieri for his efforts, it has been a difficult year. Mr. Santoro agreed that Early College and Dual Enrollment are such great opportunities for our students, there are many supports in place with Quincy College. The extracurricular activities are important to the community of the school, along with the Parent Advisory Council, NEASC accreditation preparations are also underway. Mr. Santoro empathizes with Mr. Taglieri, all of the components that go into managing the school building, facilities, external issues, student discipline issues, parent concerns, sometimes larger issues due to social media, the pressures on principals are so large.

Mrs. Lebo agreed that the efforts at Quincy High School and the whole district were extraordinary in terms of outreach, complimented the SIP action steps around supporting staff in learning about restorative practices. Mrs. Lebo asked about the effect on discipline reports, Mr. Taglieri said it is about how incidents are being handled and that the education piece is a tremendous part of this. Mrs. Lebo asked about the English Learner Education goal, individual students have progress goals in the Student Success Plans.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the English department adjusting the curriculum to include more diverse authors, Mr. Taglieri said the two high school English Departments are collaborating on finalizing the titles and developing lesson plans. Mrs. Lebo asked about Bi-Literacy Seal is an option for students taking World Languages, Ms. Roy will follow up on this. Mrs. Lebo asked about class sizes, the largest are advanced placement electives.

Mrs. Lebo said that School Committee is very concerned about the vaping in student restrooms and that the education needs to be strengthened at the middle school level. Mr. Taglieri said the Health Interventionists also work with families when students have been identified. Mrs. Lebo would like to review the Health teachers and what they were able to accomplish at the end of the school year.

Mr. Gutro asked about learning loss and grading, Mr. Taglieri said teachers are looking at other ways to assess student learning, not just focusing on testing and papers. There has been progress in reducing the failure rate and teachers working with students to assist them to transition back to the structure of school.

Mr. Gutro said that social media makes the principal’s job very complicated, Mr. Taglieri said that the education component that students understand the consequences of their actions is very important. Mr. Gutro asked about female security staff, there is one currently and the deans and staff members also assist with monitoring the restrooms. Mr. Taglieri said that students and staff have had procedures reviewed, along with reinforcing the structure of issuing passes and students be accountable for their movements in the school building.

Mr. Taglieri said the climate of the school is the paramount importance, it was discouraging to hear that students and families did not feel welcome, but the forums presented ideas for improvement. The Equity Work Group has been developed to address the bias issues around the Student Handbook, new EDI Coordinator is being sought, and there is renewed emphasis on integrating student voices in planning events. Culturally Responsive Teaching professional development and coaching are also planned, along with periodic checkins with the community. Students are not interested in more surveys, they are looking to see actions.

Mr. Santoro underscored that parents have the opportunity to take an active part in the administration of the school through the Parent Advisory Council, students can join the Student Council, teachers can join interdisciplinary teams.

Mrs. Lebo thanked Mr. Taglieri for how he handled the walkout in November, it was enlightening and important for all to see. Mrs. Lebo said there is so much going on, a concerted effort to make a change in the culture.

Mrs. Lebo asked to see the the DEI Coordinator position description

Mrs. Lebo asked about the cell phone usage policy, Mr. Taglieri said it is at the teacher’s discretion and students are allowed to use during their personal time. Superintendent Mulvey said Mayor Koch would like to discuss establishing a Policy on cell phone use at an upcoming Subcommittee meeting.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to accept the Quincy High School Improvement Plan and move the facilities issues into the Facilities Subcommittee. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Cahill, and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mr. Keith Ford presented the North Quincy High School Improvement Plan, a team effort with the Assistant Principals and the school’s leadership team. Due to the pandemic, there are areas of learning loss that need to be addressed, supports to stem the increase in high-risk students, and community building to encourage and motivate student achievement. Social-emotional initiatives will be focused on incorporating restorative practices and integrating students into the life of the school. For the equity initiative, looking at disciplinary practices, culturally responsive teaching, inclusion opportunities for the Learning Center, Career Liaison position to work with students not planning to pursue post-graduate education. The Climate and Culture Committee consists of 10 faculty members reviewing student achievement and well-being, disaggregating VISIONS survey data to present to staff to look for opportunities based on the survey amd working with students on having courageous conversations about race, understanding their own identities, bringing positive change to the school community.

The school is planning on recognizing students who have shown improvement from struggling at the beginning of the school year on a monthly basis, certificate of recognition and effort as well as recognition of a person of character. Staff members are recognized through the Golden Apple award, professional development support the implementation of restorative practices with different focuses: self-care, conflict resolution, and teaching and learning. Extracurricular options support student interests and creative scheduling to have some options during the school days so that students with family or work after school can participate.

Mr. Ford reviewed the school’s demographics, focusing on Advanced Placement classes and representation by students of color. The Elevate Initiative is working with identified students to expand their academic achievements, supports. Mr. Ford also reviewed the use of social media to promote school events, created an Instagram account to meet students where their interests are.

Mrs. Cahill thanked Mr. Ford for his leadership and energy, thorough SIP, and use of data to make strategic plans for improvement, professional development the key. Mrs. Cahill asked if staff will have the opportunity to be reflective, what is being done well and where are their opportunities for growth for cultural responsiveness.

Mr. Santoro commended Principal Ford for creating the design to establish a sense of belonging, and to have 46 extracurricular activities besides Athletics. Mr. Santoro asked about class size, Ms. Owens said there is a discrepancy in staffing, 12 staff members fewer than Quincy High School with similar populations. Ms. Perkins said some NQHS staff members are teaching additional classes and there may be staff shifts necessary for the next school year.

