September 15, 2020

Brockton, Massachusetts
Regular School Committee Meeting
September 15, 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 seven 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, Attorney Paige Tobin

Mayor Sullivan called the meeting to order at 7:13 p.m., followed by a salute to the flag.

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
            
Hearing of Visitors    None
    
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. D’Agostino asked to remove Item B, giving an overview report on the consent agenda item.  

Mr. Minichiello moved the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the remainder Consent Agenda items: A, C, D, E, F, G, H and I seconded by Ms. Asack.

A.     Approval of Minutes:  September 2, 2020 Regular School Committee Meeting
C.     Authorization to Submit FY21 Food Security Infrastructure Grants $587,739.80
D.    Authorization to Submit Nellie Mae Education Foundation Supporting Districts Addressing Two
  Pandemics Grant Proposal $250,000
E.     Authorization to Submit NoVo Foundation SEL Equitable Design Grant $200,000
F.     Authorization to Submit Remote Learning Technologies Essentials Grant to the Massachusetts
     Department of Elementary and Secondary Education $5,334,608.50
G.     Notification of Personnel Appointments:  Certified Personnel
H.     Notification of Personnel Appointments:  Non-Certified Personnel
I.    Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions:  Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements

Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote to approve the remainder Consent Agenda items:
    
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

Mr. D’Agostino gave an overview report on the consent agenda Item B, Approval of Minutes:  September 8, 2020 Policy Subcommittee Meeting.

1.    Dr. Richard Herman – COVID-19 metrics
2.    Dr. Eno Mondesir – New Board of Health Director
3.    Discussion on metrics that would allow to start a hybrid model and athletics
4.    MASC Policy on COVID-Related Issues
5.    Other Business
6.    Executive Session


Mr. Minichiello moved to approve Item B, Approval of Minutes:  September 8, 2020 Policy Subcommittee Meeting, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.
    
Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote to approve Item B: Approval of Minutes:  September 8, 2020 Policy Subcommittee Meeting.
    
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

Superintendent’s Report

Opening of School update

Superintendent Thomas gave an update as we open school tomorrow remotely for grades 1 through 12 and Kindergarten and Pre-K next Monday, September 21, 2020. Superintendent Thomas thanked the Executive Team, Administrators, Teachers, Support staff, Principal’s, Kim Gibson, BEA President and all Union Presidents and efforts during the last several weeks.  A quick reminder to parents/guardian please call your child’s school directly for immediate assistance and support.

Opening of School update & Schoology

Superintendent Thomas invited June Saba-Maguire, Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Ethan Cancell, Executive Director of Assessment, Accountability, Technology to present a power point on the Re- Opening of schools & Schoology.

•    Overview
•    Preparation for Launching Teaching and Learning
•    Simultaneously…
•    Leaning Management Systems
•    Log in through Clever
•    Home Page (Materials for Students)
•    Course Pages
•    Going to Specialists:  Student View
•    In the Art Course:  Student View
•    What to Expect on Opening Day
    
To our students, teachers our families have a great school year!!!!!!!!!!!

Superintendent Thomas mentioned an email was sent to staff regarding expectations for the first several days of school, it’s about building relationships and supporting students.

Mayor Sullivan and School Committee members thanked everyone in the district for their professionalism and respect during these difficult times and schools reaching out to parents/guardians for support.

Jess Hodges, Chief Public Relations Officer held a parent training on Monday, September 14, 2020.  If you were unable to attend feel free to visit the BPS website home page with information to start the school year.  The parent training information was condensed and is available in four languages also on the BPS website.

Superintendent Thomas, Cynthia Mendes, Jess Hodges and members of the administration have been meeting with the Re-opening committee, a parent came up with the idea of super users where parents who are tech savvy in technology can be trained in schoology and teams and then would be able to help other parents/guardians for support.  This Thursday, Dan Vigeant and Kevin daPonte will host a training for those parents and leaders from several daycare centers in Brockton with students from our district in becoming super users, following this training a set up call system and support system will be available where parents/guardians can reach out to them directly.  Superintendent Thomas thanked parents, members of the community, Cape Verdean Association, NAACP, Haitian Association for their continued support.

School Committee members thanked Superintendent Thomas, Executive Team members, Central staff, Unions, Teachers and everyone in the District for the dedication and commitment to making this as successful as we possibly could, this was a total team effort and a lot of credit is deserved.
    
Laptop & Wi-Fi update

Superintendent Thomas gave an update on the laptop distribution thanking Dan Vigeant and his team, Principal’s, Associate Principals, Assistant Principals and teams at their schools for the work done over the last 10 days distributing 12,500 laptops to students.  We are actively working with schools to deliver additional laptops for any swap out that are needed.  As we begin phase four we will swap out approximately 7,000 student blue laptops on/or about September 28, 2020, in October we will swap out over 3,000 teachers and support staff laptops and Para’s and MTA’s will receive laptops.  Just a reminder to parents/guardians if you need support with the laptop or login please call your child’s school directly.

Special Education update

Superintendent Thomas invited Laurie Mason, Director of Special Education to give an overview on the special education update that was discussed earlier this evening at the Policy Subcommittee meeting regarding students with disabilities, high-risk and madidates that are required by the Department of Education.

Ms. Mason discussed the hybrid plan that was created for student’s once the district determines it’s safe to return to the classroom.  Student’s would attend classes two days a week working in smaller groups to practice social distancing following CDC guidelines.  This will give our teachers an opportunity to strategically plan and organize building relationships with the families and provide the students structure in the classroom.  The Special Education departments has worked hard to make sure that all our students are getting what they need and will get what they need.  

School Committee members thanked Laurie Mason and her department assisting families and students as they prepare for a new school year.

