April 7, 2020

Brockton, Massachusetts

Regular School Committee Meeting

April 7, 2020

Live Stream

PDF VERSION

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

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

Mayor Sullivan, Chair read the following information for the record.  

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and State of Emergency, on March 12, 2020, Governor Baker issued an Executive Order Temporarily Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A sec. 20. Pursuant to the Order, public bodies are temporarily relieved from the Open Meeting Law’s requirement that meetings be held in public places, open and physically accessible to the public, so long as measures are taken to ensure public access to the bodies' deliberations "through adequate, alternative means."

This meeting will be held and will be accessible to the public via Brockton Community Access, Brockton Public Schools website, www.bpsma.org, YouTube and Comcast channel 12

    The public can access this meeting via this link: www.youtube.TheBrocktonChannels

    Mayor Sullivan, Chair took a roll call vote under the revised open meeting law.

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

 Superintendent Thomas – present (non-voting)

    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

 Superintendent Thomas – present (non-voting)


    
Mayor Sullivan thanked Malinda Campbell, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent for all her efforts, he also thanked the entire Administrative Team of the Brockton Public Schools, Kim Gibson BEA Representative, and Dr. Kathleen Moran Executive Director of Human Resources.

Also Present:  Executive Team Members, Richard Bath

    Mayor Sullivan gave an updated report on the COVID-19 cases in Brockton.  As of today, we lost five Brockton residents giving a total of seven lives and over 500 confirmed positive cases.  Our thoughts and prayers go to the departed and their surviving families.  We need to maintain all precautions as updates are reported from healthcare, we are facing a potential three to four weeks of reaching a high point and hopefully leveling off.  Social distance needs to remain in force along with washing hands, disinfecting all hard surfaces and staying at home.      

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, there were none.  

Mr. Sullivan moved the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the Consent Agenda in its entirety; the motion was seconded by Ms. Sullivan.

A.    Approval of March 26, 2020 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes
B.    Approval of April 2, 2020 Finance Subcommittee Meeting Minutes
C.    Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Appointments:  Certified
D.    Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Appointments:  Non-Certified
E.    Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions:  Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements

    Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote to approve the Consent Agenda in its entirety:
    
    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

Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.

Communication    None

Superintendent’s    
Report                             
            Laptop loan out report
Superintendent Thomas reported that 4,600 laptops were loaned to BPS students during the past two weeks, issuing one per family.  This Friday, April 10th at Brockton High School we are scheduled to loan out 400 laptops.  He thanked Dr. Cobbs and his team, Facilities department, IT department and other employees that helped.  Dr. Cobbs continues to work with Principal’s, Executive Team members and others in the district to identify families that do not have transportation and were able to assist in providing one for them.  Dr. Cobbs confirmed that 4,600 laptops were loaned to students, 40 were delivered and 16 were mailed to students out of district.  We will mail laptops to students living in Brockton where families have confirmed COVID-19 in their household.

Superintendent Thomas asked that if any school committee members know of a family that needs assistance in getting a laptop for their child to please email himself or Dr. Cobbs.  We will make every effort to see that the families receive one to stay connected.

Superintendent Thomas thanked school committee members for approval of loaning laptops for our students.  This was a major undertaking seeing our district is not set up for a one to one device.        

            Questions/Answers
•    Could we provide Dr. Cobbs email address for families to contact.
jamescobbs@bpsma.org

                            Superintendent Thomas recommended that parents/guardians update their contact information
to receive text/phone messages.  All Principal’s and Deans received a BPS work cell phone that is directly connected to their schools’ main office number, to answer calls during the school day.  

Questions/Answers
•    Has any employee or student contracted COVID-19?
We have not received information from anyone.  All information is reported directly to the Board of Health, FERPA guidelines which protects the privacy of all students.  
                
        Mayor Sullivan mentioned that Mr. John McGarry Health Officer at the Board of Health for the
        City of Brockton receives notification daily from the DPH of confirmed cases with address
        specification only age, sex or gender is not given.  Under the revised HIPPA declaration by the
        Governor, Police and Fire can be notified by Mr. McGarry of the address specified as a side of
        caution if they need to report to that address.

