Jan. 6, 2010 School Committee Meeting


Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee
January 6, 2010

7:00 p.m.
Squantum Elementary School

I. Approval of Minutes: Regular Session Minutes for December 16, 2009.

II. Superintendent’s Report:

A. Welcome to Squantum Elementary School – Principal Steve Sylvia.

B. School Committee Vote for Clerk and Secretary to the School Committee.

III. Open Forum: An opportunity for community input regarding the Quincy Public Schools. After giving his or her name and address, each speaker may make a presentation of no more than four minutes to the School Committee.

IV. Old Business

A. Update on building projects, renovations, and construction: Mr. Murphy to report.

B. Update on the New Quincy High School: Mrs. Dwyer to report.

C. Update on Central: Mrs. Bragg and Mrs. Mahoney to report.

D. District Improvement Plan (2009-2010) Overview: This item was held over from your last meeting at Mrs. Bragg’s request.  

V. New Business:

A. Educational Technology Review: Mr. O’Brien to report.

B. Race to the Top Initiative: Superintendent DeCristofaro to report.

VI. Additional Business:

A. Conflict of Interest Law for Municipal Employees: Mr. Mulvey to report.

VII. Communications:

VIII. Hearings:

IX. Reports of Special Committees:

X. Executive Session:

XI. Adjournment:

Subcommittees of the School Committee

Subcommittee Date Referred Business Pending
Budget & Finance
Mariano/Bragg/McCarthy 4/11/2007 HS Health Curriculum
  3/29/2008 Bus Rental Fees
  3/29/2008 Building Rental Fees
  9/10/2008 Revolving Funds 5-yrs. History
  5/6/2009 Advanced Placement Policy 10.15.1
  10/7/2009 Half Time Teachers
School Facilities Management    
Dwyer/Mahoney/Mariano Major Building Projects  
  3/4/98 QHS/Central/Sterling Building Plans
  10/20/2004 ADA Report
  9/7/2005 Alternative Plans for Central Middle School
  2/8/2006 Conservation
  4/9/2008 11.6 School Facility Policy
  4/9/2008 Track
  9/10/2008 NQHS gym floor named
Health, Safety & Security    
Puleo/Mahoney/McCarthy 10/18/2006 School Zone, Traffic Safety Concerns
  4/11/2007 HS Health Curriculum
  3/26/2008 Increase School Breakfast Participation
School Policy    
Bragg/Dwyer/McCarthy 3/12/2008 Teacher Evaluations
  9/10/2008 Grade Configurations
  3/11/2009 MS Interim Letters
  3/11/2009 Naming of QPS schools/places/etc.
  6/10/2009 Classroom Observations
  10/7/2009 Food Services Policy 5.6.1
  12/16/2009 School Tardiness Policy
Special Education    
Mahoney/McCarthy/Mariano 1/17/2007 Emergency Information Form
  1/17/2007 Substitute Teachers for SPED
  3/21/2007 Implementation of IEPs
  9/24/2008 INSPIRE Initiative
Rules, Post Audit & Oversight    
Dwyer/Puleo/Bragg 10/29/2008 Faxon Field
Channel 22    
Mahoney/McCarthy 10/17/2007 Encourage greater use of



Quincy, Massachusetts - January 6, 2010
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee


A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, January 6, 2010 in the Squantum Elementary School. Present were: Mrs. Elaine Dwyer, Mrs. Jo-Ann Bragg, Mr. Dave McCarthy, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Ms. Barbara Isola, Mrs. Anne Mahoney and Mayor Thomas P. Koch, Chairman.

Vice Chairman Presiding

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The Superintendent called the roll and all members were present. Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary; Mrs. Tefta Burrelli, Clerk; Messrs. Mullaney, O’Brien, Draicchio, Keith Segalla, Ms. Roberts, Tenaglia, Todd, and Hughes. Ms. Tracey Christello, Citywide and Paul Phillips, QEA. Darius Varmahmoodi, and Lawrence Liuzzo, high school Student Representatives.

