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May 4, 2021

george school

Brockton, Massachusetts
Regular School Committee Meeting

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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.

 Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m., followed by a salute to the flag.
 
 Mr. D’Agostino 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 98 and /1071HD Version.

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

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

Mayor Sullivan, Chair – absent        
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, Richard Bath

Hearing of Visitors    None    

Consent Agenda    

Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members if they would like to remove any items for further discussion.  
        
Mr. Sullivan moved the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the following Consent Agenda Items, seconded by Ms. Asack.

           A. Approval of Minutes:  April 6, 2021 Regular School Committee Meeting                                    
           B. Approval of Minutes:  April 6, 2021 Finance Subcommittee Meeting                             
           C. Approval of Minutes:  April 6, 2021 Facilities Usage & Planning Subcommittee Meeting                      
           D. Approval of Minutes:  February 2, 2021 Security, Safety, Transportation  Subcommittee Meeting        
           E. Approval of Minutes:  February 2, 2021 Finance Subcommittee Meeting                         
           F. Approval of Minutes:  February 2, 2021 Facilities Usage & Planning Subcommittee Meeting                 
           G. Approval of Minutes:  January 19, 2021 Diversity, Race, Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee Meeting        
           H. Approval of Minutes:  January 19, 2021 Policy Subcommittee Meeting                    
           I. Approval of Minutes:  January 12, 2021 Curriculum Subcommittee Meeting                         
           J. Acknowledgement of State Delegation for FY21 Earmark Appropriated from MA Department of                
           Conservation and Recreation - $75,000                                
           K. Requests for Authorization to Submit Proposals and Expenditure of Funds                
               1. Executive Office of Education Pre-K to 3 Remote Learning Partnership Grant - $356,381           
               2. FY2021 Community Development Block Grant Application to Brockton Redevelopment Authority – $41,245      
               3. MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education FAFSA Completion Grant - $25,000       
               4. Brockton Cultural Council Grant Program - $4,614                            
               5. DESE  FY21 Financial Literary Planning and Implementation Grant - $15,000                  
               6. Massachusetts Cultural Council STARS Residencies Grant Program - $4,250                  
               7. DESE  FY21 Safe and Supportive Schools Grant Program - $20,000                        
               8. DESE  FY21 Secondary Virtual Course Access Grant - $288,157                       
               9. DESE  Integrating SEL into Academic Learning Grant - $10,000                          
               10. MA Life Science Center SEM Equipment and Professional Development Grant Program - $77,356    
               11. DESE  Summer Food Service Grant Program - $14,600                        
               12. DESE FY21-22 Expanded Learning Time Grant Program - $380,316 ($165,903 FY21 and $214,413 FY22)    
               13. MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education FY2022 Career and Technical Education     
               Partnership Implementation Grant - $532,600
               14. Promoting K-12 Student Achievement at Military - Connected Schools Grant - $3,000,000        
        15. DESE Student Opportunity Act Evidence-Based Programs Grant - $100,000                
           L. Acceptance of Notification:  Personnel Appointments:  Certified Personnel                
           M. Acceptance of Notification: Personnel Appointments:  Non-Certified Personnel
           N. Acceptance of Notification: Personnel Actions:  Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements  

Mr. D’Agostino took a roll call vote to approve the Consent Agenda items:
    
Mayor Sullivan, Chair – absent        
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. D’Agostino mentioned Mayor Sullivan had a prior meeting commitment and would attend later this evening.
    
 Communication    

Mr. Sullivan motioned to approve the request from the Elections Commission to use the following schools as polling places during the 2021 election cycle on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 and Tuesday, November 2, 2021, seconded by Mr. Rodrigues.

Kennedy Elementary        
Downey Elementary        
South Middle            
Hancock Elementary
West Middle        
Gilmore Elementary        
Davis Elementary        
East Middle
Raymond Elementary        
Brookfield Elementary        
Ashfield Elementary    
North Middle
Barrett Russell School
    
As requested, all buildings will be opened by 6:00 a.m. and will remain open until 8:00 p.m.      

