Oct. 8, 2014 School Committee Meeting

Revised Agenda

Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee
Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 7:30 pm
Coddington Building

I. Approval of Minutes: Regular Meeting Minutes for September 17, 2014.

II. 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. An individual may not exchange their time or yield to others.

III. Superintendent’s Report:

A. Inspiring Quincy

B. City Council Vote on Feasibility Study Funding for Sterling Middle School

C. October 1 Enrollment/Class Size

D. Mentor Team Meeting

E. Professional Educator Status Reception

F. High School College Fair

G. Coordinated Program Review

H. Superintendent’s Annual Plan

I. Parent Academies, October 15 and 16

J. High School Open House Evenings for Grade 8 Parents

K. School Safety Drills

L. John and Abigail Adams Scholarships 2015

M. Home-School Connections: Newsletters from Atherton Hough and Wollaston Elementary Schools

IV. Old Business:

A. Policy: National Background Check for Volunteers (Review and Discussion; Vote at October 22 meeting)

B. Policy: Regular Meeting Agenda: Reports of Subcommittees (Discussion of procedural change in the context of the Open Meeting Law; Vote at October 22 meeting)

C. Policy: Regular Meeting Agenda: Additional Business (Discussion of procedural change in the context of the Open Meeting Law; Vote at October 22 meeting)

V. New Business:

A. Open Enrollment (For Referral to Policy Subcommittee)

B. Aspen Student Information System Implementation Update - Mr. Keith Segalla

C. Out of State Travel: Sterling Middle School Chorus to the Providence Bruins, Providence, RI on November 23, 2014.

VI. Additional Business:

VII. Communications:

VIII. Reports of Subcommittees:

1. Teaching and Learning Subcommittee: Ms. Isola to report on the October 6, 2014 meeting.

2. Policy Subcommittee: Mr. Bregoli to report on the October 6, 2014 meeting.

IX. Executive Session: None

X. Adjournment:

Subcommittees of the School Committee

Budget & Finance
Hubley/Bregoli, DiBona, Isola, Koch, Mahoney, McCarthy

Facilities and Security

  1. Sterling Building Plans Referred to Subcommittee by the School Building Task Force in 1998.

  2. Houses on Saville Avenue Referred to Subcommittee at the May 18, 2011 School Committee Meeting. Currently home to the City’s Public Building department, the School Committee and Superintendent see no future educational uses for these properties.

  3. President’s City Inn Referred to Subcommittee at the October 10, 2012 School Committee Meeting. Safety concerns have been expressed about this property that abuts the new Central Middle School. Current construction plans were reviewed at the March 18, 2014 Subcommittee Meeting.

  4. School Lobby Security Controls Referred to Subcommittee at the January 23, 2013 School Committee Meeting. Review of existing visitor protocols, with special consideration of current high school policies and discussion of enhancements moving forward for all schools.

  5. North Quincy High School Campus Expansion/Teel Field Project Referred at the January 22, 2014 School Committee Meeting. A presentation on the proposed enhancements will be scheduled.  

Health, Transportation & Safety

  1. School Meal Charges Referred to Subcommittee at the March 21, 2012 School Committee Meeting. New state and federal regulations require formalization of the school meal charges policy.

  2. Science Lab Safety: Referred from the Teaching and Learning Subcommittee at the April 2, 2012 meeting. Monitoring of supplies will be handled by School Safety Teams.

  3. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Referred to Subcommittee at the September 24, 2012 Special School Committee Meeting. Student Support Services working with Lincoln Hancock, Clifford Marshall, and Parker Elementary Schools on piloting this initiative.

  4. Traffic Concerns at North Quincy High School Referred to Subcommittee at the March 5, 2014 School Committee Meeting. Parent concerns about East Squantum Street crosswalk/parking lot entrance.

  5. Solar Array Installation on School Roofs Referred from the Facilities & Security Subcommittee on September 10, 2014. Monitoring of the ongoing projects and the educational opportunities.

  6. Learn to Swim Referred at the September 10, 2014 Special School Committee Meeting. Monitoring the ongoing partnership between QPS and the South Shore YMCA.

