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October 5, 2021

george school
October 5, 2021

Brockton, Massachusetts
Regular School Committee Meeting
October 5, 2021
Live Stream

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:      Mayor Sullivan, Chair, Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair; Ms. Asack, Ms. Mendes, Mr. Minichiello, Mr. Rodrigues, Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan.
Also Present:  Superintendent Thomas, Interim Deputy Superintendent Szachowicz, Executive Team Members

Mayor Sullivan, Chair called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. followed by a salute to the flag.  

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

Hearing of Visitors    

Ms. Faith Tobon spoke to the committee regarding her concerns at Brockton High School.
Ms. Janine Porter spoke to the committee regarding her concerns at Brockton High School.
Ms. Nancy Tucker spoke to the committee regarding her concerns at Brockton High School.
Ms. Magalie Pinney spoke to the committee regarding her concerns at Brockton High School and the safety of her children.
Ms. Long Bou-Chung spoke to the committee regarding her concerns at Brockton High School and the safety of her child.

Mayor Sullivan thanked all for attending tonight’s meeting to share their concerns and pledges to work with everyone.  The committee takes these insights and comments very serious.

Mr. Minichiello asked to make a motion to suspend the rules with regards to the safety of our students expressed by the hearing of visitors, and suggest a Safety, Security and Transportation subcommittee is scheduled for further discussion.
Mr. Minichiello motioned to suspend the rules with regards to the hearing of visitors and speak regarding some of the issues discussed.  Seconded by Mr. D’Agostino.

The vote passed unanimously.

Mr. Minichiello spoke regarding the Finance Subcommittee meeting held earlier this evening and covered many  concerns regarding performance, curriculum and preparing our students academically for the future at all levels.  He also mentions, all school committee members are open to meet with parents and stakeholders to discuss any/all concerns.

Mr. D’Agostino echoed Mr. Minichiello and mentions having a Policy Subcommittee as well to address concerns that relate to policy.  The committee will take the steps to address their concerns and willing to meet.
Mr. Sullivan, Chair and members of the Security, Safety and Transportation subcommittee agreed to schedule a meeting on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 6:00 p.m., Brockton High School/Little Theatre.

Mr. Sullivan motioned to have a Safety, Security, Transportation Subcommittee meeting on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.  Seconded by Ms. Sullivan.

The motion passed unanimously.

Mayor Sullivan and Superintendent Thomas thanked everyone for coming together.  There is a lot of work to be done, struggles at all levels, violence cannot be tolerated, and we need parents and the community to come together and make things better for our student’s in the district.

Ms. Asack mentioned bus concerns will be discussed at the Security, Safety and Transportation meeting. It is important for our students to be safe and it’s a privilege to ride the bus.

Ms. Asack asked if all the bathrooms were closed at the high school due to issues?
Superintendent Thomas responded, only the second-floor bathrooms were closed temporary to avoid further fights and destroying school property.  

Superintendent Thomas mentions if parents have questions regarding the operation of bathrooms or discipline issues to contact Dr. Murray, Principal of Brockton High School at 508-580-7633.

Mr. Rodrigues shared his concerns as a parent of a student at Brockton High.  He mentions there needs to be a strong message sent to the students that are interrupting the learning time for other students, specifically with “tick tock videos”, that we’re not taking this lightly.  Students need to know their actions can travel when they are older.

Consent Agenda    

Mayor Sullivan explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members for any requests to remove items for further discussion.    

Mr. Sullivan moved to accept the Superintendent's recommendation to approve the Consent Agenda in its entirety, the motion was seconded by Mr. Minichiello.

                        A.  Approval of September 21, 2021 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes               
                        B.   Approval of September  21, 2021 Finance Subcommittee Meeting Minutes
                        C.  Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Appointments: Certified Personnel
                          D.  Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Appointment:  Non-certified Personnel  
                          E.  Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions: Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements

                                         The motion passed unanimously.

Superintendent’s Report

Donation from Marc A. Sims Sportsmanship Award

Superintendent Thomas asked this item to be placed on the next School Committee meeting agenda to give proper notification to the family.

Mr. D’Agostino motioned to postpone the date for the acceptance of a donation to the next School Committee meeting on, Tuesday, October 19, 2021.  Seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

The vote passed unanimously.


