Nov. 19. 2019 Teaching/Learning Sub Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Teaching & Learning Subcommittee

**This meeting is a Committee of the Whole**
Mrs. Emily Lebo, Chair
Mr. Doug Gutro & Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Subcommittee Members
Elementary School Improvement Plan Presentations
Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 6:00 pm
Coddington Building

Presentation Schedule:

6:00 pm Mike Marani/Snug Harbor
6:15 pm Robin Moreira/Atherton Hough
6:30 pm Nick Ahearn/Clifford Marshall
6:45 pm Ruth Witmer/Lincoln Hancock
7:00 pm Janet Loftus/Beechwood Knoll
7:15 pm Courtney Mitchell/Merrymount


Quincy School Committee

Teaching & Learning Subcommittee Meeting ~ November 19, 2019

A meeting of the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee was held on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 6:00 pm in the Coddington Building. Present were Mayor Thomas P. Koch, Mr. Anthony Andonico, Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, and Mrs. Emily Lebo, Chair. Also attending were Superintendent DeCristofaro, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Mr. Nicholas Ahearn, Ms. Diane Babcock, Ms. Marisa Forrester, Ms. Julie Graham, Ms. Janet Loftus, Mr. Michael Marani, Ms. Courtney Mitchell, Ms. Robin Moreira, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Heather Patch, Ms. Erin Perkins, Ms. Kimberly Quinn, Mr. John Rogan, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Edward Smith, Ms. Bridget Vaughan, Ms. Ruth Witmer, and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Principal Michael Marani presented the Snug Harbor Community School Improvement Plan, reviewing the data and goals and related action steps. Through Principal’s Path, a variety of initiatives are created, supported and sustained by Design Team: family engagement through the annual Harvest Festival, monthly Parent-Child Day for Kindergarten; Extended Education, Team-based collaboration including student buddies, and integration of multiple programs at Snug Harbor (Pre-Kindergarten, Special Education, General Education). The strong school-wide culture partnered with strong instructional base, meet the needs of all students. Selected action steps promote deeper thinking in Mathematics, integrating Science in other content areas, and incentivize attendance. VOCAL survey data, 95% of students felt that teachers cared about students as people; 98% felt that their teachers would explain as many times as necessary to reach understanding.

Mrs. Hubley asked about Snug Harbor Soccer, an 8-week after school program for Grades 3-5.

Mrs. Lebo complimented the improvement in attendance rate and asked how the impact was made. Mr. Marani said it was about communication about the importance of school attendance and providing supports to families. Mrs. Lebo asked about staffing levels, are there areas that can be addressed in budgeting process. Mrs. Lebo concerned about access to digital technology at home as an equity issue, Mr. Marani said that there has been a number of devices added to Snug Harbor thanks to Quincy School~Community Partnership donations. Mr. Marani said the MAP continuum reporting is assisting in bridging gaps on individual basis and that there are many different interventions available, including Literacy and Mathematics.

Mr. Gutro asked about digital literacy, have we surveyed access at home. Mr. Marani said anecdotally, there is evidence of tablet availability at home. Mr. Gutro asked about the decline in MCAS achievement for EL students. Mr. Marani said there has been growth in the number of Level 1 fluency EL students over the last few years and that fluency level would impact MCAS performance.

Mrs. Lebo complimented the positive postcards mailed out from the school to families. Mrs. Lebo said that for families with several children, technology resources at home are shared so schools need to be mindful about this when assigning projects.

Mr. Bregoli reminded School Committee that the data comparisons are year to year, not cohort based. MCAS comparisons are two different groups of students. Mr. Marani said the MAP data is growth on a cohort based scale, the same students as they move up the grades.

Mrs. Lebo noted that Facilities Areas of Needs have been referred to the Facilities Subcommittee for School Committee review and prioritization.

Mr. Bregoli said that there is a proposal to repave/revamp the lower parking lot and landscaping discussed at a recent Park Board meeting.

Mrs. Hubley asked about the water bubblers at Snug Harbor, Mr. Marani said all have been replaced

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the Snug Harbor Community School Improvement Plan. Mr. Gutro seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Principal Robin Moreira presented the Atherton Hough Elementary School Improvement Plan, which represents the commitment and collaboration of the Atherton Hough Staff. Ms. Moreira is proud of the school community, the first priority is the students, and the data shows lots of growth and progress, with some areas of improvement with targeted action steps. In reflecting on MCAS for Spring 2019, for all students targets were met or showed no change for ELA, Mathematics, and Science; Lowest Performing Students exceeded targets, and high needs students improved below target for ELA, but declined for Mathematics and Science. Goals for 2019-2020 will be supported through targeted Professional Development and building action steps to support areas of needs. Atherton Hough’s VOCAL survey supported the positive school culture in climate with 100% of Grade 4 students indicating that teachers accept them for who they are and will explain things in different ways until understanding achieved. Atherton Hough is home to the Citywide Language Development Program and offers many opportunities for mainstreaming, a large donation to the school library will allow for opportunities for students to learn about cultural diversity.

Mr. Bregoli said that the VOCAL survey data showed that students feel safe and happy at school, which speaks volumes about the Atherton Hough staff.