  7. Farm to School Referred at the September 10, 2014 Special School Committee Meeting. Monitoring the Planning Grant rollout, a collaboration of QPS and the Planning Department.

  8. CPR Certification Referred from the Policy Subcommittee at the September 10, 2014 Special School Committee meeting. Grade 8 students will be certified through Health classes.

  9. Before School Exercise Programs Referred at the September 10, 2014 Special School Committee meeting. Monitoring the implementation of these programs across QPS.

  10. Food Services Technology Referred at the September 10, 2014 Special School Committee meeting. Exploring the options for further publicizing the advantages of these new systems.


  1. Graduation Requirements Referred to Subcommittee at the September 7, 2011 School Committee Meeting and discussed at the October 11, 2011 School Policy Subcommittee. The discussion centered around adding a fourth year of Math as a graduation requirement; the issue is tabled until more is known about the impact of the new Common Core Standards on the Massachusetts frameworks.

  2. New Educator Evaluations Referred at the September 7, 2011 School Committee Meeting and shared with the Teaching and Learning Subcommittee. Further discussion will be held in joint Subcommittee Meetings and Executive Session as it pertains to collective bargaining.

  3. High School Community Service Referred to Subcommittee at the December 14, 2011 School Committee Meeting. In the 2012-13 school year, Grades 10 and 11 completed requirement. In the 2013-14 school year, Grades 11 and 12 completed the requirement. In 2014-15, Grades 9-11 plus any seniors who did not complete their Grade 11 requirement will perform Community Service.

  4. Advertising/Sponsorship Opportunities Referred at the June 13, 2012 School Committee Meeting. Review and discussion of amending the existing policy requested to explore the possibility of raising revenue by accepting advertising sponsorships.

  5. Residency Referred at the September 18, 2013 Special School Committee Meeting. Review of existing policy and expansion to include additional information on verification process.

  6. Review of High School Academic and Extracurricular Programs Referred at the November 13, 2013 School Committee Meeting. A comparison of the offerings at both schools to be analyzed to ensure equitable and parallel opportunities for all students at both facilities.  

  7. Regular Meeting Agenda: VIII. Reports of Subcommittees and VI. Additional Business Referred at the September 10, 2014 Special Meeting for review and discussion. Concerns about business conducted under these agenda sections being in violation of the Open Meeting Law.

Special Education

  1. Student Information for Substitute Teachers Originally referred to Subcommittee at the January 17, 2007 School Committee Meeting. Aspen Student Information System Special Education module reports will be utilized to share information with substitute teachers beginning in September 2014.

  2. Special Education Program Assessment Referred to Subcommittee at the January 28, 2012 Special School Committee Meeting. This will be an ongoing discussion of the curriculum initiatives for Special Education.

Rules, Post Audit & Oversight

Teaching and Learning

  1. New Educator Evaluations Referred at the September 7, 2011 School Committee Meeting and shared with the School Policy Subcommittee. The 2013-2014 school year is the first year of the new Educator Evaluation process and a collaboration will continue between the School Committee, Superintendent’s Leadership Team, and the Quincy Education Association around issues related to the implementation.

Ad Hoc Committees: Channel 22

Sterling Building Committee

Sterling/Point Webster Grade 5

Created at the September 10, 2014 Special School Committee meeting to review issues related to Grade 5 being located in middle school buildings.

School District Maps

Created at the September 10, 2014 Special School Committee meeting to review issues related to school district maps.


Quincy, Massachusetts - – October 8, 2014
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 in the City Council Chambers at City Hall. Present were Mayor Thomas Koch, Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Noel DiBona, Ms. Barbara Isola, Mrs. Anne Mahoney, and Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Vice Chair.

Vice-Chair Presiding

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The Superintendent called the roll and Mr. McCarthy was absent. Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary; Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk; Mr. Robert Cavallo, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Mrs. Mary Fredrickson, Ms. Ellen Garofalo, Mrs. Ellen Hunter, Mr. James Mullaney, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Mrs. Maura Papile, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, Ms. Judy Todd; Mr. Scott Alessandro, Citywide Parents Council Co-President; and Ms. Allison Cox, President, Quincy Education Association.

