April 11, 2007 School Committee Minutes


Quincy, Massachusetts - April 11, 2007
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, City Hall. Present were Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mr. Kevin Mulvey, Mr. Dave McCarthy, Ms. Linda Stice, Mr. Jim Timmins, and Ms. Elaine Dwyer, Vice Chairman.

Vice Chairman Presiding

The Superintendent called the roll and Mayor Phelan was absent. Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary, and Mrs. Tefta Burrelli, Clerk; Drs. Mariano and Pattavina. Messrs. O’Brien, Ryan, Walsh, McPhee, Keith Segalla, and Mullaney; Ms. Powell, Lebo, Hughes, and Roberts. Mr. Brawley represented Citywide and Quincy High Associate Member, Paige Newman.

Reg. Session. Mins. Approved 3/21/2007

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mr. Timmins, the Committee approved the regular session minutes for March 21, 2007. On a roll call vote, the motion passed 6-0. Mayor Phelan was absent.

Supts. Report

School concerts and performances will be ongoing for April, May, and June. Members are invited to attend as may performances as they can. The next Partnership event is the POPS Concert on May 10 at the Marriott featuring the Quincy Symphony Orchestra and our John Adams Orchestra.

Mr. Keith Segalla gave the final report on this year’s Literacy Matters Program. The members watched a short film by Brian Smith of the students participating in the Program. Ms. Robin Marrera, who ran the program, said she received great feedback on the program.

Robotics Update

Ms. Emily Lebo, Director of Technical Education, showed a video by Brian Smith of the Robotics competition. The students and instructors were present with the robot and put on a demonstration. The students had received several awards. The Committee presented a Certificate of Appreciation to the Gillette engineers who were present with the students. Gillette, a Partner, has been providing funds and engineers for ten years. They have since hired several of the students. The members thanked the Gillette engineers for their time and support to the students. The Children’s Museum has invited the students and robot to do a presentation on April 19 and 20. This is a very big honor as they will be there representing the school system.

Mrs. Lebo also spoke to our Articulation Agreements with several colleges. An Articulation Agreement states that course work completed in high school is equal to college credit. This is a wonderful opportunity for students.

With regard to the Renewable Energy grant, Mrs. Lebo has met with the architects and the City Council. They are going to put together a presentation for the neighbors. They want to make sure everyone is comfortable with it before moving slowly forward.

Mayor arrives at 7:40 p.m.

Vertical Teams

Mrs. Colleen Roberts updated the Committee on the status of the Vertical Teams. The Special Ed and Curriculum departments sponsor two vertical teams per subject per year. They meet as elementary and middle school team and middle and high school teams. The purpose is to work closely on the transitioning of students who move from one school or level to the next and to reflect on student IEPs. The academic teams set goals for the following year. Goals are discussed and action steps are determined. Each vertical team ends the school year with a product. Recommendations for text purchases are also made. All agendas and notes are posted on the QPS website. Teachers have indicated that these meetings are very valuable and worthwhile.

Open Forum

Mr. Henry Brawley, Citywide, said that Citywide supports a full health curriculum system-wide. Recognizing that budget and other considerations make it difficult to offer it system-wide, they ask that the high school get a full health curriculum first.

Bldg. Update

Mr. Joe Canavan reported that Maintenance is still doing heating calls. The Squantum PA system will be done in the next couple of weeks. Maintenance is lining up projects for the vacation week. Mrs. Mahoney inquired about the ramp being done at Atlantic. Mr. Canavan spoke with the commissioner who said that should be completed during school vacation. Dave McCarthy inquired about the lights at the Marshall School. Mr. Canavan answered that they have been ordered and are waiting for them to come in. With regard to the vandalism, Mr. McPhee reported that it is still happening. He will continue the vigil there.


Mr. Mike Ryan reported that progress continues on the new Quincy High School. On April 13 he expects submission from the three contractors. Interviews are scheduled for April 26. The Building Committee is now working on landscaping and exterior design.

Mrs. Dwyer reported that they have met with SMMA’s interior designer. They visited four schools -- Bridgewater Raynham, Marblehead, Squamscott, and Somerville to look at rugs, materials, wood, etc. They should be finished choosing colors, woods, tiles, etc. after one more meeting.

Mr. Ryan passed out an updated schedule from Tishman. The next big hurdle is the completion of the construction documents for the mechanical room. Drawings will be in the first week in May. They are pre-purchasing some of the long lead equipment to support the mechanical room.

Mr. Timmins asked for a Building Needs Subcommittee meeting. He would like more information about particulars. He recently became aware of developments on the track and on Coddington Hall closing. He would like to have a subcommittee meeting prior to the main meetings so members can get their questions answered. He would like to be informed so he can answer questions from the public before they do a presentation. Although the Building Committee has a handle on the progress, he has some concerns and issues he would like answered.

Mrs. Dwyer answered that they are anticipating a public presentation the second week in May. She suggested a subcommittee meeting the week of the 7th.

Mr. Ryan said that Woodward Ave will be closed on June 15. The City Solicitor will handle the notification. He has met numerous times with Keyspan.

Mrs. Mahoney asked for the March Building Committee meeting notes.