Mrs. Lebo complemented the Dean’s goals and the use of the community circles. Mrs. Lebo said that Facilities needs will be moved to Subcommittee, noted that some of the rooms still have carpet from the 1980 renovation.

Mr. Gutro thanked Mr. Ford for his leadership, communication is superb. Mr. Gutro asked about the bathroom graffiti incident in December, Mr. Ford said it was important that the messaging be stern and emphasize the consequences. He is looking to parents to reinforce appropriate school behavior, and received a positive response from parents.

Mr. Gutro asked about the walkout in November, Mr. Ford said that he approached the Student Council leadership and had conversations with each grade level and asked for the opportunity to effect change without having a walkout. Student Council is very involved in planning events, ownership and investment in the school, for example, students have proposed a Mental Health Awareness day, presented in such a detailed way that it is beneficial to execute. Mr. Gutro complimented the ROTC cadets, an asset for the city, volunteering at so many events.

Mrs. Lebo said by regulation School Committee is supposed to meet with a Student Advisory Council and a student member of the School Committee needed from both high schools.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to accept the North Quincy High School Improvement Plan and move the facilities issues into the Facilities Subcommittee. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Cahill, and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

After a brief recess, Mr. Steve Sylvia began his presentation of the Squantum Elementary School Improvement Plan by thanking the Mayor, School Committee, Superintendent and Leadership team, and the Squantum staff. He is fortunate to be surrounded by a great team, and school community, providing safe and supportive environment, strong academic programs for all students, and emphasis on social-emotional well-being including inclusivity. The school community has been energized by the invitation into the MSBA Core Program to build a new Squantum Elementary School. Data has been analyzed to inform teaching, professional development, and assess learning loss. Engaging extracurricular programs support student interests and address academic strategies, planning family events in collaboration with the PTO.

Mr. Santoro complimented the school’sProfessional Development and Family Engagement, impressive array of opportunities. Mr. Santoro noted that he is looking forward to working with Mr. Sylvia on the school building process.

Mrs. Cahill asked if MAP scores are a more accurate representation of student achievement, Mr. Sylvia said the ILT teams use both MCAS and MAP, for the earlier grades, the DIBELS and MAP are the options (Grade 2). Ms. Perkins said MCAS is a snapshot in time, while the MAP is administered three times over the course of the year. Last year’s MCAS was administered both in person and remotely, not necessarily indicative of student mastery of content area, but a measurement of performance against standards.

Mrs. Cahill asked about DIBELS, for students in Grades K-2, a measure of oral reading fluency. There are normed performance targets for speed and accuracy and phonological awareness. MAP is administered beginning in Grade 2.

Mrs. Cahill asked if we are continuing to utilize digital tools, Mr. Sylvia said all grades are using the Google Suite platform and were familiar with it before the pandemic began in 2020. Mrs. Cahill asked about Professional Development for teachers in digital content, Ms. Perkins said the Digital Literacy staff work with both staff and students at all elementary schools and focus on internet safety and appropriate digital citizenship.

Mrs. Lebo agreed that the MAP Assessment is actionable, the data is readily available and the teacher can adjust immediately to address student needs. MCAS data is not available until the students are in the next grade. Mr. Sylvia said that we are just beginning to scratch the surface of MAP as a tool.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the school-wide themed book to be shared across the school, Mr. Sylvia said the local EDI team will be working together to select a title. Mrs. Lebo complimented the tweaking of PBIS to align character traits with restorative practices and DEI initiatives.

Mr. Gutro asked for an update on the Squantum project, Superintendent Mulvey said that the enrollment certification process is underway and the Feasibility Study funding appropriation will be on the City Council agenda for February 7.

Mr. Gutro asked for an update for the Digital Literacy program to be presented at School Committee.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to accept the Squantum Elementary School Improvement Plan. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Cahill, and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mr. Peter Dionne presented the Bernazzani Elementary School Improvement Plan, thanked everyone for their support the last couple of years. In planning for the new school year, staff thought about the youngest students, some of whom had never had a normal full school year. Community building through the restorative circles has been very important, social emotional supports, and increasing the sense of belonging through extracurricular. School-wide book club with a different title each month: Alma; The Girl Who Thought in Pictures; Charisse’s Big Voice; Our Favorite Day; Under My Hijab; Game, Set, Sisters. PTO funds have supported additional diverse titles for the school and classroom libraries. MCAS results were well above the state averages in most categories, the school take pride in differentiated learning offerings. Areas of focus were identified through data analysis and action steps support addressing these curriculum strands. MAP data is utilized at ILT meetings and student instruction is adjusted as needed to support student achievement. The PTO continues to be a strong supporter of initiatives at Bernazzani, partnership with parents is so important.

Mr. Santoro complimented the distributive leadership and parent involvement at the school. Mr. Santoro asked about traffic and parking on Furnace Brook Parkway, Mr. Dionne said there have been many improvements, but a permanent solution has not been reached.

Mrs. Cahill appreciates use of MAP data to inform student instruction and professional development. Mrs. Cahill asked about the RIT scores being part of the goals, Mr. Dionne said that previous year’s data is a factor in determining a challenging, yet achievable goal for the grade level cohort.

Mrs. Cahill asked about paraprofessionals, Ms. Perkins said that each school has paraprofessionals in Kindergarten and then some students may have individual paraprofessional support. Ms. Roy clarified that the four Title I schools have additional staff members, such as interventionists.

Mrs. Lebo complimented the book club idea and the integration of community circles. Mrs. Lebo asked about the Social-Emotional curriculum, these programs are used for all elementary schools.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to accept the Bernazzani Elementary School Improvement Plan and move the facilities issues into the Facilities Subcommittee. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Cahill, and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 pm. Mrs. Cahill seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.