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December 15, 2020

george school

Brockton, Massachusetts
Regular School Committee Meeting
December 15, 2020

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

 Mayor Sullivan called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.

 Mayor Sullivan, Chair read the following information for the record.  

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and State of Emergency, on March 12, 2020, Governor Baker issued an Executive Order Temporarily Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A sec. 20. Pursuant to the Order, public bodies are temporarily relieved from the Open Meeting Law’s requirement that meetings be held in public places, open and physically accessible to the public, so long as measures are taken to ensure public access to the bodies' deliberations "through adequate, alternative means."

This meeting will be held and will be accessible to the public via Brockton Community Access, Brockton Public Schools website, www.bpsma.org, YouTube and Comcast channel 12

The public can access this meeting via this link: www.youtube.TheBrocktonChannels

The School Committee agenda was updated yesterday, December 14, 2020 to reflect an added executive session, and that this executive session was added as an emergency amendment to the posting.

Mayor Sullivan took a roll call to establish a quorum.

Mayor Sullivan, Chair – yes            
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes        
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes        
Mr. Minichiello – yes    
Mr. Rodrigues – yes
Ms. Sullivan – yes
Mr. Sullivan – yes
    
Also Present:  Superintendent Thomas, Executive Team Members, Kim Gibson, BEA President

Mayor Sullivan established a quorum, followed by a salute to the flag.

Mayor Sullivan asked to take Dr. Richard Herman out of order due to a family conflict this evening, Item IV Report of Superintendent of Schools – A: Dr. Richard Herman, FACEP Pandemic Consultant COVID-19 Metrics update.

Mr. D’Agostino motioned to take Item IV Report of Superintendent of Schools – A:  Dr. Richard Herman, FACEP Pandemic Consultant – COVID-19 Metrics update out of order, 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 – yes        
Mr. Minichiello – yes    
Mr. Rodrigues – yes
Ms. Sullivan – yes
Mr. Sullivan – yes

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 the 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)


* Day 277
* Daily Trends in Number of COVID-19 Cases in the United States Reported to CDC
* Massachusetts Department of Public Health COVID-19 Dashboard, Tuesday, December 15, 2020
* COVID – City of Brockton
* City of Brockton COVID-19 Daily Dashboard, Tuesday, December 1, 2020
* City of Brockton COVID-19 Daily Dashboard, Tuesday, December 15, 2020
* Population
* City of Brockton – COVID Deaths
* COVID Deaths by Age Group – City of Brockton
* Hospitalizations – City of Brockton (Includes Good Samaritan and Signature Healthcare)
* Daily Case Count per 100,000 Population (Each bar represents the average of prior 14 Days)
* Per Cent Cases by Age Group – City of Brockton – All cases
* Per Cent Cases by Age Group – City of Brockton – December 2020
* COVID:  Brockton Kids (Through December 15, 2020)
* Brockton Children with COVID Through Dec. 15th - Monthly Number of Cases Ages 0-18
* Pediatric Cases by Week – Age 0-18
* PEDIATRIC (<18) Cases (Through December 15, 2020)
* Ages 0 to 21.9 (Through December 15, 2020)
* COVID Cases by Age Group
* Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, Limited, Approved, Abandoned
* SARS-CoV-2 viral load and period of infectiousness

    Mayor Sullivan thanked Dr. Herman and value his professionalism and medical expertise.
    
    Question/Answer    
* Superintendent Thomas asked Dr. Herman the overall numbers shown of students is it from the beginning of March?
Dr. Herman replied, yes, it is the total numbers shown since March.

    Comment
* Superintendent Thomas mentioned as we look at the numbers we hope it heads in the opposite direction soon.
Dr. Herman replied, the numbers are not headed in the opposite direction, they’re going to continue to go the opposite until there is intervention.  He mentioned he was glad that the City of Brockton had made some intervention and try to slow the upward slope.  Unless there are changes in behavior or intervention it’s going to continue to get worse before it gets better.  

    Mayor Sullivan mentioned he has a daily call with Dr. Herman, if anything changes he’ll forward it to all elected officials and Superintendent Thomas.

Hearing of Visitors    

Ms. Kim Gibson, BEA President addressed Mayor, Vice-Chair Mr. D’Agostino, School Committee Members and Superintendent Thomas.  Ms. Gibson wanted to take a moment to thank each one of you for everything that you’ve done over these past few months.  Nobody expected us to be in this position for as long as we have been, we didn’t expect COVID-19 to impact us as hard as it has and it’s important for everyone to recognize how much work you each put into your roles as a school committee member.  

