March 3, 2010 School Committee Meeting


Quincy, Massachusetts - March 3, 2010
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee


A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, March 3, 2010 in the City Council Chambers. Present were: Mrs. Jo-Ann Bragg, Mr. Dave McCarthy, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Ms. Barbara Isola, Mayor Thomas P. Koch and Mrs. Anne Mahoney.

Vice Chairman Presiding

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The Superintendent called the roll and Mrs. Dwyer was absent. Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary; Mrs. Tefta Burrelli, Clerk; Messrs. Mullaney, Draicchio, and Keith Segalla; Ms. Roberts, Tenaglia, Todd, and Hughes. Ms. Tracey Christello, Citywide and Paul Phillips, QEA. Emily Hajjar, High School Student Representative.

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Open Forum

Eileen Lawlor spoke to teachers not signing the MOU for the RTTT money. Citywide held a meeting on February 8. Because the union failed to sign the MOU, Quincy will have a much lower priority in accessing the tools and materials developed by this grant. The School Committee should have an open dialogue to get reasons why the QEA didn’t sign this grant. We deserve answers that are truthful. We need to be prepared to secure funding for our schools.

Rebecca Williams said Quincy missed an opportunity to bring funds to our School System. We have let over $1 million over the next four years slip through our figures. Based on the unsigned MOU, is apparent that certain parties are not open to change. We will have a round two opportunity. The QEA has valid concerns that must be addressed by this group and resolved prior to the next application dead line.

Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA President, thanked the Committee for recognizing Bob Sylvia. He is a wonderful guy and we wish him the best.

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Reg. Session. Min. Approved 1/20/2010

On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Ms. Isola, the Committee approved the regular session minutes for January 20, 2010 with an addition to the H1N1 announcement about the flu clinics and added Atlantic to the schools that need desks. The ayes have it.

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At this time, Mr. Frank Santoro, Principal of Quincy High School, introduced Mr. Bob Syliva. Bob was recognized for his 44 years of coaching at Quincy High School. The Committee called him a man of integrity, counseling boys for life. He is a wonderful example of dedication and leadership. The Committee presented him with a Distinguished Coaching and Leadership Certificate.

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Supts. Report

Mrs. Lebo and Ms. Isola completed the School Committee orientation. Mr. Mullaney reviewed budget issues with them.

The Superintendent thanked the staff involved in Kindergarten registration -- welcoming in parents and new children. Registration went well.

The grade 8 students have received transitioning information and course descriptions for both high schools. Due to the over enrolled status of North Quincy High School there is no Open Enrollment for that high school other than a sibling who attends North. There is Open Enrollment for Quincy High School and any parent from the North Quincy High School district who cannot attend the Open House for Quincy High School should call Mr. Santoro for an appointment.

Partnership Activities

On March 26 Elvis at the Marriott Quincy. Proceeds go toward our mini grants. On April 15 we will host a Partnership Breakfast to recognize our Partners, and on May 6, “Evening at the Pops” and the Community Service Learners Celebration to recognize our students. On June 6, we are planning our golf tournament which supports technology. March is Assessment Month. We have MCAS, MEPA and MEL testing. Schedules are on the website and Channel 22.

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Bldg. Update Mr. Murphy reports

Mr. Kevin Murphy gave an update of the work done by our Maintenance Department. Carpenters are building a wall in Central’s library, separating the library from the computer lab. They installed new ceiling tiles at GOALS, Snug Harbor, and Squantum. They removed and rebuilt a bookshelf at Atlantic’s media center, made several door repairs at North and Quincy High Schools. The painters have painted six bathrooms at Squantum, the stage area, and main corridor at Beechwood Knoll, and the auditorium floor at Atlantic.

Electricians have completed their u.p.s. project for all schools. They’ve installed a new PA system at Bernazzani, fixed an outside security camera at Wollaston and have completed several work orders.

Our plumbers have rebuilt a circulating pump at North Quincy and completed several work orders, among them, re-securing the cafeteria tables at Marshal and Parker Elementary schools. Sand deliveries were made to all our schools. The bathrooms at Lincoln Hancock are done and storage is completed at Beechwood Knoll.

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QHS Bldg. Committee Supt. Reports

The Superintendent updated the committee on the new Quincy High School. meeting held on February 26. We are on budget and will be ready to open on September 1. The auditorium and gym will be ready in October. Tishman is working with the Building Committee to fix the heat at Adams Hall. We are working with Mr. Gillon to create a better traffic flow on Saville Ave. We have new signs there and spoke about the possibility of a gate. We have established a “move team” to get us into the new high school and to make sure the old furniture gets out to other schools. Friday, March 12 will be the next Building Committee meeting. Mr. McCarthy asked for an update on the existing punch list for the Science and Technology wing.

