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October 20, 2020

george school
October 20, 2020

Brockton, Massachusetts           

Regular School Committee Meeting            

October 20, 2020


The Regular Meeting of the Brockton School Committee was held this evening in the George M. Romm Little Theatre at Brockton High School, at six-thirty.  These minutes contain a summary of the meeting and list items that were under discussion.

    Present:   Mayor Sullivan, Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair, Ms. Asack, Ms. Mendes, Mr. Minichiello, Mr. Rodrigues, Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan, Superintendent Thomas

Absent:  None

Also Present:  Executive Team Members, Kim Gibson BEA President

Mayor Sullivan called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m., followed by a salute to the flag.

Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote 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

Hearing of Visitors    

Radi Sullivan, BHS student shared his concerns for the re-opening of schools on November 19, 2020.

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, there were none.  

Mr. D’Agostino moved the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the Consent Agenda in its entirety:  the motion was seconded by Ms. Sullivan.

Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

A.  Approval of Minutes:  October 6, 2020 Regular School Committee Meeting
B.  Acceptance of October 13, 2020 Curriculum Subcommittee Minutes
C.  Approval of 2020-2021 Home Education Requests
D.  Authorization to Submit Nellie Mae Education Foundation Educators for Black Lives Grant - $30,000
E.  Authorization to Submit FY21 MassGrads Promising Practices Grant (FC320) for Edison Academy to MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education - $20,000
F.   Notification of Personnel Appointments:  Certified Personnel
G.  Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions:  Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements

Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote to approve the Consent Agenda in its entirety:
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

DESE District Review Presentation

Superintendent Thomas welcomed the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Mr. Russell Johnston, Senior Associate Commissioner for the Center for District Support, Mr. Robert Curtin, Associate Commissioner for Data and Accountability, Mr. Daniel Anderson, Associate Commissioner, Ms. Susan Berglund, our Liaison and Director of Regional Assistance and looks forward to a partnership as we move forward to rebuild our strategic plan and improvement plan.

Mr. Johnston spoke on a conversation had with Superintendent Thomas regarding the district review and appreciates the openness being able to look at the strengths of the district and the areas for improvement and work together with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to think about what resources can we all bring to bear together to continue to make things better for the students of this public school system.  

Mr. Curtin thanked Superintendent Thomas, Team members and particularly Dr. Ethan Cancell as the point person, the district reviews a fair amount of work on the part of the district to prepare and wanted to acknowledge their visit successful.   

Mr. Curtin presented and summarized the District Review report to the School Committee.  It contains a series of both strength, challenges and findings for each and recommendations and looks forward to this new partnership.   

Power point

1. District review goals and process
* Goals
* Key elements of the process
* Before and during onsite visit
* After onsite visit
2. Overview of report format
* 6 district standards
* Introduction
* Results by standards
* Supplemental data
3. Summary and discussion of findings
* Leadership and Governance – Strength
* Leadership and Governance – Challenges
* Curriculum and Instruction – Strengths
* Curriculum and Instruction – Challenges
* Assessment – Strengths
* Assessment – Challenges
* Human Resources and Professional Development – Strength
* Human Resources and Professional Development – Challenges
* Student Support – Strength
* Student Support – Challenges
* Financial and Asset Management – Strength
* Findings:  Financial and Asset Management
4. Questions

* Mr. D’Agostino asked for clarification on curriculum instruction challenges (slide #14) item #2, District is not ensured that all students have equitable access to pursue a range of rigorous coursework and learning experience.
The data shows that students are ready to take rigorous and advanced coursework than they are taking throughout the commonwealth. Specifically, in Brockton some students are ready to take more rigorous curriculum is those most historically marginalized.  The district needs to look at whether or not they are finding all students are ready to approach a more rigorous course load.

Mr. Johnston discussed the question, “now and what”.  He thanked Superintendent Thomas and his team in coming together and begin to do the planning that this report recommends.  We also need to establish a strategic plan providing the education that we really want for our students, pick a few key target improvement areas and set goals around them and collect data about our progress we can see advancements and our students getting further.  

In addition to having a strategic plan we want to make sure, there is ongoing meetings between the Department of Education and the School Department, and remain focused on student outcomes in this joint management decision.  The district team is comprised of both administrators and union president, in the agreement DESE wants to promote to continue meeting with the team solely focusing on a few key things that will be leverage points for the district, come back twice a year to report on the progress that the district is making having it a joint presentation that we are all working together and shine a light on the areas where we can make a difference for the students in Brockton.

