April 29, 2020 Special Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Special Meeting

via Google Meeting/Conference Call
Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.

Per Governor Baker’s order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law,
G.L. c. 30A sec. 20, the public will not be allowed to physically access this School
Committee meeting. Members of the Public can access the meeting audio live on
QATV Channel 22. The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast and posted on the
QPS website on Friday, May 1, 2020.

I. Chairman’s Update - Mayor Koch

  • City of Quincy COVID-19 Update

  • City of Quincy Financial Update

II. Approval of Minutes:

April 13 Special Meeting

III. Superintendent’s Report - Dr. DeCristofaro

  • Governor Baker’s School Closure Announcement

  • School Nutrition & Learning Packet Update (Attached)

  • Remote Summer Program 2020

  • Additional Benefits for Families

  • Memorandum of Agreement with QEA #3

  • Student Opportunity Act

  • Remote Learning Newsletter

  • QPS Graduation Initiative

IV. Open Forum - Mr. Andronico

Open Forum items may be submitted to School Committee via email to:
[email protected]. Please include your full name
and mailing address as part of the email.

V. Remote Learning Access & Student Participation Update - Dr. DeCristofaro, Mr. Mulvey, Ms. Papile, Ms. Perkins, Ms. Roy

VI. High School Student Support - Ms. Papile, Mr. Shaw, Mr. Taglieri

VII. Quincy Public Schools Superintendent - Mayor Koch

  •  Interim Superintendent

  • Search Process

VIII. Executive Session:

Contract Negotiations

IX. Adjournment


Quincy, Massachusetts – April 29, 2020

Special Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Special Meeting

A special meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at the Coddington Building at 6:00 p.m via teleconference. Superintendent DeCristofaro called the roll and present were Mayor Thomas Koch, Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Douglas Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mr. Frank Santoro, and Mr. Anthony Andronico, Vice Chair.

Vice-Chair Presiding

Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary; Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk; Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Ms. Marisa Forrester, Mr. James Mullaney, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Erin Perkins, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Robert Shaw, Mr. Lawrence Taglieri.


City of Quincy COVID-19

Update Mayor Koch opened the meeting requesting that we keep our veterans and those who are ill or have passed away from COVID-19 along with the medical community and first responders in our thoughts. Thanks to the Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, Leadership and Principal teams, professional staff, food services, and IT staff for all of the work they are doing. There are so many good things happening in Quincy in response to the crisis.

Mayor Koch updated School Committee that stimulus funds are still pending and he is in regular contact with the Governor, members of Congress, and the local state delegation. The FY2021 Budget presentation to City Council is moving to May 18, which will allow for more accurate projections. The FY2021 budget will be lean and not allow for increases in programming, but will hopefully protect homeowners from property tax increases. All city departments have been asked to return surplus funds from FY2020 to go to the free cash account which could offset revenue decreases.

For the Quincy Public Schools budget, Mayor Koch is expecting that Chapter 70 funding may be cut. Mayor Koch will be requesting that the City Council approve the total cost of renovating the Old Colony Avenue building to create the Special Education Learning Center. If the Student Opportunity Act Funding is available, $3,000,000 in funding would be applied to that renovation cost. The collaboration between the City and School departments and support from so many departments reflects the city’s priority in educating Quincy’s children.

Mr. Gutro asked Mayor Koch to confirm that there would be no cuts to the Quincy Public Schools FY2020 budget. Mayor Koch confirmed this and also is not expecting cuts for FY2021.


Approval of Minutes

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to approve the minutes for the April 13, 2020 School Committee Meeting and the April 13, 2020 Executive Session. Mr. Santoro seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.


Superintendent's Report

Dr. DeCristofaro opened the Superintendent’s Report by reviewing that last week Massachusetts Governor Baker confirmed that schools would not re-open this year. Remote learning will continue through the end of the school year on June 17. This information was shared with staff, students, and families on April 21.

Breakfast and lunch distribution continues at the eight school sites with over 35,000 meals distributed to date, thanks to the leadership of Sara Dufour and the School Nutrition staff. Chromebook distribution continues with around 1,100 distributed to date, thanks to Keith Segalla, Kevin Segalla, Michael Draicchio, Sarah Anderson, Bob Cavallo, Ann White-Larsen, and Laura Owens.

