March 24, 2021 School Committee Meeting


Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 6:30 pm
Coddington Building

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 The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast and posted on the QPS SchoolTube website on Friday, March 26, 2021.

I. Approval of Minutes: Meeting Minutes for March 10, 2021

II. Open Forum: An opportunity for community input regarding the Quincy Public Schools. Community in this context is defined as a resident of the City of Quincy, a parent of a student who attends the Quincy Public Schools, or an employee of the Quincy Public Schools. Non-community persons not permitted to speak at Open Forum may submit written statements to the School Committee. 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.

To participate in Open Forum, interested parties may submit written statements to: [email protected].

III. Superintendent’s Report

A. Chairman’s Report - Mayor Thomas Koch

B. QHS Student Harassment Incident

C. QPS Enrollment Update

  • Transition to In-Person Learning, Grades 4-11

  • Kindergarten Program Update

  • QPS COVID-19 Metrics

  • QPS Pooled Testing Initiative

D. QPS Parent Involvement Update

  • One Book, One School Events

  • High School Course Selection & Open House Events

E. Student Recognitions: Project 351

F. Nobel Laureate Visit: Dr. Peter Diamond, April 7

G. School Nutrition Department Recognition at City Council

H. QHS Culinary Grab & Go Lunch Initiative

I. Lexia Back on Track Grant

J. Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Grant for Dual Enrollment at Quincy College

IV. Old Business:

V. New Business:

A. High School Improvement Plan Presentations - Mr. Robert Shaw, Mr. Lawrence Taglieri

B. Discussion of Election of Vice Chair - Mayor Koch

C. Expanding Virtual Learning Opportunities - Mr. Santoro
For referral to Teaching & Learning Subcommittee

VI. Additional Business:

VII. Communications:

A. Upcoming School Committee Meetings: April 7, 2021; May 5, 2021; May 19, 2021; and June 12, 2021 (Regular Meetings, 6:30 pm, Coddington Building)

B. Upcoming Subcommittee Meetings: March 29, 2021: Joint Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and Facilities, Transportation & Security at 5:30 pm; March 31, 2021: Policy, 5:30 p.m.; Joint Special Education and Teaching & Learning, 6:00 pm

VIII. Reports of Subcommittees: None

IX. Executive Session: Contract Negotiations

X. Adjournment:


Quincy, MASSACHUSETTS – March 24, 2021

Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

Chairman Presiding

A meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at the Coddington Building. Superintendent Kevin Mulvey called the roll and present were Mayor Thomas P. Koch, School Committee Chair, Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mrs. Courtney Perdios, and Mr. Frank Santoro.

Also present were: Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Ms. Noreen Holland, Mr. James Mullaney, Ms. Ellen Murray, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Robert Shaw, Mr. Lawrence Taglieri, and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

School Committee observed a moment of silence for the men and women in the armed forces serving at home and overseas.


Approval of Minutes

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Meeting for March 10, 2021. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.


Open Forum

Ms. Owens read two letters submitted to Open Forum into the record. The first letter was from Ms. Ashley Lynch-Mahoney and Mr. Bill Southworth and requested a comprehensive review of the remote learning model by School Committee. The letter was supported by Ms. Sylvia Backman, Mr. Matthew Valencius, Ms. Kristin Perry and Mr. Scott Tucker, Ms. Liz Speakman, Ms. Kate Campbell, Ms. Gina Favata and Mr. Jon Gory, Ms. Jenni Torres and Mr. Eddie Torres, Ms. Jennifer Chen and Mr. Jeremy Baryza, Mr. Shivreet Singh, Mr. Scott Alessandro, and Ms. Kathleen Sharkey.

The second letter was from Mr. Eric Galis and asked School Committee to avoid making program changes for Kindergarten students that would result in changing teachers so late in the school year.


Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Mulvey recognized Mayor Koch for the Chairman’s Report. Mayor Koch spoke about the American Recovery Plan under which Quincy will receive $46 million which can be used for revenue shortfalls for hotel and meals taxes. Mayor Koch said the City has had the goal of not laying off any staff and this will support that goal. Mayor Koch said that the funds can be used for schools as well as infrastructure such as water and sewer projects. Mayor Koch thanked Congressman Lynch for his support of Quincy, this will help stabilize the City’s reserve funding. Mayor Koch said that the federal money can be used to provide a very robust summer program that would be available to all students and has asked Superintendent Mulvey to develop a plan.