Mr. Ryan passed out an informational binder regarding the Statement of Interest forms for Sterling and Central. Last week he met with the MSBA staff--Christine Nolan., Matt Donovan and Richard Gill. The major goal was to make sure the documentation submitted was complete. It is complete, they have all the documents they need to this point. Quincy has fulfilled its obligations to date. Quincy is at Phase one, Step one. On August 1, they will review and contact cities and towns.

Mr. Timmins asked that beginning in the fall, under Old Business, “Update on Central and Sterling” be kept on as an agenda item.

The Mayor asked Mr. Ryan to contact Anne McLaughlin as she has a number of questions relative to the IT Department moving into the library.

The initial compliance certificate will come from the MSBA and then a Building Committee will have to be formed for those schools.


On a motion by Mr. Timmins, seconded by Mrs. Mahoney, the Committee accepted a gift of $400 from the Quincy Point Congregational Church to Project Access Educational Services to Homeless Children. The ayes have it.

Elem. Report Card

Mr. Carini, Mrs. Roberts, Dr. Pattavina, Ms. Greene, Mrs. Hughes and Dr. Mariano presented the new elementary report card for approval. The last elementary report card was revised in 1985. This card became obsolete and was not communicating to parents. There is more information to report and much has changed since then -- State frameworks, students, new methods of teaching, literacy has evolved, all new math programs and MCAS scores. MCAS scores were not being addressed in the old report cards.

A team of teachers, administrators, counselors, and specialists beginning in 2004 have met and have come up with a new card. The new report card is aligned with the new curriculum framework. Teachers have site-based professional development so that teachers understand each category and students. Mrs. Hughes explained the new grading key -- four is the highest and one is the lowest. Ms. Todd, Special Ed, explained the section for students that have an IEP.

This card was reviewed by the parent councils. All of the principals brought the report card to their school improvement council, PTOs, or both.

With regard to the new scoring, a letter will go out to parents alerting them that there is a new report card. There is no need to change middle and high school report cards as they are aligned with the state frameworks.

Mrs. Mahoney suggested that a portfolio go along with the report cards to back up the grades at the teacher-parent conference. Most teacher already do that. Also Mr. Timmins questioned some of the terms (Comprehends Inferentially). However, all of this will be addressed at the conference level. If parents have any questions, they should go to their principals.

Budget Subcommittee

Mr. Dave McCarthy reported that a Budget Subcommittee was held to review the Quarterly Report. Mr. Jim Mullaney went over in detail the individual line items that were highlighted due to overages and shortages. Mr. McCarthy touched on the expenses. The hiring of kindergarten teachers and aides for the new all day kindergarten program seems to be leveling off at this time. We had a difficult time getting bus drivers, however, this line is coming around. We should be in a good position. The Tuition line poses a difficult problem. It always seems to be a line item that we have to struggle with every year due to tuition items that come up. The utility lines are fine. The rising cost of fuel and electricity is always a problem. However, that looks like it is on target. With regard to the transportation line item used to transporting students in and out of the city, Mr. McCarthy requested through the Superintendent, that over the course of the summer, we take a hard look cost wise or a difference approach to see if we can master that line. Mr. Mullaney has put in for extra ordinary relief in the amount of $200,000. More or less, we are getting close to a balanced budget by the end of the school year. He thanked Mr. Mullaney and the Superintendent for tightening the budget. They met several times with the Mayor to discuss the budget and he was kept informed. It looked like a struggle, but it looks like its going to come out in fine shape.
 Quarterly Approved
 On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Anne Mahoney, the Committee accepted the quarterly budget. The ayes have it.

Trip Approved NQ ROTC to Cincinnati, Ohio

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Ms. Stice, the Committee approved a trip for the North Quincy JROTC to Cincinnati, Ohio on April 25 - April 29, 2007. The ayes have it.

Policy Subcommittee

Ms. Stice reported that the Policy Subcommittee met and heard the same report on the elementary report cards. Regarding the sophisticated concepts --Comprehends Inferentially--parents do get these report cards at a conference and teacher do go to Professional Development. Ms. Stice suggested that teachers have examples ready to explain to parents what comprehending inferentially means. All in all the Committee’s questions were answered at the Subcommittee meeting. The old report cards for grades 1-5 don’t fit any more.
Elem. Report Card
On a motion by Ms. Stice, seconded by Mr. Mulvey, the Committee approved the revised report card for grades 1-5. Since this is a policy change, this item will remain on the table until a final vote at the next meeting. A kindergarten report card is being developed.

Additional Business

Mrs. Mahoney will schedule a Safety Subcommittee meeting regarding North Quincy High traffic issues at North Quincy High School.

She requested that Mr. McPhee give general updates on the School Security checks--the ones that have been done and the status of the schools.

Health Curr. to Subcommittees

Mr. McCarthy asked to refer a health curriculum for the high schools into the Health, Safety, and Security Subcommittee and also to the Budget Subcommittee. The ayes have it.


The Committee noted the following resignations:

Attendants: Janet Barry, Dwight Jayne

Lunch Paraprofessional: Maryanne McLellan


The Committee noted the following appointments:

Lunch Attendants: Diane Cameron, Debra Egan


On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Ms. Stice, the Committee voted to adjourn at 9:10 p.m. for the evening. There was no executive session. On a roll call vote, the motion passed unanimously 7-0.