DECEMEBER 18, 2018
The Regular Meeting of the Brockton School Committee was held this evening in the Theatre of the Dr. William H. Arnone School, at seven o'clock. These minutes contain a summary of the meeting and list items that were under discussion.
Present: Mr. Minichiello, Vice-Chair; Ms. Sullivan, Ms. Plant, Superintendent Smith
Absent: Mayor Carpenter, Ms. Asack, Mr. D’Agostino, Mr. Gormley, Mr. Sullivan
Also Present: Executive Team
Mr. Minichiello called the meeting to order at 6:10 p.m. followed by a salute to the flag. He announced that school committee did not have a quorum, therefore the meeting would include discussion and reports, but no business would be conducted.
Mr. Minichiello said the Consent Agenda would need to be tabled to the January 2nd, 2019 School Committee meeting.
Superintendent Smith asked for a moment of silence to remember the loss of Worcester Firefighter Christopher Roy, in the line of duty. She said Worcester and Brockton are cities that are partners in many ways, and extended the condolences of the school department and school committee to the Worcester Fire Department and the Brockton Fire Department.
Recognition of Educator John O’Neill
The Superintendent invited Davis School teacher John “Jake” O’Neill and Principal Campbell to come forward. She announced that Mr. O’Neill was named one of ten 2018 STEM National Scholars across the country. Principal Campbell said that Mr. O’Neill, a former geological engineer who changed careers in order to teach, is beloved among the students and has brought enthusiasm to STEM teaching that engages and encourages all of his students. She said she is proud of Jake and the school is proud of him.
Mr. O’Neill thanked school committee for the invitation, he explained that part of the national grant was used to buy small and large robots, they are working with the small robots and hoping them will be able to send messages between classrooms, and then move further if that is successful. He thanked the school committee for helping to expand the program beyond grade 7 to include an afterschool program. Mr. O’Neill was presented with a certificate of recognition by the Superintendent and School Committee.
The Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) presentation was postponed to the January 2nd meeting to allow them to come before the full school committee.
The Superintendent said that, going forward, she will regularly update school committee in the area of curriculum. On Thursday DESE will come out for a meeting to discuss turnaround planning for five schools—West, East, Plouffe, George and Brookfield.
The Superintendent reported that on December 13th Brockton hosted an equity in education meeting that included superintendents and their budget officers from Worcester and New Bedford, three attorneys from Boston, the Harvard researcher who is studying data and consultant Tripp Jones. On January 8th, multiple meetings across the state will take place where districts will be getting ogether in the same manner as when Brockton representatives traveled to Worcester in March and presented the “Tale of Two Cities,” which showed the impact of the foundation budget review recommendations that have not been implemented. On January 8th Brockton will attend the Malden meeting to support districts from that area. The Superintendent said we are not waiting for the governor to come forward with his budget, we will continue with advocacy, we are looking to send op editorials, to be on radio stations and to continue to put forth the message until all students have educational equity.
Update on Technology Virus
The Superintendent said dealing with the virus has been a huge undertaking for our IT department and we are still recovering from it.
Superintendent Announcements and Acknowledgements
- AMAzing Educators – Two of the billboards that DESE is using as part of their AMAzing Educator initiative have included teachers from Brockton; there will soon be commercials on television to highlight teachers across the state that will include a couple of Brockton teachers.
- The annual Holiday Dinner for Champions, coordinated by the Brockton Guidance Department under the leadership of department head John Snelgrove, was held Monday evening for the first time at Brockton High School. Thank you to Chartwells for providing the meal and to the many volunteers who made the evening enjoyable for the children and families.
- The first Red Apple awards of the year were held on Monday, December 11th; Dr. Claire Appling, a retired staff member, has played piano for the awards several times, and was awarded a surprise Red Apple for her ongoing support of the school district.
- Thank you to St. Ann’s Church for the generous donation of “goody bags”, coordinated by former Brockton School Department employee Linda Santry, for each of our teen parents in the Project Grads program. St. Ann’s has given this donation annually for over ten years.
- Best wishes to Brockton legal counsel Sarah Spatafore on the birth of her daughter Abigail Louise, born November 15th.
- Brockton High students Joey Polvere and Jade Etienne placed 4th and 5th in the state, respectively, earning Brockton two of the top five spots in this acting competition. Both students will both be invited to the state finals for the METG where they will receive awards for their outstanding monologues.
- School Committee members were invited to attend the Superintendent’s ice cream social on Thursday at 2:00 at Central in the Main Conference Room.
Items to Refer to Subcommittee
The Superintendent said she would like to request a Finance subcommittee meeting to discuss substitute teachers with respect to compensation and how we can best use substitutes to provide classroom coverage. She will send the request out to school committee members for a meeting mid-January.
Mr. Minichiello addressed the ongoing advocacy for equity in education; he reported that there is a team in place that is working to pursue our interests in the lawsuit, we have put together a competent team of lawyers who are doing a lot of the legal work pro bono, we have engaged an individual who is coordinating the efforts across communities and organization, things are going in the right direction. The goal on our end is to continue forward and be prepared to file, in the next couple of months, a very competent lawsuit to keep the pressure on to ensure that anything done by the legislature is done with the best interests of communities like ours; this movement is about equity. Mr. Minichiello said that after the first of the year he will arrange a resentation to bring the school committee and the community up to date.
Mr. Minichiello wanted to extend his thanks to the Brockton community for its generous holiday spirit, Brocktonians continue to support charitable events around the city and give to different organizations, we all can be proud of the community. He extended an invitation to attend the BHS holiday concert that will take place at 7 p.m. tonight and tomorrow night in the auditorium, tickets can be purchased in the lobby and for $2 additional dollars you can donate to the Enterprise Helping Hands fund.
The meeting adjourned at 6:43 p.m.
Kathleen A. Smith, JD