Gary Cunniff and Jay Duca are looking at both the old Quincy High School and Coddington Hall buildings. They will decided what it would cost to rehab the entire structure, do we separate the back part and save the front portion, Ralph Cramm is a famous architect that designed the building. Once he gets all the information he will inform the members. It would be difficult to find $25 million to fix the old Quincy High School. He suggested in the next 4 to 6 weeks.

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Central Bldg. Committee Mrs. Bragg Reports

The Central Building Committee met on February 15. A meeting with the public has been set up for March 11 at Central Middle School at 7:00 p.m. The Mayor will make a presentation. Anybody interested in the new Central should attend this meeting. Announcements are on Channel 22 and the website.

We received a letter from the Mass School Building Authority telling us that they will accept a new Central with an enrollment of 620 students.

They met with Tishman, the Project Manager. They had 13 requests for services from design and architectural firms that have applied to design the new Central Middle School. The requests go to the MSBA by March 9. On April 6, Mr. Timmins, the Superintendent and Ms. Fay-Beers will go into the MSBA and participate in the project to choose. The MSBA and we will all choose.

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Shooting Incident @ Hunt St.

The Superintendent spoke to a serious incident which occurred on Hunt St. behind North Quincy High School on February 3 at about 3:30 p.m. while there was a basketball game going on in the gymnasium, wrestling practice in the Cafeteria, along with many students and staff participating in after-school clubs and other activities. There was also a bus boarding with student athletes traveling to a basketball game in Whitman/Hanson. One of our students was shot by a non- student who lives outside the City. As word spread, North Quincy High School was locked down by our security and North staff/administration. The Quincy Police Department had a significant presence immediately and remained until the area and school was safe. The Superintendent thanked the Police Chief and Quincy Police Department as well as so many others that made a safety net for our students, staff and visitors on that afternoon. Directors Maura Tenaglia and Mike Draicchio also played a big part. The situation was absolutely unfore- seeable. Our community and school response is commendable.

The students and staff at North were informed through Instant Alert that evening by Mr. Metzler and students met in homerooms and in small groups to discuss the event and/or their feelings. The student that was injured is re- cuperating satisfactorily. Subsequent meetings have been held. There have been specific questions as to the GOALS program because one of the students involved was a student there.

A parent-community meeting was held at North Quincy on February 8 requested by Mayor Koch. An issue that we heard about from the public focused upon residency of students in the Quincy Public Schools.

Residency Report

Mr. Wayne Mirick and Ms. Jen Dondero, Attendance Officers, spoke to the MGL Chapter 76 Section 5 law pertaining to residency. Quincy has decided that a student’s residency is proven by “where a kid sleeps at night.” However, Quincy has homeless students, students placed by DCF, kids who are living with a guardian, and during the year, there are “move-ins.” We have “tip offs” where a “concerned citizen” will call to report a student who doesn’t live in Quincy. We follow up on any tip off. We will give that student a letter to bring home to bring back proof that they live in Quincy. They need to show mail, a utility bill, bank statements, lease, etc. If they can’t do that, they are excluded from school. Mr. Mirick said they check returned mail, they speak with next door neighbors, and they even sit outside the houses to prove that the students live where they say. They go into the student’s house and look in closets and check to see if they have belongings there.

The Mayor said his office get calls reporting on students who get off the train at North Quincy and go into the school. He would like to see more follow up. Mr. Mirick said they get about four calls a week reporting on students. If it’s found that they don’t live in Quincy, the principals will remove them from that school.

Ms. Isola would like to explore the definition of legal custody and get a legal opinion on it. Parents still claim that child as a dependent and yet they don’t live with them. The Superintendent suggested having an attorney look at our forms. This discussion will continue in subcommittee.

Mrs. Bragg asked that Ms. Isola and Mr. Mulvey look at the forms and then give them to our lawyers to suggest ways to tighten it up.

Tip Line

At the Subcommittee’s request, Quincy has established a “tip line.” This number will appear on the webpage and on Channel 22. Citizens can call in anonymously and report any student they think lives outside of Quincy but is going to a Quincy school.

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Anti Bullying

Ms. Maura Tenaglia presented the power point presentation she did at a City- wide meeting on Anti-Bullying Interventions. It listed all the programs that are ongoing in the schools with regard to bullying. She understands the concern, but said there is a piece missing. That piece, she said, is the outreach. With cyber bullying, we need to urge parents to watch what their kids are doing. We tell kids what to do, but parents need to get involved.

There was a presentation held at Central, sponsored by Citywide. The M.A.R.C. presentation was phenomenal. The Committee suggested it be put on our website. Mrs. Bragg suggested sitting down with Citywide and fine tune what we are doing. She asked the Superintendent to get in touch with the Citywide president and see what we can do to protect our students.

