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August 25, 2021

george school

Brockton, Massachusetts
Regular School Committee Meeting
August 25, 2021
Live Stream

The Regular Meeting of the Brockton School Committee was held this evening, at six o'clock. These minutes contain a summary of the meeting and list items that were under discussion.

Mayor Sullivan, Chair called the meeting to order at 6:04 p.m., followed by a salute to the flag and asked for a moment of silence for the lives lost in Haiti, our thoughts and prayers are with them.
                                         
Present:      
Mayor Sullivan, Chair; Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair; Ms. Asack, Mr. Minichiello,
Mr. Rodrigues, Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan

Absent:  Ms. Mendes

Also Present:  Superintendent Thomas, Executive Team members, Ms. Kim Gibson, BEA President

Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote to establish a quorum:

Mayor Sullivan, Chair –Yes        
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – Yes           
Ms. Asack – Arrived at 6:28pm
Ms. Mendes – Absent                
Mr. Minichiello – Yes                           
Mr. Rodrigues – Yes  
Ms. Sullivan – Yes                
Mr. Sullivan – Yes                

Hearing of Visitors    None
    
Mayor Sullivan welcomed his new Chief of Staff, Ms. Sydné Marrow.  Ms. Marrow has a great professional development and higher education having worked at Bridgewater State University and Boston College for over a decade. (applause)

Mayor Sullivan asked that Dr. Richard Herman is taken out of order this evening, Item IIIC-2, Report of Superintendent of Schools – Dr. Richard Herman, FACEP Pandemic Consultant COVID-19 Metrics update.

Mr. D’Agostino motioned to take Item III-C-2, Report of Superintendent of Schools - Dr. Richard Herman, FACEP Pandemic Consultant – COVID-19 Metrics update out of order.  Seconded by Mr. Sullivan. The motion passed unanimously.

Mayor Sullivan thanked Dr. Herman for attending the School Committee meeting this evening and turned it over to him.

Dr. Herman thanked Mayor Sullivan and School Committee members for inviting him to come back and  discuss the metrics for the City of Brockton and presented a power point.

COVID-19 Update:  City of Brockton (power point)
 
Metric facts reported as follows:

* Pandemic Day 530 in the City of Brockton since August 25, 2021
* Brockton Daily Case Count – shows the various surges from 1/1/21 – 8/20/21
* City of Brockton COVID-19 Daily Dashboard – 296 new reported cases, 15,046 confirmed cases,
    0 deaths, 437 deaths overall, 261 active cases, 19 currently in the hospital, 5 ICU, average daily
    confirmed cases per 100,000 population is 27.8, positive test rate is 4.58%, 70.8% are vaccinated.
    (partial 13.5% / full 57.3%)
* Data on surrounding towns and average rate is 17.4
* Brockton children, (<18yrs), with COVID has increased, 7/17/21 – 8/24/21)
* Children getting COVID is beginning to trend slightly upward
* Brockton Residents Vaccinated with at least one dose is 58,676 as of 8/17/21
* School recommendations, get back to school in person, wear a mask, all students, and staff, get vaccinated if eligible.

Mayor Sullivan and School Committee members thanked Dr. Herman for attending the School Committee meeting and providing a detailed analysis on the metrics.
 
Questions/Answers

* Mr. D’Agostino asked if the eligible age to get vaccinated is 12 years old?
        Dr. Herman replied, yes.  The emergency youth authorization is 12-16 years old.
* Mr. D’Agostino asked if any research is going with 12 and younger?
        Dr. Herman replied research is ongoing.
* Ms. Sullivan asked for clarification on recommendation and requirement on masks.
        Dr. Herman clarified teachers and students are required to wear masks. (statewide by the Department
        and Secondary Education.)
* Mr. Sullivan asked do we have information on the booster availability?
        Dr. Herman mentioned the booster recommendation is 8 months after the second shot.  This should
        be available in September.
* Ms. Asack asked does the delta variant move faster?
        Dr. Herman believes the clinical picture is about the same.

Mayor Sullivan asked the committee to take a motion to take the matter of DESE’s Fall Opening Guidance out of order to recap on Dr. Herman’s discussion.

Ms. Sullivan motioned to take item IIIC-DESE Fall Opening Guidance.  Seconded by Mr. Minichiello. The motion passed unanimously.
 
DESE Fall Opening Guidance

Superintendent Thomas spoke about the official letter that came out today, from the Department of Education that explains the masks requirement.  The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 to put mask mandate in effect immediately for public school students ages 5 and above and staff in all grades.  All are required to wear masks indoors in schools except for medical reasons.  Masks are not required when students or staff are outdoors.  Visitors to schools are expected to wear a mask while they’re inside the building.  This mask requirement will be in place until at least October 1, 2021.  The Commissioner will revisit the requirement in the near future to revise it as warranted by public health data.  The mask requirement is an important additional measure to keep students safe in school at this time.