In terms of COVID-19, the number of cases has plateaued in the mid-20s daily and the vaccination program has gone very well, thanks to the support of Manet Health. Mayor Koch hopes to update on the construction timeline for the DeCristofaro Learning Center at an upcoming meeting.

Mrs. Lebo noted that Braintree Public Schools announced a 7.6% budget cut today, and that she is grateful that Quincy may not be facing this issue.


Superintendent Mulvey reviewed the timeline around the investigation into the online sexual harassment incident between students at Quincy High School and Quincy Public Schools responses to educate the school community, in partnership with DOVE, Inc. and Walker Therapeutic.

Mr. Bregoli asked about programming at the middle school level, Ms. Perkins said that this is a component of the Health program, but there is always the opportunity to do more.

Mrs. Lebo is concerned that the Health Interventionists do not have scheduled time with the students at high school, would like to see Health curriculum expanded at the high school level.

Mrs. Hubley asked for clarification on the peer leader training, this would be conducted by DOVE staff members at each high school. Ms. Perkins said this could be offered to as many students as are interested.

Mrs. Perdios suggested a pro-active focus to the educational efforts, what does a healthy relationship and consent look like.

Mr. Gutro asked about outreach to communities within Quincy and the overlap with equity, diversity, and inclusion. Ms. Perkins agreed that this is important to coordinate.

Mr. Santoro suggested assemblies such as the DOVE presentation “The Yellow Dress” and Ms. Perkins agreed these are desirable when the students can be in school and be supported in case of a triggering event.

Mrs. Lebo said that it is important for students to understand the ramifications of their online actions. Mrs. Lebo thanked Superintendent Mulvey for the letter to families, direct and transparent communication.

Mr. Gutro asked if the high schools are having virtual assemblies and Mr. Taglieri confirmed, the topics have been academic such as course selection and extracurricular opportunities.

Mayor Koch asked about where the legal line for the school system to intervene in social media communications. Superintendent Mulvey said there are guidelines on the disruption to the school community, 1st Amendment implications, and each case requires a complicated analysis to follow the appropriate process.

Mr. Santoro thanked Superintendent Mulvey and both high school principals for their work with students and their families, there is a constant demand for this analysis about outside student actions and their effect on the schools.


Superintendent Mulvey reviewed that current Quincy Public Schools enrollment is 9,685. The instructional model breakdown is 51% for hybrid/in-person and 49% remote, an increase in hybrid/in-person in the last two weeks.

On March 22, students in Grades 4-8 and 11 returned to full-time in-person learning. Grades 9 and 10 hybrid students will return to full-time in-person learning on March 29. Families of remote students may request to return to school in person, which will begin on April 5 for Grades 1-8 and April 12 for Grades 9-12.

Superintendent Mulvey and Assistant Superintendent Perkins reviewed the complexity of returning Kindergarten to full in-person learning. Currently, Kindergarten students are either attending half-day four days per week in person with half-day remote Wednesday mornings or fully remote half-day program. Kindergarten parents were recently surveyed about their preference for the remainder of the school year. The responses mirrored the cohort split for the grade level, with 55% of the respondents in the hybrid or in-person learning model and 45% in remote learning. A shift to full-time Kindergarten would require additional remote sections, so four new teachers would be needed. 100 to 150 Kindergarten remote students would potentially change teachers. For the hybrid/in-person sections, 40% of Kindergarten sections would be above School Committee guidelines. To create new sections, approximately 150 students would have new teacher assignments, affecting 17 remote classrooms in other grades.

Other considerations include that the majority of Kindergarten classrooms would move to less than 6-foot distancing; additional lunch periods would be needed; specialist schedules would need to be adjusted for Grades 1-5 (Kindergarten does not currently have Art, Music, or Physical Education); support staff (OT, PT, Speech, EL, Special Education) schedules would need to be adjusted; and additional paraprofessionals would be needed.

At yesterday’s Re-Entry Task Force meeting, the parent representative is a remote parent and said that she and others she knows have remained remote for the teacher consistency. Recommendations from the Task Force include focusing on transitional activities to help remote students acclimate to school buildings, focusing on community building activities; consider increasing the time both remotely and in person on Wednesdays; and provide summer program activities for rising Grade 1 students.