The members of the BEA also want to express their gratitude for the recent agreement allowing them to choose to work remotely during the current surge of COVID-19 in Brockton.  Many BEA members have reached out to me asking that I thank you for all the respect you’ve shown the entire school department and for all the difficult conversations that you’ve had during the school year.  These conversations have been extremely thoughtful and have occurred during each and every meeting regarding the concerns and risks of COVID-19 and are truly appreciated.  

As you know there are a number of districts across the state that do not work as well with their unions, it takes a great deal of effort to ensure all voices are heard regardless of the positions held, and I want to acknowledge Superintendent Thomas, Attorney Sarah Spatafore and Executive Director of Human Resources, Dr. Kathleen Moran for how well they’ve done this in Brockton for all of us as well as the School Committee.  

I want to thank Mayor Sullivan for holding the COVID-19 town hall meeting with the school department employees, it was important for the staff to hear the fact directly from the leaders of Brockton and to have the ability to ask the questions directly to the Mayor, Superintendent and Dr. Herman.  I want to thank Dr. Herman for his thoughtful presentations at these meetings over and over again where they help you form your conversations, the feedback that everyone has given for you town halls.  Mayor Sullivan has been fabulous.  

I want to take a moment to thank all of the Administrative Assistants, Paraprofessionals, MTA’s, BEA members, School Police, Custodians, Food Service Staff, Administrators and the Executive Team for everything that they are doing on a daily basis to ensure supporting our student and one another during these difficult times.  

In closing, I am confident that you will continue to have the safety and wellness of all students and staff at the forefront of your upcoming decisions on how to reopen our building safely, these conversations are not easy, and you are going to have to make some difficult decisions in the near future.  I want to wish all of you a wonderful upcoming holiday season and thank you for everything you have done for our students and staff of the Brockton Public Schools.

On behalf of Mayor Sullivan and School Committee members they thanked President Gibson for her leadership, many years being a product of the Brockton Public Schools, you get it and always have an open communication with all, again thank you for your leadership and please sincerely thank all the members of the BEA, we’re all in this together and on behalf of the School Committee we wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday.   

Consent Agenda    

Mayor Sullivan explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members if they would like to remove any items for further discussion.  Mr. D’Agostino asked to remove Item B, Acceptance of November 24, 2020 Curriculum Subcommittee Minutes giving an overview report on the consent agenda item.  
    
Ms. Sullivan moved the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the remainder Consent Agenda items: A, C, D, E, F and G seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

A. Approval of Minutes:  December 1, 2020 Regular School Committee Meeting
C. Approval of November 24, 2020 Diversity, Race, Equity and Inclusion Meeting Report
D. Approval of Cornella R. Kuliesh 2021 Memorial Scholarship
E. Notification of Personnel Appointment:  Certified Personnel
F.    Notification of Personnel Appointments:  Non-Certified Personnel
G. Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions:  Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements
    
Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote to approve the remainder Consent Agenda items:
    
Mayor Sullivan, Chair – yes            
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes        
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes        
Mr. Minichiello – yes    
Mr. Rodrigues – yes
Ms. Sullivan – yes
Mr. Sullivan – yes
                Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.

    Item B, Acceptance of Minutes:  November 24, 2020 Curriculum Subcommittee Meeting discussing the agenda items:
1. Presentation of the School Based Strategic Improvement Plan
* Downey Elementary School
* East Middle School

2. Other Business

Mr. Rodrigues moved to approve Item B, Acceptance of Minutes:  November 24, 2020 Curriculum Subcommittee Meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. D’Agostino & Mr. Sullivan.

Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote to approve Item B, Acceptance of Minutes:  November 24, 2020 Curriculum Subcommittee Meeting.

Mayor Sullivan, Chair – yes            
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes        
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes        
Mr. Minichiello – yes    
Mr. Rodrigues – yes
Ms. Sullivan – yes
Mr. Sullivan – yes                                
                    Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.

Superintendent’s Report    

Memorandum of Understanding – Brockton Public Schools & Department of Education and Secondary Education

Superintendent Thomas welcomed our partners with the Department of Education, Ms. Susan Berglund, Director of Coastal and Regional Assistance Ms. Laura Richane, Office of District Reviews and Center for District Support and Mr. Dan Anderson, Associate Commissioner.  Superintendent Thomas thanked them for their continued support of the Brockton Public Schools.  Ms. Susan Berglund has worked closely with the Office of Teaching and Learning for some time, but also their teams that come out and work with our 11 schools and their sustainability reports, a member of DESE team sits on those school teams.  