Donation from Amazon    

Superintendent Thomas thanked the Amazon Facility in Stoughton, MA, their leadership, and staff donated 50 backpacks filled with supplies for elementary students in need.  They also donated tree big backpacks, two of which ae filled with teacher supplies and one with technology including a graphing calculator, small calculators, headphones, and flash drives.  We are thankful for this generous donation from the Amazon facility in Stoughton, MA in supporting our students and teachers.

Learning and Teaching

MCAS Presentation

Superintendent Thomas invited Dr. Susan Szachowicz, Interim Deputy Superintendent and Dr. Ethan Cancell, Executive Director of Assessment, Accountability, Technology & Student Data Research.

Dr. Cancell presented part one of the power point and discussed the following:

* Overall Achievement showing the results from ELA, Math and Science
o Scaled Scores
o Performance Levels
o Student Growth Percentile
    (E=Exceed Expectations, M= Meeting Expectations, PM=Partially Meets Expectations, NM=Not Meeting Expectations)
* Showing a distance where our students scored and where they need to be
* Comparable scores with urban schools

Dr. Cancell mentions, what we did prior to the pandemic wasn’t successful, we need to leap forward.

Dr. Szachowicz presented part two of the power point and discussed the following:

* What do you do with this information?
* Step One:  We established our Focus Areas
        1.  FOCUS on Effective Instruction
        2.  FOCUS on Active Reading/Writing
        3.  FOCUS on Positive Relationships
A step was taken last year by the School Committee by supporting and bringing in strong grade level appropriate curriculum materials that is being utilized in every classroom pre-k to 5, middle schools and high school.

How do we implement these?

> Make the data “actionable”  The power of the WALKTHROUGHS:  
> This is where we see how the data inform instruction.  
> “Here’s what our data show…”
> “ Here’s what we saw…”
> Then a debrief, and establishing goals for the next Walkthrough

Some key questions:

>   What are the skills lacking in your students’ performance?
>   How do we address those skills and ensure teachers are teaching our students those skills
      at the level they need to be?
>   Do our learning experiences mirror the MCAS for rigor and grade level appropriate work?
>   Do our assessments match the MCAS for rigor and grade level appropriate work?
>   At the classroom level:  Active Reading/Writing
      (every day, in every class, for some period of time… it does NOT have to be the entire class!)
>   And district wide – EVALUATION SYSTEM

Challenges moving forward:

> Follow the data:  Data analysis targeting skills we can attack
> Supporting the instruction in the schools around grade level appropriate work.  From the DESE
    Acceleration Roadmap:
> “Ensure strong grade-appropriate instruction with just-in-time scaffolds when they are needed.”
> “Continuously monitor students’ understanding.”


* Mr. Minichiello asked, how do we ensure our students are receiving what they need?
        Dr. Szachowicz mentions it’s about instruction, that’s where the skill of the teacher is the key message.
* Mr. Minichiello asked as we are adding positions and resources are, we reviewing to make that these are in alignment?
        Dr. Szachowicz responds, yes.
* Mr. D’Agostino asked what are we doing to make sure teachers are giving the opportunities to meet students where they are in a classroom?
        Dr. Szachowicz mentions we must be supportive with quality professional development.
* Mr. Minichiello asked is there any correlation with the decline in our funding each year?
    Dr. Szachowicz responds she is sure there is some, but literacy is free and focusing on active reading and writing will cost us zero at Brockton High, it was about an intense relentless focus on one thing.

Mission and Vision of the EDI Office

Superintendent Thomas invited Ms. Renée Heywood, Executive Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to present the Mission and Vision of the EDI Office.
Ms. Heywood presented a power point and discussed the Vision and Mission of the EDI office.    

* Vision
* Mission
* Guiding Principal 1 – Equity
* Guiding Principal 2 – Diversity
* Guiding Principal 3 – Inclusion
* Focus Areas

In order to support our district goals, the office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will prioritize our focus on four areas over the next five years.  These areas will be measured by annual assessments, evaluations, and stakeholder’s feedback.


Mr. Minichiello complimented Ms. Heywood for overseeing this department as she brings forth a rich history and experience.


