September 21, 2021
Regular School Committee Meeting
September 21, 2021
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: Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair; Ms. Asack, Ms. Mendes, Mr. Minichiello, Mr. Rodrigues, Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan.
Absent: Mayor Sullivan, Chair
Also Present: Superintendent Thomas, Interim Deputy Superintendent Szachowicz, Executive Team Members, Kim Gibson, BEA President
Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair called the meeting to order at 7:08 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 – Yes
Ms. Asack – Yes
Ms. Mendes – Yes
Mr. Minichiello – Yes
Mr. Rodrigues – Yes
Ms. Sullivan – Yes
Mr. Sullivan –Yes
Mr. D’Agostino mentioned Mayor Sullivan had a prior meeting commitment and is unable to attend.
Hearing of Visitors None
Consent Agenda Mr. D’Agostino explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members for any requests to remove items for further discussion.
Mr. Sullivan asked to remove Item C, Approval of 2021-2022 Home Education Requests.
Ms. Sullivan moved to accept the Superintendent's recommendation to approve the remaining Consent Agenda items, the motion was seconded by Mr. Minichiello.
A. Approval of September 2, 2021 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes
B. Approval of August 25, 2021 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes
D. Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Appointments: Certified Personnel
E. Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Appointment: Non-certified Personnel
F. Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions: Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements
The motion passed unanimously.
Item C, Approval of 2021-2022 Home Education Requests
Mr. Sullivan asked, if the number of increases in Home Education Requests was due to COVID-19?
Superintendent Thomas mentioned there was an increase throughout the state and Brockton due to COVID-19.
Mr. Sullivan asked if this request is not approved what happens?
Superintendent Thomas mentioned this is informational for the committee to review. Parents must submit the curriculum and follow in line with the Department of Education.
Ms. Sullivan asked Superintendent Thomas to address the district loss in funding for children that are home schooled.
Superintendent Thomas confirmed the district loses funding for children that are home schooled.
Mr. Sullivan voted to approve the Continuing and New Home Education Request for the 2021-2022 academic school year as submitted. Seconded by Ms. Sullivan.
Donation to the Music Department
Superintendent Thomas introduced Mr. Vincent Macrina, retired BHS Music Director to discuss a donation made to the music department.
The Myers family asked that in memory of Mr. Ed Myers, a member of the music department as an instrumental teacher, trumpet instructor and band director at West Middle School a donation be made to the BHS Music Scholarship Fund. Since Mr. Myers was a trumpet player, the decision was made to purchase a trumpet for a student that demonstrated commitment to the department and performance. McDaniels Estame was that student and was presented with a new Yamaha Trumpet. (applause)
Superintendent Thomas and School Committee members thanked Mr. Macrina and the Myers family for this wonderful donation.
Virtual School Update
Superintendent Thomas invited Dr. Susan Szachowicz, Interim Deputy Superintendent to give an update on the Virtual School.
Dr. Szachowicz gave the following updates: general information about the virtual learning academy, what’s working, and challenges were facing.
The virtual school is up and running with 399 students of all grades. Principal, Cynthia Burns, Coordinator, Ms. Kristina Gallant have worked continuously to get the virtual school up and running. Students are engaged logging on each day and building strong relationships. The special education is fully staffed, thank you Ms. Laurie Mason, Director of Special Education, and her team for getting this all set up. The bilingual department doing a great job in trying to meet the needs our language learning students.
We’ve had some struggles like any new program getting set up. At the moment the biggest struggle is staffing. The numbers in the virtual school soared high immediately which made it difficult to staff in a short period of time. Teachers from other departments, department heads and coordinators stepped in to cover until we are fully staffed. Thank you to Dr. Moran, Executive Director of Human Resources and her department, the Technology department for their help.
Dr. Szachowicz thanked Principal Cynthia Burns, Ms. Kristina Gallant, and their teams for all their hard work.
* Ms. Asack asked, are there any specific grades larger than others?
Dr. Szachowicz mentioned there are a mixture of numbers in classes giving a breakdown of each.
* Ms. Sullivan asked, would the classrooms have a certain number of students in each class?
Dr. Szachowicz mentioned students are in a class that is similar to a regular classroom.
* Mr. Minichiello asked if students are being taught by their grade teachers?
Dr. Szachowicz replied yes, we have licensed certified teachers by grade levels.
* Mr. Minichiello asked how many teachers do we have assigned to the virtual school?
Dr. Szachowicz will gather the information from Principal Burns.
* Ms. Mendes asked are Special Education and ELL students needs are being met?
Dr. Szachowicz stated yes, all needs must be met.
* Mr. D’Agostino asked are students able to participate in extracurricular activities?