        Questions/Answers
•    On Friday, April 10th what time will the 400 laptops be distributed at Brockton High School?
Pick up time is 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  A reminder call and text message will be sent to parents/guardians.
•    If someone has a problem with the technology/computer who do they call?
We have a dedicated helpline for Cleaver sign on, technology helpline for devices, software issues, contact the school principal or teacher.  If they are unable to assist
Dr. Cancell or Mr. Kevin daPonte will help and provide a solution.    

            Remote learning
Superintendent Thomas invited June Saba-Maguire Chief Academic Officer to report on how are updating our website with materials and online learning on a weekly basis of all grade levels, working along with Dr. Murray to ensure enrichment activities and teachers are doing that as well with their students.  Ms. Saba-Maguire discussed the weekly K-8 lesson plans have been developed at an ongoing basis and will continue.  At the K-5 level Dr. Juliane Andrade, Dr. Heather Ronan are working along with the Instructional coaches to plan assignments.  We are able to provide resources from the district level and align the standards, develop clear and student friendly objectives that will support parents and students when they are using the online resources.  We are able to utilize district approved resources as an important factor, by using the resources we are focused on the standards and objectives asked by the Department of Education.  We are focused on assisting teachers utilizing platforms that are familiar to them and their students.  Cleaver is a platform that teachers and students can use at all levels, it gives guidance and supports using the tools and communicates directly with students.  Thank you to the middle schools Associate Principals, content leads; Michelle Conners – science, Jaime Estee – social studies, Eileen McQuaid – ELA, Melissa Costello and John Lynch – math in connecting with teachers developing resources for our students to utilize using the same philosophy and using our district approved standard-based resources.  To supplement and extend this we are looking at Edgenuity for the middle school and high school level.  We are in connection at the high school level with Carrie Copp to maintain K-8 consistency with K-12 for expectations what learning resources families can expect.     

Questions/Answers
•    Is there a concerted effort for families that may not have access to a device to provide continuity?
Yes, we provide print resources for all grade levels at the grab-and-go locations.    
        
        Superintendent Thomas mentioned during the past few weeks teachers have reached out to
        their students to review instruction but not introduce new materials as instructed by the                    
        Department of Education district wide at all grade levels.   
        
        Question/Answers
•    What are some specific resources for ELL and SPED?
We have learning resources on the BPS website, if you need assistance reach out directly to Laurie Mason Director of Special Education, Kellie Jones Director of Bilingual Education both will be able to help navigate resources to select that which is appropriate for their child.    

        Question/Answers
•    How are we assisting IB and AP students?
Mr. Erickson IB coordinator and Mrs. Deirdre Smith are working directly with IB
and AP students providing them with learning resources and testing updates.
        
            Online learning platform - Edgenuity
Superintendent Thomas talked about edgenuity; it is an online platform for students to take courses from grades 6 to 12 offering a wide range of courses with a virtual teacher in addition to what the district has for resources.  Students may choose to challenge themselves or take a refreshing course.  Administrators, principals, assistant principals and deans can track a student’s progress is going.

Questions/Answers
•    Will IB and AP courses taken by students receive credit on their transcript?
Yes, term 3 is extended and upon returning to school every student will be given the opportunity to make up work to improve their term 3 grade.  As a district we will decide what happens in term 4.

•    Is the online school in progress?
Yes, but it is currently on hold due to the closing of schools during COVID-19.

            Remote learning safety and security
 Superintendent Thomas discussed remote learning safety and security.  We continue to closely  
 monitor platforms that our teachers and students use in our district.  Dr. Cancell reported the
 district has a signed data privacy agreement with Zoom that protects our student data.  We will
 follow the FBI recommended procedures for securing Zoom and monitor closely.  In addition,   
 we strongly support and have purchased the Office 365 platform from Microsoft.       

        Mr. Minichiello thanked everyone for their support and for doing the best for our students.

