Jan. 26, 2022 Subcommittee Meeting

Jan. 26, 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
Wednesday, January 26, 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 Janet Loftus/Beechwood Knoll

6:20 pm Mike Marani/Snug Harbor

6:40 pm Renee Malvesti/Montclair

7:00 pm Courtney Mitchell/Merrymount

7:20 pm Margaret MacNeil/Parker


Quincy School Committee Teaching & Learning Subcommittee Meeting ~ January 26, 2022

A meeting of the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee was held on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 at 6:00 pm in the Coddington Building. Present were Mayor Thomas P. Koch, Mrs. Tina Cahill, Mr. Doug Gutro, Mr. Frank Santoro, and Mrs. Emily Lebo, Chair. Also attending were Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, Ms. Diane Babcock, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Ms. Marisa Forrester, Ms. Mary Hurley, Ms. Janet Loftus, Ms. Margaret MacNeil, Ms. Renee Malvesti, Mr. Michael Marani, Ms. Courtney Mitchell, Ms. Maura Papile, Mr. John Rogan, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Principal Janet Loftus and Assistant Principal Marisa Forrester presented the Beechwood Knoll School Improvement Plan, reviewing the 2020-2021 school year where 50% of students learned remotely. The challenges of last year drove the staff to re-prioritize and align strategies to start the school year positively while addressing learning loss and meet the students where they are to support their growth and development. The school schedule was revamped to align intervention blocks to support foundational skill development especially for the youngest students. MAP and AMPLIFY DIBELS data is being used to set goals and plan effectively, while setting the standards high for student achievement. Support for student social-emotional needs is so important, especially community building for students who attended school remotely. “Beechwood Bedtime Stories,” videos of teachers reading aloud were very popular and are continuing this year. For DEI, new initiatives include a parent-staff book club.

Mrs. Cahill thanked Ms. Loftus and Ms. Forrester for their efforts, complex responsibilities running the school, including traffic management.

Mr. Santoro complimented the goals, Ms. Loftus said that students have shown growth already, some Grade 2 students are taking the higher level MAP Assessment. Typically the growth at Beechwood Knoll is high this time of the school year, the expectations of the school community support these goals. Mr. Santoro asked about vertical teams, Ms. Loftus said the early release days are an opportunity and is looking for common planning time during the school day.

Mr. Santoro asked about the REACH pullout, Ms. Loftus said the Grade 5 students meet on Mondays and the Grade 4 students will meet for 90 minutes once a month. Students were selected using MAP data, the top 20% of each school.

Mrs. Lebo complimented the differentiation between K-2 and 3-5 goals. Mrs. Lebo asked how communication is handled, Ms. Loftus said the monthly newsletter is emailed and sent home on paper. Ms. Loftus said the School Messenger program is user friendly and notifications are sent via text, email, and phone. Attendance is strong at PTO meetings, they have continued to meet virtually.

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

Principal Michael Marani and Assistant Principal Diane Babcock presented the Snug Harbor Community School Improvement Plan on behalf of the staff, thanked the Mayor and School Committee for the ongoing support, especially over the last two. Snug Harbor has 11 Special Education classrooms, 40% of student population, special thanks to Director Julie Graham and the Team Administrators for constant support. The pandemic affected families with economic issues disproportionately, the city’s supports have been important. Building connections between students and staff and between staff members is the focus of this school year and ultimately connecting students to the curriculum. In the classroom, teachers are skilled at differentiating instruction and are adapting to student’s needs, meeting students where they are and providing the supports for their achievement. Afterschool programming has academic component, many teachers willing to participate after school to provide these opportunities, including unique soccer and basketball programs based at the school.

On a daily basis, Snug Harbor is continuing with PBIS skills and values and community building through restorative circles to create an environment to learn about respect for self and others. In addition to these initiatives, the goals created for the School Improvement Plan are the minimum expectation. Last year, approximately 50% of the students attended school remotely and it is difficult to analyze last year’s MCAS scores for meaningful information. The MAP scores for the fall were far more applicable for individual goals and identifying areas of learning loss and needed supports.

Mr. Santoro asked about the Grade 5 REACH program, Mr. Marani said this is running successfully and has been expanded to Grade 4 recently. The previous Grade 5 program was not successful at Snug Harbor, the new program is expanding opportunity. Mr. Santoro noted that the PTO is not in a position to be as financially supportive as other schools, School Committee may need to look at leveling the funding.

Mrs. Cahill asked about Special Education programming, how are push in and pull out services determined. Mr. Marani said that the MAP and DIBELS data and the review of the students at the Integrated Learning Team meeting facilitate this planning and scheduling. Mrs. Cahill asked about the response to extended day programs, Mr. Marani said there is high interest.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the goal for this year, Mr. Marani said that these are achievable goals and that there were challenges for last year’s assessments, so is concerned about the data. Mrs. Lebo asked about Extended Day activities for K-2, there are only academic currently. Mr. Marani said many of the Kindergarten students had no prior school experience and there were concerns about extending their school day further. In the spring, there may be opportunities to create additional extended day programming for the younger students.

Mr. Gutro asked about the challenges of access to technology last year with students learning remotely. Mr. Marani said that the school was proactive in delivering Chromebook, hotspots, and textbooks to families as needed.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to accept the Snug Harbor Community 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.

