January 18, 2022
Brockton, Massachusetts Regular School Committee Meeting January 18, 2022
The Regular Meeting of the Brockton School Committee was held this evening in the George M. Romm Little Theatre at Brockton High School, at seven o'clock. These minutes contain a summary of the meeting and list items that were under discussion.
Present: Ms. Asack, Vice-Chair, Ms. Ehlers, Mr. Homer, Ms. Rivas Mendes, Mr. Rodrigues,
Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan
Absent: Mayor Sullivan, Chair
Also Present: Superintendent Thomas, Executive Team Members
Ms. Asack, Vice-Chair called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. followed by a salute to the flag.
Ms. Asack mentioned Mayor Sullivan is unable to attend this evening, as he is attending a conference in Washington.
Ms. Asack, Vice-Chair took a roll call to establish a quorum.
Ms. Asack, Vice-Chair – Here
Ms. Ehlers - Here
Mr. Homer – Here
Ms. Rivas Mendes – Here
Mr. Rodrigues – Here
Ms. Sullivan – Here
Mr. Sullivan – Here
Hearing of Visitors There were no hearing of visitors.
Consent Agenda Ms. Asack explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda, read the items aloud and asked members for any requests to remove items for further discussion. No items were removed for discussion.
Ms. Sullivan made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda, seconded by Ms. Ehlers.
Voted: to approve the motion passed unanimously.
Report Superintendent Thomas explained that Dr. Richard Herman, Pandemic Consultant for the City, was
pared to present, via Zoom, an update on the COVID Omicron variant and how the numbers are looking.
Dr. Herman thanked Superintendent Thomas and the School Committee members for inviting him to come back and discuss the metrics for the City of Brockton.
COVID-19 Update: City of Brockton (PowerPoint)
Metric facts were reported as follows:
· Pandemic Day 676 in the City of Brockton as of January 18, 2022
· With COVID-19 trending upward, the City of Brockton COVID-19 Daily Dashboard shows:
- Daily Case Count on January 3, 2022 shows a drastic uptick of 782
- 27,243 confirmed cases / 2,490 active cases / 488 deaths overall
- 140 currently hospitalized / 15 ICU (daily average),
- 361 confirmed cases per 100k, positive test is 29.17%, total cases during 14-day period, 5,011
· Brockton children as of January 17, 2022, 0 to <18yrs: confirmed 4,928, Hospitalized: 10 (0.18%), Deaths: 0
· Brockton Resident Vaccine Status
- As of 1/11/22: Total Population 44.3% Primary Series, 21.0% Unvaccinated, 20.2% Boosted, 14.6% Partial
- As of 1/8/22: Brockton Breakthrough Cases: 58,795 Fully Vaxed: 3,543 Breakthrough 34 Hospitalized: 11 Deaths
· Omicron is a spike protein of the 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.
- Yes, Omicron is more contagious than the Delta variant or any previous variants
· Ms. Rivas Mendes asked if having two doses of vaccine will protect at 35% percent, and the booster at 35-40%, by having all three would you be protected by 70%?
Dr. Herman replied that receiving the series and booster you would have 75% efficacy against serious illness from the Omicron variant.
· Ms. Rivas Mendes asked is there a way to get additional test sites in Brockton and how can we advocate for that?
Dr. Herman mentioned we’ve advocated with the state in getting the additional “Stop the Spread site” (register on-line) at the Shaw’s’ Center, it’s not likely that any additional testing sites will be added in Brockton. Work is being done internally to explore other options and locations and a supply of home test kits with instructions. At home testing relies on the honor system of reporting.
· Ms. Asack for clarification regarding the USPS free home test kits.
Dr. Herman mentioned all USA residents can visit the website to order the home kit. Email: www.covidtests.gov
· Ms. Asack asked for clarification on close contact as many parents have reached out to her with concerns of their children in the schools.
Superintendent Thomas mentioned DESE is coming up with a new program, as it is unmanageable to keep up with the contract tracing. Rapid tests will go out every week and eliminate contact tracing.
· Ms. Ehlers asked if the CDC guidelines on isolating is still outlined by “fully vaccinated” or isolating based off whether you’re boosted, or does it make a difference?
Dr. Herman mentioned isolation means you’ve tested positive you isolate for 5 days. If you’re exposed to someone who has tested positive, then you go into quarantine. The rules vary depending on your vaccination status.
· Mr. Sullivan asked about an end to COVID 19.
Dr. Herman stated that COVID is here to stay and is not going away. We will have to learn to live with it and adapt.
Ms. Asack thanked Dr. Herman for attending and educating us on COVID.
Superintendent Thomas gave a shout out to the Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Aldo Petronio who was hospitalized with COVID. He is now home recovering and is wished well by all.
District Review Report Update (PowerPoint)
Superintendent Thomas presented his mid-year report to the School Committee. This report is in response to the DESE District Review Report that was released the summer of 2019.
