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December 7, 2021

george school
December 7, 2021

Brockton, Massachusetts              
Regular School Committee Meeting                  
December 7, 2021
Live Stream

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

Present:  Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair, Ms. Mendes, Mr. Minichiello, Mr. Rodrigues, Ms. Sullivan, 
                 Mr. Sullivan (via zoom)
    Absent:        Mayor Sullivan, Chair, Ms. Asack

    Also Present:  Superintendent Thomas, Interim Deputy Superintendent Szachowicz,
  Executive Team Members, BEA President Kim Gibson 

Mr. D’Agostino called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. followed by a salute to the flag.  

        Mr. D’Agostino took a roll call to establish a quorum.

Mayor Sullivan, Chair – Absent Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – Here Ms. Asack – Absent Ms. Mendes – Here Mr. Minichiello – Here Mr. Rodrigues – Here   Ms. Sullivan – Here Mr. Sullivan – Here (via zoom)     
     Hearing of Visitors    Ms. Mary Waldron, Interim President of the Downtown Brockton Association (DBA).  They wish to extend their appreciation to the Brockton Public Schools for their support in the Holiday Parade.
Mr. Anthony Donegan, Jr. former Ward 3 School Committee Member.  Mr. Donegan came to say a few words on behalf of Mr. Minichiello, as he will move on as City Councilor, speaking of the tremendous service he’s given to the city in the Brockton Public Schools. 

      Consent Agenda    Mr. D’Agostino explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda, read the items aloud and asked members for any requests to remove items for further discussion.    

        Ms. Sullivan made  motion to approve the Consent Agenda, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

Voted:  to approve the motion unanimously.

Mr. D’Agostino asked that Item IV-C, Dr. Richard Herman’s presentation, be taken out of order.
Mr. Minichiello motioned to take Item IV-C, Report of Superintendent of Schools - Dr. Richard Herman, FACEP Pandemic Consultant – COVID-19 Metrics update, out of order. The motion was seconded by Ms. Sullivan.
The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. D’Agostino thanked Dr. Herman for attending the School Committee meeting this evening and turned the floor over to him.

Dr. Herman thanked School Committee members for inviting him to come back to discuss the metrics for the City of Brockton and began his presentation.

COVID-19 Update:  City of Brockton (PowerPoint)
Metric facts were reported as follows:
* Pandemic Day 634 in the City of Brockton as of December 7, 2021
* With COVID-19 trending upward, the City of Brockton COVID-19 Daily Dashboard shows:
- 17,818 confirmed cases / 616 active cases / 455 deaths overall,
- 78 currently hospitalized/15 ICU (daily average), 
- 46.4 confirmed cases per 100k, positive test is 4.63%, 83% of persons 12+ are vaccinated. 
* Brockton Children as of 12.7.2021, 0 to <18yrs: 3,170, Hospitalized: 9 (0.3%), Deaths: 0
* Brockton Resident Vaccine Status
- At least one dose as of 11/30/21: 68,777, Fully Vaccinated: 56,506, 
- As of 12/4/21: Breakthrough cases: 910, Hospitalized: 16, Deaths: 3 
* Omicron – Is a spike protein part of SARS COV2 virus that latches on to a cell and gains entry to the cell’s genetic material.
- Sentinel variant in South Africa, now rapidly across the globe.
- Not clear if Omicron is more contagious, more severe, or if the current vaccine provides protection.

There being no questions from the members present, Mr. D’Agostino invited Dr. Linda Cahill, Supervisor of Nurses, to present on COVID-19 in the Brockton Public Schools.

                    COVID-19 Update:  Brockton Public Schools (PowerPoint)
                    Dr. Cahill’s presentation included the following information:
* A review of symptoms indicating COVID-19
* Report of cases in BPS as of 1/7/21 A.M. / Students 461 (223 Elementary) Staff 116 (46 elementary)
* Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) Testing Agency provides three types of testing services.
In-school Symptomatic Testing, “Test and Stay” (Close Contact Testing) and Routine COVID Pooled Testing
* Consents for Testing as of 12/4/21 – 2,228 students and 974 staff
* Testing from CIC:  4,850 completed, 100 positive cases September-December, 31 positive in December
* Student Vaccinations Reported: 586 have 1 dose of Pfizer, 1,525 have 2 doses of Pfizer, 11 have 1 dose of Moderna (18+), 1 has Johnson & Johnson (18 +)
* Staff Survey:  1,268 responded, 1,232 are vaccinated
* Vaccination Clinics (with more to be scheduled)
December 9th – Gilmore Elementary School – 2 p.m. for students, families, and staff
December 10th – Angelo Elementary School – 8:45 a.m. for students, families, and staff
* Advice for Families, Students and Staff
- Stay home if you are not feeling well
- Test the whole house if there is a positive case
- Do not return to school until you verify test results (notify the school nurse of results)
- Relay to School staff / Board of Health, if the positive student is in outside activities, daycare, sports, clubs, etc.
- Vaccination is recommended

