October 4, 2006 School Committee Minutes


Quincy, Massachusetts - October 4, 2006
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, October 4, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. Present were: Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mr. Kevin Mulvey, Mr. Dave McCarthy, Mr. James Timmins, Ms. Linda Stice, Mayor Phelan and Mrs. Elaine Dwyer, Vice Chairman

Vice Chair Presiding

The Superintendent called the roll and all members were present. Also present
were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary, and Mrs. Tefta Burrelli, Clerk; Dr.
Mariano. Messrs. O’Brien, Ryan, Walsh, McPhee, Kevin Segalla, and Mr. Mullaney; Ms. Todd, Hughes, Powell, and Roberts. There was a moment of silence for those students and staff who have been killed at schools the past week.

Reg. Minutes Approved 9/6/2006

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mrs. Mahoney, the Committee approved the regular session minutes for September 20, 2006 with an addition. Mr. McCarthy had asked for a presentation on CORI/SORI. The ayes have it.

Safety Concerns

Ken McPhee reported on the safety and security procedures for the schools. The members received a schedule of drills. These are done twice a year. Members are welcome to come and observe. There is also open communication between the MBTA Police and the Quincy Police Dept. Every building is being checked for specific door closures and monitors. Mr. McPhee is working to make sure every teacher in every classroom has a way to communicate to the principal’s office. Ms. Stice inquired about locks on all classroom doors.
Mr. McPhee said not all classrooms have locks, but he will check with Mr. Ryan. At this time, during a lockdown, students are being hid in various spots. Ms. Stice asked for a report back on locks for classroom doors. Mr. McCarthy asked him to look at some way to secure the classrooms and to take a look at building egresses. Parents have been kept informed via notices.

At Mr. McPhee’s Round Table Discussions, police are giving training to all deans which will trickle down to teachers. 

Mayor Phelan said he has spoken with Chief Crowley who is developing a task force. When the schools are unoccupied, officers will go through each school so they are familiar with the buildings and the layout. We will have officers that are trained for any incidents that may occur.

Supts. Report

 The Mayor hosted for the third year the Literacy Matters Event at the Granite Links Golf Club and Pavilion. This event raised over $250,000 for early intervention. The funding continues to make a significant difference in tutoring, early intervention, and curriculum materials. Thanks went to the Mayor as well as the hundreds of friends and staff of the Quincy Public Schools for their dedication and support.

The Committee received the FY07 Quincy Public Schools Budget Books from Mr. Mullaney. A Budget Subcommittee meeting will be scheduled to discuss the Quarterly Budget Report.

The members will receive the School Improvement Schedule via email. The Superintendent asked that members make an effort to attend as many meetings as possible.

Ms. Powell informed the members that the Masons are donating $14,500 for Automatic External Defibrillator Units which will place one AED unit in every building and $2,000 to provide Epi Pens for every building.

The members received a Partnership Events Poster. This poster also went to schools as well as our partners at their businesses. The Partnership will again be sponsoring the Teacher Mini Grant reception on October 17 at the Tirrell Room from 3:00-5:00 p.m. We have received 172 grant applications.


At Mr. McCarthy’s request regarding CORI/SORI, Mr. Walsh told the Committee that his office does CORIs for professional employees, prior to employment; all current employees once every three years. All teachers and teacher aides have been checked; volunteers and interns, student teachers, chaperones, all have CORI checks, and any private transportation company that our students use. We submit around 100 each month. The process takes two weeks. With regard to the SORI, Mr. Walsh said that the CORI is a more comprehensive rendering. Mr. Mulvey asked if the information included national information. Mr. Walsh said by law all that is needed is a CORI check in Massachusetts. If there is a question on someone and we knew they came from another state, he would call and request an out of state CORI. Mr. Mulvey was concerned that any individual can leave a state to start a new life. Whatever information they provide from their own state, we should check and make sure it is complete. Mr. Walsh said he takes many things into account--the age of the offender, how many intervening years. Mr. Timmins brought up the issue of outside contractors. Mr. Walsh said we do not do CORIs on contractors. He didn’t know if we had the legal authority to do that.

On June 21 this School Committee approved the gymnasium at Atherton Hough to be named in honor of Jim “Red” Riley, custodian there for many years. The dedication of the gym will be on Sunday, October 22. More details will follow.

Schools Recognized

Atlantic, Central, and Sterling Middle schools were recognized within Standard and Poor’s Educational Publication School Matters for their outstanding results in Reading and Math Proficiency over two years of MCAS results. Eleven schools in Massachusetts were recognized.

Class Size

 Members received current class size information for elementary, middle and
high school classes.