Mr. Santoro asked whether the new DESE regulations affect the remote Kindergarten program and Ms. Perkins said both the remote and hybrid Kindergarten programs meet the DESE standards.

Mrs. Lebo noted that 62% of parents do not want to make any changes, is there any way to accommodate the 38% who do want a full-time program. Ms. Perkins said we can look at this but this could impact teacher assignments for other students. Mrs. Lebo suggested if there is a way for specialists to begin interacting with Kindergarten students in the half day model.

Mrs. Hubley asked for clarification, Ms. Perkins said that any remote parent can ask for their student to return to school in-person by contacting their school principal.

Mrs. Perdios is concerned about the inequity of offering a full day of Kindergarten in person and keeping the remote program a half-day program.

Mrs. Perdios asked about the coverage of the academic standards, Ms. Perkins said the half-day program is academically focused on basic math, writing, and literacy skills. Elementary school principals are reporting that the baseline assessment results are similar to previous years, but there is less time for the social component of Kindergarten. Mrs. Perdios supports retaining the current half-day model because of the effect on students and staff.


Superintendent Mulvey reviewed the COVID-19 metrics for the two weeks March 10-23. There were 54 student cases: 20 hybrid, 14 in-person, 20 remote and 9 staff cases. No evidence of in-school transmission during these two weeks.

260 staff members have been vaccinated in the last two weeks and many other educators have secured appointments on their own. We are continuing to work through the on-call list when notified of additional vaccine availability.

For the QPS Pooled Testing Initiative, 500 students and 115 staff are signed up to participate, more than double last week’s total. Last week, one person was positive, so the positivity rate was 0.44%.


Superintendent Mulvey reviewed the One Book, One School author events with Jerry Craft for the five middle schools, over 700 students participated. The high schools held virtual Course Selection Information events on March 22 and March 23; each school also developed virtual Open House videos for students and families. Nobel Laureate Dr. Peter Diamond will virtually visit with QHS and NQHS students on April 7. The School Nutrition Department was recognized by City Council on March 15 as an “Unsung COVID-19 Hero”. The QHS Culinary Arts program, under a grant from Stop & Shop, provided lunches for the staff of the City’s Department of Public Works and Natural Resources Department.


Superintendent Mulvey recognized the Grade 8 Project 351 Ambassadors for 2021: Sarah Buck-Cuccinata (South~West), Cemre Gumus (Broad Meadows), Alexandra Hoey-Ventura (Point Webster), Vanston Ly (Central), and Ayden Rosario (Atlantic). Project 351 had a virtual launch day on March 7, 20201 and will hold an in-person event in June if possible.


Superintendent Mulvey concluded his report by announcing grants for Lexia Core & Power Up to be available to all students Grades 6-8 through July and a Massachusetts Department of Higher Education grant for Dual Enrollment at Quincy College that will allow for 190 Quincy Public Schools students to earn credits in one of five Honors-level courses.

Mrs. Perdios thanked the School Nutrition Department staff for all of their efforts, the Grab and Go meals have been a lifeline for many families.


New Business

High School Improvement Plans

Quincy High School Principal Larry Taglieri and Assistant Principal Ellen Murray reviewed the timeline for the school year, from all remote to hybrid to full-time in-person. Mr. Taglieri said that with all of the challenges of the school year, attendance has been good overall, slightly higher for remote students. For student performance, Mr. Taglieri shared data comparing failure rates for Q1 and Q2 for 2019-20 and 2020-21. There was a significant increase in Q1 failures in 2020-2021 and the staff intervened with a number of students to put additional teaching and learning supports in place and lower the rate dramatically for Q2. Ms. Murray presented specific interventions such as smaller class sizes, individualized supports for English Learners, in-school remote learning spaces and tutoring, and after-school homework support. In addition, celebrations were held for the students who achieved honor roll, received Adams Scholarships, and recognitions for athletics were shared on Athletic Department social media.

Professional Development opportunities focused on Student Engagement, Live-Stream Teaching, Google Classroom, and Social-Emotional Learning. School-wide initiatives were planned by the student and staff Social-Emotional, Diversity, and Inclusion Committees. Community building efforts included school to home communication from teachers, guidance, and deans; newsletters; additional translation resources, and the parent advisory council.