Mr. D’Agostino took a roll call vote:

Mayor Sullivan, Chair – absent        
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

Return to Full-Time Learning for BHS & Waiver

Superintendent Thomas mentioned the Department of Education released the guidance for high schools to return to full time in person by May 17th.  Brockton High School  is the largest high school in the Commonwealth and among the largest on the east coast.  There are 4,046 students enrolled at BHS.  Through the feasibility study, it was determined that the average class is 30x24 which can accommodate an absolute maximum of 18 students at three feet of space.  The majority of classrooms can only fit 12 desks at three feet of space due to accessibility and fire safety concerns, and average class sizes are 29 and electives at 32.  Superintendent Thomas asked Dr. Murray, Principal of Brockton High to give an update on the feasibility study.

Dr. Murray made it clear that all of us would prefer the students to return and not a decision taken lightly.  We’ve looked at a variety of scenarios and it’s simply not feasible to return all students back to the high school, remain in compliance with social distancing standards and provide the appropriate supervision and instruction for all our students.  

Questions/Answers

* Mr. D’Agostino asked utilizing space in the cafeterias and gyms would that help?
Yes, you could use the space, but you will need additional supervision for the students.
* Mr. D’Agostino asked once the seniors are gone will that free up enough space?
No, there are approximately 800 seniors and still have an excess of 2,000 students.
* Ms. Sullivan asked are the chairs 3ft. apart and would you need the same for the aisles?
Yes, you would need 3ft. of space for both, fire exits and egress.

Question on the motion

* Mr. Minichiello asked do we have any information regarding the number of student and parents who wish to remain via zoom?

Superintendent Thomas responded, it fluctuates between 1,000 and 1,500

Mayor Sullivan motioned to approve Superintendent Thomas to submit a waiver to remain at 50% for Brockton High School, seconded by Ms. Asack.

    Mr. D’Agostino 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.

New Graduation Guidance

Superintendent Thomas updated the committee on the following:
* Students are allowed to sit 3ft. apart
* The procession to the field
* Senior students are allowed 6 tickets each
* Two buildings will have their ceremony
* The chorus can perform

Graduation ceremony

June 4th – Huntington and Keith School at 5:30 p.m.
June 5th – Brockton High School:  Green & Red Building at 11:00 a.m. & Azure & Yellow Building at 2:30 p.m. (June 6th – Rain Date)
July 15th – Edison Academy (tbd)

Transition to Trimesters K-8 (Power Point)

Superintendent Thomas introduced Dr. Ethan Cancell, Dr. Heather Ronan, and Ms. Kate Gearon to present and discuss the difference between trimesters K-8 and four terms.  The Assessment Team has worked on and something for the school committee to consider and would go to a Policy Subcommittee meeting and bargained if we consider trimesters K-8.

Dr. Cancell introduced what the Assessment Team is, it began under the last strategic plan that would meet regularly and continued.  The team has representatives from Special Education, Bilingual Department from the High School, Elementary, Alternatives, Kim Gibson, BEA President, coaches who represents Math and ELA.  He thanked all the members of the team for the great work they’ve done.  One of the things they worked on is when grading windows should be and when terms should start and end.  By doing that work they came up with ideas of how we can do better meet the needs of students and families.

Dr. Ronan explained the difference between a trimester and a semester.

* We currently have semester K-8 (4 terms), A trimester would reduce to 3 terms
* There are 45 days per term, A trimester would have 60 days per term
* Both Trimester and Semester Parent conferences would  take place  2 times per year
* Rationale for trimesters – allows more time for data collection prior to the term ending
* This enables teachers to have a clearer picture of their students’ progress to communicate to families
* Allows more time to show growth, enact RtI, and progress monitor students
* Strengthen communication with families through mid-point progress at all levels
    
Ms. Gearon discussed the change in conferences, having them mid-term (five weeks prior to grades closing) it would allow parents/families to talk to teachers about their child’s performance in time to remediate and intervene before the end of the term, and time to create some safety nets for students and look at socially, emotionally and academically and come up with a plan so students have the opportunity to make progress before the end of the term.

Dr. Cancell presented a proposed calendar (draft) of what a trimester would look like.  This would help to improve communication between teachers and their families that would benefit students.