Questions/Answers

* Ms. Asack asked for clarification for proper masks that students should wear.
    Superintendent Thomas mentioned we have logo and paper masks available.
* Mr. D’Agostino asked do we have any school that is over the 80% threshold?
Superintendent Thomas mentioned we do not.  

    
Mayor Sullivan explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members if they would like to remove any items for further discussion.  There being none, Mr. Minichiello moved the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the Consent Agenda in its entirety.  Seconded by Mr. D’Agostino.

A. Approval of Minutes:  August 10, 2021 Special School Committee Meeting Minutes    
B. Approval of July 20, 2021 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes                   
C. Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Appointments, Certified Personnel
D. Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Appointments, Non-Certified Personnel
E. Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions:  Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements  

                    The motion passed unanimously.
    Superintendent’s Report    

Superintendent Thomas discussed the recent donation to the Brockton Public Schools and Music Department, the addition of a Baby Grand Piano donated by Robin and Andrew Daniels a family of Plymouth, MA.

This is a great addition to our Music Department for all students.  The piano was beloved by the family and it was played by Robin’s late father who was a well-known concert pianist.  The piano will be moved to the Brockton High Choral Room in September, and a thank you letter on behalf of the School Committee.

Mayor Sullivan, School Committee members and Superintendent Thomas gracefully accept this generous donation that will help generations of students here in the Brockton Public Schools.

Mr. Minichiello motioned to accept the donation of a Baby Grand Piano to the Brockton Public Schools.  Seconded by Ms. Asack.

                    The motion passed unanimously.

Welcome of Dr. Susan Szachowicz, Interim Deputy Superintendent    

Superintendent Thomas welcomed our New Interim Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Susan Szachowicz a longtime Brockton resident, Brockton High graduate.  Dr. Szachowicz has returned to spend this year as the Interim Deputy Superintendent of Schools. (applause)
    
Superintendent Thomas and Dr. Szachowicz presented a power point from their Leadership meeting with Principals and Executive Team.
    
* KEY phrases from the District Review
o Looking at Instruction and Academic Achievement
o Closing the Achievement Gap
o Continued decline in Student Achievement

We can change this! WE HAVE TO CHANGE THIS!

We need to focus on what we know works, what the research indicated, and what the data informs us.

This year we will focus on 3 areas:

1. FOCUS on Effective Instruction
2. FOCUS on Active Reading/Writing
3. FOCUS on Positive Relationships

These FOCUS AREAS demand students be challenged with rigorous high-level work.  We must continue to push students and when they are struggling, we must support them.  Everyone must play a role in the process.  It’s all about systems.

Dr. Szachowicz will:

o Implement, support, ad monitor the FOCUS AREAS
o Supervise and evaluate the principals
o Get some systems in place, including the Organizational Chart

Ms. Lefort will:

o Support particularly with effective instruction, active reading and writing, and feedback

The FOUR C’s

o Clarity:  Course of action is focused, understood by everyone
o Communication:  How to communicate TO others, and facilitate communication AMONG others
o Consistency:  The power of success by design, vertical implementation – we ALL do it this way!
o Celebration:  Tell the story of success, appreciate the work of others

Leading for change takes tenacity, NOT brilliance!!! We know what works…now we need to do it with tenacity.  We did it before, we can do it now!

Mayor Sullivan and School Committee members thanked Dr. Szachowicz for the presentation and welcomed her back.

New Transportation Department Update

Superintendent Thomas invited Dr. Cobbs, Executive Director of Operations to give a Transportation Update.  He thanked Dr. Cobbs, BPS/CFO Mr. Petronio, Human Resource Department, New Staff and Transportation Department.

Dr. Cobbs mentioned we have a Transportation Department, we’re up and running, we’re ready and hired staff.  As of today, we’ve hired 52 drivers out of the 54 buses we have.  Training and orientation will take place on Monday for all drivers.  Our buses have been inspected by the state and the federal government and are ready to go.

The Transportation Department is temporarily located in the Central office and are currently outfitting the new office space at the fairgrounds and have three garage spaces there.

Mayor Sullivan and School Committee members thanked Superintendent Thomas, City CFO, Troy Clarkson, BPS CFO, Aldo Petronio, City Councils and Dr. Cobbs for their support in bringing about the Transportation Department.

Mayor Sullivan thanked Dr. Cobbs, Mr. Dimestico and DPW that worked diligently on the water main break outside Brockton High, working over 30 hours getting it fixed just before school opened.

   Ms. Asack asked, have we done a practice drive?  
   Dr. Cobbs replied, yes, we have sent drivers to practice their routes.
 