We appreciate their support around our recent District Review.  After the results of our District Review, we have entered a Memorandum of Understanding and Commissioner Riley which was shared with school committee members. The team is here to discuss and highlight the signed Memorandum of Understanding from myself and Commissioner Riley and thanked the team for their support in moving forward this partnership.

Ms. Laura Richane presented a power point to discuss the key features of this partnership and go into detail around the district improvement planning process, which is a central part of the MOU of our partnership and then touch on the role of the School Committee in this improvement initiative.

Brockton Public Schools DESE Partnership (power point)

* BPS-DESE Partnership:  Key Features
* District Improving Planning
* The School Committee’s Role

Comments

* Superintendent Thomas thanked the team for the presentation, the support and partnership.  With this new Strategic/District Improvement plan is to bring a focus and pick a few things, do them well, support our educators, provide professional development and time to collaborate, bring in the districts sustainability plans and make sure they line up with the district’s goals.  We need to make sure, our goals are focused, targeted and known throughout the district, and support through evaluation, professional development, teachers working together and to collaborate with our administrators.  

* Mr. D’Agostino agreed with Superintendent Thomas from the district review, we need to pick a few things and do them well.  We have many challenges and work ahead of us but is confident that this committee and the district is up for the challenge and rise to the occasion.  Hard work brings better outcome for our students.

* Mayor Sullivan thanked each of the partners from DESE as we continue to work together and with a shared vision of a better system for our young students and our staff.  

Re-visit Re-opening plan

Superintendent Thomas discussed the re-visit re-opening plan and bringing students back in person.  As a district we are obligated to look at dates and consider return dates for our students with disabilities, our youngest learners and phase in other grades.  We will work together with our educators in providing a safe supportive manner in a methodical way as we welcome students back to school.

Mr. D’Agostino gave a report from the Policy Subcommittee meeting held earlier this evening at 6:30 p.m.  

The Policy Subcommittee discussed a return date for our students, a recommendation was made and passed unanimously to the full committee that we set a date of January 19, 2021 for our special education students to return followed by February 1, 2021 for our Pre-k to grade two students and then each week after another grade returning all in a hybrid model maintaining six feet of six feet apart and be subject to these dates would be subject to a continuing weekly review and discussion of the current metrics and data as we get closer.  The recommendation was voted on and passed unanimously from the Policy Subcommittee.
    
    Mr. D’Agostino motioned to approve the recommendation of the Policy Subcommittee, seconded by
    Ms. Sullivan.

    Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote:

Mayor Sullivan, Chair – yes            
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes        
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes        
Mr. Minichiello – yes    
Mr. Rodrigues – yes
Ms. Sullivan – yes
Mr. Sullivan – yes                                    
    
                    Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.
      
Nellie Mae Grant Update

Superintendent Thomas introduced Ms. Mendes to give an update on the work with the committee on Diversity, Race, Equity and Inclusion.  We will talk about the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Ms. Wolder, Chief Officer of Student Support Services will give an update on the ongoing professional development.

Ms. Mendes gave a report from the Diversity, Race, Equity and Inclusion meeting held on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.

A motion was made by Mr. Minichiello to forward the position of Executive Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for approval to the Finance Subcommittee, seconded by Mr. Rodrigues.

 Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.

Earlier this evening during the Finance Subcommittee at 6:00 p.m., a discussion of the background of the Nellie Mae which was given as seed money to start the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and this is specifically for one-year salary of the Director of the DDI, then the district will continue to fund this decision and the entire salary and benefits and the staff going forward.

Mr. D’Agostino gave a report from the Finance Subcommittee.  The committee considered a motion or a recommendation from the Diversity, Race, Equity and Inclusion subcommittee to allocate some of the money from the Nellie Mae grant towards an Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion made a unanimous vote to allocate between $130,000 - $150,000 at the request of the Superintendent, that range will be subject to the resume and the experience of the person who ultimately is hired for that position.  The Finance Subcommittee made a favorable recommendation to the full committee.

Ms. Mendes motioned to approve $130,000 - $150,000 for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion position and then moving forward having the Brockton Public Schools continue to allocate funds for this position that would be a yearly review, seconded by Mr. D’Agostino.

Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote:

Mayor Sullivan, Chair – yes            
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes        
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes        
Mr. Minichiello – yes    
Mr. Rodrigues – yes
Ms. Sullivan – yes
Mr. Sullivan – yes                                
    
                        Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.
 
Superintendent Thomas mentioned this is a historic night for the Brockton Public Schools to add this position of the highest level an Executive Director is essentially an Assistant Superintendent.  It shows the commitment of the School Committee, the District and Executive team of this important Equity, Diversity and Inclusion position.  It was one of his goals to create this office, it is important for the School District and Community as a whole.

Mayor Sullivan thanked Superintendent Thomas for his remarks and mentioned we all share the same sentiments, this is a game changer, this is historic, and this is going to pay dividends for the City, the School and Community as a whole.  Thank you for the unanimous vote, and efforts from the Diversity, Race, Equity and Inclusion subcommittee.  Brockton was able to get the Nellie Mae grant, this was the catalyst for the financial ability to do this.

Superintendent Thomas invited Ms. Sharon Wolder, Chief Officer of Student Support Services to give an update on the ongoing professional development around Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Ms. Wolder echoed the Superintendent and said thank you in supporting the work that we’re doing related to equity, diversity and inclusion and including this position in our district it will really support the work and for those of you who were at the Curriculum meeting earlier when Principal Campbell presented his turnaround work and their commitment to the work of the diversity committee with the equity checklist included in their turnaround plan and the materials that they’re using this is really vital work to our district and to have  someone who is full-time dedicated to supporting the work and all the different levels of the work is really going to be fabulous.

We are working with Mr. Manuel Fernandez and Dr. Aminah Pilgrim to provide equity, diversity and inclusion work for faculty, they are doing cohorts of 15 people and one course had 16 people.  They are working with 45 educators with an 8-week program that runs once a week for each cohort for 2 hours and they are delivering that professional development and will continue to do after that cohort we’ll run a second round after the February vacation.

Dr. Kathy Moran, Executive Director of Human Resources has put out the ad for the eCornell course; Diversity and Inclusion and currently have one hundred educators applying for that opportunity to begin or continue taking courses.  The work around equity, diversity and inclusion continues, we’re looking at it through the lens of engagement with remote and moving toward our hybrid and what it is that going to look like when kids return to school and how to support and continue that work once we start welcoming children back into our building.

Comment
* Ms. Mendes thanked Ms. Wolder for her support especially on the Diversity, Race, Equity and
    Inclusion subcommittee as we know she has been doing a lot of this work, and a lot of others but has worked closely with her and wanted to publicly thank you for her consistency, her empowerment to empower those around her.
                        
    Winter Sports
    Superintendent Thomas discussed the Policy Subcommittee held last Tuesday, December 8, 2020 that voted and approved unanimously of the Winter Sports; basketball, swimming, ice hockey and gymnastics.

    Mr. Minichiello motioned to approve the recommendation of the Policy Subcommittee relative to allowing Winter Sports, seconded by Ms. Sullivan.

    Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote:

Mayor Sullivan, Chair – yes            
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes        
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes        
Mr. Minichiello – yes    
Mr. Rodrigues – yes
Ms. Sullivan – yes
Mr. Sullivan – yes                                
    
                        Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.
    
    Comment

* Mayor Sullivan thanked Athletic Director, Kevin Karo for his efforts and guidance.

    Student Engagement Tutoring Opportunities

    Superintendent Thomas introduced Dr. Soraya deBarros, Director of Community Schools and Ms. Melissa Sheppard, Coordinator of Extended Day/ Project Grad/ Remote Tutoring, they are overseeing a tutoring program and will present information and the benefits for our students in school.
    
    Community Schools/Remote Tutoring Program (power point)

* The need for the tutoring program
* Overview of the program
* Tutoring Services offered
* Advertising the program
* Remote tutoring by the numbers
* Number of Tutors & Bookings
* Tutoring by the numbers
* Snapshots
* Payroll – Actuals & Estimates
* How much $$$$ are we investing in our community?
* The booking process
* Teamwork
* Compliments
* A message from a parent that was share with us
* Program updates for Session 2
* Partnerships
* Questions

Superintendent Thomas thanked Dr. deBarros and Ms. Sheppard for the hard work putting this together.  He also thanked the teachers and the support staff for tutoring and dedicating their time after school to support our students.

Question/Answer

* If a tutoring appointment is missed, is it completely lost or is there a waiting list for someone else to take?
As of right now it’s a lost appointment, however we can look into the bookings app to see if there is a way to create a waiting list.

