July 21, 2020

Brockton, Massachusetts
Regular School Committee Meeting
July 21, 2020

PDF VERSION
                                               

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 o'clock.  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

Also Present:  Executive Team Members, Kim Gibson BEA President

Mayor Sullivan called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m., followed by a salute to the flag.

Mayor Sullivan asked for a moment of silence in memory of two fine BPS educators that unfortunately passed away, Brian Rogan Principal of Kennedy School and Jimmie Wooten Bilingual teacher at South Middle school.  Our prayers and thoughts are with their families, may they rest in peace.

Mayor Sullivan introduced Dr. Richard Herman a medical consultant hired by the City of Brockton during the pandemic.  Dr. Herman was a former ER chief at Brockton Hospital Signature Health Care and ER chief at Good Samaritan Hospital.  Dr. Herman answered questions from the committee regarding the reopening of schools sharing his professional and personal expertise relative to COVID-19.  

Mayor Sullivan gave a COVID-19 update in Brockton.  The city was notified by DPH that the trend is starting to increase from 59 cases to 84 cases today, a loss of 268 lives and a total of 4,312 lives affected.

Hearing of Visitors    

Kim Gibson BEA President thanked Mayor Sullivan, Superintendent Thomas and School Committee members for all their hard work during the past four months as we know it’s been very difficult for everyone, even up until now trying to figure out how to reopen our schools safely.  Thank you to teachers, paraprofessionals, administrative assistants, custodians, cafeteria workers and non-union members for your hard work. There will be difficult conversations over the next couple of weeks and decisions made regarding the reopening but knows the committee will be thoughtful.  Kim shared with Mayor Sullivan and Superintendent Thomas the number of teachers who have reached out to her personally thank you for your leadership it is appreciated.        
    
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.  Mr. Sullivan asked to remove Item D and H giving an overview report on the consent agenda items.  Mr. D’Agostino asked to remove Item B, E, F, and G giving an overview report on the consent agenda items.  

Mr. Minichiello moved the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the remainder Consent Agenda items: A, C, I, and J seconded by Ms. Sullivan.

A.       Approval of June 16, 2020 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes
C.    Approval of June 10, 2020 Special School Committee Meeting Minutes
I.     Approval of 2020-2021 School Committee Meeting Dates
J.    Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions: Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements           

                        Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous
    
    Item D, Approval of Minutes:  June 9, 2020 Security, Safety, Transportation Subcommittee Meeting discussing the agenda items.
1.    2020-2021 Transportation
2.    Other Business

    Mr. Sullivan moved to approve Item D, Approval of Minutes:  June 9, 2020 Security, Safety,
    Transportation, seconded by Mr. D’Agostino.

    Voted:  to approve the motion, 1 no, 7 yes in favor

    Item H, Approval of Minutes:  July 16, 2020 Bid Review Subcommittee Meeting discussing the agenda items.
a.    To accept the report of the Subcommittee as presented.
b.    To accept the following bids:

    FY2021 Waste Disposal Service
    FY2021 Emergency Lease of General Warehouse Space

    Mr. Sullivan moved to approve Item H, Approval of Minutes:  July 16, 2020 Bid Review Subcommittee Meeting, seconded by Ms. Sullivan.

                Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

    Item B, Approval of Minutes:  June 16, 2020 Finance Subcommittee Meeting discussing the agenda items.
1.    FY2020 Budget
2.    FY2021 Budget
3.    Chartwell’s Contract Renewal Extension
4.    New Business

Mr. D’Agostino moved to approve Item B, Approval of Minutes:  June 16, 2020 Finance Subcommittee Meeting, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

                Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous  

    Item E, Approval of Minutes:  June 9, 2020 Finance Subcommittee Meeting discussing the agenda items.
1.    FY2021 Budget
2.    New Business

Mr. D’Agostino moved to approve Item E, Approval of Minutes:  June 9, 2020 Finance Subcommittee Meeting, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

                Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

    Item F, Approval of Minutes:  June 4, 2020 Finance Subcommittee Meeting discussing the agenda  
 items.
1.    FY2021 Budget
2.    New Business

Mr. D’Agostino moved to approve Item F, Approval of Minutes:  June 4, 2020 Finance Subcommittee Meeting, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.
    
                Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

Item G, Approval of Minutes:  June 30, 2020 Policy Subcommittee Meeting discussing the agenda items.
1.    2020-2021 Student/Parent Handbooks
2.    Possible amendments to the handbooks
3.    PPE for reopening
4.    Revision of Policy JFA, Caregiver Authorization
5.    Other Business
    
    Mr. D’Agostino moved to approve Item G, Approval of Minutes:  June 30, 2020 Policy Subcommittee Meeting, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.
    
                Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

Communication    None

Superintendent’s Report

Reopening Draft Plans

Superintendent Thomas mentioned during the school committee retreat held on July 16, 2020 there was a discussion regarding plans the district will need to submit to the Department of Education by July 31, 2020:

1.    Full In-person plan
2.    Hybrid Model plan
3.    Full Remote plan
                                     
Superintendent Thomas discussed that all agree that a full in-person plan is going to be difficult and doesn’t appear that will happen for Brockton. However, a discussion will take place and we will submit a plan and be very clear that we don’t have the staff or the budget.  Jess Hodges Chief Public Relations Officer sent a phone survey today in all languages to parents to get feedback of what kind of hybrid model they would be interested in:

Option 1:  Your child would be in school every day with a schedule that rotated each week. For example, he or she would be in school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday one week and Tuesday and Thursday the next week.

Option 2:  Your child would be in school for the same two days each week as well as one additional day every other week.  For example, he or she would be in school on Tuesday and Thursday every week and be in school every other Monday.

Option 3:  Your child would be in school for the same two days and have a third half day every other week.  For example, he or she would be in school on Tuesday and Thursday every week and also be in school every other Monday for half a day.

Although it’s still early on this survey it appears there’s a strong preference for option one.  

Superintendent Thomas discussed a full remote plan that will be put in place for parents that choose to keep their child home throughout this pandemic and will be put in place in the event the state requires us to go full remote or a decision the school committee thinks about as we go through.  In planning for a full remote plan, professional development will be planned around it.  Aldo Petronio BPS/CFO and Troy Clarkson City/CFO see that we’re getting the county to pay for laptops for every child in the district.  Dr. Ethan Cancell, June Saba-Maguire and a team worked on a $25 million dollar grant with the Department of Education around technology/laptops and internet access.

Questions and Answers


•    Seeing that we have a lot of people that do not reply to the text messages can we send out a phone call?
    Yes, the text messages and phone calls will be done in all languages.
•    Is there a way to send the survey to the older students to get feedback from?
    Yes, we will send this to the students via their school email.
•    If we were to do the hybrid model plan would we be able to do the six feet rule?
    Yes, we would be able to only half the students would be in school.
•    Would it be practical to have shields for staff and students?
    70,000 masked cloths and 500,000 paper masks have been ordered, 3,000 face shields and thousands of hand sanitizer/dispensers are ordered for every classroom and common areas, wipes, 250 electrostatic disinfecting guns along with thousands of desks ordered.

Superintendent Thomas thanked Mayor Sullivan for speaking with the Plymouth County commissioner,  They provided help in order PPE equipment for the district.  Superintendent also thanked Aldo Petronio BPS CFO, Troy Clarkson City CFO and Dr. James Cobbs Executive Director of Operations for their hard work getting supplies ordered and getting what we need before the opening of school in September.

Extra -Curricular /Transportation    

Superintendent Thomas mentioned the MIAA announced their postponement of fall sports until September 14th that was scheduled to begin on August 17th this year.  We have not received any guidance from the Department of Education of extracurricular around band or chorus and all other activities that we run.