Planning is underway for summer programming for all grade levels, including skills support programs for elementary and middle school students and credit recovery for high school students. In addition, options are being explored for expanded academic enrichment opportunities that would benefit students and prevent loss of skills.

Mr. Andronico noted that the state will be providing extended food benefits to families who are eligible for free and reduced meals to assist during the time of school closure.

Mrs. Lebo said that the School Nutrition department is doing an outstanding job. Mrs. Lebo asked how the information was communicated to the state so that families would receive this benefit. The School Nutrition and Instructional Technology departments are collaborating to provide the information on eligible families to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Mrs. Lebo is concerned about family privacy and the information not being used for other purposes.

Dr. DeCristofaro noted that a draft of Memorandum of Agreement #3 with the Quincy Education Association was shared with School Committee late this afternoon. This agreement looks forward through May and into the end of the school year and extends the terms of MOA #2. Dr. DeCristofaro would like to review in Executive Session. Mr. Andronico agreed, noting that the team has worked very hard this week since the new guidance was released by DESE on the evening of Friday, April 24.

For the Student Opportunity Act, the new deadline is May 15, and there is not information yet on whether this deadline will be extended. Dr. DeCristofaro feels that the deadline will be extended, the state budget is still in flux and suggests waiting to discuss with representative groups until the numbers are more solid. Dr. DeCristofaro deferred to School Committee for their opinion.

Mr. Andronico asked whether other cities and towns have received extensions; Dr. DeCristofaro said we don’t have that information. Mr. Bregoli, Mrs. Lebo, and Mr. Gutro all agreed with pursuing the extension.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to support Superintendent DeCristofaro requesting an extension to filing the Student Opportunity Act proposal with the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. The motion was seconded by Mr. Gutro and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.

Dr. DeCristofaro introduced the Remote Learning Newsletter shared with School Committee, this was created for staff, students, and parents to highlight the work of the academic program and academic support staff during this time.

Dr. DeCristofaro spoke about the members of the QPS Class of 2020 and the ways that the school system is working to recognize these students in a memorable way. In addition to the graduation program, special videos are being created to launch on June 8 and June 9 with the assistance of Mark Carey from the Mayor’s Office.

Dr. DeCristofaro introduced Executive Director of Career Vocational Technical Education Keith Segalla who reviewed that the Quincy Public Schools Healthcare Technology programs donated personal protective equipment and the Robotics team and Robotics alumni are printing face shields and other PPE using the 3-D printer. The PPE have been donated to the South Shore Health network and Quincy’s first responders.

Dr. DeCristofaro concluded his report by noting that the Board of Education has waived certain requirements for students with a competency determination requirement to graduate.

Mr. Bregoli asked if holding a physical graduation ceremony during the summer is a possibility. Dr. DeCristofaro said that given the current guidelines, that does not seem possible.

Mayor Koch said that the Memorial Day Parade has been cancelled and most likely the Flag Day Parade will be cancelled as well. Mayor Koch is open to create a special event for the graduatesin the summer if health and safety guidelines permit the city to do so.

Mr. Santoro asked if the high schools still have a yearbook distribution event in August. Dr. DeCristofaro said that both do have dates scheduled, so this is a possible date to consider.

Mr. Gutro asked if this meeting will be rebroadcast, Mr. Andronico said it will be broadcast on Channel 22 beginning on Friday and also posted on the QPS website. Mr. Gutro noted that the lawn signs for graduating students have been helpful to boost morale.

Mr. Gutro asked if there will be further discussion about summer programming, Dr. DeCristofaro said this will be discussed as plans evolved.

Mayor Koch reiterated that he is hoping that there will be stimulus funding available to support robust summer programming.

Mr. Bregoli asked about putting up flags on the city street lights in order to honor the senior class. Mayor Koch said we can look into this.

Mrs. Lebo agrees with not delaying recognizing the graduates, it will be a long time before large groups can gather.


