January 17, 2007 School Committee Minutes


Quincy, Massachusetts -January 17, 2007
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. Present were Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mr. Kevin Mulvey, Ms. Linda Stice, Mr. Jim Timmins, Mayor Phelan and Mrs. Elaine Dwyer, Vice Chairman.

Vice Chairman Presiding

The Superintendent called the roll and Mr. McCarthy was absent. Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary, and Mrs. Tefta Burrelli, Clerk; Drs. Mariano and Pattavina. Messrs. Ryan, Canavan, Walsh, McPhee, Keith and Kevin Segalla, and Mr. Mullaney; Ms. Powell, Todd, Lebo, and Hughes. Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA President, Mr. Henry Brawley represented Citywide. Associate members Paine Neumann and Tara McFarland were present.

Reg. Mins. Approved 1/3/07

On a motion by Ms. Stice, seconded by Mr. Mulvey, the Committee approved the regular and executive session minutes for January 3, 2007. The ayes have it.

Open Forum

Mr. Brawley, Citywide, thanked the Mayor, School Committee, Superintendent Mr. O’Donnell, and Mrs. Mahoney for their fast action on the traffic/drop off situation at North Quincy School. Traffic/drop off is going well around the school.

Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA President, gave a chronology of the events leading up to this current contract negotiations. One year ago he wrote a demand to bargain letter. Eleven months ago bargaining began, six months ago the Mayor’s representatives came with a demand regarding benefits. Five and a half months ago a pay cut appeared, five months ago, the contract expired. Three months ago, the QEA officially asked for an ability to pay rationale which they were told was relayed to City Hall. To date, they have had no response. Mr. Phillips said that pay cuts are on the table over three years.

After hearing a report by the Mayor on the state’s health insurance plan and the bill to make it available to municipal employees, Mr. Phillips said he called Tom Largey the next day and indicated he would be willing to discuss the insurance and since its not a subject of bargaining, he would do that with the Mayor. He has not received a call back. The bill requires coalition bargaining with all the City unions. The QEA is not complaining about benefits. This City is in wonderful financial shape. It got this way while maintaining the current level of employee benefits. There is, he said an $11.3 million surplus.

Mr. Phillips went on to say that the teachers won’t take a pay cut. The City’s demands will be devastating on the other employees of the City. He asked that the Committee get down to bargaining. The next bargaining session is scheduled for the 25th.

Welcome by Ms. Bucci Asst. Principal

Ms. Stacey Bucci, Point Webster’s Assistant Principal, welcomed the Committee to the school. Principal Jim McGuire is out due to illness.

Supts. Report/MS Athletics

Dr. DeCristofaro spoke to the Middle School Athletics. This program, under the direction of Athletic Director, Jim Rendle, had a successful fall. After a brief absence, the wrestling program was offered and had over 50 students participating and then competing in a city wide meet. Cross Country was also offered in the fall with over 300 middle school students participating. Girls and boys evenly made up the participants. Each middle school had four dual meets culminating in a city wide championship event.

Currently, students are participating in volley ball. Each school has a boys’ and girls’ team, play six regular season matches, and then enter city wide playoffs. Middle school basketball practice begins on February 5. Boys and girls will again play six games with play offs.

During March, April, and May the middle school swim team program will resume. The season will culminate with a city wide meet at the Lincoln Hancock pool. This year we are predicting over 1,000 students will participate in after school programs. These programs are available at no cost to students.

Other programs are ongoing through the Quincy Police Department. The DARE Program at the elementary and middle school level as well as Stranger Awareness, Internet Safety, and Tae Kwon Do.

The Fire Dept also supports students with their Fire Safety Program. The District Attorney’s office continues to be supportive with a Bully Prevention program which compliments two Student Support initiatives. Kids and Company (child assault prevention) and Second Step (violence prevention).

The Big Brother/Big Sister Program is featured at two elementary schools. Volunteers from State St. Corp, Aviva Insurance, Boston Scientific and ENC serve as weekly mentors to elementary students. Currently, there are over 30 students involved in this program.

