Feb. 8, 2023 School Committee Meeting

Feb. 8, 2023 School Committee Meeting
Posted on 02/06/2023
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Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Wednesday, February 8, 2023, 6:30 pm
School Committee Room, Coddington Building

I. Approval of Minutes:

A. Regular Meeting Minutes for January 25, 2023

B. Executive Session Minutes for January 25, 2023

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.
Interested parties may also submit written statements to: [email protected].

III. Superintendent’s Report

A. Middle & High School STEM Fairs

B. South~West Middle School’s One Book, One School

C. QPS Parent Academy Schedule

IV. Old Business:

A. Revision to Policy Section 4.3: Grants, Proposals & Special Projects (VOTE) - Mr. Bregoli

B. Revision to Policy Section 11.7: Public Gifts to the Quincy Public Schools (VOTE) - Mr. Bregoli

C. 2023-2024 School Committee Meeting Calendar (VOTE) - Mr. Bregoli

V. New Business:

A. QPS Bullying Prevention Plan - Assistant Superintendent Perkins, Ms. Papile, Mr. Ahearn, Mr. Gilbert, Ms. Mitchell

B. Overview of New Mental Health Act - Assistant Superintendent Perkins

C. School Nurse Appointment: Susanna Macdonald - Superintendent Mulvey

D. FY2023 Grant Booklet - Mr. Mullaney
for referral to the Budget & Finance Subcommittee

E. Subcommittee Meeting Access (VOTE) - Mr. Gutro
Discussion and vote on continuing to broadcast/livestream meetings via QATV

F. Kids Voting USA - Mr. Gutro
for referral to the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee

G. Out of State/Overnight Travel: North Quincy High Superintendent Mulvey School, Grades 9-12 to Junior State of America Winter Congress, Washington, D.C. on February 25-26, 2023.

VI. Additional Business:

VII. Communications:

A. Upcoming School Committee Meetings: March 8 & 22, 2023, April 5, 2023 at 6:30 pm at the Coddington Building

B. Upcoming Subcommittee Meetings (at the Coddington Building):

  • Joint Special Education and Teaching & Learning, February 15, 2023, 6:00 pm

  • Quarterly Budget & Finance, February 15, 2023, 7:00 pm

  • Athletics & Wellness: March 1, 2023, 6:00 pm

  • Teaching & Learning: March 1, 2023, 6:30 pm

  • Policy, March 1, 2023, 7:00 pm

VIII. Reports of Subcommittees: None

IX. Executive Session: Contract Negotiations

X. Adjournment:




Quincy, MASSACHUSETTS – February 8, 2023

Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

Vice-Chair Presiding

A meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. in the School Committee Room at the Coddington Building. Superintendent Kevin Mulvey called the roll and present were Mayor Thomas P. Koch, School Committee Chair, and School Committee Members Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mrs. Tina Cahill, Mr. Douglas Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, and Mr. Frank Santoro, Vice Chair.

Also present were: Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, Mr. Nicholas Ahearn, Ms. Kim Connolly, Ms. Allison Cox, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Mr. Daniel Gilbert, Ms. Julie Graham, Ms. Courtney Mitchell, Mr. James Mullaney, Ms. Madeline Roy, Mr. Keith Segalla, Mr. Lawrence Taglieri; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

A moment of silence was observed in memory of Michael Hurley, Social Studies teacher at North Quincy High School for over 35 years. For the last decade of his career, he served as Department Chair for Social Studies and Director of Summer & Winter School programs.

Mr. Santoro read the following statement into the record: Pursuant to the Open Meeting Law, any person may make an audio or video recording of this public meeting or may transmit the meeting through any medium. Attendees are therefore advised that such recordings or transmissions are being made whether perceived or unperceived by those present and are deemed acknowledged and permissible.


Approval of Minutes

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Meeting for January 25, 2023. Mr. Bregoli seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to approve the minutes of the Executive Session for January 25, 2023. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.


Open Forum

As there was no one to speak at Open Forum, School Committee went on to the next item on the agenda.


Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Mulvey reviewed that the Middle & High School STEM Fair schedule was shared with School Committee in their packet. Quincy High School’s STEM Fair was held last night, with 98 projects and 78 volunteer judges. Thank you to Science Department Chair Julie Krieger and the Science, Mathematics, Technology, and Engineering staff members for mentoring the students and everyone from the Quincy High School community who supported the event. North Quincy High School’s STEM Fair is tomorrow, February 9 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. School Committee will recognize the top STEM Fair projects from both high schools at a March meeting. The Middle School STEM Fairs will be held in March, calendar invitations will be sent out for School Committee to attend if it their schedules permit.