Comment

* Mayor Sullivan and School Committee members thanked the tutors and teachers that are involved in this and everyone at Community Schools that’s been working on this, it’s extremely important to have this available as a great resource for our students and families.
    
Student Opportunity Act

Superintendent Thomas mentioned we will recirculate the draft of that to the school committee.  We will need to take a vote on January 5, 2021 and then submit it to the department by January 11, 2021.  Originally, we had a draft prior to COVID-19 and we will send in the report as is.  Mr. Bath has worked a lot with us, we’ll talk again to our union Kim Gibson, BEA President on the report.

We will submit the report, “As Is”, and have the opportunity to tweak the report when we actually see money from the Student Opportunity Act, hopefully in the next budget.   

Items to Refer to Subcommittee       None

    
Unfinished Business   Mr. Sullivan discussed the Security, Safety, Transportation Subcommittee meeting held on Wednesday, December 9, 2020; Agenda Item #1, Purchases of buses.

A motion was made by Ms. Asack to authorize Superintendent Thomas to send a letter to the Mayor requesting appropriation to build our own busing transportation network, seconded by Mr. Rodrigues.

 Mr. Sullivan took a roll call vote:

Mr. Sullivan, Chair – yes                    

Ms. Asack – yes                                

Mr. Rodrigues – yes

 Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.
 
Mr. Sullivan motioned to the full committee, approval to authorize Superintendent Thomas to send a letter to the Mayor requesting appropriation to build our own busing transportation network, seconded by Mr. D’Agostino.
 
 Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote:
 
Mayor Sullivan, Chair – yes            
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes        
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes        
Mr. Minichiello – yes    
Mr. Rodrigues – yes
Ms. Sullivan – yes
Mr. Sullivan – yes    

                    Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.

Mr. Sullivan mentioned the DOJ and COPS School Violence Program (SVVP) Grant update awarded to the Brockton Public Schools for a total of $500,000 to update all the school doors, locks and radio.

Present at this meeting was Mr. Aldo Petronio, Chief Financial Officer and Dr. Jim Cobbs, Executive  Director of Operation.

No vote is needed on the second matter, Mr. Sullivan gave a summarization of the Security, Safety, Transportation Subcommittee meeting.
    
New Business              

Superintendent Thomas sent a notice to parents today regarding snow days, school will be held a full day of remote session and not cancelled unless there are power outages.

Superintendent Thomas mentioned the Superintendent’s Award ceremony will be postponed to Monday, December 21, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. via zoom, information will be emailed to the committee members.

Superintendent Thomas congratulated 1998 BHS graduate Manny DeBarros being named the new BHS Boys Basketball Head Coach.  Manny is a Brocktonian, a guidance counselor at BHS and 10- year BHS Boys Basketball Assistant Coach.

Mr. Sullivan asked will there be additional grab-and-go meals due to the upcoming snow storm.  Superintendent Thomas mentioned notices and text messages will go out to families and extra meals will be given on tomorrow, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., closed on Thursday and re-open on Friday.

Superintendent Thomas invited all to “A Virtual Holiday Concert” featuring the BHS Bands and Choirs, Monday, December 21, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.  The concert will premiere on the Brockton Community Access Channel 98 and will stream on YouTube.com on the Brockton Channel.

Mayor Sullivan thanked Superintendent’s Thomas for welcoming New England Patriots Patrick Chun, MJW Development and Muscle Movement, Inc., based in Brockton on yesterday at Central, for their kind donations of 250 toys to the boys and girls in the City of Brockton that is going to make a difference during the holiday season.  Thank you to all the people that donated, and BPS will get those out to students that would need them.   
 
Emergency Executive Session

Mayor Sullivan announced, “The Committee will enter Emergency Executive Session:  Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, § 21(a)(3), to discuss 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 not return to open session following the executive session.”
           
Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote:
   
Mayor Sullivan, Chair – yes            
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes        
Ms. Asack – yes
Ms. Mendes – yes        
Mr. Minichiello – yes    
Mr. Rodrigues – yes
Ms. Sullivan – yes
Mr. Sullivan – yes    
   
School Committee Members went into Executive Session at 8:46 p.m.
                          
                                  Respectfully submitted,
                                      Michael P. Thomas
                                      Superintendent/Secretary   
 
    mdc
                                            
    Power point:  COVID-19:  City of Brockton
                          Brockton Public Schools-DESE Partnership
                          Community Schools Remote Tutoring Program