OBJECTIVES: I will
1. Review key recommendations from the District Review
2. Highlight what has already been implemented in each section of the District Review
3. Identify what still needs to be done
Background on the District Review:
· Purpose: “establishing or strengthening a cycle of continuous improvement”
· Focused on… “districts whose students achieve at low levels either in absolute terms or relative to
districts that educate similar populations.”
Elements that Point to School Improvement
Ø We now have a DESE partnership
Ø We are taking focused action on every section of the District Review
Ø This is about focus and accountability
I. Leadership and Governance (Key Points/Goals)
Ø The district has not established a culture of collective responsibility for district and school improvement.
Ø There is little evidence that the district acted upon the recommendations of the 2014 District Review Report.
Ø The culture in Brockton is one of congeniality in which staff members care about students…district leaders have lowered expectations for themselves and students
Ø Brockton has become a district of schools, rather than a school district.
Ø What we have put in place: Hired key administrative positions, development of three Focus Areas, data analysis meetings in every school, alignment of School Improvement and Turnaround Plans with Focus Areas, dedicated In-service days on Instruction and implementing Active Reading/Writing strategy to target MCAS and essential skills.
II. Curriculum and Instruction (Key Points/Goals)
Ø Inconsistencies and low ratings within and across school levels in terms of implementing an instructional model that reflects evidence-based best practice.
Ø What we have put in place: High quality curriculum materials including Professional Development, faculty meetings include PD on Focus Areas, use of a common lesson plan template and walkthrough tool and debriefing on walkthroughs, writing lesson objective, protocol for looking at student work and establishment of a Virtual School.
Ø Students who are clear in advance about what they are learning are on average 34 percentile points higher in achievement.
Ø Goals to be accomplished: PK-5EL program aligned to standards, PD on effective instruction to increase rigor, student engagement, accelerated learning on standards-based grade level work, develop an Early College Program providing an Associated Degree, consistent Middle School schedules and curriculum.
III. Assessment (Key Points/Goals)
Ø The district has not established a culture of shared responsibility for using common assessments aligned with state standards to guide teaching and learning.
Ø What we have put in place: Data meetings, regular formative assessments tracking student progress, targeted MCAS preparation on Active Reading/Writing using Multiple Selections.
Ø Goals to be accomplished: Review assessment practice on informing instruction, develop a District Assessment Calendar coordinating assessments, systematic collection and review of student work and development of Common Assessments at BHS.
IV. Human Resources and Professional Development (Key Points/Goals)
Ø The district has not taken advantage of evidenced based practices to elevate the level of instruction, Principals have not received documented performance evaluations or been held accountable for improvements in their schools and teacher evaluations show limited high-quality feedback needed to bring about improvement in teaching and learning.
Ø What we have put in place: A diverse cadre of teachers and support staff, key leadership positions, comprehensive evaluation system, training in evaluation strategies and feedback, faculty meetings being used for Focus Area PD and a process for administrative interviews that ensure equity.
Ø Goals still to be accomplished: Teacher licensure assistance, organization of affinity groups to support and retain new educators and provide more district wide PD to address improving instruction that supports our Focus Areas.
V. Student Support (Key Points/Goals)
Ø The district serves a large, diverse, urban student population, 73.4% of which are designated high need, meaning economically disadvantage, students with disabilities and English Language Learners. These students need more effective academic support related to their inclusion in the general education setting.
Ø What we have put in place: Conducted an external assessment of the SpEd Department resulting in team support IN every school and hiring additional staff in all SpEd specialist designations. Conducting a Self-Assessment in Bilingual Education, hiring additional staff and including bilingual staff in all PD.
In Equity: Established an Equity, Diversity & Inclusion office which held the full educator PD, Achieving Change Together, focus on academic acceleration for Talented and Gifted at all levels and developed a position supporting Early College/Dual Enrollment partnerships.
In School Climate: Added the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Rewards program training in MSs and Champion, Restorative Justice training, and staff supporting Culture and Climate, Behavior Interventionists, School Adjustment Counselors and mentors.
Ø Goals still to be accomplished: More PD on Culturally Responsive teaching and BPIS throughout all school levels. Redesign the bilingual model to ensure equity and inclusion and work on inclusion for students with disabilities.
VI. Financial and Asset Management (Key Points/Goals)
Ø The district has a well-developed maintenance and capital planning process that is in harmonious cooperation with the city. The district should develop a comprehensive budget document that details how the budget is aligned with school goals.
Ø What we have put in place: A six-year capital plan based on the Municipal and School Facilities Study and Master Plan, renovation projects on many schools, shift in priorities in response to COVID, launched a new bus company and purchased additional school space.
Ø Goals in process and ongoing still to be accomplished: Develop the school budget, address space issues, review of security systems and renovation of BHS.