Virtual School Update

Superintendent Thomas mentioned due to the number of enrollments for the Virtual School he had to cap the registration at 400.  The reason for this cap is we are unable to staff in a fast time.  We are mandated by the Department of Education to provide services for students with disabilities.  As we move forward, and staffing is under control we’ll consider opening the registration for students who are residents of Brockton.
 
Items to Refer to Subcommittee             None

 Unfinished Business      

Review of Bid Review Subcommittee Meeting Report – August 11, 2021

Mr. Sullivan gave a verbal report of the Bid Review Subcommittee meeting held on August 11, 2021 and presented the following bid before the committee for approval.

Mr. Sullivan motioned to approve the verbal report of the August 11, 2021 Bid Review Subcommittee meeting.  Seconded by Mr. D’Agostino.

                    The motion passed unanimously.
        

Discussion and Potential Vote Regarding Bids on the Following Project:

1. FY2022 New Classroom Walls Installation - Downey Elementary School.

Mr. Sullivan motioned to approve the FY2022 New Classroom Walls Installation – Downey Elementary School.  Seconded by Mr. Minichiello.

                    The motion passed unanimously.

Review of the Accounts  Review Subcommittee Meeting Report – August 17, 2021

Mr. Sullivan gave a verbal report of the Accounts Review Subcommittee meeting held on August 17, 2021 and presented the following bid before the committee for approval.

Mr. Minichiello motioned to approve the verbal report of the August 17, 2021 Accounts Review Subcommittee meeting.  Seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

                    The motion passed unanimously.
        
Discussion and Potential Vote for the following Vendor Invoice Lists; Vendor Invoice Lists:  P21-130; P21-133; P21-136; P21-141; P21-144; P21-145;
P21-149; P21-151; P21-157; P21-159; P22-010; P22-015.

Mr. Minichiello motioned to approve the Vendor Invoice Lists as presented.  Seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

The motion passed unanimously.

New Business    

Superintendent Thomas thanked Executive Director of Human Resources, Dr. Kathleen Moran and her Department for the New Teacher Orientation held earlier today.  He also thanked Mayor Sullivan,

Ms. Kim Gibson, BEA President and Mr. Sullivan for their support and attending.  It was amazing seeing 150 teachers, counselors, and adjustment counselors and seeing the diversity and the efforts made was amazing. (applause)

Mayor Sullivan thanked the BEA and leadership of Kim Gibson (class of 88’BHS) it was awesome seeing 150 people ready to begin and wish them a long healthy career.

Ms. Asack thanked Cradle to Crayons for their partnership in donating of 2,000 backpacks and school supplies.  A team of volunteers assisted putting supplies together and were able to pass them out to families.  Thank you to Ms. Sullivan for her help in volunteering. (applause)

Mayor Sullivan thanked Ms. Asack for her efforts and support working with Cradle to Crayons.

Both Ms. Asack and Mr. D’Agostino mentioned it is going to be a different vibe as we rebuild the district and the work that Dr. Szachowicz is here to help us get going.
 
Executive Session    

Mayor Sullivan, Chair announced, “The Committee will enter executive session pursuant to M.G.L.  c. 30A, §21(a)(3) for the purpose of conducting strategy with respect to collective bargaining, as conducting this deliberation in an open session would have a detrimental effect on the bargaining position of the Committee. The Committee will return to open session following the executive session.”

 Mr. Minichiello motioned to enter Executive Session.  Seconded by Mr. Sullivan.    
       
Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote:
    
Mayor Sullivan, Chair – Yes        
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – Yes        
Ms. Asack – Yes
Ms. Mendes – Absent                
Mr. Minichiello – Yes                        
Mr. Rodrigues – Yes
Ms. Sullivan – Yes                    
Mr. Sullivan - Yes

             School Committee members went into Executive Session at 8:43 p.m.
                School Committee members returned from Executive Session at 9:00 p.m.
    
Mayor Sullivan took a roll call re-establish a quorum:
    
Mayor Sullivan, Chair – Yes        
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – Yes        
Ms. Asack – Yes
Ms. Mendes – Absent                
Mr. Minichiello – Yes                        
Mr. Rodrigues – Yes
Ms. Sullivan – Yes                    
Mr. Sullivan - Yes
    
Mr. D’Agostino motioned to approve the one-year contract as presented to the School Committee between the Brockton School Committee and the Teamsters Local 653 representing the Brockton Public Schools Custodians.  Seconded by Mr. Sullivan.
                           
                    The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. D’Agostino thanked all members of the Bargaining Team on the school side and Union side, both sides working together.
    
Seeing no further business Mr. Sullivan motioned to adjourn.  Seconded by Ms. Sullivan.
    
   The motion passed unanimously.
                           
                         The meeting adjourned at 9:02 p.m.
                          
                                        Respectfully submitted,
                                             Michael P. Thomas
                                           Superintendent/Secretary   
 
     mdc