Open Forum

Mr. Andronico noted that Open Forum participation is through the Quincy Public Schools email [email protected]. Mr. Andronico read letters from Ms. Jennifer Chen and Ms. Courtney Perdios, who both requested that School Committee involve parents in the process of choosing the new Superintendent to replace Dr. DeCristofaro who is retiring at the end of the school year to become President of Quincy College.


New Business

Remote Learning and Student Access & Engagement

Dr. DeCristofaro reviewed the guidance provided to school systems on Friday evening, April 24 by Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley. DESE outlined four phases, beginning with the school closure order on March 15, where opportunities for academic review and enrichment were provided. Phase II is the rollout of Remote Learning which began on April 6, focusing on making connections with academic content and Phase III which is the continuation of Remote Learning and the teaching of content standards most critical for student success in the next grade. Phase IV will be guidance for moving students into the new school year, mitigating regression, and a re-entry process for staff and students.

Coordinator of Data & Accountability Marisa Forrester presented an analysis of Access and Engagement for Quincy Public Schools students. 98.7% of students have connected with schools in one of the ways provided, whether online or through paper packets. 517 students have not connected through technology, but 320 of the students are using paper-based packets. Through the Chromebook loan program, 988 students have borrowed up to April 24, split evenly over elementary, middle, and high school levels. The demand for paper-based packets has been declining as online remote learning opportunities have increased.

Senior Curriculum Director Madeline Roy, Senior Director of Student Support Services Maura Papile, and Special Education Director Erin Perkins spoke on the Phase III goal to move all students towards consistent engagement in remote learning, with a focus on connectedness and content standards most critical for student success in the next grade. Strengthening the remote learning program for all students includes prioritizing meaningful connections with educators and peers; providing engaging core instruction focused on content standards most critical for student success in the next grade; offering opportunities for enrichment, exercise, and play; and ensuring the program is accessible and that communication is streamlined for students and families.

Another part of Phase II is identifying a system for identifying and supporting students not effectively engaging in remote learning, including collecting information to understand each student’s level of engagement in remote learning; providing supports to further engage all students to those least engaged; and establishing additional Tier 2 and 3 supports based on student needs. Over the weeks of April 13 and April 20, increased participation was seen at all grade level bands as measured by interaction with teachers at least once. Grades K-2 students went from 73% to 78%; Grades 3-5 from 77% to 83%; Grades 6-8 from 91% to 93%; and Grades 9-12 from 89% to 95%. Teachers are engaging with students through a number of platforms, including Goggle Classrooms (2,380), Aspen Teacher pages, and online platforms such as Go Math, Big Ideas Math, Typing Agent, Lexia, and Reading Eggs. Each school site has a spreadsheet that tracks staff outreach, family response, and barriers to engagement. The translators have been essential in assisting with reaching out to families and determining the needs around technology or curriculum support.

For some families, there are economic and food security issues. Through grant and community partner support, virtual counseling services are being offered, families are being provided with Stop & Shop gift cards, and Quincy Family Resources have assisted with other issues. Tier 2 and 3 interventions provide Literacy, Special Education, and English Learner services and resources for students. The Student Outreach Team has worked with 331 families over the last three weeks. For Special Education, 89% are participating in virtual services and 222 IEP meetings have been held remotely. Individualized packets are also being created for Special Education students.

Dr. DeCristofaro reviewed the Next Steps which include planning for transition between grades and levels, creating pacing guides for these pre-requisite standards, and creating summer programming that may include a remote learning component for general education students. Final report cards for the end of the year will reflect grading of credit/no credit for high school courses; for elementary and middle school students, feedback and comments will be provided. Dr. DeCristofaro emphasized that planning for Fall 2020 should focus on remote learning and if schools are physically able to open, that will be a bonus.

Mr. Andronico thanked the team for the thoroughness of the presentation.

Mr. Bregoli said Quincy Public Schools is fortunate to have the Leadership Team, kudos to Dr. DeCristofaro for assembling this team.

