OCTOBER 16, 2018
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. Minichiello, Vice-Chair; Ms. Asack, Mr. D’Agostino, Ms. Plant, Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan
Absent: Mayor Carpenter, Mr. Gormley
Also Present: Michael Williams, Brockton Fire Chief; Tobias Cowans and James Silverman, Brockton Lions Cub; Keri Wolfe, Cradles to Crayons; Marcia Andrade Serpa, Angelo School Principal; Laurie Silva, Director of Community Schools; Carol McGrath, Raymond School Principal; Kellie Jones, Director of Bilingual Education; Nelson Azevedo, Visiting Portuguese Teacher; Aiden and Emma Reardon, Brockton High students
Mr. Minichiello called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. followed by a salute to the flag. He announced that the Recognitions agenda item under the Superintendent’s Report would be taken out of order and asked Superintendent Smith to begin the presentations.
Superintendent Smith stated that with October being National Fire Prevention Month she wanted to acknowledge our Brockton firefighters. Earlier this evening firefighters were invited to a reception in recognition of their service to the city.
The Superintendent invited Brockton High students Aiden and Emma Reardon, whose father is a Brockton firefighter, to present a shortened version of a video documentary they created about post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and the effects on those who suffer from it as well as their loved ones; several Brockton firefighters were interviewed in the documentary. Aiden and Emma spoke about their motivation to create the video, partly as a way to remember 9/11 and also to bring awareness of PTSD.
The Superintendent gave a brief slideshow presentation highlighting Brockton firefighters in action followed by the presentation of a certificate of appreciation to Chief Williams on behalf of all firefighters for their service to the city.
Brockton Lions’ Club
Superintendent Smith invited Tobias Cowans and Lions Club past president Jim Silverman to talk about the organization, which has been a great partner of the schools for many years. She thanked them for their ongoing support and invited Mr. Silverman to talk to the community about its mission and how people can get involved. Mr. Silverman explained the many ways the Lions Club supports the community, he would like to look at creating a club at the high school and extended an invitation to the public to come to the next meeting, they meet on the first Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at Bickfords on Oak Street. A certificate of appreciation was presented by Superintendent Smith and Mr. Minichiello.
Cradles to Crayons
Superintendent Smith explained that Cradles to Crayons has supported the Brockton Public Schools with thousands of backpacks and supplies for the past three years. She invited Ms. Asack, who has worked with Cradles to Crayons to get the backpacks and supplies distributed to our schools, to talk about this partnership.
Ms. Asack thanked Keri Wolfe, Manager of Partner Relations for Cradles to Crayons, for the generous donations over the past three years; she said the schools were thrilled to receive not only backpacks, but supplies for the school. Ms. Asack said she appreciates the partnership and she has spoken with Dr. Murray about starting something at the high school to give back to Cradles to Crayons. Ms. Wolfe, in turn, thanked Brockton and Ms. Asack for her assistance; a certificate was presented in appreciation of the donations.
Angelo School Principal Marcia Andrade Serpa was pleased to recount an event early in the school year in which Mr. Rentas, while performing his crossing guard duty at a very busy location in front of the school, observed a first-grade student getting out of a car and running across the street directly into the path of an oncoming car. She said Mr. Rentas quickly assessed the situation and yelled to alert the driver; she praised his vigilance and speedy response that saved the child from being hit by the car. Mr. Rentas received a certificate of recognition from the Superintendent and School Committee.
Albert N. Baroncelli Award
The Superintendent invited Laurie Silva and Carol McGrath to announce the 2018 Baroncelli Award winner. Ms. McGrath was pleased to announce that Ms. Melissa Murray, a long-time volunteer at the Raymond School was selected as this year’s recipient, she thanked her for the countless hours she gives to the school and community. Mr. Sullivan also congratulated Ms. Murray and said it is a pleasure to continue to work with her at the Raymond School.
Ms. McGrath said an award presentation has been scheduled at the Raymond School on December 5th.
Mr. Minichiello explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members for any requests to remove items for further discussion, Mr. Sullivan removed Item D, Ratification of Memorandum of Agreement between School Committee and the Custodian’s Union.
Mr. D’Agostino moved to accept the Superintendent's recommendation to approve the remaining items from the Consent Agenda as listed below, the motion was seconded by Ms. Sullivan.
- Approval of October 2, 2018 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes
- Acceptance of Report: Oct. 2, 2018 Policy Manual Review Subcommittee Mtg.