For South~West Middle School’s One Book, One School Initiative, the book Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper is being read by all students and staff, with age-appropriate classroom discussions, projects, and enrichment focused on the book at each grade level. A culminating event for the whole school to celebrate the One Book, One School completion will be held in March. School Committee received copies of the book in their packet if they are interested in reading along.

Superintendent Mulvey concluded his report by noting that the Quincy Public Schools Parent Academy Schedule was shared with School Committee in their packet, updated with dates for a number of upcoming events. Tuesday’s Parent Academy for the new ELA/Reading program Amplify Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) was attended by 90 parents and guardians of students in Kindergarten through Grade 5.

Mrs. Lebo asked for a report at the end of the school year to summarize participation in the array of Parent Academy events.


Old Business

Revisions to Policy Book Sections 4.3 and 11.7 (VOTE)

School Committee Meeting Calendar 2023-2024 (VOTE)

Mr. Bregoli reviewed that proposed revisions to School Committee Policy Book Sections 4.3 Grants, Proposals & Special Projects and 11.7 Public Gifts to Quincy Public Schools were reviewed and approved at the January 9, 2023 Policy Subcommittee meeting. In addition, the 2023-2024 School Committee Meeting calendar was approved. All of these items are eligible for vote this evening.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to approve the revision of School Committee Policy Book Section 4.3 Grants, Proposals & Special Projects. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to approve the revision of School Committee Policy Book Section 11.7 Public Gifts to Quincy Public schools. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to approve the School Committee Meeting Calendar for 2023-2024. Mrs. Cahill seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it.


New Business

QPS Bullying Prevention & Intervention Plan

Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, Senior Director of Student Support Services Maura Papile, and Principals Nicholas Ahearn, Daniel Gilbert, and Courtney Mitchell presented on the update to the Quincy Public Schools Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provided a model plan which Ms. Papile has integrated with analysis of policies and best practices from other districts to create the revised Quincy Public Schools plan which reflects the updated state regulations. The regulations were first passed in 2010 and updated in 2014 and require that each school district have a Bullying Intervention and Prevention Plan, with specific components including procedures for reporting and investigation, including collecting data. The plan should have input from stakeholders and include a public comment period.

By definition, bullying is the repeated use by one or more students or a member of the school staff of a written, verbal, or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a victim that (a) causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damages the victim’s property; (b) places the victim in reasonable fear of harm or damage to property; (c) creates a hostile environment at school for the victim; (d) infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or (e) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or orderly operation of a school. Bullying is a repeated pattern of behavior that often involves an imbalance of power; it is not the same as a quarrel. Mediation can be an effective intervention when handling conflict, but is not effective in resolving bullying. Retaliation is prohibited against a person who reports bullying or provides information during an investigation.

Implementation of the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan includes Professional Development for staff on identifying and reporting incidents of bullying and supporting parents if they wish to report incidents. Bullying or retaliation may be reported anonymously, but no disciplinary action can occur solely based on an anonymous report. Investigations must be done by administrators in a timely fashion, communication with parents of all students involved about the investigation and the determination, and written records of the investigation must be kept. The first step is to establish a safety plan and protect the potential target of bullying, harassment, or retaliation. A range of disciplinary actions may be employed, balancing the need for accountability with the need to teach appropriate behavior. Students in protected categories may be more vulnerable to becoming a target of bullying or harassment, and schools must take specific steps to prevent or respond to any bullying or harassment, including students with disabilities.

New reporting requirements include (1) the number of reported allegations of bullying or retaliation; (2) the number and nature of substantiated incidents of bullying and retaliation; (3) the number of students disciplined for engaging in bullying or retaliation. This information will be reported to DESE through the SSDR application in June. Preliminary data was shared for each of these categories, with 2 of 28 reports substantiated at elementary schools; 4 of 23 at middle schools; and 1 of 24 at the high school level. All school staff reviewed the tools available for reporting incidents at today’s Professional Development.

Clifford Marshall Elementary School Principal Nicholas Ahearn reviewed that at elementary school, the approach is proactive to educate students and parents about bullying, using a number of resources including PBIS, Social-Emotional Learning curriculum through Open Parachute, DEI team-led initiatives to teach inclusivity, restorative practices, and community building. In the Open Parachute curriculum, units of focus include understanding feelings; overcoming worries and doubt; anger, self-soothing, asking for help; bullying and boundary setting; siblings and friendship; and defining bullying vs. conflict. Outside resources include the New England Sports Museum Boston vs. Bullies program and the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center from Bridgewater State University.