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Reg. Session. Min. Approved 12/9/2009

On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, the Committee approved the regular session minutes for December 9, 2009. The ayes have it.

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Squantum Principal Welcomes Committee

Principal, Steve Sylvia, welcomed everyone to the Squantum Elementary School. He thanked the members for their policy which allows them to have small class sizes. His teachers are committed and caring. Kindergarten classes are on target for certification. Squantum School has partnered with their PTA to build new book cases around the Media Center. They have a new computer lab. They have added Brain Pop, Just Meets, Book Flics, etc. computer programs for students.

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Supt. Appointed SC Secretary

On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mrs. Mahoney, the Committee appointed Superintendent Richard DeCristofaro Secretary to the School Committee. On a roll call vote, the motion passed unanimously 7-0.

Mrs. Burrelli Appointed SC Clerk

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mrs. Dwyer, the Committee appointed Mrs. Tefta Burrelli Clerk of the School Committee. On a roll call vote, the motion passed unanimously 7-0.

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Supts. Report

The Mayor thanked the Superintendent, Keith and Kevin Segalla, Kevin Murphy and students from both high schools for the work they did to make the Inauguration a success at North Quincy High School. He was very pleased and grateful.

The Superintendent also thanked the Mayor for holding the Inauguration at North Quincy High School. He praised the Culinary Arts students, the Student Council from both high schools, Maintenance, Janice Erler and Principal Earl Metzler.

The Mayor then thanked Dave McCarthy the outgoing Vice Chairman and welcomed Emily Lebo and Barbara Isola. He turned the gavel over to Anne Mahoney, the new Vice Chairman.

Mrs. Bragg pointed out that this is the first time in the history of Quincy that there has ever been five women on the School Committee.

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Bldg & Grounds Updatae

As Mr. Murphy was not present, the Superintendent read his building report.

At Squantum, they removed an old rug in room 14 and retiled that area. They cut up and retiled the perimeter of the library with the assistance of Flair Carpet and Tile Co. At Central, they’ve repaired the buckling gym floor and retiled a stairwell landing. Maintenance upgraded an electrical panel in the kitchen at Sterling, renovated bathrooms at Lincoln Hancock, and fixed the water line at Montclair. Much of the time, they worked at North Quincy for the Inauguration--ceiling tiles in bathrooms, signage, and glass on doors were replaced. Both girls’ bathrooms were painted, they changed over 100 sound panels, painted storage closets, and the custodians did a lot of work. The auditorium roof was replaced. The Mayor spent $539,000 on the roof and $41,000 to rebuild the elevator. The Atrium glass will be done during the February vacation.

The Committee was very grateful to the Mayor for all the work done at North Quincy High School.

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QHS Bldg. Committee Mrs. Dwyer Reports

The Quincy High School Building Committee met for a presentation from Jack Gillan, Traffic Engineer. There is a problem with Saville Ave. whereby cars are coming down Saville Ave and into the school parking lot. They considered closing off the street but, the Fire Department was opposed to that. Therefore, there are only two options — removable barriers or a swing gate. The gate would not be locked. This would prevent cars from coming into the lot and turning around.

Discussion has begun on what to do with the old Quincy High School. It is a City building but under the authority of the School Committee. Mrs. Dwyer will bring back prices to either renovate or tear down the old building. We’ll be out of that building in October.

There was discussion on the parking lot on Coddington St. The original plan had a two-story parking facility. Since the project was $1 million over budget, they scratched the parking facility. Fill was put there in order for trucks to go onto the spot. That fill has to come out. Gilbane has to put that parking lot back to its original form The Committee discussed an open space hot top parking lot. Mrs. Dwyer said they would have to look into a retaining wall. The problem with hot top is there is no where for the rain/water to go.

The Mayor said he would like to look at a plan for the whole wetland area. He acknowledged the good work Mrs. Dwyer and everyone has done on the Quincy High School Building Committee.

