SEPTEMBER 25, 2019
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. Gormley, Ms. Plant, Ms. Sullivan, Superintendent Smith
Absent: Mayor Carpenter, Mr. D’Agostino, Mr. Sullivan
Also Present: Executive Team Members, Sarah Richards, Director of Art K-12; Bill McGauley, President, Brockton First Foundation; Dr. Julianne Andrade, Coordinator of Literacy preK-5
Mr. Minichiello called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. followed by a salute to the flag.
Mr. Minichiello requested that the presentation of the Summerfest Art Awards be taken out of order; there were no objections.
Superintendent Smith introduced the awards, she said the juried art show is something that has been a part of Summerfest for many years and that she has always been very proud of. She expressed the Mayor’s regrets that he could not be here this evening for the awards due to several schedule conflicts.
Mr. McGauley and Ms. Richards were invited up to present the awards. Mr. McGauley and Ms. Richards acknowledged the assistance of many other people, including the jurists and Brockton’s art teachers. Twenty-one students received citations from the Massachusetts House of Representatives, a ribbon, and a cash prize. Mr. McGauley thanked Representative Cronin for securing the citations.
Mr. Minichiello explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members for any requests to remove items for further discussion, there were none.
Ms. Sullivan moved to accept the Superintendent's recommendation to approve the Consent Agenda in its entirety, the motion was seconded by Ms. Plant.
- Approval of September 5, 2018 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes
- Approval of Overnight Trip Request: Empower Yourself to Ron Burton Camp
- Approval of 2018 – 2019 Home Education Requests
- Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Appointments: Certified, Non-Certified
- Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions: Leaves of Absence, Retirements Resignations
Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.
Accountability Update - Dr. Ethan Cancell
Dr. Cancell gave a power point presentation explaining the new accountability scoring system for the MCAS 2.0 test. He said the Commissioner of Education has made it clear that he wants some time to look at the new accountability. Changes to accountability include the following:
- MCAS 2.0 scores cannot be compared to previous years’ scores.
- Schools are no longer ranked level 1 – 5. Beginning in 2018, school results are reported in two categories: schools requiring assistance or intervention and schools without required assistance or intervention.
- Schools receive points for achievement, growth, high school completion, progress toward attaining English language proficiency, and additional indicators of chronic absenteeism and advanced level coursework.
- The bottom 25% at each school is considered a cohort; closing the achievement gap between this cohort and the rest of the school will be extremely important in a school’s rating.
- Other indicators Brockton had hoped would be considered, such as social emotional learning support and English Language learner support, were not included.
- This is the first year the high school will take the test online; the state has not said whether these scores will be included in the 2019 accountability determination for schools or districts.
There were questions about how this complicated information will be conveyed to parents; Dr. Cancell said it will be important that parents understand the “rules”, i.e. absenteeism and other indicators that will affect their school’s scores. Ms. Saba-Maguire added that she is looking at scheduling parent nights for this.
Opening of Kindergarten and Preschool
Ms. Saba-Maguire reported that 53 students have started in preschool at the Arnone. Due to the availability of seats in the program, parents with children born in the year 2013 will also have the opportunity to enroll on a first come, first served basis. Ms. Saba-Maguire said all currently enrolled preschoolers are the targeted students (with birthdays in November or December), but the number of anticipated students enrolled was lower than expected. Ms. Sullivan questioned whether factors such as transportation or the program not being full-day may have impacted parents’ decisions about enrolling their preschoolers. Dr. Andrade will be working with Communications Officer Michele Bolton to get this information out to the community.
Kindergarten enrollment is at 1,207, down by 107 from last year. Ms. Sullivan said she visited the Baker School and kindergarten class sizes are already high; Ms. Saba-Maguire said those classes are now capped and she will confirm that with the parent registration center.
Dr. Andrade and Ms. Saba-Maguire gave a power point presentation to update the committee on learning and teaching.