At the elementary K-3 where our guidelines range from 23-26, over 80% of our classes are under 20, 100 % are 24 students or below. The full day kindergarten numbers are also outstanding. There is always two adults in each kindergarten class. At grades 4-5 where the guidelines are 24-28, 91% of our classrooms are at 24 or below and 67% are under 20. We do have five elementary classes at 25. We have worked with principals to ease the class
size situation for students and teachers.

Our middle schools class size guidelines are 24-28. We currently have 86% of our classroom situations at 24 or below. At the high school level, we have 670 sections with under 20 students and 300 sections or 28% under 25 students or less. Actually, 91% of our high school classes are under 25 students. The total enrollment for the Quincy Public Schools is 8,969 students.

Mr. Timmins inquired about Atlantic and Central which jump out because of the high numbers. He asked for a breakdown school by school. When you look at the feeder schools, they’re over 300. He asked whether these numbers are affecting class size. The Superintendent said these are the two schools with the higher numbers, but we are within the guidelines. He will get back to Mr. Timmins on that.

We received very good grant news from Commissioner Driscoll with regard to an after school grant Keith Segalla authored. This after school grant will continue to help provide our students K-12 with quality programs beyond the school day. We were one of four communities that received the highest amount awarded--$32,948.

The Committee received a draft copy of a portion of the professional development plan. This includes a more detailed preschool, kindergarten, and elementary offerings.

Open Forum

At the Open Forum, Mr. Dave Campbell, 1071 So. Artery Apt. 202, Quincy 02169, said “in July he mailed a letter and documents to the Committee. Two senior employees of the Quincy Public Schools should be punished. I ask only justice. Thank you.”

On October 2, Mr. Bradley, Citywide, met with Mr. Dennis McNulty, Division of Traffic, and Ken McPhee. They are reviewing the student drop offs at North Quincy High for safety. Mr. Bradley said it was very productive and extends their appreciation. They plan to meet again tomorrow morning to better understand the safety concerns. They will present some plans and proposals to the Committee at the next meeting.

With regard to the recent school shootings, Mr. Paul Phillips reminded everyone that children are safer at school than they are at home. He was very happy with the good news about Standard and Poor’s in the Ledger. However, that same school might have the AYP difficulty. it is very hard for a lay person to understand these things. Also, it has been 34 days the QEA has not had a contract with the City and they would like to have one.

Buildings Update

Mr. Joe Canavan reported that they are in the final stages of reconstructing the locker rooms at the Stadium. Additional lighting at Central has begun. Contractors are completing the boiler checks and they will give their recommendations to Mr. Canavan. He will report back to the Committee. The oil tank at Wollaston will be relined.

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mr. Timmins, the Committee removed the resolves for Central and Sterling off the table. The ayes have it.

Statement of Interest for Sterling approved

Having convened in an open meeting on September 20, 2006, the School Committee of Quincy in accordance with its charter and ordinances, has voted to authorize the Superintendent to submit to the Massachusetts School Building Authority the Statement of Interest form dated September 20, 2006 for the Reay E. Sterling Middle School located at 444 Granite Street, Quincy, Massachusetts. Mr. McCarthy made a motion, seconded by Mr. Mulvey, to authorize the Superintendent to submit the Statement of Interest form dated September 20, 2006 to the MSBA. On a roll call vote, the motion passed unanimously 7-0.

Statement of Interest for Central approved

Having convened in an open meeting on September 20, 2006, the School Committee of Quincy in accordance with its charter and ordinances, has voted to authorize the Superintendent to submit to the Massachusetts School Building Authority the Statement of Interest form dated September 20, 2006 for Central Middle School located at 444 Granite Street, Quincy, Massachusetts. Mr. McCarthy made a motion, seconded by Mr. Timmins, to authorize the Superintendent to submit the Statement of Interest form dated September 20, 2006 to the MSBA. On a roll call vote, the motion passed unanimously 7-0.

Out of Country NQHS to France

On a motion by Ms. Stice, seconded by Mr. Mulvey, the Committee approved the trip to Paris, France by the North Quincy High School Foreign Language Department from April 9, 2007-April 22, 2007. They ayes have it.

Out of State BM to New York

On a motion by Ms. Stice, seconded by Mr. Mulvey, the Committee approved the Broad Meadows student trip to New Rochelle, New York from October 18, 2006 to October 19, 2006. The ayes have it.