Mr. Gutro thanked the presenters and asked about what constitutes access to technology; Ms. Forrester said that a student has an appropriate device plus Internet access. Mr. Gutro said if there is a relatively low demand for borrowed Chromebooks, is it necessary to purchase and distribute new Chromebooks for the middle and high school students next fall. Dr. DeCristofaro said that this investment is important message to students, they will have consistent, dependent technology of their own.

Mr. Gutro asked about the student engagement data, Ms. Forrester clarified that this is based on tracking sheets documenting interactions created and customized for each school. Mr. Gutro asked about teacher training for technology, Dr. DeCristofaro said this is evolving, staff have really risen to the occasion.

Mr. Gutro asked about sharing best practices and ensuring consistency. Ms. Roy said this is happening at the school level, principals and department chairs are monitoring how teachers work individually and in teams. The focus is on engaging students first and foremost and weekly staff meetings at the school level are an opportunity to share best practices.

Mr. Santoro said the staff are working very hard to ensure engagement and questioned whether some families may have moved due to COVID-related issues and are no longer residents. Dr. DeCristofaro said we have done well-being checks and are looking closely at that as a factor.

Mrs. Lebo said that this presentation represents an incredible amount of work, the teachers and administrators are working so hard. Mrs. Lebo said this is also an incredible amount of work for parents, very difficult for them to take on technology they may not be familiar with.

Mrs. Lebo asked for detail about the middle and high school engagement. Ms. Forrester said the baseline is one or more engagement with at least one academic teacher. The engagement percentage does not indicate students are engaging with all of their content areas. Mrs. Lebo requested additional data on the total number of EL families, what percentage have been engaged. Mrs. Lebo asked noted that social emotional connections between peers are an area of concern for parents. Mrs. Lebo said that if all high school students will pass their classes, summer school programming will have a different focus, less credit recover and more to assist with skills support.


New Business

High School Student Support

North Quincy High School Principal Robert Shaw, Quincy High School Principal Lawrence Taglieri, and Senior Director of Student Support Services Maura Papile presented on the special supports in place for high school students. Through grade-level specific Google classrooms, the guidance counselors are continuing their lessons, including interest inventories, setting goals, working in Naviance, and for Grade 11, guiding the college search process. For juniors and seniors, the economic impacts of the pandemic on families may change thinking about college. For students planning to enter the work world, starting dates may be in question. Many colleges have virtual tours available, so students can access those.

Dr. DeCristofaro said that the decision to merge the 3rd and 4th quarters was made in consultation with the principals, assistant principals, department chairs, and student support. GPAs are frozen at the end of 2nd term, this is consistent with other local school districts and what colleges will be expecting to see for current Grade 10, 11, and 12 students.

Mr. Santoro asked about the CVTE certifications, Mr. Taglieri said that these will be awarded, the last components include interviews which can be done virtually. For programs that require clinical hours, those requirements will be waived.

Mrs. Lebo asked if other school districts are consistent about not grading beyond credit/no credit and this was confirmed. Mrs. Lebo said the accountability measures around student plans beyond graduation are likely to change and follow up will be important. Mrs. Lebo noted that the CVTE credential exams are usually given at this time of year and there may be an opportunity for summer school to review these if exams will be scheduled in the fall.

Mrs. Lebo suggested that for fall transition, should we consider having student start the year in this year’s grade and move up in a few weeks.

Mr. Gutro said communication from the high school principals is excellent and the engagement rate for high school students is impressive. Mr. Gutro asked for clarification on the decision about grading. When school closed on March 13, seven of the ten weeks of the term had been completed. Dr. DeCristofaro reiterated that this is consistent with DESE guidelines and surrounding communities.


Mr. Andronico noted that since this is a Special Meeting, there does not need to be a motion to continue now that the meeting has exceeded three-hours.


New Business

QPS Superintendent

Mayor Koch noted that many Quincy Public Schools nurses are rotating through the City’s Health Department, Commissioner Ruth Jones is appreciative of their assistance with contact tracing and other public health issues.

Mayor Koch said that although School Committee does not usually address Open Forum letters directly, wanted to be on the record that comments in one of the Open Forum letters was not appropriate. Dr. DeCristofaro has given forty-two years to Quincy Public Schools and has done an incredible job and built an incredible team; there will never be an ideal time for him to leave. For Quincy College, this is a crucial time and an important department of the city, Mayor Koch is thankful to Dr. DeCristofaro for taking on the leadership role at Quincy College.

