The Organizational 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 Carpenter, Chair; Mr. Minichiello, Vice-Chair; Ms. Asack, Mr. D'Agostino, Mr. Gormley, Ms. Plant, Mrs. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan, Superintendent Smith
Also Present: Executive Team Members
Mayor Carpenter called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m., followed by a salute to the flag. He explained that tonight's meeting would include the election of officers and other organizational school committee business as required.
The Superintendent of Schools serves as Secretary of the School Committee.
Mr. Minichiello recommended Superintendent Kathleen Smith to serve as Secretary of the Brockton School Committee in 2018, Mr. Sullivan seconded the motion.
Voted: to adopt the recommendation, unanimous.
Mr. Minichiello was presented with a plaque in recognition of his service as the 2017 Vice-Chair of the School Committee. Mayor Carpenter pointed out that Mr. Minichiello has served as vice-chair of the school committee for eight consecutive years and thanked him for his dedication to the city and the schools. Superintendent Smith also thanked Mr. Minichiello.
Mr. Minichiello said it has been a privilege to serve the committee in this capacity and complimented committee members on their efforts to ensure that discussions are always open, honest and respectful. He thanked committee members for keeping children as the priority.
Mayor Carpenter explained the responsibilities of the School Committee Vice-chair then opened the floor for nominations.
Mr. Sullivan nominated Mr. Minichiello for the position of Vice-Chair of the School Committee for the 2018 calendar year, the nomination was seconded by Mr. D’Agostino.
Voted: to elect Mr. Minichiello as Vice-Chair for 2018, 6-0-1 (Mr. Minichiello did not cast a vote)
The Bylaws of the Community School Advisory Board provide for the election of two (2) school committee members to serve on the board for a one-year term.
Ms. Plant and Ms. Sullivan were nominated.
On the nomination, the committee voted to elect Ms. Plant and Ms. Sullivan to serve on the Community School Advisory Board in 2018, unanimous.
The Rules and Orders of the School Committee are subject to annual ratification.
Ms. Plant asked whether there have been any changes to the document, the Superintendent responded that the ethics policy that is part of the Rules and Orders was updated and approved by school committee on September 17, 2017. Mr. Minichiello clarified that the essence of the policy has not changed, there was a slight change in language as part of the total policy manual update.
Mr. D’Agostino moved to adopt the Rules and Orders for 2018 as presented; Mr. Sullivan seconded the motion.
Voted: to adopt the Rules and Orders as presented, unanimous.
Mayor Carpenter included a list of the 2018 subcommittee assignments in this evening’s agenda book. Mr. Minichiello called attention to the Negotiations—Other Bargaining Units subcommittee appointments, noting that an adjustment was made to the committee assignments based on the number of bargaining units in order to accommodate schedules.
Mr. Sullivan moved to accept notification of the 2018 Subcommittee Assignments as presented, the motion was seconded by Ms. Plant.
Voted: to accept notification, unanimous.
Mr. Minichiello reminded members that they are welcome and encouraged to attend any and all subcommittee meetings and can give input whether or not they are on the committee.
Superintendent Smith thanked Executive Assistant Wanda Alves, who is responsible for preparing the materials for school committee meetings and subcommittee meetings and for communication with school committee.
Mayor Carpenter explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members for any requests to remove items for further discussion; Mr. D’Agostino asked to remove Item C, Report of the December 19, 2017 Accounts Review Subcommittee Meeting.
Mr. Sullivan moved the Superintendent's recommendation to approve the following remaining items, seconded by Ms. Plant:
Voted: to adopt the recommendation, unanimous.
With respect to Item C, Mr. D’Agostino thanked Ms. Asack and Ms. Plant for serving on the Accounts Review subcommittee, he welcomed Mr. Gormley and Mr. Sullivan.
Mr. D’Agostino moved to accept Item C, the report of the December 19th Accounts Review subcommittee meeting, seconded by Ms. Asack.
Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.
Superintendent Smith thanked student representative Shama Erase for making these meetings a priority and invited her to give her report.
Shama reported that finals are coming up, AP and IB courses are now focusing on testing, the basketball team has been doing well and the track team recently won the Rhode Island Invitational Meet. She said the Ugly Christmas Sweater day was a hit at the school and had a lot of participation.
The Superintendent reported that there are nineteen candidates from within and outside of the state who have applied for the position; preliminary screening will be held in early January and final interviews are scheduled for January 22nd. She announced that the Board of Education meetings are now live-streamed and encouraged members to take the opportunity to watch the meetings for valuable information, she will make sure to have the link sent to them.
The Code of Conduct Task Force has finalized an eight-question survey that is now available for parents to complete. The survey, which is available in English, Portuguese, French and Spanish can be accessed on the school department from January 2 through January 19th; this input from parents will help the task force as they develop the districtwide code of conduct. The Superintendent encouraged all parents to take the survey.
The World Café Parent Forum is scheduled for January 24 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at Brockton High School in the Red Cafeteria; Chief of Student Support Services Sharon Wolder reported that a group of parents will be trained on January 11th and will facilitate discussions with other parents at the forum. Superintendent Smith said she is pleased that this forum will give parents the opportunity to provide important input, it is the first time something like this has been offered, she encouraged parents and community members to be involved in education. Ms. Wolder reported that parents were notified of the survey today by a connect-ed call and already over 330 parents had taken the survey and ninety people have signed up for the forum. The survey includes questions about bullying in schools, cell phone and social media use in schools, student discipline and dress code.
Mayor Carpenter said these are issues that are being brought up in districts across the nation and we are trying to come up with policies that both support parents and make sense to the school district.
Superintendent Smith reported that she is finalizing the date for a forum that will include other interested school districts from across the entire state, Attorney Sarah Spatafore and other parties who may join the lawsuit. Mr. D’Agostino asked how close we are to filing the lawsuit, the Superintendent responded that she had hoped to have filed by now, we are taking steps to ensure that there are multiple school districts, outside organizations, and with this big of an undertaking we will need several attorneys in order to bring a strong case to the court.
The Superintendent concluded her report with the following announcements:
Mayor Carpenter said this is the longest stretch of sub-20-degree weather in 100 years, buildings are under tremendous strain, he agreed that having children in school is the safest place for them during the day. They are now looking at a prediction of a major snowstorm on Thursday; he said every effort will be made to announce closings on Wednesday evening.
Mayor Carpenter informed school committee that all unfinished committee business must be discarded at the end of the year; he would like to reintroduce the following subcommittee items for 2018:
Mayor Carpenter announced that he was pleased to see the school department awarded a $10,000 grant for the lacrosse program from the Bill Bellichick Foundation. He said the new citywide grant coordinator is researching grants and working with city departments to be more collaborative in sharing resources and data across all departments, this grant is an example of that data sharing.
The meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m.
Kathleen A. Smith, JD