Ø This is a year about accountability and Accountability is NOT a personal attack – it is about our students’ achievement
Ø What gets monitored is what gets done – we haven’t been taking care of that for quite a while.
Ø We have to show results this year; we CAN show results this year!
Ø Brockton kids are as good as any other kids anywhere – their achievement is about us, it’s about the adults.
· Mr. Sullivan asked if DESE set up a timeline when this must be completed.
Superintendent Thomas mentioned not there is not a timeline. The agreement is a three-year process that that began September 2021, and the new strategic plan is a six-year plan. He reported that he meets every two weeks, monitoring progress.
· Ms. Ehlers asked about measures and metrics in place to be able to identify student outcomes and how is the morale of faculty and staff.
Superintendent Thomas reported that a lot of the new curriculum was purchased pre-pandemic and put in place at the elementary and middle school. He acknowledged people are stressed however, we’re still accountable to parents to ensure we’re giving their children the best education we can. With COVID absences, we are all struggling but we keep moving forward.
Ms. Asack thanked Superintendent Thomas for the presentation and asked about the progress at the May Center?
Superintendent Thomas anticipates the building to be ready by the end of February pending upgrades and repairs, however, this may move to March should projects dictate.
Items to Refer to Superintendent Thomas is requesting the Diversity, Race, Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee work with
Subcommittee Executive Director of EDI, Ms. Renée Heywood and her team to develop a, Equity Policy draft and present
it to the Policy Manual Subcommittee.
Unfinished Business Discussion and Potential vote on the 2022 Subcommittee Assignments
A document listing of the 2022 Subcommittees assignment was presented.
Ms. Sullivan moved to accept notification of the 2022 Subcommittee Assignments as stated in the written document, seconded by Ms. Rivas Mendes.
The motion passed unanimously.
Discussion and Potential vote on the Approval of Rules and Orders of the School Committee
The Rules and Orders of the School Committee are subject to Annual Ratification.
Mr. Rodrigues moved to adopt the Rules and Orders for 2022 as presented, seconded by Ms. Ehlers.
The motion passed unanimously.
New Business Discussion and Potential vote on Diversity, Race, Equity and Inclusion Workshop Training for School Committee Members
Ms. Rivas Mendes discussed and requested a motion be granted for the Diversity, Race, Equity and Inclusion Workshop of three additional hours be provided to the 2022 School Committee Members. This workshop will focus on Centering Equity in Policy & Practices and Decision Making.
Ms. Mendes motioned to approve an additional three hours for the workshop on Centering Equity in Policy Practices and Decision Making on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, seconded by Ms. Ehlers.
The motion passed unanimously.
Superintendent Thomas gave an update on Brockton High School regarding a recent non-life-threatening incident that occurred between two students on Friday, January 14, 2022. He acknowledged, times have changed and this has been a trying year at Brockton High School with many incidents and mentions things must change for the better. There is a need to have more adults in the building and welcomes any suggestions when it comes to protecting students and staff.
Recently a Community Allies job position was posted for Brockton High School. This job will help assist in safety and security, particularly in hallways, cafeterias, and doors throughout the building. Training in de-escalation and on how to approach students will be provided to all employees prior to starting. The position is hourly and will end on June 30, 2022, unless otherwise approved by the School Committee.
Mr. Sullivan asked about how many positions they are looking to fill and is this for Brockton High School only.
Superintendent Thomas mentioned he would like to hire up to 20 Full-time and part-time positions at Brockton High School at this moment.
Ms. Asack thanked the Brockton NAACP for inviting Superintendent Thomas and School Committee members to their Annual Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., this past Saturday (1/15/22). Superintendent Thomas extended a special thank you to the keynote speaker, BPS Executive Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Ms. Renée Heywood.
Ms. Asack wished a Happy Birthday (belated) to Mr. Sullivan and a Happy Birthday (early) Ms. Rivas Mendes.
Ms. Asack thanked the School Committee members for attending tonight’s meeting and looks forward to working together on behalf of our students, and our families in Brockton and BPS. She mentioned this is her first meeting as Vice-Chair and stated, “It’s an honor to hold this position, being a five-year old coming from another country and English not being my first language.” She is very proud to represent her community.
Mr. Rodrigues asked about the absence of the Student Representative for the School Committee. Superintendent Thomas replied that the current SR is in the middle of his basketball season and will return after the season is over. The Superintendent will work with Principal Burns to identify a temporary replacement.
Seeing no further business, Ms. Asack entertained a motion to adjourn.
Mr. Homer motioned to adjourn, seconded by Ms. Rivas Mendes.
The meeting adjourned at 9:19 p.m.
Michael P. Thomas
PowerPoint: COVID-19 Update, City of Brockton
Superintendent’s Mid-Year Report to the Brockton School Committee