Mayor Koch would like to have an agenda item to vote to appoint an Interim Superintendent at the next School Committee meeting. Mayor Koch would like to consider meeting in person, possibly at Quincy High School. Mayor Koch would like School Committee to consider the Deputy Superintendent as the candidate for Interim Superintendent. Selecting a new Superintendent is the most important job of the whole School Committee, and Mayor Koch will be asking the members for input on how the search process will work.

Mr. Bregoli supports Mayor Koch’s recommendations, School Committee needs to move forward on this quickly.

Mrs. Lebo said that a Subcommittee had been established to create a profile for the Superintendent as an educational leader, but understands that for timely completion, this should be addressed by the School Committee as a whole. Mrs. Lebo said that community input will be important to this process.

Mr. Gutro asked if the Interim Superintendent position must be publicly posted. Mayor Koch said that it needs to be on the School Committee Meeting Agenda as an item that will be voted on. Mr. Gutro suggested that the Interim Superintendent position be posted so that candidates with appropriate licensure can indicate their interest. Mr. Gutro said that the Interim Superintendent should not be a candidate and that the timeline for selecting a Superintendent in an open and transparent way could be accomplished before September.

Mr. Andonico agreed with posting the Interim Superintendent position internally, which will provide transparency and determine who is interested and qualified. Mr. Andronico feels that developing a leadership profile is the opportunity to get parent and community input on the important qualities and priorities for the next Superintendent. This is something for the whole School Committee to be involved in, will provide a foundation for developing School Committee goals.

Mayor Koch agreed that the process needs to be open; this is the most important and serious decision for School Committee. The Deputy Superintendent was chosen by Dr. DeCristofaro and confirmed by School Committee and primarily involved in the day-to-day operations of Quincy Public Schools, does not agree with the need to post internally.

Mrs. Lebo said that putting one name forward is a disservice to the other talented educational leaders in the school system. Mrs. Lebo feels that this is different than deputy roles in other departments and wants other leaders to with qualifications and credentials to have the opportunity.

Mr. Bregoli said it is inappropriate to discuss a specific candidate as the appointment is not on this School Committee meeting agenda.

Mr. Andronico agreed that this is not the meeting to discuss specific individuals or job titles.

Mr. Gutro made a motion for a notice to be posted internally for candidates to indicate to School Committee for an interim term not to exceed September 1. The posting would be for 48 or 72 hours.

Mr. Andronico said this is a specific request and requested clarification

Mr. Gutro restated the motion immediately post internally for candidates for an Interim Superintendent to serve Quincy Public Schools until September 1, the posting closing after seventy-two hours. If more than one candidate applies, there will be a discussion at the next meeting, if one candidate only, the name will appear on the next meeting agenda.

Mr. Andronico requested a second for the motion.

Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion.

On the motion, Mr. Bregoli does not agree with the time limit on the Interim Superintendent appointment.

Mrs. Lebo made a friendly amendment that the September 1 deadline is extendable as it might be too ambitious. Mrs. Lebo said that School Committee should recognize that an active principal might not take the risk for a short-term interim position.

Mr. Andronico asked for clarification on the friendly amendment.

Mrs. Lebo said that the deadline is helpful to keep School Committee focused on the goal, but that the appointment is extendable if needed.

Mr. Gutro supports the friendly amendment, September 1 deadline, with the ability to extend for 90 days with a School Committee vote.

Mr. Andronico asked what the length of time the position should be posted.

Mr. Gutro said no less than 48 hours and in line with other City departments use as a length of time for posting positions.

Mr. Andronico summarized that the motion has been made by Mr. Gutro and seconded by Mrs. Hubley to post the position of Interim Superintendent internally, the position to run through September 1, with the ability to extend by 90 days and that the position be posted for 72 hours.

Mr. Gutro added the ability to extend for 90 days is by School Committee vote.

Mrs. Lebo asked why limit to 72 hours, this could be posted for a week depending on when the next School Committee will be held.

