December 3, 2019

Brockton, Massachusetts

Regular Meeting 

December 3, 2019

PDF VERSION

The Regular Meeting of the Brockton School Committee was held this evening in the theater at the Dr. William H. Arnone School in Brockton, MA, at seven o'clock.  These minutes contain a summary of the meeting and list items that were under discussion.

                                       Present:    Mayor Rodrigues, Chair; Mr. Minichiello, Vice-Chair; Mr. Bath,

                                                        Mr. D’Agostino, Mr. Gormley, Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan,

                                                        Interim Superintendent Thomas                

                                       Absent:    Ms. Asack

                                       Also Present:  Executive Team Members

Mayor Rodrigues called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. followed by a salute to the flag.

Hearing of Visitors           None

Consent Agenda               Mayor Rodrigues explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members for any requests to remove items for further discussion.  Mr. Minichiello asked to remove Item B, Approval of November 12, 2019 Superintendent’s Contract Subcommittee Meeting.         

                                          Mr. Gormley moved the Interim Superintendent's recommendation to approve

                                          the following remaining items, seconded by Mr. Bath. 

·         Approval of November 12, 2019 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes                                                                                                      

·         Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Appointments:  Certified

·         Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Appointments: Non-Certified       

·         Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions: Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements

                               Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.   

With respect to Item B, Approval of November 12, 2019 Superintendent’s Contract Subcommittee Meeting, Mr. Minichiello discussed this being a special evening for the school committee for the Brockton Public School, City of Brockton, students, family and friends of Interim Superintendent Michael Thomas.  School Committee members conducted several Superintendent’s Contract Subcommittee meetings and voted unanimously and felt that Interim Superintendent Thomas would lead the Brockton Public Schools in the right direction. 

On November 12, 2019 School Committee members went into Executive session to negotiate a Superintendent’s contract and were successful.   

Mr. Minichiello motioned to ratify the employment agreement between the Brockton Public Schools and Interim Superintendent Michael Thomas as the Superintendent of the Brockton Public Schools moving forward, Mr. Sullivan seconded the motion.

                                       All School Committee members and Mayor Rodrigues expressed that Interim Superintendent

                                       Thomas is the best candidate as Superintendent of Schools.

                                                                                      Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.

Superintendent Thomas thanked the School Committee members, Mayor Rodrigues, Mayor elect Robert Sullivan, the late Mayor Bill Carpenter for their support.  Superintendent Thomas recognized his wife Patricia, daughters Sarah, Alyssa and Katelyn, parents George and Sheila Thomas (both Brockton High graduates), in-laws George and Patricia Pica (both Brockton High graduates), sisters Debbie and Sherrie (both Brockton High graduates), aunt Lynn and uncle Jimmy Jamoulis.

Superintendent Thomas spoke on his childhood growing up in a modest home and diverse neighborhood on the East Side of Brockton.  Both parents always welcomed everyone into their home.  He acknowledged Community Activist Ollie Spears whom he has known since the age of thirteen for the impact he has made in his life.    

Superintendent Thomas thanked former Superintendent Kathleen A. Smith, for the six years working with her as the Deputy Superintendent.  He also thanked former Deputy Superintendent Mr. John Jerome, retired Principal of East Middle school Mr. Donald Burrill his first mentor and retired Assistant Principal of East Middle school Mr. John McDonough. 

Superintendent Thomas thanked his Executive Team members, former staff including the administration at Brockton High School, staff throughout the district, teachers, custodians, paraprofessionals, MTA’s, community mentors, food service, Brockton school police, Brockton Police, Lt. Mills, Lt. Vardaro, Officer Vaughn, Officer Smith, Brockton Fire Department, D.P.W., City Building and Health Department, Director of Facilities Ken Thompson, BEA Union President Kim Gibson and appreciates everyone for their support and is honored.

                                         Mr. Minichiello read a letter on behalf of former Superintendent Kathleen A. Smith.     