Superintendent Thomas thanked Mr. Johnston and Mr. Curtin for the presentation and reiterated the importance of collaboration during the meetings held with the Department of Education, Executive Team and BEA President Kim Gibson.  As a district we need to collectively own what the report says and be able to fix it.  We will build together a new strategic plan with the Department of Education focusing on a new blueprint and build the district back. It’s about reorganization and structure especially in teaching and learning, which has been hit hard by cuts over the years.  We need to build collaboration making sure everyone understands from PreK to 12 what good instruction is across the district.

Mayor Sullivan echoed the sentiments of Superintendent Thomas and welcome this partnership and create a building block for success with a shared vision of what is good for the students of the Brockton Public Schools and move forward for the better common purpose which is enhancement, enrichment and creating a winning formula.

 Mayor Sullivan called for a 3-minute recess at 7:19 p.m., and returned into session at 7:22 p.m.

 STAR Testing

Superintendent Thomas introduced Dr. Ethan Cancell, Executive Director of Assessment, Accountability, Technology to discuss the STAR Testing and give an overview report.

Dr. Cancell presented a power point regarding STAR Testing showing why we do it, what is shows us about our students, how we use it, and what information it provides our educators.  Once the window of testing is complete we will schedule a Curriculum Subcommittee to discuss the results.

 STAR Testing power point

* What is it?
o Computer Adaptive Assessment
o Nationally normed & predictive of MCAS
o 34 questions.  Takes 20-25 minutes to complete
o The questions are times
o Administered 3 times per year
o Assess Skills in Reading and Math
* Some Important Assessment Terms
o Reliability
o Validity
* Why Administer Star?
o Identify skill strengths & concerns
o Inform Instruction
o Chart a course
* Basics of STAR Data Protocol
o Goal
o Gather data
o Analyze data
o Discuss implications
o Consider Alternatives
o Identify Potential Actions
o Plan to re-evaluate

* How long does it take to get the test results back?
    Results are instant.
* What happens if a you have a group of students struggling, what’s the process?
    The IST (Instructional Support Team) process looking at different data points and looking at the
    STAR results that is in great details if we’re making progress or not.
* Is STAR testing new?
    No, we have used STAR testing across the district for many years.


 Ms. Saba-Maguire, Chief Academic Officer suggested a presentation at a school committee or curriculum subcommittee meeting to present an overview of the process and what is in place at our schools.

Mr. Minichiello shared his concerns about the DESE review report, noting the financial difficulties and tough decisions the committee and district had to make during the past six years, balancing a budget in the best interest of students.  We in Brockton know how to get results, we just need the tools to get those results.  This city prides itself on education, we’ve always known that education is the gateway to success and we want all our student to know that they can be anything they want to be. Mr. Minichiello supports all the recommendations and anticipate our partners at DESE will aid us and guide us to achieve that goal to support and improve our district.  

Parent survey results

Superintendent Thomas presented and discussed the BPS Parent/Guardian, Kindergarten and High School Student Survey power point results.

BPS Parent/Guardian Survey power point

* What grade is your child in?  You may select more than one grade level if you have multiple children.
* How would you describe the amount of work assigned by your child’s school during the remote learning?
* How would you rate the quality of the assignments your child has received?
* How do you feel about the length of the school day?
* What best describes your child’s typical Internet access?
* My child’s school keeps me informed through consistent and regular communication.
* The information sent by the school and the district is relevant to me and my child.
* The number of messages sent by the school and district is: Too much, Too little, Just right
* Are you receiving communications in a language you understand?
* How concerned are you about your child’s social emotional well-being during remote learning?
* Would you like to request that a school adjustment counselor reach out to you to discuss your child’s social emotional well-being?