Mrs. Hubley said so many of the VOCAL survey items had 100% agreement, very impressive.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the Atherton Hough Elementary School Improvement Plan. Mr. Gutro seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Principal Nick Ahearn presented the Clifford Marshall Elementary School Improvement Plan, representing the 540 students of the school, including 70 new students for the 2019-20 school year (not including Kindergarten). Students have 30 different home languages, and the staff has a strength-based approach to support academic and emotional growth and wellness. Mr. Ahearn is particularly proud of the growth among all students and High Needs students, including the Lowest Performing subgroup. 75% of Clifford Marshall students fall into High Needs category for MCAS tested grades and the staff work to support students with targeted interventions and creating individual approach in collaboration with parents, schoolwide PBIS, a broad scope of parent engagement opportunities and strong PTO. Before and after school engagement opportunities offer a variety of content and enrichment, and the school has shown significant growth in addressing issues that add to chronic absenteeism. VOCAL data indicates an area of growth for the curriculum materials to reflect the school demographics. Mr. Ahearn said it is validating to see that students felt accepted and respected by teachers by over 95% and most responses indicated support for the positive school culture and climate.

Mrs. Lebo complimented the progress towards the MCAS targets and achievement with the higher level of churn in the student population.

Mr. Gutro complimented the school’s energy and school spirit, the incredible International Night and the pride of the families and students. Mr. Gutro asked about school capacity, class size is very favorable with the average class size at 20 students or below as there are six sections at each grade level.

Mr. Bregoli asked about the potential for growth. Mr. Ahearn said at some of the upper grades, there is room for 3 or 4 additional students per classroom and still be within the School Committee guidelines.

Mr. Andronico complimented the outstanding achievement of the school and the school community and the action steps. Mr. Andronico asked about the requests for additional exterior lighting and cameras, Mr. Ahearn said this is for the outdoor classroom space and to compliment the new playground recently installed on the lower level.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the Clifford Marshall Elementary School Improvement Plan. Mr. Gutro seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

  Principal Ruth Witmer presented the Lincoln Hancock Community School Improvement Plan, noting she is thankful for the opportunity to share about the school she loves. Last week, health screenings, Quincy Historical Society, and school photo retakes all visited Lincoln Hancock on one day and all took the time to compliment the students on their behavior. The supportive school environment sets high expectations for mutual support and working hard, the VOCAL survey was very positive with many areas scoring positively over 90%. At Lincoln Hancock, students feel safe and supported and ready to learn the skills needed to compete in 21st century environment with targeted instruction meeting students where they are. For the second year in a row, student growth is exceeding typical levels and the school does not require state assistance. Principal’s Path has given a structure for collaborating in vertical and grade level teams and family engagement has expanded, along with extended education opportunities.

Mr. Andronico said that the recent movie night was so popular that is exceeded capacity and the PAC plans on expanding to multiple nights. Mr. Andonico asked about Chronic Absenteeism, Mrs. Witmer said that there was an improvement between 2016-17 and 2017-18, but this year there was not significant improvement. Many interventions are in place to support families and the staff are trying some new initiatives this year.

Mr. Andronico asked about the facility needs, there are only a few items. Mrs. Witmer said much work has been done over her tenure including construction, painting, new playground and blacktop, replacement lighting.

Mrs. Lebo asked about classes of 22 students, these are at Grade 2.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the Lincoln Hancock Community School Improvement Plan. Mr. Gutro seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Principal Janet Loftus presented the Beechwood Knoll Elemementary School Improvement Plan, noting that under Principal’s Path, the staff is working diligently to support the whole student. One example is today’s voluntary meeting of all of the various staff teams and align action steps and goals. Beechwood Knoll’s VOCAL data results were very positive and indicated that students feel safe and supported. For MCAS Accountability data, targets were met or exceeded for All Students, Lowest Performing, and High Needs for ELA, Mathematics, and Science. Growth is strong in all categories and chronic absenteeism declined above the target. MAP growth was on target for all grades in ELA, Mathematics, and Science and provided data for Integrated Learning Team analysis of interventions needed to support students. Ms. Loftus is particularly proud of the Science achievement, this is a strength at all grades.

Mr. Gutro complimented the strong school staff and the active and engaged parent community at Beechwood Knoll.

Mrs. Hubley congratulated Ms. Loftus for the creative family engagement opportunities, some different ideas. Ms. Loftus said that many of these are long-standing traditions.

Mrs. Lebo said the data is incredible, particularly the Science achievement. Ms. Loftus said the staff are very focused on unpacking the new Science standards and revisiting them in a way that pays off. Mrs. Lebo asked about the classes of 22, these are at Grades 3 and 4.

Mr. Gutro made a motion to approve the Beechwood Knoll Elementary School Improvement Plan. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Principal Courtney Mitchell presented the Merrymount Elementary School Improvement Plan, thanking Superintendent DeCristofaro and the Leadership Team for support during this time of transition. In reflecting on last year’s achievement, MAP and MCAS data indicates growth and provides insight into areas for targeted interventions. With support from Public Buildings, construction was completed in the summer to allow for some internal reorganization of classrooms and support staff to improve the flow within the building. The School Council has collaborated with the Design Team to create a series of Parent Nights with curriculum focus with a goal of increasing family engagement. VOCAL survey data is positive with students feeling safe and supported in their learning environment.

Mrs. Lebo is concerned about the Science data, Ms. Mitchell said there are interventions planned to address the areas of need.

Mrs. Lebo asked about Chronic Absenteeism, Ms. Mitchell said that direct contact with families is focused on improving attendance, including targeted after school programming.

Mrs. Hubley asked about the Shakespeare performance, invitation will be shared when date is set.

Mr. Gutro made a motion to approve the Merrymount Elementary School Improvement Plan. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mrs. Lebo requested that next year, the School Improvement Plan narrative indicate whether goal is met or not. Mrs. Lebo asked to see the staff statistics by school site, including Literacy, EL, Student Support, Nursing, and Psychology.

Mr. Gutro asked if there is a means for principals to share their best practices. Dr. DeCristofaro said that principals share their weekly notices and the monthly Principal team meetings are another opportunity.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:30 pm. Mr. Gutro seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.