September 2, 2020

Brockton, Massachusetts
Regular School Committee Meeting
September 2, 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

Mayor Sullivan called the meeting to order at 7:02 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
            
Mayor Sullivan asked for a moment of silence for Brockton native Sergeant Eder Fernandes who was a proud Brockton High graduate class of 2015 from the Green building. Sgt. Fernandes was brought home last night may he rest in peace and our prayers and thoughts are with his family.

Mayor Sullivan thanked Mike Simmons and BCA for working diligent with us and Malinda Campbell, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent for all her efforts.   

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. Sullivan moved the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the Consent Agenda items: A, B, C, and D seconded by Ms. Sullivan.

A.    Approval of August 11, 2020 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes
B. Approval of Minutes:  August 20, 2020 Curriculum Subcommittee Meeting
C. Approval of Minutes:  August 25, 2020 Policy Subcommittee Meeting
D. Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions: Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements           

                        Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous
    
Superintendent’s Report     

Technology update          

Superintendent Thomas invited Mr. Dan Vigeant Director, Technology Services to give an update on laptops and Wi-Fi devices.   

Mr. Vigeant presented a power point on laptop distribution, how we plan on supporting staff and students and recognized it took every department in the district to come together and put this together.  He also thanked two vendors that the district purchases from; Ockers (a local company in Brockton) and Acer as a manufacturer on the availability of laptops.
    
•    Student Laptops
•    Phase I
•    Phase II
•    Student Home Internet
•    Parking Lot Wi-Fi
•    Staff Laptops (refresh)
•    Support Staff Laptops
•    Helpdesk Support

School Committee members thanked Dan Vigeant and the technology department for their hard work and huge undertaking.

Questions/Answers

•    How many staff members do you have assisting in your department?
There are 18 certified trained technology staff and recently approved to hire 6 additional staff.
•    Has Comcast waived eligibility for internet access?
Yes, based on information received Comcast has waived the eligibility.
•    What’s the determining factor for a family to receive a Mi-Fi?
If a parent/guardian needs a laptop and internet for their child, we need to provide it if we have the devices.
•    What number of people would you need to adequately staff the department?
Staff of 30 in the technology department would be better to serve the district.
•    Is there a help desk contact number?
Yes, we will have it posted on the district’s website and provided when laptops are distributed.
•    Where does a parent/guardian return a laptop that is no longer working?
The parent/guardian may contact the help desk to create a work order and instructions will be provided.

Superintendent Thomas discussed 2 phases that will take place on laptop distribution.  Principal’s will make calls next week to their families given out by schools for every student before September 16th.  We will work together to schedule a time for teachers to meet and greet with their students outside in an organized and better system.

Student Schedules & Schoology Training

Superintendent Thomas invited Ms. June Saba-Maguire Chief Academic Officer to give an update on Student Schedules and Schoology Training.  Schedules are being worked on and should be finalized with the bargaining team within the next few days.  Once finalized the schedules will be sent out for parents will know what their child’s day will look like full remote.

Ms. Saba-Maguire presented a power point with an overview on the following topics:
•    Re-Opening Schedule Update
•    Sample Schedule K-5 (Elementary Level)
•    Sample Schedule 6-8 (Middle School Level)
•    Sample Schedule BHS 9-12 (High School Level)
•    Professional Learning
•    Curriculum (elementary, middle, high school)
•    10 Day Professional Development (September 1-15, 2020)
•    Learning Management System (LMS)

Schoology Training

Jess Hodges Chief Public Relations Officer put together a video overview of Schoology, it focuses on the essential functions where students can become comfortable and confident using this platform.  We will offer family training lessons virtual to help answer questions.
    
Comment

Mayor Sullivan, School Committee members and Superintendent Thomas acknowledged the following:  Executive Team members, Principals, Assistant Principals, Associate Principals, Deans, Assistant Deans, Department Heads, Curriculum Department Heads, Administration, Dr. Andrade, Dr. Ronan, Union Representatives, Literacy and Stem Coaches, Teachers, 70 members of the Reopening committee, Technology department and Parents thanking everyone for their hard work and team effort.

Parent Support with Technology

Superintendent Thomas discussed parent support with technology.  During a meeting with a group of stakeholders in communications, school committee member Cynthia Mendes, all union presidents and two parents, one parent came up with the idea to form a group called “Champions helping Champions” where tech savvy parents are trained in various platforms such as Schoology, Microsoft Office 365 and Teams and become trainers for other parents needing assistance.  Superintendent Thomas has a Zoom meeting scheduled on tomorrow with members from the NAACP Education Committee, Cape Verdean Association, Haitian Association, Nancy Centers Chair- North Community Center, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, Brockton Day Nursery and BIC Association to discuss the variety of support they will provide.