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There was a moment of silence for Pat Crisp, a Quincy Public Schools teacher for 28 years.

Superintendent DeCristofaro extended congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. DiBona on the birth of their baby Aidan.

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Regular Meeting Minutes Approved 9/17/14

Mayor Koch made a motion, seconded by Mr. Bregoli, to approve the Regular Meeting minutes for September 17, 2014. On a voice vote, the ayes have it.

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Open Forum

Ms. Danielle Neal asked when the meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Grade 5 students at Sterling and Point Webster Middle Schools would be scheduled.

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Superintendent's Report

Dr. DeCristofaro opened his report with Inspiring Quincy featuring the Sterling Middle School 5K Fun Run/Walk, the Beechwood Knoll Fall Festival, Learning About Fossils at Bernazzani, Squantum's Outdoor Classroom, Lincoln Hancock Pride Council, the High School College Information Night, and Wollaston BOKS program.

Dr. DeCristofaro thanked Mayor Koch for hosting the Coddington Building Open House earlier this evening.

The first meeting of the Mentor Team was held last week; each new Quincy Public Schools staff member has a mentor from their school to support them during their first year. The Mentor Team is co-chaired by Madeline Roy and Jim Hennessy and supported by several retired teachers and administrators.

The Professional Educator Status Reception was held last week; 27 educators received recognition of their professional status.

Upcoming Quincy Public Schools events include the High School College Fair on October 16 at Quincy High School; Open House for Grade 8 parents (October 23 at Quincy High School and October 28 at North Quincy High School); the Rachel's Challenge Parent Presentation on Wednesday, October 15, sponsored by the Rural Lodge of Masons and Quincy Lodge of Elks; and the Fall Parent Academy on Thursday, October 16 at Point Webster, where the Curriculum team will be sharing strategies for parents in assisting with Math homework. Quincy High School is hosting French exchange students from October 15 through October 20, thanks to the QHS staff and host families.

The Summative portion of the Superintendent's Annual Plan will be presented at the October 22 School Committee Meeting. Superintendent DeCristofaro will meet with individual School Committee members to review the evaluation process and Ms. Isola will prepare a draft summative evaluation based on their input.

196 Quincy High School and North Quincy High School students qualified for the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, thanks to their many fine Quincy Public Schools teachers from Kindergarten through Grade 12.

On Monday, October 20, the City Council Finance Committee will meet to discuss the appropriation for the Sterling Middle School Feasibility Study. This is the final delivery item for Module 1, the Eligibility Phase. In Module 2, which will begin after the November 19 MSBA Board meeting, the Owner's Project Manager and Designer will be selected. A new timeline and deliverables will be shared at an upcoming Sterling Building Committee meeting.

There was a recent incident at a high school athletic event that caused a review of the emergency response protocol and a revised protocol has been created for the athletic directors, coaches, and trainers. Mayor Koch hosted a meeting with Chief Keenan, Chief Barron, Dr. DeCristofaro, and representatives from Fallon Ambulance to set the new procedures.

For Fall Athletics, over 200 students at North Quincy High School and 250 students at Quincy High Schoolare participating in Fall sports. This is an 18% participation rate. The fall Learn to Swim program has begun, with over 100 students from Lincoln Hancock and Clifford Marshall taking part in an 8-week program sponsored by YMCA. The band program has 60+ students at the high school level, 150 students in the middle school concert band, and there are 180 students in the elementary All-City band.

Enrollment and Class Size information was shared; the total Quincy Public Schools enrollment is around 9,400 students, down 75 students from last year. Class size information shows average elementary school class sizes between 18-20 students. At the middle school level, 88% of classes have 24 students or fewer. At the high school level, 90% of classes are at 25 or below.

Mr. Bregoli asked about the capacity at Central Middle School. The school was built for 620 students and the building is currently over capacity. Open Enrollment for Grade 6 at Central was restricted to 14 siblings because of the large neighborhood population. Mr. DiBona asked about the new process for Open Enrollment and whether parents would know whether their child’s position changed as more siblings request Open Enrollment. Mrs. Mahoney said that it is important that the process be transparent and the decision timeline be publicly communicated. Dr. DeCristofaro agreed and that with Aspen in place, we will be able to make projections earlier and share the timeline for decisions.