Mr. McCarthy asked Mrs. Dwyer to check on the use of water on the construction site to get an idea of how much water they used and the electricity used for the generators. Also, the neighbors on the corner of Woodward/Russell are concerned that several old fire extinguishers have been thrown there.

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Central Bldg. Comm. Mrs. Bragg Reports

The Central Building Committee will meet on January 14 at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall. The SBA has received the necessary documents. Designer architect bids are going out.

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Program Improvement Plan (PIP) for Special Ed.

Mrs. Bragg had tabled the PIP for Special Ed. report from the last meeting. She asked Ms. Todd a few questions that she had. She would like more involvement with QPAC on Special Education issues. She asked Ms. Todd to consult with teachers and parents. She would like to see more outreach. The Superintendent plans to have more mini presentations of the PIPs.

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Educational Software Initiatives

The Squantum staff was present to demonstrate the Educational Software Initiatives that are being used in their classrooms. They presented several software applications. Some of the programs included Destination, Study Island, Intellitools, Brain Pop, Fraction Nation, Reading Counts, PLATO, Bookflix, FASTT Math. Most of these programs can be done at home by students.

The Committee members participated in an Interwrite Board demonstration. These boards are now installed in all the classrooms at the new Quincy High School. Ed Smith and Michael Imhoff, science teachers at Quincy High School, gave the demonstration.

Mrs. Isola asked about those students who don’t have a computer at home. She asked the Superintendent to find out how many students have computers at home. Do we have laptops for students.

Mrs. Lebo asked if the programs are not in all schools, do we try to make some sort of equitable distribution. Mr. O’Brien said we hope to do in the spring this year. We need to evaluate before we buy them for all schools. We do not have laptops for students.

Mayor Koch said because of the new technical advantages at the new Quincy High School, there should be smart boards at North. He is open to pursuing that. It would cost $3,500 per classroom. The Mayor will meet with the Superintendent to see what the cost for each school is and come up with a plan.

The Superintendent thanked the staff, Peter Swanson and the many “all-stars” in this school system.

At 8:45 p.m. the Committee recessed for 10 minutes.

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Conflict of Interest MGL 268, sec.19

Mr. Kevin Mulvey, Director of Human Resources, reviewed the Conflict of Interest Law (MGL 268, sec. 19). He gave the Committee a summary of the law. Everyone, including paid employees, volunteers, must return a receipt acknowledging receipt of the law to the City Clerk’s office after taking a test on line. You have until April 2, 2010 to take the test and pass it in. The Mayor said this goes to all city employees, election workers, boards, etc.

Mrs. Dwyer questioned page 4 – “an example of a violation regarding a school committee member.” They may not participate where a person of his immediate family has a financial interest. He also may not participate in any matter in which a perspective employee or business organization of which he is a director has a financial interest. Participation includes discussion as well as delegating the matter to someone else.

We have in the past had School Committee members who have immediate family in the school system, and we all vote and work on the budgets. She is concerned that there is a couple of members, including herself. Is this saying that she can’t work on the budget or is this just about teacher contract negotiations.

Mr. Mulvey said in his opinion, with regard to the budget, if someone on the Committee that had a relative that was a member of the teaching staff, that person on the Committee should recluse himself from any negotiations or discussion with regard to negotiating, budget or contract negotiations in that line. But with regard to voting on the over all budget, which that line is included, the School Committee member is entitled to vote on the entire budget. You would recluse from discussion and participating in the individual budget line, which would be the teacher contract negotiations, but when it came to the entire vote of the Committee with regard to the overall budget, under case law, you can vote on the entire budget.

Mr. Mulvey said if there are concerns participating in negotiations, they need to get an opinion from the City Solicitor or the State Ethics Commissioner.

Mayor Koch will get a ruling from the City Solicitor and get back to the Committee.