Mr. Andronico said a Special Meeting can be scheduled when School Committee members wish to have another meeting.

Mr. Gutro asked if a Special Meeting will be needed next week to vote on the Memorandum of Agreement.

Mr. Andronico agreed as this and possible the Student Opportunity Act will need discussion.

Mayor Koch said that School Committee can have a Special Meeting next Wednesday; the MOA will be discussed at Executive Session tonight but will need a confirming vote at the next meeting.

Mr. Andronico agreed that next Wednesday, May 6 would work for a Special Meeting.

Mr. Gutro asked about the end date of the current Memorandum of Agreement. Mr. Andronico asked to defer this to Executive Session.

On the motion, Mr. Andronico is not certain that the School Committee can limit the term of the appointment in a motion. Mr. Andronico will not support the motion with this time limit, but would support without the end date.

Mr. Gutro asked Mr. Andronico to contact the Massachusetts Association of School Committees to clarify.

Mrs. Lebo asked for the motion to be restated.

Mr. Gutro said that Mrs. Lebo’s question about posting for a week vs 72 hours was not answered.

Mr. Andronico suggested that the posting close at the end of business on Tuesday, May 5. Mrs. Lebo agreed, this would give time for candidates to discuss with their families and potentially reach out to School Committee.

Mrs. Hubley asked if we are striking the first motion and Mr. Andronico said this is a clarification of the motion as amended.

Mr. Gutro asked how the posting would be done.

Mr. Andronico asked Superintendent DeCristofaro to walk School Committee through how a typical posting would work.

Superintendent DeCristofaro said that as this not a typical posting, the posting will need to originate from Mayor Koch and School Committee to Ms. Owens to be sent out to staff.

Mrs. Lebo said the current Superintendent position description is outdated, the Interim Superintendent posting should include managing the current crisis.

Superintendent DeCristofaro said the position description should come from School Committee.

Mrs. Lebo suggested two members work with Superintendent DeCristofaro to create the description.

Mr. Andronico said this would violate the Open Meeting Law, especially as the discussion tonight had focused on having an open and transparent process.

Mr. Gutro suggested the Interim Superintendent posting could move forward without a description, since the intent is to surface interested candidates. A contract will need to be negotiated and a position description would need to be part of that contract.

Mrs. Hubley said the posting would need to include the qualifications to be a Superintendent. Mr. Andronico said this would also include licensure.

Mr. Bregoli said he is confused and is on the verge of tabling this item.

Mr. Gutro presented the amended motion: Quincy Public Schools seeks to post a solicitation of interest for qualified candidates to serve as Interim Superintendent until September 1 with the ability to extend for 90 days as granted by the Quincy School Committee by a vote. This matter shall be posted no later than Thursday, April 30 and close by 5:00 pm on Tuesday, May 5. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion. On a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 4-3. Mr. Bregoli, Mr. Santoro, and Mayor Koch voted NO.

Mr. Gutro asked as a point of order for the result of the vote to be announced. Dr. DeCristofaro said the motion carries with 4 ayes and 3 nays.

Mr. Bregoli requested that the next meeting be in person, it is almost 10:00 pm and Executive Session not yet begun.

Mr. Gutro asked about continuing the conversation about the search process, would like to convene next week to create a process and vote on it.

Mr. Andronico said that this conversation can continue at the next meeting, given that this meeting is already exceeded in the fourth hour.

Mayor Koch said creating a process will be a discussion that will range over several meetings, there is much work to do on this issue. This is the most important item that School Committee will ever vote on, would not want to impose a timeline.

Mrs. Lebo agrees with Mayor Koch, the appointment of an Interim Superintendent will allow for time to be thoughtful and deliberative and develop a profile for the position and a process.

Mr. Gutro wants to be sure that there is a substantial amount of time allotted to this at the next meeting.

Mr. Andronico said everyone on School Committee is committed to ensure that a clear process in place, however much time or how many meetings it takes.



Mrs. Lebo made a motion to adjourn the meeting to Executive Session at 10:00 pm. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Hubley and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0. School Committee did not return to Regular Session.