Mr. Bregoli asked about the number of Grade 8 students attending private schools and Dr. DeCristofaro said we would follow up with that information. Mr. Bregoli suggested a survey to those families asking what factored in their decision to move to private schools. Mrs. Mahoney asked when families inform schools of their plans, could an exit survey be generated to accompany transcript requests.

Mrs. Mahoney noted that Quincy High School Student Representative Isabelle Cobble had joined the meeting.

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Old Business

Kevin Mulvey created a draft Policy on the National Background Check for Employees and Volunteers for School Committee to consider adding to the School Committee Policy book. There was no discussion on this item, which will be posted for public comment and appear on the October 22, 2014 meeting agenda for a vote.

The item refers to revising the Policy: Regular Meeting Agenda: Reports of Subcommittees to adopt Roberts Rules of Order for no discussion of notes beyond corrections. There was no discussion on this item, which will appear on the October 22, 2014 meeting agenda for a vote.

This item refers to Policy: Regular Meeting Agenda: Additional Business, in compliance with the Open Meeting Law. Mrs. Hubley said that the provision is for emergency items to be brought up for discussion. Mrs. Mahoney noted that it had been discussed that items can be brought up here as requests for a subsequent School Committee Meeting Agenda.

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New Business

Open Enrollment

Ms. Isola made a motion to move Open Enrollment to the Policy Subcommittee, seconded by Mr. Bregoli. On a voice vote, the ayes have it.

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Aspen Student Information System Implementation Update.

Mr. Keith Segalla reviewed the second year of Aspen Student Information System implementation now underway. While there were a few hiccups during the first year of implementation, feedback and support from staff and families have been valuable. For Attendance, schools have been utilizing student attendance at the classroom level at the elementary, middle, and high school. Elementary teachers can also enter lunch counts for Food Services planning. High School teachers utilize class attendance, allowing for dean and guidance monitoring of attendance patterns. A Staff attendance pilot is underway at Bernazzani, Parker, Wollaston, Atlantic, and Sterling and will roll out to all schools by the end of the school year.

For scheduling, the Aspen system utilization began in Fall 2013 for individual student schedules; for the 2014-15 school year, the high school master schedule was created in Aspen and online course selection was piloted. Parents and students were able to review recommendations and request changes. Schedules were published online in late August. Teacher Grade Book implementation began in Fall 2013 for middle and high school staff. This optional tool allows for details of assignments, quizzes, and tests to be shared with parents and students. All teachers are required to use Aspen for the posting of mid-term and final grades.

For Special Education, the IT department will begin developing an implementation plan with the Special Education team and configuring the module with the goal of IEP development being in Aspen by September 2015. Significant training will be required and the goal is to have a Special Education champion in each building.

For State Reporting, Ms. Garofalo reviewed that 500,000 elements of student data were reported to DESE in November 2013, the first reporting cycle generated through Aspen. By the end of the 2013-2014 school year, 3,250,000 elements had been reported. This information is maintained by school secretaries and Student Support staff, plus supplemented by uploads from Nutrikids, MUNIS, Easy IEP, and Baseline Edge.

Mrs. Hunter reviewed that Aspen training began in August 2013 with Master Facilitator training -- Aspen Champions representing each middle and high school building. Optional training was provided for middle and high school staff in August 2013; 225 staff voluntarily attended and another 190 staff members were trained in Fall 2013 on fundamentals and specific topics. Aspen support was offered throughout the school year to staff and a Parent Academy was held in March to orient middle school parents to the portal. Visits were made to individual PTO meetings. IT staff attended high school course selection nights at each school assisting parents with the login process and navigating the course recommendations for their student.

For 2014-15, the new professional staff members were trained, all Elementary Schools were visited to give support as needed to teachers on the attendance segment. As the Staff Attendance pilot moves into implementation, training and support will be provided to all schools. Training will continue to be offered on Optional Gradebook functions tiered for Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced users. The IT department is looking forward to continue the collaboration with principals, staff, parents, and students.