South~West Middle School Principal Courtney Mitchell agreed that the proactive approach is important for students, weekly community circles during the Student Support Block, monthly PBIS character trait focus, monthly community meetings by grade and daily announcements recognize student accomplishment in academics and social-emotional learning. Middle school students are also taught about personal safety and boundaries, appropriate behaviors for inside and out of school, and have the opportunity to participate in the Principal’s Council where student representatives will talk about the school’s culture and climate. Outside resources include presentations from MARC and DOVE. Social-emotional learning topics include worries, anxiety, and resilience; learning challenges/motivation and overcoming trauma; leadership; overcoming objectification. As with all grades, communication with parents and guardians is important to ensure that concerns are addressed.

North Quincy High School Principal Daniel Gilbert said that high school builds on the lessons of elementary and middle school, often students are faced with challenges and opportunities to put these lessons into practice in real-life situations. Student groups include mentoring groups, restorative circles, student groups focused on making positive changes and healthy choices. Health curriculum and Health Interventionists are supports for students, along with the Open Parachute curriculum.

At all levels, Staff Professional Development reinforces the established protocols for reporting/investigating, supporting students by responding sensitively, increasing support for socially-responsible behavior and adult supervision in less-structured areas. Equally important is improving parental awareness and involvement, ensuring students and parents understand the consequences of behavior, inside and outside of school. Restorative practices are employed to mitigate the damage from incidences and

With the assistance of Digital Communications Specialist Kelly Powers, a new page has been created on the Quincy Public Schools website. The draft revision to the Quincy Public Schools Bullying Intervention and Prevention Plan was shared on the website for public comment in December and January. The plan is very dense and detailed, so a summary brochure was also created to make the information more accessible for students and parents/guardians. In conclusion, Ms. Papile said that if a report is not substantiated as bullying, it can still indicate a conflict or situation that needs attention within a building.

Mr. Gutro asked about the anonymous submission of a bullying report. Ms. Papile said sometimes parents will call or email and request anonymity, but it cannot be substantiated based on an anonymous report. Mr. Gutro said the VOCAL survey reflects students’ perception about the rate of bullying. Ms. Mitchell said that there is confusion between conflict and bullying, the word is frequently used incorrectly. Mr. Ahearn said schools are always looking to resolve conflict as well, these are problems, even if not substantiated as bullying.

Ms. Papile said that we want to help students and families no matter whether it is conflict or bullying. Parents are concerned about their children, sometimes have only one side of a situation, and are less privy to the back and forth of a conflict. Mr. Gilbert said that closure of the investigation vs. resolution for the students involved are different, each situation is unique.

Mr. Gutro asked about social media, Ms. Papile said most of the middle and high school issues involve social media. At the elementary level, there are more verbal conflicts. Ms. Mitchell said some times the problem starts at school and spills over to social media.

Mr. Gutro asked about stakeholder feedback, Ms. Papile said the plan was posted on the QPS website for six weeks, was presented at the Citywide Parent Council meeting, and principals and staff reviewed. The feedback was incorporated into the version presented to School Committee and pending further feedback, the plan will be finalized.

Mrs. Hubley asked for clarification, the data shared is for this school year. Mrs. Hubley said that parents need education on the terminology, students can get labeled at a young age as “bullies” and it follows them through their school career. Ms. Perkins said that this information will be integrated in the Welcome to Kindergarten presentation to parents in May. Mrs. Hubley suggested that the website have information about social maturity for the youngest students.

Mrs. Lebo said the professional development is important to ensure consistent reporting and investigation across the district. Mrs. Lebo agreed that the term “bullying” is now a buzzword, when more of the issues are conflicts.

Mrs. Lebo asked who would determine if criminal charges would be filed. Ms. Perkins and Ms. Papile said that it would be the parent/guardian’s right to file charges. Mrs. Lebo said that the restorative circles are an opportunity to emphasize that most situations are conflicts.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the supervision of restrooms, Ms. Perkins said that staff members are responsible, sometimes as a teacher duty (at the high school level). Mrs. Lebo suggested removing “peer mediation” as a conflict resolution strategy.

Mr. Gutro is concerned about ensuring that parents and guardians don’t feel intimidated about reporting concerns, either due to cultural reasons or language barriers. Mr. Ahearn said that the additions of the Family Liaisons and the on-call interpretation services have greatly assisted with communication.