Equity & Diversity update

Superintendent Thomas discussed the Equity & Diversity course all Administration have taken the courses thru eCornell this summer and 127 teachers voluntary took the unconscious bias course during the summer.  Superintendent Thomas thanked Sharon Wolder Chief Academic Support work with her equity and diversity task force providing trainings this week for professional development in equity and diversity and using our equity and diversity checklist and appreciates the school committee in forming the subcommittee.

FY21 Budget update & Plymouth County Cares Act update

Superintendent Thomas invited Mr. Aldo Petronio Chief Financial Officer to give a FY21 budget update.  The governor made a commitment to level fund chapter 70 and anticipate a vote that the house and senate will agree and bring that vote to the full legislature, so we can make our approach to the city council to receive those funds as we’re hedging on and have already spent.  The Cares Act funds have helped the district, originally funds were given out in allotments, our original allotment was a little over $4 million dollars, it was increased to $7.1 million dollars by the Plymouth County recognizing that Brockton has the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases where many of the cases from outside Brockton come into Brockton and the County Commissioners made an effort to send more funds our way, we have also received another commitment to add another $4 million dollars totaling $16,329,000.00 that is at the Mayor’s discretion.  Plymouth County is asking all cities and towns in the county to submit as many of their invoices at the beginning of October to see if communities not needing their allotments they will rebalance the funds, hoping where Brockton being a city in the red zone having the highest concentration that we get additional funding on top of that, so in doing so we’ve been going through now and looking at everything that we need the 12,000 computers, network infrastructure a generator for the central office that will keep the internet up and running, firewalls to avoid viruses, masks, gloves, sanitizer and air purifiers all that will come out of the Plymouth County funds.        

Mayor Sullivan thanked Superintendent Thomas, Aldo Petronio CFO/BPS for joining the check ceremony along with Congressman Stephen Lynch held at the Neighborhood Health Center to recognize all the brave men and women of Neighborhood Health Center that have saved lives here in the City of Brockton.  The city was presented a check in the amount of $1 million dollars from the first round of the County Cares Act.  A percentage will go to New Heights Charter school, they were able to use us as an agent.  Only municipalities can be reimbursed under the county and federal guidelines and the Cares Act.  Mayor Sullivan had a conversation with three county commissioners: Dan Eppolito, Sandra Wright and Greg Hanley and county treasurer Thomas O’Brien there is an expectation that we could get up to $18 million - $19 million dollars.  Funds not spent by December 31st will be returned to the Federal.  We will have a second-round submission in the millions on the school and city side and the last submission is only geared towards libraries, veterans’ services and council on aging.   

Mayor Sullivan expressed his concern that Beacon Hill has not given us a hard number, the only thing they’ve done is bridge a gap through October 31, 2020.  We anticipate we will receive level funded for the rest of the fiscal year, so we can do more.  Mayor Sullivan thanked Aldo Petronio CFO/BPS as he works everyday with Troy Clarkson CFO/City Side and daily conversations Mayor Sullivan has with Superintendent Thomas the number one thing discussed other than remote learning and thanked Kim Gibson BEA President and the BEA for working diligently is the Cares Act, we are going to get all funds that Brockton is entitled to receive.   

Items to Refer to Subcommittee

Superintendent Thomas asked that a Policy Subcommittee meeting is held on next Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. and requested that Dr. Herman attend to discuss the COVID-19 metrics and possible policy when to bring students back to school.  Mayor Sullivan will also invite Dr. Eno Mondesir the new Board of Health director, all members are available to meet.

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 from the Department of Education will come in October and present the district review and put a plan in place.  Information cannot be released yet, when the Department of Education comes in October we’ll be able to talk more in detail.  

Superintendent Thomas thanked the 2,000+ teachers who joined the teams meeting this morning for the annual convocation and thanked Mayor Sullivan and Mr. D’Agostino Vice-Chair for joining.  

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 8:34 p.m.
                                  
Respectfully submitted,
Michael P. Thomas
Superintendent/Secretary   
 
                                        
Attachments:
    Power point: BPS Technology Services
    Power point:  BPS Preliminary Reopening Plans
 
    mdc