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Out of Country Travel QHS to Italy

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mayor Koch, the Committee approved the trip to Italy for Quincy High School students on April 16- April 24, 2010. The ayes have it.

Out of State Travel Sterling to New York

On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, the Committee approved the trip to New York City for Sterling Middle School students on June 2 – June 3, 2010. The ayes have it.

Out of State Travel QHS to New Hampshire

On a motion by Ms. Isola, seconded by Mayor Koch, the Committee approved the trip for Quincy High School students to Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire on March 5, 2010. The ayes have it.

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Maintenance Dept. to City side

Mayor Koch presented a letter to the School Committee proposing that the City accept the provision of MGL Ch. 71, section 37M, which allows for the consolidation of certain administrative functions within municipal government. He is recommending that we consolidate those functions (Maintenance) within our city government, in order to achieve savings and efficiencies which will ultimately benefit all parties. He is also placing this question before the city council for consideration.

On a motion by Mayor Koch, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, the Committee put this request into Policy Subcommittee and then to Budget Subcommittee. The ayes have it.

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Mayors request to Begin discussions with unions

Mayor Koch said he will have a firmer projection of our finances for July 1. He is asking for the authority to begin discussion with school unions. He told the members that we are in a dire financial situation. He has met with all the unions and will be continuing meetings next week. He will keep the Committee posted.

On a motion by Mayor Koch, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, the School Committee voted to allow the Mayor to enter into discussions for the purpose of closing the the revenue gap. Mr. McCarthy asked if another School Committee member can be present. The Mayor said he had no problem with that. Mr. McCarthy asked the Chair to appoint someone to attend the meetings

Mrs. Lebo asked for a schedule of the meetings. Mayor said this would be very aggressive meeting schedule. May 10 is his target date to send the budget to the City Council. On a roll call vote, the motion passed 6-0. Mrs. Dwyer was absent.

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Mrs. Bragg is calling a Policy Subcommittee meeting for March 23 at 4:00 p.m. to discuss residency, to relook at the tardy policy, open forum, and the Maintenance Dept. issue.

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Gifts to: WOLL,LH,AMS Boston Financial Data Systems

On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, the Committee approved the donation of $196.40 to Wollaston, Lincoln Hancock and Atlantic Middle School. The ayes have it.

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School Facilities Mgt. Subcommittee Mr. McCarthy Reports

The School Facilities Subcommittee met on February 2, 2010. They discussed the request from Mr. Steve Perdios, Quincy Environmental Network to put a community garden at Snug Harbor. The size of the garden was expanded and the members were not happy about strangers coming onto the school grounds. The Subcommittee didn’t think it was the best choice for Snug Harbor at this time. There was no vote taken by the subcommittee to go forward with the project. This will remain in subcommittee. Mr. Keith Segalla spoke to opening a Quincy Credit Union office in the new Quincy High School. He reviewed the curriculum. Mr. Segalla, Mrs. Mahoney and Mr. McCarthy visited the bank at Weymouth High School. Weymouth said that the bank is working out fine. Weymouth did not have an ATM, but Quincy High School will. The ATM will be used only on off hours. Mr. Segalla will work with Mr. Timmins on the Memorandum of Understanding.

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mrs. Lebo, the Committee approved the minutes. The ayes have it.

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Health,Safety,Security & Transp. Subcommittee Mr. McCarthy Reports

The Health, Safety, Security and Transportation Subcommittee discussed security. They are looking at staggering security guard hours. There is a new desk at Hunt Street exit to beef up security in that area. They will meet with representatives from the security force at North and Quincy High to listen to long and short term goals. They touched on visitors, access to the buildings, cameras, and security guards at North. After 2:30 p.m., there are glaring issues. Specifically, the Hunt St. door and only one security guard who comes in the afternoon. They discussed our partnership with the Police and to get them more involved with kids and training our security guards, also involving our guidance staff. After school and in the evening is a real concern. Mrs. Lebo asked up what other employees’ duties are at night.

Mr. Draicchio will come back with a list of the actual short term items that have been accomplished and those that will be accomplished after school. He suggested that representatives from the security force from both high schools be present to listen to the goals.

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Ms. Isola minutes approved. The ayes have it.

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The Special Education Subcommittee met on February 24. Mr. Kevin Mulvey Special Ed. Subcommittee Mrs. Lebo reports reviewed an outline pertaining to Disciplining Children with Special Needs. Can a Disabled Child Be Suspended or Expelled? An expulsion or suspension for more than ten (10) days is considered a “change in placement” for which the IDEA provides increased protection. As a result, when a child is removed from school for more than ten (10) days, parents and disabled children must be given all the procedural protections they would be provided if the school wanted to change the child’s educational placement for non-disciplinary reasons. If the misconduct that led to the disciplinary action was a “manifestation” of the child’s disability, the school district may not be able to suspend or expel the child at all. Even if a disabled student is suspended or expelled, they are still entitled to school services.