Questions/Answers

* Mr. Minichiello asked were the conditions fit for this at this time?
Dr. Cancell replied yes, based upon feedback this school year.  This will provide opportunities for  parents and teachers to work on specific information to support their kids and have time to see the impact of these interventions next year.
* Ms. Asack asked is this something the parents asked for, and sees it as a benefit for students?
Superintendent Thomas replied this trimester would give the opportunity to help improve if a student is struggling and needs additional support.
* Ms. Asack asked, have other districts used the trimester?
Superintendent responded yes other districts have used the trimesters and will have Dr. Cancell get a list at a policy subcommittee meeting, we will use the trimester for K-8.
* Ms. Asack asked, how long has Ashfield and Plouffe been using the trimester?
Dr. Cancell replied, it stopped due to scheduling and staff due to budget cuts in the past, but when they had it, they like it.
* Ms. Asack asked, having the trimesters was there a significant change?
Dr. Cancell suggests having Dr. Barbara Lovell, Principal of Ashfield Middle school at a Policy Subcommittee meeting to discuss changes and progress with students having trimesters .

Mr. D’Agostino mentioned we will have a Policy Subcommittee meeting to discuss further into the trimesters K-8.

FY22 Budget Update

Superintendent Thomas asked Mr. Aldo Petronio, Chief Financial Officer to give an update from the Finance Subcommittee meeting held earlier this evening on FY21 and FY22 non-net school spending and net school spending.  

Mr. Petronio discussed the FY21 and FY22 Non-Net School Spending and Net School Spending to the committee explaining the differences in revenues and expenses.  The City has not set their budget, Mr. Troy Clarkson, City Financial Officer is working on the Health Insurance costs which is a large factor in our budget, once finalized we’ll be able to finalize our portion of the budget.  

Mr. Petronio took all expenses from FY21 and increased those expenses by our know current increases and contracts.  As discussed in the Finance Subcommittee meetings, additions to make to the budget that Superintendent Thomas brought forward on additional positions for teaching, learning, student opportunities, summer programs and additional personnel the budget balanced out at $205 million dollars to date, hopefully the funds will pass from the house to the senate budget and compromised committee.

The budget  a great budget this year that will allow the school committee to put programs back where needed to benefit our students.

Mayor Sullivan, Mr. D’Agostino and Mr. Minichiello thanked everyone who supported the advocacy and team effort.  A special thanks to  Mayor Carpenter, Mayor Rodrigues, City Council, State Delegations , Mr. Petronio, BPS/CFO, Mr. Troy Clarkson/ City/CFO, past and current members of the School Committee, Superintendent Kathleen Smith, Superintendent Michael Thomas, Teachers, Parents and Students.  

Items to Refer to Subcommittee

 Mr. D’Agostino mentioned the following:

Public Hearing – FY2022 School Budget and Public Hearing – FY2022 School Choice both meetings will take place on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.

Mr. D’Agostino mentioned we will schedule a  Policy Subcommittee meeting to further examine the issue of trimesters.

Unfinished Business                    

Brockton High School, MSBA Statement of Interest (SOI) Plan to submit Ms. Asack discussed the Facilities Usage and Planning Subcommittee held earlier this evening to resubmit the 2021 MSBA SOI application due by June 25, 2021 and is looking for a motion.

                 Ms. Asack read the following for the record.

                                            The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has opened the window for filing 2021 SOI’s for their
                                            accelerated repair and CORE renovation programs.  We are seeking permission from the School Committee to file
                                            an application with the MSBA CORE program for Brockton High School, 470 Forest Avenue, Brockton, MA
                                            02301 on/or before June 25, 2021.

Mr. Minichiello motioned to accept the recommendation of the Facilities Usage and Planning, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

Mr. D’Agostino 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. Minichiello motioned to authorize the Superintendent to submit to the Massachusetts School Building Authority the Statement of Interest form dated on/or before June 25, 2021, for Brockton High School, 470 Forest Avenue, Brockton, MA 02301, which describes and explains the following deficiencies and the priority category(s) for which an application may be submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority in the future:  Brockton High School – full renovation; and hereby further specifically acknowledges that by submitting this Statement of Interest Form, the Massachusetts School Building Authority, or commits the City/Town/Regional School District to filing an application for funding with the Massachusetts School Building Authority, seconded by Mr. Rodrigues.