US Dept. of Ed to LH

The US Department of Education will be visiting the Lincoln Hancock Community School as part of a review of the Reading First Grant. They will visit in conjunction with the American Institute for Research and will be conducting a monitoring visit on February 1. Principal Carini, Asst. Principal Witmer along with Ms. Hughes, Mrs. Roberts, and one or two teachers will be observed within their literacy block of 90 minutes.

Keith Segalla spoke to the Extended Education Programs available through the grant. This grant was for five years. This June, three of the sites will close. He anticipates 65% of the funding to return. It is funded through the a competitive state grant.

Prep for Success

For the past eight years Prep for Success has provided additional support. The program is held in each elementary school. Prep for Success English, language arts, math, remediate specific student weaknesses. Students are grouped by need. See Square services at-risk students at middle schools. Prep for Success at high school is for those students who need remediation in MCAS.

The Committee also received a brochure on Winter School where students and parents learn together. This is an extended day learning opportunity for students and parents.

Ms. Stice asked what will happen when the 21st Century Grant is up. This was a five year grant. Mr. Segalla said this June three of the sites will close, however, there is additional opportunity to apply for additional funding. He anticipated 65% of the funding to return. This is a competitive grant. He is also working with our partners to see if they can assist us. If not, we could look at pulling it back and keeping it in the high schools. And if there is other funding use it for elementary and middle schools. Parents have become used to these extended programs.

Building Update

Mr. Canavan reported that the ceiling tiles at the North Quincy High boys’ locker room have been replaced. They also converted a former storage area for visiting basketball teams. A new intercom at Snug Harbor has been installed. Plumbers replaced all drain piping at the Lincoln Hancock pool. Mr. Timmins asked that reflectors be installed at the end of the drive way on Water St. to help people see the entrance. Mr. Canavan will look into that.

Paige Newman, QHS Associate members, said that there was a flood at Quincy High School in the West wing. A total of 2,500 books were ruined. She asked Mr. Canavan if that could have been prevented. Mr. Canavan answered that a univent heating coil burst. That piece of equipment was 40 years old. Mrs. Dwyer asked the Superintendent to report back to the Committee on the damage.


Mrs. Dwyer reported that the Building Committee viewed a presentation on the traffic patterns for the new Quincy High School. They are working with a traffic engineer that the Mayor has hired. There was also a presentation on the proposed landscaping. The project schedule is being updated constantly. The committee is trying to meet every week. They are now working on plans for Phase I-moving the Superintendent’s area.

Gift: Prep for Success

On a motion by Mr. Timmins, seconded by Ms. Stice, the Committee accepted a gift of $750 from Wendy Simmins to pay for one Prep for Success tutoring group. The ayes have it.

Out of Country Trip QHS to Greece & Italy

On a motion Ms. Stice, seconded by Mr. Mulvey, the Committee approved a trip to Greece and Italy for Quincy High School Students February 16 to February 24, 2007. The ayes have it.

SPED Program

At this time, Ms. Judy Todd, Director of SPED, and staff, Mr. Len Curreri, Ms. Elly Papile and Ms. Erin Perkins, gave a presentation on the SPED Program, Standard 5 Access Participation and Student Academic Support of the District Improvement Plan. This department is committed to providing all students with a free and appropriate education designed to meet their unique needs and to successfully maximize their individual educational potential in the least restrictive environment. At Level 1, concerns are addressed at the building level with chairpersons, teachers and principals. Level 2, Team Administrators communicate with parents and with school personnel to resolve concerns. at Level 3, The Director of Special Education and the DOE try and resolve the problem. The SPED Department communicates through the QPS website, school calendar of events site, monthly newsletters, A Guide to Special Education for parents, transportation book and mailing list. Instruction Plans include ICAP, Individual Curriculum Accommodation Plan (unique to Quincy) a 504 Students identified with a Disability who need accommodations and the IEP, Individual Education Program. A new computer program, E-SPED allows teachers to put IEPs on the computer. SPED student records will allow teachers to better monitor IEPs, dates of IEPs, to make sure timelines are being followed. The information contained is pass worded so that not everyone has access to this program. The information will be available to the SPED teachers and the SPED office. Everybody is on the system now.