If the suspension is for fewer than 10 days, but the total number of days that the child has been suspended in the school year is eleven (11) or more, the student may be entitled to the IDEA’s increased protection if there is a “pattern” of suspensions. However, a school may order a suspension or another educational setting for fewer than ten (10) days in the same way those disciplinary measures would apply to students without disabilities. However, suspension for even one (1) day for conduct related to the disability of a student may be considered illegal discrimination.

If a child carries a weapon to school, sold or tried to purchase drugs while at school or at a school function, this period may be up to forty five (45) days.

Regardless of what we do, the student is legally entitled to continue the education. At no point can we prevent a child from an education. He/she is entitled to a free appropriate public education.

GOALS Program

Ms. Judy Todd and Ray Papile gave an overview of the GOALS Program. Students are referred to the GOALS Program through a student placement team. The team includes the Superintendent, Director of Student Support Services, Director of Safety and Security, Director of Special Education, the GOALS Coordinator and school administrators.

GOALS was established in 1998 and in 1999 moved to Hunt Street. The program now consists of all Special Education students. It has changed over the last few years. If it is a 37H, the principal will exclude the student. Special Education students go to GOALS. GOALS is 8th grade BGD, Transitional Resource Room, program for 37 1/2H, after school trouble out program. Students come in and pick up work and get tutoring. There are currently 34 students. The program has dedicated teachers and staff who have been there many years. Students have the right to stay until the day they turn 22 years of age. GOALS has the capacity for 40 students. The younger students start earlier in the morning and older students have an afternoon program. Every student at GOALS has an IEP. We are obligated to educate these students.

On a motion by Mrs. Lebo, seconded by Mayor Koch, the Committee accepted the subcommittee minutes. The ayes have it.

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Policy Subcommittee Mrs. Bragg reports

At the Policy Subcommittee meeting, the members discussed the Food Services Policy 5.6. This was amended and added to our policy manual. We have an extensive school lunch program. The change to this policy will be on the next agenda for a vote.

The Subcommittee discussed residency. Citywide sent a letter to the School Committee regarding bullying. We have an anti bullying and a harassment policy. Citywide is looking for curriculum. We have a curriculum that is used in all of our schools, but it is different at every level. The members urge parents to get involved and watch their children on the computer. This issue will remain open.

The Superintendent is meeting on Friday with Citywide. He will report back. On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Ms. Isola, the Committee moved approval of the minutes. The ayes have it.

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The Budget Subcommittee met on March 1. Ms. Cindi Lally reviewed the Grants Booklet. We have 190 people funded out of our grants. Mrs. Bragg asked for a three-year spread sheet on grants from Mr. Mullaney so the Committee can evaluate those. Mayor Koch addressed the Subcommittee and told them that City receipts are down. Mrs. Dwyer asked for some budget information before deliberations to include what the other departments are getting and what they got before.

RTTT Discussion

The Committee discussed the RTTT. The School Committee and the Mayor signed the Memorandum of Understanding. The QEA president did not. The members asked the Superintendent to get in touch with Mrs. Gureno to find out if we should get the QEA to sign, maybe we could submit for March 14. The Superintendent said he has spoken with Mrs. Guerno and it does not look good. There will be another Budget Committee meeting on April 7 at 6:30 p.m. to go over the Quarterly budget numbers.

On a motion by Mrs. Mahoney, seconded by Mrs. Bragg, the Committee approved the minutes. The ayes have it.

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Grade Configuration Classroom Observations Removed

Mrs. Bragg removed Grade Configuration and Classroom Observations from the Policy Subcommittee.

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Staff Recognition

Mrs. Lebo thanked Kevin Mulvey who has added an incredible amount of legal expertise and saves the school department money.

Mrs. Bragg thanked the Mayor for the Technology money he giving to North Quincy High School.

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The Committee noted the following appointments:

Teachers: Emily Ross, Aubrey Figueroa, Gail Jacoby

Café Helper: Cheryl Morano

The Committee noted the following retirements:

Teacher: Patricia Callahan

Paraprofessional: Joseph Ruscio

Principal Clerk: Francis Young

Sr. Clerk & Typist: Regina Kennedy


The Committee noted the following resignation:

Teacher: Christopher Nickelson

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On a motion by Mayor Koch, seconded by Mrs. Bragg, the meeting adjourned for the evening at 10:37 p.m. There was no executive session. On a roll call vote, the motion passed 6-0. Mrs. Dwyer was absent.