                                         Dear Mayor Rodrigues the Brockton School Committee,

It is with elation that I write this note congratulating all of you on selecting our new Superintendent of the Brockton Public Schools Michael Thomas.  I’ve been fortunate to have served alongside Mike in a variety of professional roles during our careers together in our beloved school district.  I’ve watched Superintendent Thomas as a young teacher at East Junior High connecting with all students especially those students in need of a caring adult.  He has worked tirelessly in many roles throughout his career in the Brockton Public Schools first as a teacher, coach, department head, assistant dean, dean, executive director and even as the interim principal at Brockton High School his Alma Mater.  I was fortunate to have Mike serve as my Deputy Superintendent during my tenure as Superintendent.  As Mayor Carpenter said to me many times, Mike is the most loyal assistant to you in everything you are trying to accomplish.  In fact, that is what made us successful during very trying times these last seven years.  I am so appreciative of having his knowledge, wisdom and guidance as we led the best school system in the Commonwealth.  Michael Thomas was destined for the job of Superintendent of the Brockton Public Schools.  I am confident that he will serve with integrity and distinction for many years to come.  He will provide stability, collaboration and accessibility to those who he will lead as our school community support our students throughout the district.  Please offer my congratulations tonight to Mike, Patricia and their 3 beautiful daughters and also to his parents George and Sheila Thomas for raising a son that will make his mark on the City of Brockton as the East Side boy and Brockton High graduate and the leader of the fourth largest school district in the Commonwealth. 

                                         Congratulations to all, Kathleen A.  Smith, JD.     

Superintendent’s              Student Representative (Georgina Youness)

Report                               Georgina gave a report on happenings at Brockton High School:

·         At the start of November, 15 members of the model Brockton city council worked in collaboration with Brockton’s election commission and worked the polling locations during out citywide elections.  The members who participated found the experience very educational and interesting.  Congratulations to our newly elected city officials.

·         A ceremony was held on November 19th for this year’s 64th National Honor Society inductees.  Congratulations to those inducted and their inspirational teachers.  Entrance to the society for juniors and seniors is a rigorous process which includes multiple essays, exceptional grades and many volunteer hours.

·         During the thanksgiving break the Brockton boxers and halftime performers ended their season playing against Bridgewater Raynham high.

·         The Brockton High JROTC, marching band, color guard, majorettes and dancers participated in the city’s 33rd annual downtown holiday parade.  Despite it being a little chilly everyone had a wonderful time.

·         This evening the classical and foreign language honor society held their fundraiser at Texas Roadhouse.  Many students within the society volunteered their time.  A special thank you to Texas Roadhouse and those who made the event possible.

·         The class of 2021 will begin selling tickets for a holiday raffle tomorrow,      December 4, 2019.  The sales of the raffle will continue up until the Christmas break.  The proceeds will support the junior class and assist in making the cost of prom more affordable for all students.

·         On December 6th thru December 8th the Brockton High school drama club will perform their annual December show.

·         Save the date for Brockton Highs holiday concert.  On December 17th and 18th both the band and chorus will perform a special tribute to our amazing director, Mr. Vincent Macrina a member of Brockton High class of 1966.

·         Congratulations to this year’s 260 Seniors who were honored in receiving the John & Abigail Adams scholarship.  A scholarship that provides tuition to a State University.                        

Equity Training

Chief Officer of Student Support Services Ms. Sharon Wolder spoke about our districts equity training.  As part of our CPR review with the Department of Education a corrective action plan was presented to the School Committee.  As we continue to address areas of improvement a focus in our district is to train all teachers to look for areas of equity stereo types, and areas that lack diversity in curriculum.  Classroom teachers Ms. Jodie Nelson and Ms. Stacy Medina worked with Ms. Wolder to develop a toolkit to assist teachers in how to look through their classrooms, schools and materials for things they are using that could be recognized as stereo type.  The diversity education committee have worked the past two and a half years and put together a training for all Principal’s.  Last week there were 43 representatives across the schools that were trained to use the tool and to address culture in their classrooms.  The 43 representatives will go into schools and train faculty and administrators.   

Parent Survey on Report Cards

Executive Director of Assessment, Accountability, Technology & Student Data Research

Dr. Ethan Cancell discussed the Parent Survey on Report Card Redesign with a power point presentation.  Brockton’s Assessment Team is exploring ways to improve report cards.  The following questions came about, along with a parent survey for Grades K-8 and an overview.

1.      What do parents think about our report cards?

2.      Do our report cards communicate effectively student progress?

3.      Are they confusing?

4.      Too long?

5.      Too short?

6.      Just Right?

7.      At the right time?

·   Potential Report Card Revision for Grades K-8

1.      Asked parents during teacher parent conferences

2.      490 parents responded

·   Results

1.      Overall, parents are positive about report cards

2.      Overwhelmingly parents are seeking more information about their child’s progress prior to report cards.

3.      More clarity, but less pages to scroll through

4.      Parents like paper report cards!

·   Next Steps

1.      Draft possible alternatives. (Winter)

2.      Convene panel of educators and parents to review design options.

(Late Winter-Early Spring)

3.      Present Selections to Superintendent for Final Selection (Spring)

4.      Roll Out Improved Report Card Fall 2020

 

School Committee recommended possibly having a mid-evaluation report available to parents.