Kindergarten Survey power point

* I feel that the length of the school day is:  Too long, Adequate, Too short
* Would you support a transition to a half day schedule in which students would be learning remotely for three hours each day?
* On a scale of one to five, how would you rate the quality of instruction your child has received during the remote learning period?  Five is excellent, one is poor.
High School Student Survey power point

* What grade are you in?
* What school do you attend?
* How comfortable area you with doing schoolwork remotely?
* I know how to contact my teachers, principals or building deans if I am having trouble.
* I found it easy to learn the remote learning programs and feel comfortable completing my assignments on Teams and/or Schoology each day.
* My classes are interesting and relevant.
* I am able to consistently focus and complete my assignments on time.
* I am having a difficult time staying focused due to distractions at home.
* Over the past three weeks, please select all of the emotions you have experienced.
* Do you feel that you have a support system that allows you to share your feelings without judgment?
* Would you like to set up a time to privately discuss how you are feeling with a school adjustment counselor?

Mr. D’Agostino thanked Superintendent Thomas for the presentation and Jess Hodges for putting together the surveys combining and compiling the data, it is appreciated.  He requested to have the results sent in their Friday packet.

    Ms. Sullivan noted high school students answers regarding their comfort level with the remote learning their answers varied and is concerning.

* Do you believe the spotty internet could that be the computer itself not working?
    No, we’ve swapped out all the old blue laptops and all students have either a new or year-old laptop, if the internet is still spotty please contact the technology helpline.
* For the High school student survey where a percentage of students felt unsafe, has anyone called to follow up?
    No, the information is not identifiable, it will be done through adjustment counselors, deans, principals, associate principals, assistant deans, assistant principals.   
        *A new tip line is available for students to report to if they should need help.

  PreK & K remote schedule (proposed)

Superintendent Thomas introduced June Saba-Maguire, Chief Academic Officer to discuss the PreK & K remote schedule.

Ms. Saba-Maguire discussed the PreK & K remote schedule previously presented at the Curriculum Subcommittee meeting on October 13, 2020, to revisit adjusting the kindergarten schedule, feedback and concerns from parents as we move forward.

 Brockton Public Schools Re-Opening Update power point

* Overview
o Re-Opening Details Update
o Remote PreK and K Schedules
*   Rationale
o Parental Concerns
o Smaller Class Size and Meaningful Alternatives/Independent Learning
*  Remote PreK and K Schedules
* Sample Grade PreK and K Schedule – Begins:  Monday, November 2, 2020 (proposed)
* Remote PreK and K Schedules – Begins:  Monday, November 30, 2020 (proposed)
* Questions


* On the asynchronous learning, how does that work on the asynchronous side of seeing what the students are doing and the progress?

Teachers can look at student reports and review the progress and provide a detailed report in areas where students may struggle, teachers are able to use this information and provide a differentiated instruction.
    COVID-19 metrics update

Superintendent Thomas asked Mayor Sullivan for an update on the COVID-19 metrics.

    Mayor Sullivan gave an update report on the COVID-19 cases in Brockton.  As of today, the total cases of COVID-19 is 5,084, 294 residents have passed away and current positive cases is 283.  Dr. Richard Herman is predicting tomorrow’s projected number is 13.8%.  He is scheduled to attend next week’s meeting to give us an update.  In Brockton we are in deep red classification 63 municipalities in the commonwealth have been elevated up to red and it is not forecasted that we will trending in the yellow direction soon.  

    Inquiries regarding Halloween is being discussed and worked on by the Mayor Sullivan, Dr. Herman, Medical Consultant and Dr. Mondesir, Board of Health Director.  Information will be given in the next few days.

Items to Refer to  Subcommittee

        Mr. D’ Agostino requested a Curriculum Subcommittee meeting.
          Date:  Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

Mr. D’Agostino requested a Policy Manuel Review Subcommittee meeting.
Date:  Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.

Mr. D’Agostino requested a Policy Subcommittee meeting.
Date:  Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

Unfinished Business    None

New Business                  

Mr. D’Agostino recommended to change the November 17, 2020 and December 1, 2020 Regular School Committee location from the Arnone School – Theater to Brockton High School – Little Theatre.

Mr. D’Agostino motioned to change the November 17, 2020 and December 1, 2020 Regular School Committee meeting location from the Arnone School – Theater to Brockton High School – Little Theatre, 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.

Executive Session    

Mayor Sullivan informed School Committee members it was confirmed with Superintendent Thomas and legal counsel Executive session was not needed this evening.    

           There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:34 p.m.
                                       Respectfully submitted,
                                          Michael P. Thomas
        Handouts:  District Review Report,     Brockton District Review Report   
           Power points:  Brockton District Review Report,     STAR Overview Report, Parent Survey Results, PreK
       & K remote schedule