* Mr. Minichiello asked Ms. Heywood to expound making sure our students are well prepared for the future and no shortcuts seeing that the curriculum they receive is top notch. Ms. Heywood mentions the fact that this office has been created may have caused some concerns for people, as where not use to having these discussions including the change of curriculum, personnel,
Mr. D’Agostino thanked Ms. Heywood for her time to meet individually and for all the work that is being done in the district.
Mayor Sullivan and Superintendent Thomas both thanked Ms. Heywood.

DESE COVID-19 Testing Program

Superintendent Thomas invited Dr. Linda Cahill, Director of Nursing Supervisor (and former Head of the Board of Health) to give a COVID-19 update.

Dr. Cahill mentioned we have approximately 2,500 asthmatic, 42 insulin dependent diabetics, 43 children with sickle cell disease, children with life-threatening allergies.  Information on adults was not available.
Dr. Cahill gave a COVID-19 update power point:

* City of Brockton COVID-19 Daily Dashboard, Tuesday, October 5, 2021
* 4 new cases reported today
* 16,012 confirmed case totals
* 0 deaths, 444 deaths overall
* 186 active cases
* Currently there are 21 hospitalized and 4 in ICU
* Cases per grade level – 120 total student cases, 26 staff cases
* Signs of COVID (symptoms list)
* Testing
* Close Contact Definition
* Quarantining for Students Testing
* Mitigation Strategies
* Prompt Contract Tracing
* School Staff Responsibility
* Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) Testing Agency
* Testing Services Included in COVID-19 Testing
* Vaccination

As of today, there are 1,151 students signed up for testing, 612 teachers, 232 have tested so far and 2 positive cases this week.  

A message for Staff and Parents:  Please stay home if you are sick, awaiting a test results, any household members that are positive.
Superintendent Thomas thanked the School Committee members for the effort of money put in with the ESSER I and ESSER II funding.  He thanked the teachers, staff and students wearing their masks and following the directions.  In addition, he thanked the custodians, Dr. Cobbs, Executive Director of Operations and his team, Dr. Cahill, and the nursing staff for always being on top of things.

Mayor Sullivan and School Committee members thanked Dr. Cahill and School Nurses for their continued support.

Enrollment Update

Superintendent Thomas gave an enrollment update of students by grade level.  As of October 1st, the total number of students is 15,587 (last year was 15,593)
Unfinished Business  None

Items to Refer to Subcommittee

Mayor Sullivan acknowledged the committee has scheduled a Security, Safety, Transportation Subcommittee on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.    
Mr. D’Agostino suggested the committee have a Policy Subcommittee meeting on Tuesday, October 19, 2021.
New Business              

Discussion and Potential Vote Regarding BHS Vocational Admissions Policy
Superintendent Thomas discussed the Career Vocational Technical Education schools’ /programs’ the school committee must annually approve any selective criteria to be used in admissions and review the district’s Vocational Admissions Policy.  This is a standard procedure that all school committees in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts follow.  This document was sent out on Friday in the packets and have been slightly modified to include an updated department name, the move from paper applications to online applications, and the updated BPS logo.  There have been no radical changes from the previous school committee approval approximately two years ago.

Mr. Sullivan motioned to approve the Brockton High School Admission Policy and Procedures for Vocational Technical Education Programs.  Seconded by Ms. Asack.

The motion passed unanimously.

Mayor Sullivan reminded all School Committee members that we have an esteemed Mayor from the country of Honduras visiting Brockton tomorrow, Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at City Hall from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Mayor Sullivan announced today at the War Memorial Building, we recognized Purple Heart recipients living and those that have passed from the City of Brockton through the efforts of  Mr. Dave Farrell and support of my office.  Brockton was designated today a purple heart community which is a long time coming and a great event.  We will have future events, not every Brockton resident that has received a purple heart would have been recognized today.  The office is compiling a list of all residents alive or have passed, please call the office or Mr. Dave Farrell as this will be done on a regular basis.   
Ms. Sullivan motioned to adjourn.  Seconded by Mr. Sullivan.
The motion passed unanimously.
Seeing no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:40 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
    Michael P. Thomas