- All K-5 classes are now using the high-quality Reach for Reading curriculum
- The preschool will use the BigDay for PreK curriculum which has a social emotional component already embedded in it
- A new math curriculum, Mathia, is being used at BHS and South Middle this year; last year the program was piloted at South Middle and good gains were reported
- There are many curriculum steering committees at all levels; their work will help to ensure that Brockton teachers are well supported and their concerns heard with respect to learning and teaching
- Brockton is undergoing a full curriculum audit that will be conducted by the Johns Hopkins University and DESE. This audit will look at the quality of our curriculum and will provide good information for the district. Ms. Saba-Maguire reminded the committee that it is the district’s responsibility to provide high-quality curriculum to classroom teachers.
The Superintendent thanked Dr. Andrade for taking on the responsibility for ensuring a good curriculum for the new preschool program and thanked School Committee for moving forward with the preschool program that has been discussed for many years.
The Superintendent continued her report with the following:
- Bridgewater State University (BSU) has been a consistent and supportive partner with the Brockton Public Schools at all grade levels; this year we have agreed to providing a small office space for them at the high school.
- On October 9th Brockton will participate in a community forum for districts in western Massachusetts. Holyoke, Worcester and Springfield will gather to discuss advocacy and coalition building with respect to Chapter 70 funding issues. Brockton has also been invited to talk to districts in southeastern Massachusetts for the same reason. She said that coalition building and discussions with legislators with respect to the needs of school districts will continue.
- At the upcoming Joint MASC/MASS Conference in November, Brockton will give a presentation on the need for trauma sensitive schools.
- The job ad has closed for the Superintendent’s Executive Administrative Assistant position that also supports the school committee; the Superintendent said she will be looking for members of the Committee to serve on the interview panel.
- Brockton received $230,000 in federal FEMA money for displaced students from hurricanes Harvey and Maria and the California fires, those funds will be used to purchase laptop carts as we move toward having a device for every student in the district.
- The national campaign for literacy, “Read for the Record”, is scheduled for October 25th; the goal is to have the most people, reading the same book, on the same day. A book will be sent home with each of our youngest readers.
Mr. Minichiello asked the Superintendent for an update from Principal Murray about an athletic grant recently awarded to Brockton.
Dr. Murray reported that Athletic Director Kevin Karo and Director of Grants Management Karen Watts applied for a grant through the Major League Baseball (MLB) and were one of 12 applicants awarded a grant that will provide the high school with two batting cages, one indoor and one outdoor. He said the grant included money to purchase softball uniforms, which was a bonus. The indoor batting cage will be installed in the gymnasium, it is retractable and will retract into the roof of the gym when not in use. He expects that these will both be ready for use by the spring baseball season.
Dr. Murray also shared the following: a Brockton High cross-country runner recently took 1st place at a tri-state track meet where there were over 1,500 competitors; over 2,000 canned food items were collected at the September 7th football game with many Lexington fans also contributing; he is meeting with several students this week and will be selecting a representative to the school committee, and students recently conducted their first voter registration at the school which was very successful.
Items to Refer to Subcommittee
The Superintendent said she would like to schedule a two-hour subcommittee meeting on Thursday, October 25th, where she will present her goals and progress on which the committee will evaluate her; she also plans to present the district strategic plan.
Voting Delegate for MASS/MASC Joint Conference
Mr. Minichiello informed the committee that a voting delegate needs to be elected for the upcoming MASS/MASC joint conference. Mr. Minichiello nominated himself to be the official voting delegate and Mr. Sullivan as alternate.
Ms. Plant moved to appoint Mr. Minichiello as voting delegate for the 2018 MASS/MASC Joint Conference and Mr. Sullivan as the alternate; the motion was seconded by Ms. Sullivan and the vote was unanimous.
Mr. Minichiello shared a letter he received from a constituent, complimenting staff at the Hancock School for how they greet students and parents when arriving at school in the morning, as well as the way they ensure student safety at dismissal. Mr. Minichiello said it is always nice to receive positive feedback from constituents.
Seeing no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:44 p.m.
Kathleen A. Smith, JD