Superintendent Thomas replied yes students are able to participate.
Mr. D’Agostino thanked Principal Burns and team members for all their support and help in getting the virtual school a reality.
Dr. Jim Cobbs, Executive Director of Operations gave an update on transportation and discussed the following:
o Routes coverage and timelines
o Status of buses
o Drivers available to cover routes
o Drivers still needed to cover routes
o Current driver applications
o Driver Training Classes
o Drive Training Outline
* Ms. Asack asked if drivers will be trained for inclement weather.
Dr. Cobbs mentioned training is continued for drivers to keep their certification.
* Mr. Minichiello asked if the committee could be provided an overall financial savings and projections.
* Superintendent Thomas mentioned we will have Mr. Aldo Petronio, BPS Chief Financial Officer provide financial information at a Finance Subcommittee Meeting.
Superintendent Thomas invited Ms. Marcia Andrade-Serpa., Director of School Registration & Parent Information Center to give an enrollment update.
Ms. Andrade-Serpa presented a power point giving a breakdown of students by grade.
March 16, 2021-September 21, 2021- Total New Students in Applications was 2,681, in the queue on hold is 388(waiting on school records), there are 355 new English Learners requiring SEI/TBE classrooms. Ms. Andrade-Serpa thanked her staff for working hard during the last month to enroll students in school.
* Mr. Minichiello asked having English language learners in the system, how is that effecting our current population and how does that look in terms of class size?
Ms. Serpa-Andrade mentioned the student who have enrolled for this academic year that are newcomers from their respective countries are requiring classrooms that support their level of English or not having any English.
Superintendent Thomas will invite Ms. Kellie Jones, Director of Bilingual and Ms. Laurie Mason, Director of Special Education to come and give an update on the work that the committee in partnership has with the Department of Education.
Ms. Andrade-Serpa thanked Ms. Asack for the backpacks that were given to our newly enrolled students.
Superintendent Thomas discussed ESSER III funding update. Last Thursday, September 16, 2021 he held a Teams meeting was held with parents and talked about the following.
o Must be spent on equitable services for all students
o Strategic plan
o Student Opportunity Plan
* Survey Results
o 922 Submissions (Open beginning August 30)
Goal: To see community feedback on how to best utilize ESSER III funds.
Survey Question: Which stakeholder group(s) would you associate yourself with?
(Choose all that apply)
Survey Question: Please rank your top three from the list of allowable activities. These are taken directly from the ESSER III grant.
o 1. Facilities improvements to create healthy and safe school environments
o 2. Hiring more academic support staff, including academic coaches, interventionists, student teaching residents
o 3. Tutoring programs and support, including early literacy tutoring (including training paraprofessionals).
o To schedule a meeting where families/community members can share their suggestions and put
a plan together, take a vote and sent it to the state for approval.
Mr. D’Agostino gave an update from the Finance Subcommittee meeting held earlier this evening regarding the School Police Staffing. It was a favorable recommendation from the Finance Subcommittee to fund four additional School Police positions.
Mr. Sullivan motioned to approve the Hiring of Four Additional School Police Officers. Seconded by Ms. Asack.
The motion passed unanimously.
Items to Refer to Subcommittee
Superintendent Thomas recommended to the committee to have a Finance Subcommittee and gather input from our Community Stakeholders. All members agreed to a Finance Subcommittee next Tuesday, September 28, 2021.
Ms. Mendes requested a DREI meeting next Tuesday, September 28, 2021.
Ms. Asack acknowledged Cradle to Crayons in their recent donation of coats and gloves for our BPS students and thanked them for their continued support. She also thanked Ms. Sullivan and volunteers for coming out to help distribute over 900 backpacks.
Executive Session Mr. D’Agostino read the following into the record.
“The Committee will enter Executive Session pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, §21(a)(3), for the purpose of conducting strategy with respect to collective bargaining, as conducting this deliberation in an open session would have detrimental effect on the bargaining position of the Committee. The Committee will return to open session following the Executive Session.”
Ms. Mendes motioned to go into Executive Session. Seconded by Mr. Minichiello.
The roll call vote passed unanimously.
School Committee members entered Executive Session at 8:50 p.m.
School Committee members returned from Executive Session at 9:20 p.m.
Mr. Sullivan motioned to ratify the MOA between the Brockton School Committee and Brockton Food Service Association SEIU, Local 888 for a three-year successor contract commencing September 1, 2020 through August 31, 2023.
The vote passed unanimously.
Ms. Mendes motioned to adjourn. Seconded by Mr. Rodrigues. The motion passed unanimously.
Seeing no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:23 p.m.
Michael P. Thomas