    Superintendent Thomas mentioned we will change the time for Friday’s loan out laptops
    due to Good Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Mayor Sullivan mentioned that false emails have been created appearing to belong to him.  His official email address is:  mayorsullivan@cobma.us  if you should receive any not from the official one please delete the email or forward to Bill Santos from the IT department.

Mayor Sullivan thanked Superintendent Thomas for his help and support with the IT department located at Brockton High school.  They were relocated throughout the city due to the closing of schools and have since been able to return to Brockton High with the help of the custodians cleaning.    

Social Emotional support
Superintendent Thomas invited Sharon Wolder Chief Officer of Student Support Services to give an overview on social and emotional support services adjustment counselors are providing for our students.  The support team consist of 12 adjustment counselors and 3 nurses.  Each were issued district phones, and many can provide translation in their native language to parents and students.  The BPS website has a direct link “Social Emotional Services” that provides information and with connections to our community partners that can be useful for parents and students.  Our next step is to send an email to our students, so they can connect directly to the counselors.                 
    


    Comment
    Mr. D’Agostino appreciated that students can reach directly to adjustment counselors for
    support as many in the district are challenging environments at home.  

    April vacation – 4/21 – 4/24
    Superintendent Thomas reported the Commissioners decision that school not go beyond 185 school days, the last day of school is scheduled for June 24th. It’s a local decision to change the April vacation.  Superintendent Thomas recommends keeping the schedule the same and believes it would be beneficial to our students preparing for graduation, have some activities, summer enrichment and remedial programs.

Questions/Answers
•    What would happen with the grab-and-go lunches during the April vacation?
The grab-and-go lunches will continue.

Items to refer     None
to Subcommittee    
                
Unfinished Business    Student Opportunity Act (SOA) 3-year District Plan
    Superintendent Thomas discussed the Student Opportunity Act (SOA) 3-year District Plan
    application submission is extended from the Department of Education, and anticipate May 1st
    or June 1st.  Superintendent Thomas mentioned the Executive Team will meet with Mr. Bath
    to lay out the course on the Student Opportunity Act.  We will continue to reach out via email
    to teachers, staff and parents for feedback as we continue to build the plan.

    Questions/Answers
•    What is the email address for parents?
Superintendent Thomas will email the information to School Committee members.

New Business    Mayor Sullivan asked going forward during the COVID-19 pandemic to change School
    Committee and Subcommittee meeting times from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Mr. Minichiello motioned to move School Committee meetings from 7:00 p.m. to
    6:00 p.m., seconded by Ms. Mendes.
           
    A Roll Call Vote was taken:

    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

Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.

    Mayor Sullivan thanked Mike Simmons and Brockton Community Access (BCA) for all
    their efforts to record our meetings live.
    
    Comments
    Mr. D’Agostino reminded School Committee elected officials of their duties and
    responsibilities.  Please allow Chartwell’s to distribute lunches at the grab-and-go sites.
    
    Ms. Asack expressed concerns in keeping Chartwell’s workers safe as they hand out
    lunches at the sites, please allow only authorized personnel they are taking the necessary
    precautions.

    
    Mr. Minichiello asked how we are doing on the number of estimated lunches being provided.
    Mr. Petronio responded that we are doing 2,000 lunches daily and has been consistent, Friday’s we do 6,000 lunches that allows families food for Saturday and Sunday.   
    
Executive Session    Mayor Sullivan announced School Committee members have personnel matters to deal with
and would go into Executive Session pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 30A, Section 21 (a)(3)), To discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining - Food Service Union, IBAA-TEA Union, Brockton Education Association Union, Custodian Union, Paraprofessional/MTA Union, and that the regular meeting would not reconvene.

                                Mr. Minichiello motioned to go into Executive Session, seconded by Ms. Asack.

A Roll Call Vote was taken:

    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

Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous.

    School Committee Members went into Executive Session at 8:20 p.m.
                              
    Respectfully submitted,
    
                                        Michael P. Thomas
                                       Superintendent/Secretary   
 
                                        mdc