Principal Renee Malvesti and Assistant Principal Mary Hurley presented the Montclair Elementary School Improvement Plan, thanking the staff and families for their support especially during the challenging past school years. In planning for this school year, it was important to reflect on the lessons from the shifting learning models and the 50% of families who remained remote for the entire school year. Communication was key to making successful transition to full-time in-person learning, the community still has concerns about safety and socialization was so limited. The high academic expectations at Montclair are tempered by the realities of the learning loss from the pandemic, over 100 new students this fall, and students from homes where 28 different languages are spoken. Teaching practices have been evaluated, along with data from MAP and MCAS, and grade level goals aligned to the district goals. Creative scheduling focused on aligning services to provide for common planning time and student interventions at common times.

Ms. Hurley reviewed the integration of EDI and PBIS, the team was formed last spring. During remote learning last spring, teachers utilized snack time as social time and this has carried forward to new school year, students sharing cultural information about food and celebrations. Community circles have become a popular way to share information and have been used for restorative purposes. Parents, staff, and Grade 5 students have provided important information including the need for more representation in classroom and school library. Ms. Malvesti said that extensive Extended Day programming continues, including a gardening club that includes students and parents, academic programs, and interest-based clubs. Ms. Malvesti is proud and appreciative of the staff for sharing their love of learning with their students. Montclair has an active Student Council, Grade 4 and 5 students, community service projects and demonstrating and recognizing acts of kindness. Ms. Malvesti is looking forward to working with the Family Liaisons to strengthen family connections. Many of the school initiatives are supported by the active PTO.

Mrs. Cahill complimented the family engagement and the MAP scores above the national levels. Mrs. Cahill asked how the English Learner staff communicate with students with so many primary languages. Mrs. Malvesti said that the students assist each other, there are not staff members who speak all of these languages, and Google translate is helpful to getting the students quickly into the school routines, assisted by picture cues.

Mr. Santoro asked about the REACH program, Ms. Malvesti said it is a great opportunity to expand the program’s reach. Finding separate space in the building is a challenge with the current enrollment at the school. Mr. Santoro asked about the May Festival, Ms. Malvesti said planning is underway for this year’s event .

Mrs. Lebo noted that 54% of students come from homes where English is not the first language and 57% are economically disadvantaged. Mrs. Lebo said the Garden Club was impressive to see in person, so many students engaged. Mrs. Lebo asked about the two new classrooms, Ms. Malvesti said that these were created in the basement, the Public Buildings department moved mechanicals and a brick wall to create a classroom and a Special Education space.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to accept the Montclair Element 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.

Principal Courtney Mitchell and Assistant Principal John Rogan presented the Merrymount Elementary School Improvement Plan, reflecting on the effects of the pandemic on student learning and social-emotional. Working collaboratively and creatively, the entire school staff adjusted to the shifting learning models and supported students and families, especially school nurse Mrs. Erlich. Technology assisted with creating a sense of community, story times and assemblies that would have been in person were hosted online. Special attention to social emotional needs were the hallmark of the start of the school year, implementing a blend of PBIS and restorative practices. Revised scheduling allows for a common intervention block and targeted skills practice for students to address learning loss. The REACH program for Grade 5 has provided an opportunity with students not in the program to experience project-based learning. Communication is improved through access to the on-call translation service. Instructional rounds are an opportunity for staff to observe each other in the service of improving professional practices. Extensive extended day programs, dedicated School Council and supportive PTO. Planning to survey parents and students about school climate and culture goals.

Mrs. Cahill asked about Literacy Specialists, how are the staffing levels determined. Ms. Perkins said these are determined by the number of cases at each school.

Mr. Santoro complimented the family engagement and thanked the school staff.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the REACH program, Ms. Mitchell said this is going very well. Mrs. Lebo asked about in person vs remote learning last year, 20% were remote for the school year. Mrs. Lebo complimented the integration of PBIS and DEI initiatives.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to accept the Merrymount Elemenary 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.

Principal Margaret MacNeil presented the Parker Elementary School Improvement Plan, so wonderful to have the school community back in person this school year. The last two years have presented many challenges and opportunities, Parker has long had high standards for achievement and academic interventions are in place to address the learning loss. Social emotional skills are supported in a safe and caring environment. Despite the challenges in administration, the assessments from last spring provided a snapshot of the learning loss from the two years of interrupted schooling. The school’s ambitious but achievable goals are supported by carefully monitored action steps, a school-wide emphasis on writing, and teachers working in grade level and vertical teams. For Mathematics, teachers are integrating the new curriculum with the individualized instruction strategies of recent years, such as centers. Science is inquiry based and hands-on at all grade levels. Social-emotional learning is supported through community circles, staff DEI book group, One Book One School, guidance check-in and check-out for students at risk.

Mr. Santoro asked about the REACH program, Ms. MacNeil said that students love the program, very engaging and accessible due to having the program at the school.

Mr. Santoro complimented the School Improvement Plan action steps focus on re-engaging students and addressing learning loss.

Mrs. Cahill asked about class sizes for Grades 4 and 5, these are larger due to student population growth. Ms. MacNeil said the common intervention time reduces class sizes during the core ELA instructional block (students receive EL and Literacy services).

Mrs. Cahill noted how impactful the community circles have been for students, complimented the positive outcomes and the natural implementation. Ms. MacNeil said the positive outcome from the pandemic is the opportunity to focus on social-emotional learning.

Mrs. Lebo complimented the One Book One School, Ms. MacNeil said there are common topics with primary grades reading picture books and upper grades reading chapter books.

Mr. Gutro thanked Ms. MacNeil, the value of community circles illustrated by the anecdote shared.

Mayor Koch thanked all of the principals and staff for all of their efforts.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to accept the Parker 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 8:15 pm. Mrs. Cahill seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.