The Regular Meeting of the Brockton School Committee was held this evening in the Theatre at the Dr. William H. Arnone School, 135 Belmont Street, Brockton, MA, 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, Mr. Gormley, Ms. Plant, Mrs. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan, Superintendent Smith
Absent: Mayor Carpenter
Also Present: Executive Team
Mr. Minichiello called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. followed by a salute to the flag and a general announcement that tonight’s meeting will be recorded.
Massasoit Community College professor Jensen DeNoyes addressed school committee with respect to an educational show he produces titled “The Hero in U” that he would like to bring to Brockton high students. The show features people who are doing good deeds and good work, showcases that to the community and shares information about resources. He believes it is good for the students because one of the topics they have is excelling academically. The Superintendent said she would be happy to meet with Mr. DeNoyes, along with her communications officer to get further information.
Former school committee member Mr. Ossie Jordan spoke to the committee about raising funds through business/school partnerships. He also shared his view on the new MCAS 2.0 online vs. paper testing.
Mr. Minichiello explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members if there were any requests to remove items for further discussion, there were none.
Mrs. Sullivan moved the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the Consent Agenda in its entirety; the motion was seconded by Ms. Plant.
Voted: to adopt the recommendation, unanimous.
Superintendent Smith began her report by congratulating the BHS boys soccer team for their win at the Division 1 south sectional playoff; they will compete against St. John’s Prep in the sectional final tonight at Marciano Stadium.
The Superintendent welcomed the BHS cross country team and invited track coaches John Fidalgo and Cliff Canavan, together with and members of the boys and girls teams to be recognized for their accomplishments during the track season. Coach Fidalgo and Coach Cunningham complimented the students for not only their athletic accomplishments but their academics, camaraderie and support for each other. Mr. Fidalgo also acknowledged two other coaches, coach Fay and coach Cunningham. Mr. Minichiello congratulated the teams and told them Senator Brady sent his congratulations and wanted to be here to congratulate them but could not make it.
Shama Erase reported on the very successful annual Halloween Hallways event put on by student council, she said term 1 has ended and many seniors are wrapping up their college applications, winter sports are starting, and finally, eighth grade students have been touring the school. Superintendent Smith thanked Shama for her report and asked her to bring dates for holiday events to the next meeting so they can be shared with the public.
The Superintendent will meet with teachers across the district on a monthly basis with the plan that teachers will be able to communicate their concerns and she will be able to share what is being done at Central.
The Superintendent reported that the first Red Apple Awards were held and eleven staff members were presented with a “red apple” in recognition of their contributions to their school and or community that go above and beyond. She plans to award red apples each month; at the end of the year “the golden apple awards” will be held. Winners were Kathy Gormley, Angelo School, Judy Mazuera, Arnone School, Jane Werb, Baker School, Kristy Scanlon, Brookfield, Jennifer Baker and Steven Alves, Davis School, Debra Scott, George School, Nicholas Robins, Gilmore School, Jennifer Vargas, Raymond School, and John Fidalgo, BHS.
Brockton has currently enrolled thirteen new students from Puerto Rico, six from the U.S. Virgin Islands, eighteen students have come from Florida and are living doubled-up with family members, possibly also as a result of the hurricanes.
The Superintendent said Primary Source is putting together an education delegation that will travel to China during April vacation next year; she is planning to send Coordinator of Foreign Language Rachael Umbrianna. The program is sending educational leaders to learn about China’s education system, share ideas about global learning, and to consider the benefits of student exchange.
The Superintendent invited Dr. Ethan Cancell to present the results of the Spring, 2017 MCAS testing.
Dr. Cancell explained that the new MCAS 2.0 was taken online by all students grades 3 - 8 in Brockton, while grade 10 students remained taking the regular, or “legacy” MCAS, and the science part of the test is also legacy. He reminded the committee that the results of the new MCAS 2.0 cannot be compared to previous results, it is a different scale, and he stressed that “meeting expectations” is not equal to the previous “proficient”. Dr. Cancell proceeded with a power point presentation that showed Brockton’s elementary, middle and high school results compared to state averages and compared to other similar districts. He said factors that must be considered are:
Across the state the number of students who achieved “meeting expectations” dropped significantly with the new test. Dr. Cancell said Brockton faces the following challenges: meeting requirements for equitable online assessment for all students, funding to support curricular resources at all levels, appropriate class sizes and student/teacher ratio, and stabilizing the district.
During the conversation that followed, Mr. D’Agostino said he would like to see a follow up analysis of why the numbers are what they are and what we can do going forward to do better. The Superintendent said these discussions have already begun; we are seeing the results of budget cuts. Mr. D’Agostino asked whether the January school committee retreat would be a reasonable amount time to see a plan to address the challenges. Dr. Cancell said he is very interested in our Assessment Review Committee which has been tasked with making sure our assessments are lined up with the new tests and that we use our district tools more effectively.
The Superintendent reported that on Tuesday, November 21st, attorney Sarah Spatafore will speak to parents who are interested in their child being named as a plaintiff in the Equity in Education lawsuit. Attorney Spatafore will give a report at the school committee meeting later that evening as well. Superintendent Smith said that during the MASC joint conference held last week, MASC reported that it passed a resolve to support a district that goes forward with an equity in education lawsuit.
The Superintendent said she will go before the City Council Finance meeting on Monday, November 20th to talk about a possible proposition 2 ½ override. Richard Bath and Ossie Jordan have stated they are willing to serve on the task force, she said this must be a coalition of community members, not just elected officials.
The district is preparing to open the parent portal at the middle school level, parents will have an opportunity to sign up during parent conferences tomorrow. She wanted to be clear that this is not a student portal, it is a separate parent portal with a different login for parents only. Mr. Gormley added that parents with multiple children in the schools will be able to see information about all of their children.
The Superintendent said parents will be receiving the yearly letter informing them of procedures for school closings and delays in the case of bad weather. She said the parent portal will be an additional resource in getting information to parents.
A parent survey will be going out in the near future in preparation for a parent forum to be held in the beginning of the year.
The Superintendent congratulated Brockton High School for a wonderful annual Veteran’s Assembly; Mr. Minichiello acknowledged the city’s Veteran’s Day Parade in honor of our veterans.
The Superintendent referred policy review, the policy manual review subcommittee will meet on Tuesday, November 28th, to review finance policies.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:32 p.m.
Kathleen A. Smith, JD