Mr. Curreri spoke to the different disabilities within the school system. There are 1,466 students in Quincy with disabilities. There are 144 out of district students, and there are 385 students in substantially separate classrooms. Ms. Perkins spoke to the substantially separate programs and Ms. Elly Papile spoke to the Children’s Developmental Center, Language Development, BGD classes, and the resource rooms.

Mrs. Mahoney asked if we cross reference standardized tests for SPED students. This is listed on the first page of the IEPs and on the E-SPED. Mrs. Mahoney also inquired if they are seeing an increase in dyslexia and how do we service those students. Ms. Todd answered that most of those students are serviced in the Resource Room. We do not have pull outs for students with dyslexia. Mrs. Mahoney asked how we service the families. Ms. Todd said that there are vertical teams for our teachers. The middle school teachers go to the elementary schools and we have a fly up day. From middle to high school, Department heads of both high schools go down to middle schools and meet. to discuss students. There is a fly up for parents and students.

Mr. Timmins said he has developed an appreciation for the dynamics of the job that is done. The parents of SPED students have a tough road. A lot of parents don’t know where to get the services. Getting the information out and building a trust is important. He complimented the SPED Department on their work. Another positive is the effort on helping parents communicate with the system.

The Committee recognized Dave McCarthy who was not present for asking for this presentation.

The Mayor asked what would be the first step for a parent who has a child with dyslexia and if there is discretion in terms of what types of services can be provided at that level. At that level, the team would recommend anything they could provide within their realm of service within their building. If a child needed more, they would meet with the team administration who has fiscal responsibility to commit resources. The Mayor said he is thrilled with the progress being made in the area of Special Education in Quincy.

Ms. Todd explained the re-teach method whereby the regular education teacher and the special education teacher co-teach and then they do a wrap around whereby the special education teacher sees the student alone. This model is being considered for use in middle schools. The Mayor also inquired about the resource rooms at the middle school level. The Mayor is concerned whereby one teacher teaches three different subjects but is not certified in any.

The Mayor said he would like to know what the students being serviced in resource rooms, inclusion model environment, resource wise are receiving in terms of resources and whether or not their cost per pupil is even as much as the regular education students as you have only one teacher teaching three or four subjects. He asked that this be made a priority.

Additional Business

Mrs. Mahoney requested a presentation on MCAS Prep for Success. How can parents help to make a bridge for the parents to the students. Mrs. Mahoney is concerned that there are students that don’t get help. She would like to see how parents can work with the school system to get help for their students.

Policy Subcommittee

Ms. Stice reported that the Policy Subcommittee met on January 8, 2007 and a presentation was made that explained the DIP. They identified issues that the School Committee would like to do more research on that would serve to improve our school district. They will continue that discussion to prioritize which of these issues they want to concentrate on, and work with staff to determine how they would go about implement these things. The model is the School Committee would be more proactive and come up with things they would like to work on.

SPED Subcommittee

Mr. Timmins reported that the SPED subcommittee met last evening and there were two issues brought forward. He referred them to the Subcommittee for future review.

  1. Parents did some work on an emergency information form they would like to see on the buses for out of district kids. The form is a great idea. There were some implementation issues they were concerned with.

  2. How substitute teachers are informed and educated about accommodations in special needs issues. What are they told about when they are hired and how are they educated on the day-to-day situations.

Mr. Timmins made a motion, seconded by Mayor Phelan, to put these into the SPED Subcommittee. The ayes have it.


The Committee noted the following appointments:

Teachers: Steven Ioanilli, Donna Melia

Occupational Therapist: Amy Danick


On a motion made by Ms. Stice, seconded by Mr. Mulvey, the Committee voted to adjourn at 9:00 p.m. for the evening. There was no executive session. On a roll call vote, the motion passed 6-0. Mr. McCarthy was absent.