Superintendent Thomas discussed transportation, although we have not received guidance from the state Margaret (Peggy) Killea School Registration & Parent Information Center Transportation work on the current 37 buses having 25 students on each bus with the same stops as last year.  If we go with a hybrid model with 7,249 students having half attend one day and the other half the next day you could bus all students.  The only issue is if New Heights Charter School doesn’t follow our plan and stay with a full in person plan that would cost us 8 more buses giving a total of 45.  A leadership meeting with New Heights, Cardinal Spellman and Trinity will take place for Superintendent Thomas to go over what the BPS district plans will look like and the direction we are going in.  

Question/Answer


•    What is the cost for each bus and an approximate cost for New Heights Charter?
    Each bus costs approximately $84,000 costing a total of approximately $660,000    
•    What are the thoughts of having kindergarten and first graders wearing masks and should we make a
    motion?
    It is not a requirement from the Department of Education however we can suggest it.  A motion is not
    necessary.
•    What is the cost of the paper mask?
    The cost is $0.47 for each paper mask.
•    Could we get the younger students a lanyard to clip their mask to help avoid losing their mask?
    Yes, perhaps getting smiley faces or cartoon to decorate could help to encourage the younger children
    in wearing their mask.

Special Education re-opening plans


Superintendent Thomas introduced Ms. Laurie Mason Director of Special Education to discuss guidelines from the Department of Education on the opening of school in September.  The Department of Education wants all students with disabilities who have significant disabilities to be in school full-time regardless of what other plans are in place in the district.  Our Special Education team visited schools to look at special education classrooms to see how we can support students attending school each day in a safe manner, and conversation with Ms. Wolder and Superintendent Thomas.  Parents are responding to the re-opening survey and many have shown an interest in the hybrid model.  Ms. Mason along with the SEPAC will meet with parents of high school students next week to share their concerns, this will also allow us to assure parents that we will provide safety for their child in school and safe instruction.        

Bilingual re-opening plans


Superintendent Thomas introduced Ms. Kellie Jones Director of Bilingual Education to discuss guidelines for bilingual student returning to school and what we will need to do.  Ms. Jones reported as of today we have 3,698 English learners in our district (not including kindergarteners).  We received guidance from the state for remote screening of incoming kindergarteners beginning next week.  During the 2019-2020 school year we had 26.2 % of our students as English learners and ended the year with 4,300 English learners.  We have not received a new guidance from the state but the initial guidance from DESE in May 2020 states, “State and Federal laws require school districts to provide access to academic content and to facilitate student progress towards English proficiency school districts including Charter schools need to adapt their English leaner education service to account for remote learning school districts must meet their legal obligation to English learners even when students are learning remotely.”  Brockton came together to support the families who speak more than one language in the home.  We have 15 bilingual community relations facilitators and three part-time advocates, and all have district cell phones to help parents with questions and provide support.

Ratification of MOA between Brockton Food Service Association, SEIU, Local 888
        Mr. Sullivan gave an overview on the Ratification of MOA between Brockton Food Service Association, SEIU, Local 888 effective September 1, 2019 thru August 31, 2020.  
        
        
Mr. Sullivan motioned to approve the Ratification of MOA between Brockton Food Service Association, SEIU, Local 888, seconded by Ms. Sullivan.

                                                     Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

 Items to Refer to Subcommittee

Mr. D’Agostino requested a Policy Subcommittee meeting and would like to see if the committee was available next Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 6:30 p.m., Brockton High School Little Theatre.  

Mr. D’Agostino motioned a Policy subcommittee meeting on next Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 6:30 p.m., Brockton High School Little Theatre, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

                                                     Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

Mr. D’Agostino mentioned we had a schedule laid out for the Superintendent’s contract review and asked if we could move it to August until we can complete the reopening of the district.  Superintendent Thomas has no objection to this request.  