Ms. Mendes asked for clarification on a symptomatic student and their attendance status.
Dr. Cahill responded that if a student is an outside close contact they test on day 5 and, if negative, can return on day 8 with no symptoms.  If they’re positive they must remain out until day 11 and symptoms are resolved.  Families should inform their child’s school nurse and should ask for work to be sent home.  The student’s attendance will be waived during this period.

Ms. Mendes asked for clarification on pool testing.
Dr. Cahill explained pool testing is typically in groups of 5.  If a student tests positive within the pool the group would test again and the positive will go home.  The close contacts of the positive can do Test and Stay for 5 more days and all parents are notified.

Ms. Mendes asked for clarification from Dr. Herman on booster vaccinations.
Dr. Herman responded that, in his opinion, everyone who is six months past their last vaccination should get a booster dose of vaccine.

Mr. D’Agostino and School Committee members thanked Dr. Herman and Dr. Cahill for their professionalism and medical expertise.
      Superintendent’s          Presentation
Report                        Superintendent Thomas invited former Mayor and current Councilor-At-Large Moises Rodrigues to make a 
presentation. Councilor-At-Large Rodrigues, speaking on behalf of the Cape Verdean Association, presented a plaque to the School Committee.  He thanked School Committee Members, Superintendent Thomas, and the entire Brockton School Department for the developed partnership throughout the years and publicly express their support on behalf of the Cape Verdean Association and entire community.  (Applause)

Superintendent Thomas and School Committee members thanked Councilor-At-Large Rodrigues and the Cape Verdean Association for their cooperation in working together and serving the needs of our students in the city.  

Mural Presentation (PowerPoint)
Superintendent Thomas invited Ms. Susan Lordi, Founder of 24-Hour Power, Inc. to present a proposed mural at the Downey Elementary School.  A grant was awarded from the mayor’s office and Ms. Lordi is seeking approval from the school committee.

Ms. Lordi explained that 24-Hour Power, Inc. provides unique art forms that began with recovery graffiti in 2018, mentioning having participated in several projects in the City of Champions.  Her proposal is for the Downey Elementary School and her artist representative is a Brockton native, Jessica Picanzo, who is working with Brockton SEPAC president Terry McIntosh on this project.  

On one side of the main entrance to the school the word “Welcome” would be written in different languages.  On the other side the Downey School “duck” logo and school theme phrase of Responsibility, Rigor, Respect would be featured.  On the 108 foot side-wall of the building front, the mural would painted with children depicting the varied ethnicities represented in Brockton.  The bottom of this wall would include one handprint from each of the 600 students currently attending the Downey School. 

School Committee members all agreed the mural idea is a beautiful project and they appreciate that all Downey students would be active participants.

Superintendent Thomas will have Ms. Kellie Jones, Director of Bilingual Services connect with Ms. Lordi to provide the correct spelling of suggested languages.  Ms. Lordi will update her mural proposal and present it for discussion and potential vote during the December 21, 2021 School Committee Meeting.
Learning & Teaching    MCAS Report Student Specific Group Data (Power Point)
    Superintendent Thomas invited Dr. Ethan Cancell, Executive Director of Assessment, Accountability, 
Technology to present an MCAS Report on Student Specific Group Data, followed up with Implementation of BPS Focus Areas to Address MCAS Data by Dr. Susan Szachowicz, Interim Deputy Superintendent. 

Dr. Cancell spoke on the following:
* Student Specific Groups (SSG)
* How big of an impact do Student Specific Subgroups have on Test Scores?
- Approximately 30% of ELA and Math average scaled scores are explained by membership in the Economically Disadvantaged (Eco Dis), English Learner, or Student Disability Student Specific Group
- 70% of the score is not determined by SSG membership
- What we do in the classroom and how we deliver services matters greatly
* Demographics of 2021 Test Takers
- 60.71% African American
- 1.98% Asian
- 17.29% Hispanic Latino
- 4.73% Multi Race
- 15.30% White
* Approximately 70% of our students are in the economically disadvantaged group.
* Approximately 24% are English learners
* Approximately 18% students with disabilities

    Economically Disadvantaged - ELA (all grades) Gap = 9.8, Math (all grades) Gap = 10.6, 
                     Science (Gr. 3-8, no HS Bio) Gap = 10.9
    English Learners - ELA (all grades) Gap = 21.6, Math (all grades) Gap = 17.4
                            Science (Gr. 3-8, no HS Bio) Gap = 19.4