Mr. Santoro thanked the presenters, the effort to provide the ever-changing opportunities for our students is phenomenal.

Mrs. Hubley complimented Ms. Murray’s morning announcements. Mrs. Hubley asked about students who have failed classes in both quarters, Mr. Taglieri said there is overlap and student outreach continues. The 3rd term ends on April 9 and for seniors, letters have gone home quarterly to ensure that students are on track to graduate.

Mrs. Hubley requested that the Facilities Needs be referred to the Facilities, Transportation, and Security Subcommittee for both high schools.

Mrs. Perdios thanked both for adapting to everything this year and complimented the Culture Breaks. Mrs. Perdios asked about registering to vote, Mr. Taglieri said that City Clerk Nicole Crispo typically comes to the school to register students. The DESE standards for Civics curriculum are largely taught in Grade 8.

Mrs. Perdios suggested consideration of offering American Sign Language as a World Language option.

Mrs. Perdios asked about relationships of the CVTE programs and local unions, Mr. Taglieri spoke of the Co-Operative program that lead to employment, resume building is part of the program.

Mrs. Perdios asked about the demographics of the school, Black and Hispanic students are underrepresented in National Honor Society and Advanced Placement classes. Mrs. Perdios asked about the Facilities Needs, wants to be sure that any building issues are surfaced. Mrs. Perdios asked about Security concerns, Mr. Taglieri said that a wish list item would be to have additional cameras in the staircases and corridors, an upgrade to the current system.

Mrs. Perdios asked for a school building Security review to be on a future agenda.

Mr. Gutro complimented Quincy High School’s communication and adaptation to the circumstances of this school year. Mr. Gutro asked for clarification, 100 students are returning from remote to full-time in-person on April 12. In addition, seniors were given the option on March 1 to remain in hybrid but will transition to full time for the beginning of the 4th quarter. Mr. Gutro asked if students can return to remote once they have entered in-person learning. Mr. Taglieri said that changes can be accommodated.

Mr. Gutro asked for clarification on Chronic Absenteeism, currently the numbers are better than last year. Remote learning attendance is slightly higher than hybrid/in-person. Mr. Gutro asked about the correlation between attendance and failure rate and they are intertwined. Mr. Taglieri said there were issues with connectivity during the all-remote first month of school and the City’s support for hotspots and Chromebooks allowed for practical interventions.

Mrs. Lebo said the accomplishments are incredible, all of the engagement activities in addition to the academic efforts. Mrs. Lebo asked about Project Adventure for social-emotional learning, this is not currently scheduled. Mrs. Lebo asked about individualized student plans for social-emotional learning. Mr. Taglieri said these are COVID-19 specific supports for food and housing insecurity and technology supports.

Mrs. Lebo asked for a breakdown for failure rate by learning model, very concerned about Grade 10 student numbers.

Mr. Bregoli thanked Mr. Taglier and Ms. Murray, agreed with Mrs. Lebo about concerns about Grade 10 failure rate. Mr. Bregoli asked if there are factors for that grade level, higher rate of chronic absenteeism or difficulty in a particular subject. Mr. Taglieri said he is committed to supporting the class of 2024, will look for the patterns. The effort has been to try to bring students who are struggling into school as much as possible.

Mr. Bregoli asked about the minimum grade of 50, Mr. Taglieri said this was put into place so that students can recover from a difficult semester. Mr. Taglieri said that neighboring school districts give letter grades and college transcripts are letter grades.

Mr. Bregoli asked if summer school was available last summer and Mr. Taglieri said there was credit recovery offered on Acellus. Superintendent Mulvey said that there will be a robust summer offering for as many students as possible this summer, both Special and General Education students. Plans will be shared with the Re-Entry Task Force and the School Committee at a future date.

North Quincy High School Principal Robert Shaw and Assistant Principal Noreen Holland presented the NQHS School Improvement Plan. In addition to focusing on academic achievement, integrated with Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Social Emotional Learning, the plan is a reflection of the unique circumstances of the year. Principal Shaw reviewed the timeline of student learning model participation at NQHS. NQHS has a similar reduction in chronic absenteeism, evenly split between hybrid/in-person and remote. Principal Shaw emphasized the connection between chronic absenteeism and failure rate. There was an increase in Q1 failures year over year and an identical level for Q2 and a higher rate for in-person/hybrid students. Principal Shaw also noted that there is an increase in student enrollment, NQHS has 150 more students than last year. There were many interventions put in place for the 2nd quarter, one difference was the stability of the learning model. Livestreaming eliminated the asynchronous learning days, strengthening student connection to the classroom teachers. Mr. Shaw praised the teaching staff who have adapted instruction and learned technology delivery platforms in a very short time.