Mr. D’Agostino motioned to leave the Superintendent’s contract review fluid August 1, 2020 and propose dates to complete, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

                                                    Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

Superintendent Thomas requested to schedule a Special School Committee meeting on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 to decide on the reopening of school.  The Department of Education had given a date of August 10th to notify all but feels it’s important to let our parents and staff know what we’re planning on and how we plan to come back to school.

Mr. Sullivan motioned to a Special School Committee meeting on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at 6:00 p.m., Brockton High School Little Theatre, seconded by Mr. D’Agostino.
                                
                                                   Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous  

Superintendent Thomas requested to schedule a parent’s forum before the Policy Subcommittee meeting on next Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to get some feedback on the reopening of schools.

Mr. D’Agostino motioned to hold a public set, public comment session on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Brockton High School Little Theatre, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

                                                      Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous
        
Unfinished Business   

Student Opportunity Act (SOA) 3-year District Plan

Superintendent Thomas reported that we will hold until we see what the state is going to hold and come up with any of the Student Opportunity Act money.  The plan is due August 14th and there is no indication if that date will change again, if the date doesn’t change we will have a meeting and look at the plan that was developed and submit a plan.   

New Business    

Subcommittee Meetings @ BHS/Little Theatre

Mr. D’Agostino mentioned the committee voted to hold all Subcommittee meetings of the whole at the Arnone School, Theater, we need to take a vote to reverse it for the time being to Brockton High School, Little Theatre.

Mr. D’Agostino motioned to move all Subcommittee meetings of the whole to Brockton High School, Little Theatre, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

                                                     Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

    Create new subcommittee – Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Mr. D’Agostino mentioned that during the School Committee Retreat held on July 16, 2020 a discussion took place in creating a new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee recommending Cynthia Mendes
    as the chair, two school committee members, a current parent of a student (non-voting) and high school
    student (non-voting).  

Mr. D’Agostino motioned to create a new subcommittee of the Brockton School committee which is: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.
                                                       Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

Mr. D’Agostino motioned to naming Cynthia Mendes as the chair, and two committee members: Tom Minichiello and Tony Rodrigues, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

                                                  Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous
                                                                    
Superintendent Thomas thanked Mayor Sullivan and Dr. Richard Herman in having discussions to come up with a plan to have an in-person graduation at Brockton High School, Marciano Stadium. Superintendent Thomas provided information to the in-person graduation ceremony and thanked the following for their support:  Dr. Murray Principal of Brockton High School, Dr. Cobbs Principal of Edison Academy, Principal Cynthia Burns of Champion High School and Frederick Douglas Academy, Principal Lander of Huntington School and their teams, Facilities department and Jess Hodges Chief Public Relations Officer in facilitating the in-person graduation ceremony.    

Parents/Guardian and Students are asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony as the gates will close, only two members of each family and the graduate may attend.

Superintendent Thomas thanked Lt. Vadero in coordinating the Brockton Fire Department and EMS for the safety of all guests and graduates.

Friday, July 24, 2020  
5:00 p.m. – Huntington School, Champion High School, Frederick Douglass Academy

Saturday, July 25, 2020
10:00 a.m. – BHS Yellow Building
1:00 p.m. – BHS Green Building
3:00 p.m. – Edison Academy

Sunday, July 26, 2020
10:00 a.m. – BHS Red Building
1:00 p.m. – BHS Azure Building

Question/Answer
•    Will the graduation be shown on BCA?
        Yes, BCA will livestream the graduation.

    Mayor Sullivan publicly thanked Mike Simmons and the entire BCA staff for an awesome job they have
    provided since we’ve went remote and appreciates all their efforts.

Executive Session    

None

Seeing no further business, Mr. Sullivan made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Ms. Sullivan.
    
    The meeting adjourned at 7:53 p.m.
                                  
Respectfully submitted,
Michael P. Thomas
Superintendent/Secretary   
 
                                        mdc