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Additional Business Café Tables

Mrs. Bragg asked what was being done to fix the cafeteria tables at the Marshall School. Mr. McCarthy said he was at the Marshall School the day a table fell on two students. They have looked at the tables and the way they are set up. The bolts have worn over the years. The kids know how to take the chains off. They are looking at all the schools that have that set up and will come back with a locking bar that padlocks.

To Health & Safety Subcommittee

He moved this issue into the Health and Safety and Security Subcommittee.

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Incident Reports

Mrs. Bragg inquired about Incident Reports. She hasn’t received any Incident Reports in a long time and was wondering why they don’t go to the Committee any more. She would like a heads up before she gets a call from a reporter. She doesn’t think that all need to come to Committee, but only those that are serious.

The Superintendent said we still do Incident Reports but has not been in the practice of sending them to School Committee. That’s a Committee decision. If they want Incident Reports they need to give him direction in regard to the level of concern. However, he has been calling members to let them know when there is something that he believes could pose a level of concern.

Mrs. Bragg said we have a policy on this that was discussed a couple of years back about communications to the School Committee and maybe they will revisit that. She thought it says that there is a time when School Committee needs to be informed of serious issues and it was left what was serious to the Superintendent’s discretion. She did want some communication between the Superintendent and the School Committee regarding incidents. Mrs. Burrelli will look at the policy manual.

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Gift to Squantum

On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mrs. Lebo, the Committee accepted three large boxes of boots, hats, scarves worth over $2,000 from Mary Gustofson for the Squantum School. The ayes have it. Mr. Sylvia will work with his guidance staff and Maura Tenaglia to distribute them to other schools.

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The next Special Ed. Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for January 13, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at Broad Meadows Middle. School.

Associate Member, Darius Verhamoodi, invited everyone to McDonalds on January 19 from 4-7 p.m. Teachers will work and 20% of the profits go to Quincy High Schools.

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Race to the Top (RTTT)

Colleen Roberts gave an overview of the Race To The Top Initiative (RTTT). This is a US Department of Education initiative and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Mrs. Roberts, Mrs. Mahoney, Mr. Phillips and the Superintendent attended an informational meeting in Worcester. Massachusetts would received $250 million over a four-year period. You cannot supplant. This is the second part of Education Reform. The Memorandum of Understand states we have to send all three signatures to the United State Department of Education by January 19, 2010. Fifteen percent of the funds will be passed on to Quincy Public Schools. The remaining may be used by the state. Signatures have to come from the Superintendent, the Mayor and Mr. Phillips. All three participants must sign. If you don’t sign, you won’t get any money. The four years run from 2011-2014. By signing, the district will have to use data to improve instruction. Our district principals have teacher effectiveness based on performance. One of the things we hear is if a school district signs it can opt out at any time. You would have to give the remaining funds back.

To Executive Session

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mrs. Lebo, to go into Executive Session at 9:40 p.m. for the purpose of Collective Bargaining. On a roll call vote, the motion passed 5-0. MRS. BRAGG and MRS. DWYER ABSTAINED.

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Supt & Mayor will sign MOU

The Committee returned to regular session at 9:55 p.m. On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mrs. Lebo, the Committee voted to have the Mayor and the Superintendents endorse the Memorandum of Understanding. On a roll call vote, the motion passed 5-0. MRS BRAGG and MRS. DWYER voted to ABSTAIN. The Mayor recognized that the QEA has to sign as well.

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New Subcommittees

The Committee received a memo from Vice Chairman, Anne Mahoney listing the Subcommittee members. They are as follows:

Committee Chairman Members

Budget & Finance A. Mahoney J. Bragg / E. Lebo

School Facilities E. Dwyer E. Lebo /D .McCarthy

Health & Safety D. McCarthy B. Isola / E. Dwyer

School Policy J. Bragg B. Isola / E. Dwyer

Special Education E. Lebo D. McCarthy /A. Mahoney

Rules/Post Audit & B Isola A. Mahoney /J. Bragg

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On a motion duly made and seconded, the Committee adjourned for the evening at 9:58 p.m. On a roll call vote, the motion passed unanimously 7-0.