Mr. D’Agostino 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 respectfully asked Mayor Sullivan if Ward 3 Councilor, Mr. Dennis Eaniri could file for this to go before the City Council, we will need two approved votes to send in with the application by June 25, 2021, Mayor Sullivan will call Mr. Eaniri on this matter.
              
Approval of Bid Review Subcommittee Meeting, May 4, 2021

Mr. Sullivan discussed the Bid Review Subcommittee held earlier this evening to discuss the agenda item that was put out for bid, three companies had requested information and only one had bid.  After discussion of the Student Transportation bid, a motion was made by Ms. Sullivan to accept the Bid(s) as presented.  The motion was seconded by Mr. D’Agostino, and the vote was unanimous and brought favorably to the full school committee for approval.  

Mr. Sullivan motioned to accept the Bid Review report as read, seconded by Mr. Minichiello.

Mr. D’Agostino 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 motioned to ratify the bid from the Bid Review Subcommittee on May 4, 2021, seconded by Mr. Minichiello.

Mr. D’Agostino 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.

New Business                  

Early Education Extended Day Rate Increase (action requested)

Superintendent Thomas invited Ms. Melissa Sheppard, Coordinator of Extended Day/Project Grad to discuss the rate increase and proposal.

Ms. Sheppard  discussed the periodic rate increase notification from the Department of Early Education and Care in order to remain in good standing with our contract.  It is requested that we keep pace with these reimbursement rates for our subsidized slots.  There are two contracts, one is a teen contract that supports our teen parents at Brockton High and the other is an income eligible contract that supports our families who attend extended day and meet income guidelines to qualify for subsidized childcare. This is a 2% increase and the new rate would begin in September 2021.

Question/Answers

* Mr. Minichiello asked approximately how many families would be affected by this rate change that pay out of pocket compared to a voucher?
Ms. Sheppard mentioned we have approximately 400 private pay families and approximately 250 families on a subsidy.
* Mr. Minichiello asked do you feel this 2% increase will negatively impact the number of families that are currently using this service?
Ms. Sheppard said many of the daycares in the Brockton area  all accept childcare vouchers and they are accepting this rate increase and staying in compliance with our contract.  If we don’t increase, we could eventually run into a problem with the department in our contract that’s renewed yearly in July.

* Superintendent Thomas asked Mr. Petronio, what would happen if we put off increasing rates until September?
Mr. Petronio mentioned we would have to make up the difference of approximately $8,000 for 250 students for the summer.

* Mayor Sullivan thanked Ms. Sheppard for the information.  Due to the devastation of COVID and the impact it’s had in Brockton he and Superintendent Thomas talked and they will take the funds from non-net, it’s the right thing to do.  Mayor Sullivan asked if we could hold on taking a vote on the rate increase later after July 1st it may give us a little more guidance to see if we can give additional breaks to the families in Brockton, there are no promises but I would be the right thing to do.  The committee agreed to put this item on the agenda in July and invite Ms. Sheppard to come back.

* Superintendent Thomas mentioned the Brockton High School Drama Club is going to present “On With The Show” next Thursday, May 13th – 8:00 p.m., Friday, May 14th – 8:00 p.m., Saturday, May 15th – 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and rain date Sunday, May 16th – time tbd.  He thanked the School Committee for fully funding the Drama Club, building the set and sound system so students didn’t have to go out and raise money this year.  They’re thrilled and have been working hard; Mr. Hogan, Ms. Carol Thomas, Ms. Sarah Richards, and staff that works with the students in the drama club to put his production on.  The outside seating capacity is 300 and spread out in the parking lot to follow guidelines, by all accounts it’s going to be a great show.

* Mayor Sullivan thanked Vice-Chair D’Agostino for stepping up to run the meeting due to a conflict meeting at City Hall.

Executive Session                

Mr. D’Agostino, informed School Committee members it was confirmed with Superintendent Thomas and legal counsel executive session was not needed this evening.    
    
                    Seeing no further business Ms. Mendes motioned to adjourn, seconded by Ms. Asack.
    
                    Mr. D’Agostino 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     
                            
                          The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
                          
                                         Respectfully submitted,
                                             Michael P. Thomas
                                             Superintendent/Secretary   
 
     mdc
                                             
         Power point:  Trimester Proposal 2021-2022
         Handouts:  Waiver Request letter BHS, BPS Drama Club Flyer:  “On With The Show”