Mr. Bregoli asked about attendance for Substitute teachers; if they have been trained in Aspen, they can do the online attendance or on paper if they choose. Mr. Bregoli asked about how tardy students are handled; the main office enters those students in. Mr. Bregoli asked about attendance letters, the new law requires contact after five unexcused absences; the attendance offices run those letters at the high school.

Mr. Bregoli asked if an Incomplete grade can still be entered when student work is scheduled to be turned in after a grade closes. Ms. Garofalo said there is a window to enter corrected grades. Mr. Bregoli asked specifically how this could affect a student's athletic eligibility. Ms. Garofalo said that the IT department works with the high schools to make grade corrections as needed.

Mr. Bregoli asked about course recommendations and Ms. Garofalo said the process begins in March. When teachers fill out third term progress reports, they also make initial recommendations for each of their students. Guidance works with teachers to adjust levels as needed throughout the rest of the school year. Mr. Bregoli asked if parents have the opportunity to question the recommended level and they do, and this often begins a conversation between parents, teachers, and guidance.

Ms. Isola asked how many teachers are using the optional Gradebook features. Mr. Segalla said we could survey teachers to find out. Ms. Isola asked and received confirmation that parents still call in attendance and the school secretary adjusts the attendance to reflect an excused absence.

Mrs. Mahoney asked if attendance is integrated with Instant Alert so that attendance phone calls are automated. At the elementary level, most schools are still using manual phone calls to check on unexcused absences, while the calls are automated at other levels. Mrs. Mahoney asked for clarification about the high school scheduling issue last summer. Ms. Garofalo said that there are a number of tasks to be completed before the new school year can be opened. IT was cautious about the new rollover process, and it took a week longer than expected. The goal is to publish next year’s schedules by mid-August. Mrs. Mahoney stressed that this was the first year of implementation and that documentation will hopefully allow for a smoother transition this year.

Mrs. Mahoney asked for clarification about progress reports and report cards. Families can request paper versions through guidance counselors at the high school level. At the middle school level, paper versions will continue to be sent home. Mrs. Mahoney complimented the IT department for the progress in the Aspen implementation. She reiterated that all teachers are required to post interim and final grades, but that the use of the online gradebook and sharing the details of assignments are optional. Mrs. Mahoney reiterated Ms. Isola's request for data as this will allow School Committee to consider what might be possible to encourage teachers to get to 100% participation. Mrs. Mahoney also would like to know how many teachers are utilizing the Student Locker.

Mr. DiBona asked whether discipline issues are tracked in Aspen. Ms. Garofalo said that state reporting requires documentation. Aspen does have the ability to post information to the portal, but schools are following the pattern of meeting with families. Telephone calls and letters home are still the preferred method.

Mr. Bregoli asked if Incident Reports are entered into Aspen. Ms. Garofalo said that the details are not entered into Aspen, but there are certain categories that must be reported. Confidential information is sent to Superintendent's Office. Mr. Bregoli asked about tracking families’ access to computers; this was a field on the contact cards and we should have that information in the next couple of weeks.

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Ms. Isola made a motion to approve the Out of State Travel of Sterling Middle School Chorus to the Providence Bruins, Providence, Rhode Island on November 23, 2014. Mr. Bregoli seconded the motion, and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

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Mrs. Hubley announced that the Wollaston School Harvest Festival would be held on Saturday, October 11 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Mrs. Mahoney announced that the anti-bullying show Wanda's World will be presented at Central Middle School on Saturday, October 11 at 2:00 p.m.

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Reports of Subcommittees

Mrs. Hubley noted that full Subcommittee meeting minutes are posted online on the School Committee page at www.quincypublicschools.com.


Ms. Isola reviewed the Teaching and Learning Subcommittee meeting held on October 6, 2014, where Mrs. Erin Perkins, Coordinator for Elementary Curriculum & Programs presented the Early Childhood, Literacy, and Title I Program Improvement Plans.