- Acceptance of Report: Oct. 9, 2018 Accounts Review Subcommittee Meeting
- Approval of Overnight, Out-of-State Trip: Empower Yourself to NYC
- Acceptance of Notification of Non-Certified Personnel Appointments
- Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions: Leaves of Absence, Retirements Resignations
Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.
With respect to Item D, Mr. Sullivan said there is a memorandum of agreement between school custodians and school committee on the table this evening for ratification, he acknowledged the hard work from both sides to come to an agreement. Mr. Minichiello asked Mr. Thomas to talk further about the negotiations.
Mr. Thomas thanked School Committee negotiating team members Brett Gormley, Lisa Plant and Tim Sullivan, Union President Brian McElhinney, Facilities Director Ken Thompson for negotiating a fair contract, he said both sides worked hard and were very understanding in light of a difficult budget. Mr. McElhinney also wanted to thank members of the negotiating team, he said union members voted to accept the contract by a wide margin.
Mr. Sullivan moved to ratify the Memorandum of Agreement between the Brockton School Committee and Teamsters Local 653, Brockton School Custodians’ Union, effective for a three-year period from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2021. The motion was seconded by Ms. Sullivan.
Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.
Superintendent's Report (continued)
Introduction of Visiting Teacher from Portugal
The Superintendent began by reminding committee members of her visit to Portugal in April, the goal of that visit was to come up with an opportunity for a teacher exchange program to bring the Portuguese language to our students. She invited Ms. Kellie Jones to introduce Brockton’s first visiting teacher from Portugal.
Ms. Jones introduced Mr. Nelson Azevedo and said Brockton is very fortunate to have him teaching our kindergarten students in the UNIDOS program at the George School; he is working with almost 60 children teaching them to speak the Portuguese language. Mr. Azevedo said he enjoys his job, this is his first time in America and he is very happy to be here.
The Superintendent said school committee and administration continue to be very busy with advocacy, on October 9th representatives from Brockton attended a community forum in Holyoke to co-present “The Tale of Four Cities” with Worcester, Springfield and Holyoke. She said Mayor Carpenter was able to spend some time touring Holyoke with their Mayor and she was able to visit a few schools. Officials from Holyoke and other districts spoke about sharing the same struggles that Brockton has—health costs, technology, curriculum, low income calculation, special education, professional development; Superintendent Smith said “we are joined by many more voices.” Fall River superintendent and former Brockton superintendent Matt Malone co-authored an article with Ranjini Govendor in the Boston Globe that spoke to these struggles that continue to put gateway city children not on the same level as other children receiving education across the Commonwealth.
Mr. Minichiello also commented on the forum, he said Chicopee stated they went through a layoff this past year, he said Brockton’s issues are across the Commonwealth and there are many districts that want to join to be part of the solution.
Mr. Minichiello announced that the school committee has scheduled a Finance Subcommittee meeting on Wednesday, October 24th, at 6:00 p.m. Mayor Carpenter will present budgetary information from the City perspective; state delegates, city council members and school committee members will be invited to speak about their efforts with respect to the budget and advocacy, and he would like to discuss ways community members can help. Mr. Minichiello said at a recent public meeting some officials were not allowed to speak, and he would like to talk about effectively working together with the community to and ways to bring in more partners to advocate and support students.
- Congratulations to BHS Science teacher Dr. Laurie Jackson-Brusby, who was named the 2018 winner of the Dawn Sather Outstanding New Teacher Award, which recognizes a teacher who has gone above and beyond what is expected of a new teacher.
- Congratulations to George School teacher Janine Sorrenti, who has been featured on billboards as part of the DESE aMAzing teachers program
- At the annual MASS/MASC Conference in November, Dr. Terrasi and several other Brockton staff will present “Why We Need Trauma Sensitive Schools”; also, a video presentation titled “A Tale of Two Sisters” will feature Brockton teacher Karen Kavanaugh and compare her experiences as a teacher in Brockton to her sister’s, who teaches in Lexington.
- Kudos to Kathleen Quinn, Karen Crowley and Jody Price from the Adult Learning Center who were recognized in a DESE adult learning newsletter for exemplary STAR instruction.
- BPS Happenings Newsletter – the Superintendent announced that there is now a newsletter that has been created and can be accessed on the website, she would like to see school committee contributions
Items to Refer to Subcommittee
The Superintendent said she would like to schedule a curriculum subcommittee meeting to review MCAS results and get an update on the curriculum for drug-free living that was introduced by Mayor Carpenter.
Mr. Minichiello said the Mayor extended his regrets that he could not be here for this meeting, he is away at a very important mayoral meeting.
Seeing no furth business, the meeting adjourned at 8:27 p.m.
Kathleen A. Smith, JD