Feb. 24, 2021 School Committee Meetings


Quincy School Committee

Teaching & Learning Subcommittee

**This meeting is a Committee of the Whole**

Mrs. Emily Lebo, Teaching & Learning Chair
Mr. Paul Bregoli & Mr. Frank Santoro, Subcommittee Members

Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 5:45 pm via Zoom

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 live on QATV Channel 22 or at www.qatv.org. The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast and posted on the QPS website on Friday, February 26, 2021.

  1. One Book, One School Initiative - Ms. Papile, Ms. Roy

  2. APP Planning Meeting Update - Ms. Perkins, Ms. Roy

  3. QPS Student Re-Entry Plan Update - Superintendent Mulvey, Ms. Perkins


Quincy School Committee

Teaching & Learning Subcommittee Meeting ~ February 24, 2021

A meeting of the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee was held on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 6:30 pm via Zoom. Present were Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Courtney Perdios, Mr. Frank Santoro, and Mrs. Emily Lebo, Chair. Also attending were Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, Ms. Susan Foley, Ms. Julie Graham, Ms. Jill Kyranis, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Edward Smith, Ms. Bridget Vaughan; Quincy Education Association President Sean Green; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Senior Director of Curriculum Madeline Roy introduced the One Book, One School Initiative, an outgrowth of the work of the South~West Middle School Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Team. The concept of “One Book, One School” focuses on selecting a title for all students to read, use book talks or book circles to celebrate themes and to make connections to social-emotional learning. Coordinator of English Language Arts Bridget Vaughan reviewed the curriculum benefits of the initiative, including demonstrating an integrated model of literacy with increased coherence among reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language standards and reading a literary text that builds knowledge, enlarges experiences, and broadens world views.

Thanks to the Curriculum Text & Learning Budget, every middle school student (and Grade 5 students at Point Webster & South~West) and staff member have received a copy of the book New Kid by Jerry Craft. This graphic novel is the first of this genre to be a Newbury Award winner. There will be in-class discussions and school community meetings; each middle school will host a meet the author student and family virtual events in the next few weeks. The Visions Frameworks will be utilized to assist with conversations about race, equity, and inclusion. The Meet the Author events are scheduled for each school with a 30-40 minute presentation, Q&A, and a drawing demonstration.

South~West Middle School Assistant Principal Susan Foley and Student Support staff member Jill Kyranis reviewed the process of creating a school-wide project that incorporated social emotional learning with daily teaching, gave teachers and staff a platform for meaningful conversations, and builds community within the school that incorporates both hybrid and remote learners. In reviewing potential titles for the project, the South~West DEI team looked for issues that resonate with and are important to middle school students, illustrates real world issues that students are thinking about and experiencing, and an accessible format. Once the title was selected, staff members from different departments planned how and where to read, discuss, teach, and expand on the book, including projects that will be showcased virtually. Ms. Vaughan reviewed the similar plans for the One Book, One School initiative at Atlantic, Broad Meadows, Central, and Point Webster Middle Schools.

Mrs. Lebo thanked the presenters, a very exciting initiative tying together curriculum and the Visions frameworks. Mrs. Lebo asked about access to the book for English Learners and students with disabilities. Ms. Foley said that some of the strategies include teacher read aloud or accessing the audio version.

Mrs. Hubley asked if the parents or staff will be surveyed as well for their feedback. Ms. Roy agreed that this is something to pursue.

Mrs. Perdios thanked the presenters, the passion for the project is evident. Mrs. Perdios asked if there will be parent forums or opportunities to support them in accessing these topics. Ms. Papile said through PTOs and school-based DEI groups, especially at the elementary schools, parents have had some opportunities and we will be looking for further opportunities. Mrs. Perdios said this is especially important during the middle school years. Mrs. Perdios would like to be cautious about Grade 5 students being included as middle school students as there has been emphasis on them retaining their status as elementary students.

Mr. Santoro said that 20 years ago, Central Middle School hosted a similar event where there were small discussion groups of parents, staff, and students. This is a great idea that Ms. Foley and Ms. Kyranis have taken to another level.

Mr. Gutro echoed all of his colleagues’ comments, an enormous effort to bring the school community together. Mr. Gutro asked if there is a way to measure the success of the initiative, have other districts done this successfully. Ms. Roy said that this isn’t a new idea, has seen a resurgence on the South Shore as an effective community building event. Ms. Roy said what is unique for Quincy is integrating the DEI frameworks, so that instruction and student support are integrated. Ms. Foley said she has experienced this initiative as a family and the books have remained important to the family. Ms. Papile said this is really a model of curriculum and student support initiative. Ms. Roy noted that Clifford Marshall has been doing this for several years.

Superintendent Mulvey thanked the presenters, all of the work in different initiatives coming together in a comprehensive way.

Ms. Perkins updated that the APP program team consisting of parents, teachers, principals, and SLT members met earlier this week. Much of the discussion focused on screening Grade 5 students for admission to the Central Middle School Grades 6-8 program, potentially administering the CTP screening along with other data points. Ms. Perkins will create an information letter for Grade 5 parents to share the screening timeline. There was also discussion about the current Grade 5 program and expanding the pathways for younger students and ensuring representation from all schools. No final decisions were made and there will be a follow up meeting on March 3.

Superintendent Mulvey updated that the Grades 1-3 hybrid students returned to full in-person learning on Monday, February 22. The transition has gone smoothly, thanks to the planning of the Principals and staff, assisted by the Superintendent’s Leadership Team. Grade 12 hybrid students will transition to full-in-person learning on Monday, March 1. Planning is continuing for Grades 4-5, 6-8, Kindergarten, and 9-11 and a further update will be shared at the March 10 School Committee meeting.

Ms. Perkins said that the transition went very well, the students and parents are very happy. Ms. Perkins said the first pooled testing pilot will be at Beechwood Knoll on Thursday, February 25. There will be two nurses from our partner CIC/Medex to train the staff and the other schools will roll out next week. The testing will occur over four days and families will be notified of a positive pool, but not of a negative pool.

Mrs. Lebo asked about number of students and staff participating, around 150 students and 50 staff members.

Mr. Gutro asked about the families requesting changes in their educational model, Superintendent Mulvey said fewer than five families elected to move to remote learning to date.

Mr. Gutro asked about Governor Baker’s recent press conference where Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Riley spoke of the urgency of returning students to in—person learning. Superintendent Mulvey said that we have been continuing to maintain the six foot distance and should the metrics continue to improve from yellow to green, a smaller distance can be considered. That would allow students currently in remote to opt to move to in-person learning. Superintendent Mulvey noted that remote learning will remain an option for the remainder of the school year

Mr. Santoro asked if high school teachers will be teaching in person and remotely simultaneously and Mr. Mulvey confirmed they are.

Mrs. Perdios asked about the percentage of staff and students participating in pooled testing. Currently, about 10% of those eligible have elected to enroll. Mrs. Perdios suggested creating a flyer to educate families about pooled testing.

Mrs. Lebo is concerned that three-foot distance could jeopardize yellow status for the city by causing more in-school transmission. Mrs. Lebo asked about the vaccine availability for educators. Superintendent Mulvey said we have co-signed a letter with other South Shore communities asking Governor Baker to prioritize educators, may have more definitive information as early as next week. Mayor Koch and his staff are continuing to work with the Governor and state officials.

Mr. Santoro made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:00 pm. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.