For 2014-15 the goals for Early Childhood are: (1) By June 2015, the Kindergarten teachers will continue to prepare for and complete the NAEYC accreditation process. Snug Harbor was completed last year and all remaining schools will be completed during this school year. (2) By June 2015, the Kindergarten programs will comply with the Massachusetts Kindergarten Entry Assessment (MKEA), a directive from the Office of Early Education and Care and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Kindergarten teachers are being trained on this formative assessment and standards. (3) During the 2014-2015 school year, the Pre-Kindergarten Team will work collaboratively to plan, develop, and implement an interdisciplinary model curriculum unit with either a Science or Social Studies focus. (4) During the 2014-2015 school year, the Pre-Kindergarten Team will analyze and assess their use of strategies that support and develop socialemotional and self-regulations skills. The team will work to develop a collection of assessments and materials that support the development of this important domain.

For 2014-2015, the Literacy Team goals are: (1) to support the district goal of developing proficient students through the building of foundational skills in Grades K-3 so that students read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. This will be evident by a decrease in the number of Tier 3 students by 5%. (2) The Literacy Team will investigate possible ways to incorporate the use of technology during literacy intervention sessions by piloting and researching various technology options.

For 2014-2015, the Title I goals are (1) to participate in the development of a consistent, coherent, and systematic writing process implemented in Grades K-5 with a focus on writing across the curriculum to support their progress in opinion/argument, information, and narrative writing. (2) The Title I team will work together to increase and sustain family engagement by increasing opportunities for parents to engage with the Title I program. Initiatives include the Parent-Child Day at Snug Harbor, Lincoln Hancock's Math night, visibility at parentteacher conferences, and the upcoming Parent Academy at Point Webster focusing on homework assistance.

Ms. Isola made a motion to approve the Early Childhood, Literacy, and Title I Program Improvement Plans and the minutes of the October 6, 2014 Teaching and Learning Subcommittee meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Bregoli and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

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Policy Subcommittee

Mr. Bregoli reviewed the Policy Subcommittee meeting held on October 6, 2014, where Mr. Keith Segalla presented the Instructional Technology Program Improvement Plan. Mr. Segalla noted that most of the Information Technology Team Goals for 2014-15 are continuation goals from 2013-2014: The Elementary POS team will (1) review and improve upon the process of Aspen electronic schedules for elementary schools to comply with DESE EPIMS/SCS reporting in conjunction with the Elementary Principal Team and (2) train elementary staff on Aspen Attendance, Scheduling, and Introductions to Standards-Based Grade postings by June 2015. The Middle School POS team will (1) complete middle school schedules by June 2015 and (2) review and update the Grade 8 high school course selection process as needed by January 2015. The High School POS team will (1) consistently communicate scheduling issues, timelines, appropriate tasks, and data dissemination so that high school student schedules can be produced by August 2015 that reflect class sizes with School Committee guidelines. (2) To produce a common High School Program of Studies document to be used by students for course request selection and to populate in Aspen for display during the 2015-2016 course selection process by December 2014. (3) To produce a new Curriculum Flowchart reflecting graduation requirements prior to the course selection process, which commences in March 2014, (4) produce Pathways Booklet and set up in Aspen for online course selection, including teacher recommendations by March 2015, and (5) produce High School schedules by June 2015. The Information Technology Team’s goals are to (1) meet all required MA DESE and District-Level requirements, (2) continue to assist and support education technology resources that will work to enhance the teaching and learning experiences for both staff and students in the Quincy Public Schools, and (3) collaborate with the City of Quincy Information Technology Team to implement/and or maintain Quincy Public Schools infrastructure. The Secretaries Team will (1) continue to participate in the implementation of Aspen and (2) will become familiar with relevant Quincy Public Schools policies and procedures as they are updated.

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to approve the Informational Technology Program Improvement Plan and the minutes of the October 6, 2014 Policy Subcommittee meeting. Ms. Isola seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mr. DiBona announced that the Health, Transportation, and Safety Subcommittee meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 15 at 5:00 pm at the Coddington Building.

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Ms. Isola made a motion to adjourn for the evening at 9:10 p.m. The motion was seconded by Mr. Bregoli and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.