Social & Emotional Support update

Superintendent Thomas introduced Sharon Wolder, Chief Officer of Student Support Services to give an update on the training with Social and Emotional support.

Ms. Wolder spoke on how the district began with self-care for administrators with a workshop presented by Dr. Booth.  It was important to acknowledge that many administrators had not taken a break, and all have and continue to experience the trauma of COVID-19 and social justice issues.

The re-opening committee for social and emotional learning identified several ideas for the district, students, families, administrators, teachers and support staff in the schools.  Once it was determined that we would begin remote the committee focused on creating workshops for the first 10-days for Professional Development for teachers.  

The workshop included a 2-hour introduction on social emotional learning, relationships and self-care.  The relationship the adult builds with a child is going to determine whether they engage and stay connected to us.  Moving ahead the committee will continue the work to address the anxiety some will have as they adjust to remote learning.  

To support the work of the School Adjustment Counselors, the district connected with DCF, the Family Center and Children’s Advocacy Center to ensure together we fully support families.

We also have community mentors working with the schools and attendance officers to connect with families in an effort to engage student struggling with remote learning.        

Food Service – Meals distribution

Superintendent Thomas introduced Tom Burke, Resident District Manager of Chartwell’s to discuss the new regulations are starting the school year and how we’re going to distribute meals beginning tomorrow.  We will send another text message to family’s tomorrow morning to understand how they can receive meals.

Mr. Burke took a moment to publicly thank the Food Service staff for their continued support.  School closed on a Wednesday afternoon for Thursday and Friday and on the Monday 10 locations were up and running serving 2,000 meals a day even during inclement weather.  (applause)

Beginning tomorrow from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., we will have 17 sites in the district where parents/guardians can come and pick up breakfast and lunch for their children, each site will have a manager and two food service workers.  We will continue to operate under the summer food service program granted by the Department of Elementary and Education and USDA, this will allow anyone in the community under 18 years old to be eligible.  

Chartwell’s will provide two meals to each student on Monday’s and Wednesday’s, and on Friday’s three meals will be provided to cover Saturday and Sunday. During the school year we receive our produce from the department of defense at no cost.  This year the department of defense has another program called farmers to families (phase 2).  This program allows us to receive approximately 600 farmer boxes each week (one box per family on a first come base) that includes:  apples, oranges, onions, tomatoes, melons, cantaloupe, zucchini, peppers, potatoes, stone fruit, cucumbers and lettuce.   During phase 3 the farmer boxes will include:  milk, eggs, produce as well as cooked meats.  We received a grant in the amount of $266,000 this will allow the following six schools to pass out additional fresh fruits:  Kennedy School, Dr. William Arnone School, Manthala George, Jr., Brookfield Elementary, Louis F. Angelo School and Mary E. Baker School.  All foods meet the USDA guidelines.

Comments

Superintendent Thomas mentioned this adjustment in time and pick up days was made to accommodate families.

Mayor Sullivan, Superintendent Thomas and School Committee members thanked Tom Burke and the Food Service staff for their continued support and a job well done.

Superintendent Thomas thanked Dr. Kathy Moran, Executive Director of Human Resources and her team, Karen Archibald-Warren, President of the Food Service Association and her team to assist and accommodate the times of distributing food to families.

Tom Burke also thanked the 4 truck drivers (custodians) for their support helping daily with the delivery to the food locations.

Mayor Sullivan thanked Superintendent Thomas, Ken Thompson, Director of Facilities, Tom Burke and his team working with City Hall handing out 18,000 handouts about COVID-19 in multiple languages and assisting in 30,000 additional handouts relative to the federal census.  The City of Brockton is 58% completed and have approximately two weeks left before the deadline.  

Question/Answer

•    Can parents/guardians pick up food for other families?
Yes, we can provide food for additional families.

Items to Refer to Subcommitee
Mayor Sullivan read the following letter into the record from Ms. Cynthia Scrivani, Executive Director from the Elections Commission office.  
            
             Dear Superintendent Thomas: Two of my polling locations have opted out of letting me use space for
             the November Election.  I would like to request the use of the Russell School and also I would like to
             put another precinct in the Gilmore School.  Thank you in advance for your consideration to my request.

            Mr. D’Agostino motioned to send the polling request to the Facilities Subcommittee, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

                                                                     Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

Mayor Sullivan requested a Facilities Usage & Planning Subcommittee meeting.
Date:  Tuesday, September 22, 2020.

Mr. D’Agostino requested a Superintendent’s Subcommittee meeting.
Date:  Tuesday, September 22, 2020.

Ms. Mendes requested an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee meeting.
Date:  Tuesday, September 29, 2020.

Unfinished Business    None

New Business

Superintendent Thomas discussed the District Review that took place on March 3rd,4th,5th and 6th, 2020 by the Department of Education where a complete district review is performed every six years.  The results came in and we had to check it for factual information then it was sent back to the Department of Education.  An Associate Director from the Department of Education will present to the School Committee on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 the district review and release it on the same day.  We will come up with a plan to rectify what is in the district review.  Information cannot be released yet, only to members of the Executive Team just to look it over for accuracy.  

Executive Session

Mayor Sullivan announced “The Committee will enter executive session pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, §21(a)(3) for conducting strategy with respect to collective bargaining, as conducting this deliberation in an open session would have a detrimental effect on the bargaining position of the Committee. The Committee will not return to open session following the Executive Session.”  

Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote:

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

School Committee Members went into Executive Session at 8:50 p.m.
                                  
Respectfully submitted,
Michael P. Thomas
Superintendent/Secretary   
 
                                        
Attachment:
Power point:  BPS Preliminary Reopening Plans
 
    mdc