Mr. Bregoli said that there are varying levels of sensitivity among students, something that might bother one student, might not bother another. Staff members are also likely to be subjective, so emphasizing consistency in reporting is important. Ms. Papile said the staff development is about training them to not make a determination, but to file the report upon disclosure.


New Business

Overview of New Mental Health Act

Assistant Superintendent Perkins reviewed the new law addressing barriers to care for mental health, signed into law in August 2022. This impacts schools in three ways: student discipline, special education services, and emergency response plans. The regulations have not been created and school districts are operating under draft guidance. In terms of student discipline, schools must employ and document alternative remedies prior to suspension. The alternative remedies include mediation, conflict resolution, restorative justice, and collaborative problem-solving. This does not apply to suspensions or expulsions for dangerous weapons, drugs, assault on staff, or felony charges and/or convictions. Principals can bypass utilizing alternative methods if the alternatives are unsuitable or counterproductive or in cases where the student’s continued presence in school would pose a specific, documentable concern about the infliction of serious bodily injury or other serious harm upon another person while in school.

Other changes under the new law are that in response to complex mental health issues, an interagency review team may collaborate to create a resolution that includes an extended evaluation at a special education residential school. In addition, the current Emergency Medical Response Plans will need to be updated to include school-specific behavioral health crisis response plans. In addition, data on behavioral health crises will need to be submitted to DESE. The revised plans will be presented to School Committee in September.

Mrs. Lebo said the plan requirements seem to be focused on deterring calling for emergency responders in the case of mental health crises. Ms. Papile said we typically don’t call the mental health crisis response team to the schools, but release the students to the parents to seek crisis intervention.

Mrs. Lebo said this law seems to be asking schools to determine when students have complex mental health issues.

Mr. Santoro is concerned that this will impede administrators in terms of discipline.


New Business

School Nurse Appointment

Mr. Gutro made a motion to appoint Susanna Macdonald as the Quincy Public Schools Resource Nurse. Mrs. Cahill seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.


New Business

FY2023 Grant Booklet

Superintendent Mulvey reviewed that the FY2023 Grant Booklet was provided to School Committee in their packets. Thanks to Mr. Mullaney, Ms. Clancy, and Ms. Polin for their work administering the grant funding and compiling the information.

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to refer the FY2023 Grant Booklet to the Budget & Finance Subcommittee for review. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion, and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.


New Business

Subcommittee Meeting Access (VOTE)

Mr. Gutro requested to continue to broadcast/livestream Subcommittee meetings as this provides access for parents and community members.

Mr. Bregoli suggested referring the item to a Subcommittee for discussion; Mrs. Lebo and Mrs. Cahill agreed.

Mrs. Lebo suggested that Subcommittee meetings be broadcast/livestream until the item is discussed in Subcommittee.

Mr. Santoro said that it wasn’t necessary to refer to Subcommittee, suggested a motion.

After a discussion, School Committee agreed that the current procedure of broadcasting/livestreaming Subcommittee meetings would continue without a motion being made. A School Committee member would have to propose to change the current procedure and place the item on an upcoming agenda.


New Business

Kids Voting USA

Mr. Gutro made a motion to refer the reinstatement of the Kids Voting USA as an initiative for Quincy Public Schools to the Teaching & Learning Subcommittee.

On the motion, Mrs. Lebo asked for research on how this worked in the past.

Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.


New Business

Out of State Travel/ Overnight

Mayor Koch made a motion to approve the Out of State/Overnight Travel of North Quincy High School to the Junior State of America Winter Congress in Washington, D.C. on February 25-26, 2023. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.


Additional Business

There was no Additional Business.



Mr. Santoro noted that Regular School Committee meetings are scheduled for March 8 & 22, 2023 and April 5, 2023 at 6:30 pm at the Coddington Building. Upcoming Subcommittee meetings include the Joint Special Education and Teaching & Learning Subcommittees on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at 6:00 pm, followed by Quarterly Budget & Finance Subcommittee. On March 1, 2023, the Athletics & Wellness Subcommittee will meet at 6:00 pm, followed by Teaching & Learning.

Mrs. Hubley noted the Quincy High School is hosting a DOVE information session on February 15 at all lunches.


Executive Session

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to adjourn to Executive Session for the purposes of Contract Negotiations at 8:40 pm. Mrs. Lebo seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0. School Committee will not return to Regular Session.



Since School Committee did not return from Executive Session, the Regular Meeting was adjourned at 8:40 pm.