    Students with Disabilities - ELA (all grades) Gap = 17.6,     Math (all grades) Gap = 15.7
                 Science (Gr. 3-8, no HS Bio) Gap = 14.3

    Race/Ethnicity – Shows approximately 20 points between the top scoring groups in ELA, Math and Science.
    Comparable Urban Achievement
    ELA (all grades)
    In 2008 – Scored the highest of 9 in ELA 76.6,     In 2011 – Scored second highest 76.6
    In 2014 –  Scored in the middle 75.9 (the last year all grades tested) 

    Math (all grades)
    In 2008 – Scored  second highest 67.5, In 2011 – Scored third from the bottom 65.1
    In 2014 – Scored third from the bottom 66.7

    New Test but Similar Results in ELA (grades 3-8)
    In 2017 – Scored bottom 486.9, In 2018 – Scored bottom 486.7, 
    In 2021 – Scored second from the bottom 481.4

    New Test but Similar Results in Math (grades 3-8)
    In 2017 – Scored bottom 485.4, In 2018 – Scored bottom 483.8, 
    In 2021 – Scored second from the bottom 473.6

    Eco Dis – ELA (grades 3-8) scored second from the bottom 478.4, Eco Dis – Math (grades 3-8) scored 
    bottom 470.4, Eco Dis – Science (grades 3-8) scored third from the bottom 475.1

    English Learner ELA (grades 3-8) scored second from the bottom 466.1
    Ever English Learner ELA (grades 3-8) scored second from the bottom 474.4
    English Learner Math (grades 3-8) scored second from the bottom 460.7
    Ever English Learner Math (grades 3-8) scored bottom 468.3
    English Learner Science (grades 3-8) scored third from the bottom 463.3
    Ever English Learner (grades 3-8) scored bottom 471.5

    Students with Disabilities ELA (grades 3-8) scored third from the bottom 467
    Students with Disabilities Math (grades 3-8) scored second from the bottom 461
    Students with Disabilities SCI (grades 3-8) scored third from the bottom 466.6

    True ELA Scores by Race (average scores)
  White – 490.4    Asian – 497.0     African American –  480.3     Hispanic – 479.9     Multi – 484.5

    Average Top 100 ELA Scaled Scores
   Asian – 544    Black – 551.4    Hispanic – 549.8        Multi – 534        White – 549.7

    Top 100 ELA Scores
   Asian – 8    Black – 44        Hispanic – 15        Multi – 5            White - 28

1. Long-term negative trend for the district and SSGs.
2. Averages hide substantial variation in performance & we must be vigilant not to overgeneralize.
3. SSG membership only accounts for 30% of ELA and Math MCAS Scaled Scores, so what we do in terms of teaching and learning matters greatly!

    Implementation of BPS Focus Areas to Address MCAS Data (PowerPoint):
    Dr. Szachowicz presented the following:
    Making Data Actionable – What WE do matters! 
o Look at what the research says about the impact of teachers
 > Teachers matter more to student achievement than any other aspect of schooling. RAND Corp.
 > This goes well beyond socioeconomic status, class size, technology, curriculum, services, 
        facilities, even leadership.
 > Teachers account for 33% of student performance gains in one year and can add 3.8 months of 
        added learning in a year.
o Let’s look at what the research says about the impact of principals.
 > “Principals’ effect is not as large as teachers’ on average, but the principal’s effect is realized 
        across the school, whereas a teacher’s effect is realized in the classroom. 
        Jacob Grissom, Vanderbilt University
>  “Leadership is second only to classroom instruction among all school related factors that contribute to student learning.” Wallace Foundation
> Principals account for 25% of student performance gains in one year and can add 2.7 months of added learning in a year.
o Let’s look at what the experts say about the impact of district leadership
> “.. leaders, starting with district leadership, (1) ensure that schools pursue a severely reduced number of initiatives and (2) select and focus on only the most urgently needed, evidenced based instructional strategies…”  Mike Schmoker
> “Focused leadership:  Doing less and doing it better…What is essential for schools?  Fare more purposeful reading and writing in every discipline, or authentic literacy.” Mike Schmoker

    Superintendent’s Focus: 
1. FOCUS on Effective Instruction
2. FOCUS on Active Reading/Writing
3. FOCUS on Positive Relationships    

    BPS Instructional Initiatives:  
    BPS Lesson Plan Template 
    BPS Walkthrough Tool 
    Objectives/What they will know and be able to do