Middle School POS

Middle School Principals Laura Bogan, James McGuire, Earl Metzler, Larry Taglieri and Acting Principal Steve Sylvia were present to share with the Committee the new Program of Studies for middle schools. Math, Science, ELA, Social Studies, all core subjects, are now expanded to 55 minutes per day per subject. Developmental Reading, Foreign Language, reading in all schools for two years, foreign language in all schools for one year. Non core subjects Art, Music, Phys Ed., Health, Tech Ed, Media will meet once per cycle for 55 minutes. The foreign language curriculum across all middle schools contains sufficient rigor to allow middle school students who successfully complete one year of foreign language to be considered for placement at level 2 of that language in high school.

By the end of the eighth grade, all students should be exactly in the same spot. When they go into high school, they will all be able to choose Spanish or French.

Mrs. Bogan said students needed to be grouped heterogeneously in their neighborhood school as we are preparing them for life. Ms. Stice said she agreed with Mrs. Bogan for heterogeneous grouping in schools.

Gift Harcourt Trophies for Grades K-5

On a motion by Mr. Mulvey, seconded by Mr. Timmins, the Committee accepted a gift of Harcourt Trophies reading materials, Grades K-5. The total value exceeds $20,000. The ayes have it.

Anne Mahoney MASC Meeting

The Committee appointed Mrs. Anne Mahoney as the official voting delegate to the MASC meeting this October.

Supt’s. Evaluation

Ms. Stice passed out copies of a MASC suggested Superintendent’s evaluation. This is a suggested tool. An evaluation should be done every year. The Committee put this into the Policy Subcommittee.

SPED Presentation

Mr. McCarthy asked that Judy Todd do a presentation at the November 1 School Committee meeting on the new Special Ed staff members and what their responsibilities are.

Track Discussion

Mrs. Mahoney reported on a meeting held for the track. She wants to make sure the Committee is kept informed since people ask the Committee questions. She asked if there was a commission to select a site. The Mayor answered not to his recollection. Mrs. Mahoney mentioned the Quincy Ave site, the DPW and Squantum Point Park. If other recommendations were made why are we going to Pageant Field.

The Mayor said that the Quincy Ave site is contaminated and he will not go there. But, to the Mayor’s knowledge that site was never recommended for a track.

Mr. Timmins said he was at that same meeting. He heard the Solicitor say that if the track went on Faxon Field, the Committee would have some jurisdiction, but if it goes on Pageant Field, the Committee does not have any jurisdiction. There is a presumption that it should be the School Committee’s concern.

The Mayor said there has to be a process to determine the location of the track. The City Council has to vote on the funding and the Park Board. The first step was to have a public hearing and present the facts. We should evaluate the comments and re present it. The bond for the high school was to pay for the track facility. The cost to put the track on Faxon Field would cost three times as much and also permits would be needed.

The Mayor stressed that Quincy doesn’t have the land for it to be near the high school. The Mayor’s personal opinion is that we have a wonderful opportunity to have a premier track facility at Pageant Field. We are going to ask the architects to go back and look at that site and go to City Council and present to them and then the Park Department. He will keep the School Committee informed.

Mr. Mulvey recognized the passing of Esther Nazola who taught fifth grade at the Daniel Webster School. Condolences to her family.

SPED Subcommittee

 There will be a Special Ed. Subcommittee meeting on Thursday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the Parker Suite. Parents are encouraged to attend. They will outline IEPs, changes in the structure in the system, and the way things are addressed.


The Committee noted the following resignations:

Paraprofessionals: Rita Manning, Aneesa Nichols, Marie Will

Lunch Attendant: Elsa Zanolli

Leaves of Absence

The Committee noted the following leaves of absence.

Teachers: Katerine Ell, Stephanie Fortuna, Mollie Good

Guidance: Jennifer Kiely-Sullivan Guidance

Literacy Specialist: Lee Ann Maki


The Committee noted the following appointments:

Teachers: Michael DeMarco, Athenia Elie, Elizabeth Kelly, Amy Kotsonis, Meredith Mahoney, 

CDL Bus Drivers: Job Alexandre, Kerry Breshnahan, Eileen Joyce, Rodney Osias

Lunch Attendants: Tammy Commesso, Loredana Flynn, Jean Keough, Shirley Kwok, William Murray, Eileen Richardson, Kathleen Romonholi, Jennifer Smylth

Paraprofessionals: Christine Galvin, Scott Lawrence, Scott McGinn, Diane O’Connor, Claire Poles, Betty Ann Pomarico, Katherine Rashid, Joyce Romeri, Nikoleta Shala, Shannon Thompson

Adjourn to Executive Session

On a motion by Mr. Timmins, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, the Committee voted to go into Executive Session at 9:30 p.m. for the purpose of negotiations. On a roll call vote, the motion passed unanimously 7-0. The Committee did not come back to open session.