 

Safety/Security Grant Update

Executive Director of Operations, Principal, Edison Academy Dr. James Cobbs discussed the Safety/Security Grant.  We received $79,000 from the State to update our security system that consisted of upgrading cameras and door locks (medical locking system) over the past five years.  We have approximately eight schools remaining to complete.  Approximately $29,000 was designated to purchase surveillance at the following locations:  Brockton High School, West Middle School, North Middle School, Arnone School, Baker School and George Elementary School.  This system is expected to be installed within the next few months.  This will allow school police and city police surveille.  Locks for the Hancock School are expected to be installed during the summer break.  Additional Safety and Security Grants have been submitted by our Grant Director Karen Watts.       

A.L.I.C.E. Training Update

Lt. Frank Vadaro discussed the progress in the A.L.I.C.E. training for every staff member in our school system.  Lt. Vadaro thanked the school committee members and Superintendent Thomas for allowing the implementation of the A.L.I.C.E. program at the Brockton Public School system.  There has been positive feedback from several staff members regarding this program.  Training requests have been sent to approximately 2,500 employees for the A.L.I.C.E. training.  All employees must complete the online training by December 20, 2019. As of today, 39.2% have completed the training, 10.3% are in progress of completion and 50.6% will need to complete.  Once training is completed by all, teachers will have the opportunity to speak with their students (age appropriation) and go over the training and drills.

Many School Committee members agreed that the training is educational and enlightening and that practicing the drills is necessary.

 Student Opportunity Act Memo

Chief Financial Officer Aldo Petronio reviewed the three-page highlights on the Student Opportunity Act Memo that was released yesterday by Commissioner Riley, and what this means for the Brockton Public Schools.  On November 26, 2019 Governor Baker signed into law the Student Opportunity Act (Chapter 123 of the Acts of 2019).  At the present moment we do not have exact numbers on funding but are hoping to have them in January 2020.       

School Committee members stated they are optimistic in the funding we will receive.  The Mayor stated the Equity in Education lawsuit is on standby and we will hold the state accountably for funding.  The whole committee thanked Chief Financial Officer Aldo Petronio for all his hard work and efforts. 

Items to Refer to              Superintendent Thomas would like to schedule a Safety and Security Subcommittee meeting

To Subcommittee             mid-January regarding in-house transportation.

Unfinished Business         None

New Business                    December 17 School Committee Meeting

The Superintendent asked school committee if they would like to change the start time of the next school committee meeting on December 17, 2019 because it conflicts with the high school holiday concert.

Mr. D’Agostino moved to amend the time of the December 17, 2019 school committee meeting start time from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Mr. Gormley seconded the motion.

                                                                           Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.

Acknowledgements/Announcements

·         Mr. Gormley wished all winter sports a good season.

·         Mr. Minichiello reminded all the Jingle Bel Run this Saturday at Brockton High School.  Registration will take place in the red cafeteria at 12:30 p.m., lunch will be provided.

·         Mr. D’Agostino congratulated and thanked all participants in the city holiday parade held last Saturday.

·         Mayor Rodrigues thanked all from the city and school side for their support and help during the snow storm. 

·         Superintendent Thomas thanked the Mayor’s office and DPW for their assistance during the snow storm.          

Executive Session   Mayor Rodrigues announced that school committee had personnel matters to deal with and would go into Executive Session accordance with MGL Chapter 30A, Section 21, and that the regular meeting would not reconvene. 

                                          Mr. Minichiello moved to go into Executive Session; seconded by Mr. Sullivan. 

                                          A Roll Call Vote was taken:

 

Mr. Minichiello – yes                                 Ms. Asack – absent                             Mr. Bath – yes

Mr. D'Agostino – yes                                 Mr. Gormley – yes                              Ms. Sullivan – yes                    

Mr. Sullivan – yes

 

                                         School Committee went into Executive Session at 8:55 p.m. 

                                        Respectfully submitted,

                                       Michael P. Thomas

                                       Superintendent/ Secretary  

 

                                       mdc