    Objectives:  Why are we doing this?
It’s the learning target – and it’s hard to hit a target if you can’t see it!
“A meta-analysis of 53 research studies (Marzano) found that when students were clear in advance about what they were learning, their achievement was, on average, 34 percentile points higher on tests used in these studies that students in the control groups.” (McRel)
    Dr. Szachowicz provided information as to what  Active Reading and Writing looks like at each level:
    elementary, middle, and high school, providing the objective, purpose, and agenda.
* Elementary – Students are being taught the appropriate discourse and clear objective
* Middle School – Students are writing, thinking through and planning
* High School – Providing Feedback on Instruction / Implementing Lesson Planning

* Mr. Minichiello asked if this uniform approach will have an impact for the future to improve student scores?
Dr. Szachowicz replied, “yes”.  Feedback from walkthrough’s at schools indicate we’re seeing changes in improvement and consistency.
* Ms. Mendes asked what are some things other cities are doing differently that we could do seeing that the percentile scores are not that far apart?
            Dr. Cancell mentions, when looking at the Marzano research there’s a saying, “it’s simple, not 
            easy.” Change in education is simple, doing it is the hard work.
* Ms. Mendes asked what a next step for visual change or improvement would be during a walkthrough?
    Dr. Szachowicz mentions a difficult challenge would be moving the rigor of the work to grade 
    level standards.
* Mr. D’Agostino asked for clarification of a walkthrough and debrief.
Dr. Szachowicz specified the intent of a walkthrough is never about a personnel evaluation, the purpose it to look at instruction across the school, getting at the focus areas.  The debrief allows the school leadership team to discuss what they’ve seen.    

Ms. Mendes thanked Dr. Szachowicz and Dr. Cancell for their presentations and hopes this energy is contagious and continue to be the role models.
Ms. Sullivan thanked Dr. Cancell and Dr. Szachowicz for their presentations and particularly liked having the objectives in the classrooms available for students to be able to see why they’re learning.

Mr. Minichiello mentioned the entire district needs to have a solid structural framework that is implemented at all schools with consistency and instruction. 

Superintendent Thomas thanked Dr. Szachowicz and Dr. Cancell for their presentations.

     Items to Refer to           None

     Unfinished Business      None
     New Business              Discussion and Potential Vote from the Policy Manual Subcommittee Meeting – December 7, 2021
Ms. Sullivan gave a verbal report of the Policy Manual Subcommittee meeting held earlier this evening. 

Ms. Alyssa Haggerty, Special Project Leader presented Policies E & L discussing the changes and recommendations made by MASC and our attorney.  The subcommittee recommended to accept the revisions as presented and bring the recommendation forward to the full school committee for approval.  
Ms. Mendes motioned to accept the policy revisal of sections E & L of the School Committee Policy Manual, seconded by Ms. Sullivan.
The motion passed unanimously.

    Discussion and Potential Vote from the Accounts Review Subcommittee Meeting
    Mr. D’Agostino gave a verbal report of the Accounts Review Subcommittee meeting held on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.  Several questions were posed and answered by Budget Manager, Michael Bandis.  Subsequently, the subcommittee recommended to accept the warrants as presented.

Ms. Mendes motioned to accept the verbal report of the Accounts Review Subcommittee as presented, seconded by Ms. Sullivan.
The motion passed unanimously.

    Discussion and Potential Vote from the Bid Review Subcommittee Meeting –  November 30, 2021
    Mr. Sullivan gave a verbal report of the Bid Review Subcommittee meeting held on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.

Mr. Sullivan motioned to accept the verbal report of the Bid Review Subcommittee as presented, seconded by Mr. Minichiello.
The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Sullivan motioned to accept the favorable recommendation of the Bid Review Subcommittee as presented, seconded by Ms. Sullivan.
The motion passed unanimously.

Superintendent Acknowledgement
Superintendent Thomas congratulated the Brockton High Drama Club, Mr. Hogan, Mr. Cunningham and students for a  job well done during last week’s performance “Rumors” by Neil Simon.  

Superintendent Announcement
Superintendent Thomas invited all to the Brockton High School Holiday Concert on December 14th & 15th sponsored by the Music Department.  The concert begins at 6:00 p.m. admission is $3.00 per person. 

Seeing no further business, Mr. D’Agostino then asked for a motion to adjourn.

Ms. Mendes motioned to adjourn, seconded by Ms. Sullivan.
The motion passed unanimously.

    The meeting adjourned at 9:41 p.m.
                     Respectfully submitted,

Michael P. Thomas

PowerPoint:  COVID-19 Update, City of Brockton, School Committee Update on COVID, 
2021 MCAS Student Specific Group Analysis, Making Data Actionable

Handout:  Downey School Mural Presentation