Assistant Principal Noreen Holland shared specific adaptions and innovations in Teaching & Learning including reducing class sizes through creating additional sections, adding inclusion teacher for Biology, and after-school in-person and remote tutoring. On the Student Support side, the staff have also adapted to support a student population which is 70% remote. Virtual coffee talks have been held for parents, virtual office hours. Professional development has been focused on Social Emotional Learning, interdisciplinary collaboration about developing strategies for building community.

Mrs. Hubley asked about National Honor Society qualification, Mr. Shaw said that he expects qualifying levels to be similar. NQHS inducts students in Grades 10 and 11. The Kitty Hawk NHS is specific to the ROTC program.

Mr. Gutro thanked Mr. Shaw and Ms. Holland for putting DEI and SEL in the forefront, complimented their communication and support of students in a remarkably difficult year.

Mr. Gutro asked about academic outcomes and student achievement for the different learning models. Mr. Shaw said some of the absences were due to quarantine/isolation for COVID-19 contacts and pre-dated the livestreaming option for hybrid/in-person. While this doesn’t impact chronic absenteeism, it did impact student learning time. Some students struggled with the asynchronous learning in the first two quarters. Mr. Shaw is expecting to see a shift with full-time in person option.

Mrs. Lebo thanked the presenters, an extraordinary set of challenges. Mrs. Lebo asked for clarification, asynchronous learning continued throughout the second quarter so there should be a difference in student performance. Mrs. Lebo said a remote student could be missing one class consistently while being marked present for the day.

Mr. Bregoli asked about long-term concerns for at-risk students, Mr. Shaw said we can’t buy into the idea that this is a lost year. Each student must be assessed for their unique experience and supports provided for what they need for the next school year.

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to extend the School Committee meeting past the three-hour mark, seconded by Mrs. Hubley. On a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mr. Bregoli asked if parents or students have expressed their feelings about the school year. Mr. Shaw said that merging the cohorts for in-person learning have been positive, happy to see friends who they may not have had contact with in a year. Family conferences surface individual stories of challenges and successes.

Mr. Bregoli asked about the Facilities Needs, some have been on the list for a few years. Mr. Shaw said the cameras for the 4th floor continue to be an area of need.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the North Quincy and Quincy High School Improvement Plans., Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.


New Business

Election of Vice Chair

Mayor Koch reviewed that he plans to Chair the School Committee meetings for the rest of the calendar year.

Mrs. Lebo said that in case of the Mayor’s absence, a Vice-Chair Pro-Tem would have to be elected in order to chair the meeting per the Policy Book.

Mrs. Perdios agreed with Mrs. Lebo.

Mayor Koch nominated Kathy Hubley to serve as Vice Chair for the remainder of 2021. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, Mrs. Hubley was unanimously elected.


New Business

Expanding Virtual Learning Opportunities

Mr. Santoro referred Expanding Virtual Learning Opportunities to the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee.


Additional Business

Mrs. Perdios asked for clarification on the use of Additional Business. Mayor Koch said that Additional Business is for emergency items. Items can be added to the agenda by contacting Superintendent Mulvey.



Mayor Koch noted that the next Regular School Committee meetings are scheduled for April 7, 2021; May 5, 2021; May 19, 2021; and June 9, 2021 at 6:30 pm at the Coddington Building. Subcommittee meetings will be held on March 29, 2021 at 5:30 pm (Joint Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and Facilities, Security & Transportation Subcommitte) and March 31, 2021 (Policy at 5:30 pm; Joint Teaching & Learning and Special Education at 6:00 pm).


Reports of Subcommittees

There were no Reports of Subcommittees.


Executive Session

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to move to Executive Session, seconded by Mrs. Hubley. On a roll call vote, the ayes have it at 9:40 pm. School Committee did not return to the regular meeting.



Since School Committee did not return from Executive Session, the Regular School Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:40 pm.