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 Members
Mr. Minichiello called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. followed by a salute to the flag and a general announcement that tonight’s meeting will be recorded.
Resident Michael Boumitri spoke about concerns he has with respect to the Hancock School bathrooms and other problems he sees with the school department. As the Ward 1 representative, Mr. Minichiello responded to Mr. Boumitri and asked him to contact him directly with his concerns.
Resident Maranda Davids addressed the committee with her concerns about mandatory uniform policies.
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.
Mr. Gormley moved the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the Consent Agenda in its entirety; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Sullivan.
Voted: to adopt the recommendation, unanimous.
The Superintendent announced that school committee wished to give recognition to former middle schools School Resource Officer Mike Clifford, who retired earlier this year. The Superintendent shared remarks from several middle school principals who talked about how much students trusted and liked Officer Clifford who, principals reported, had lunch with students every day, talking with them and genuinely caring about each student. Principals also spoke about how much his presence at the schools benefited the schools. Members Gormley and Minichiello also commended Officer Clifford and spoke highly of the relationship he had with students. A certificate of appreciation was presented to Officer Clifford.
The Superintendent congratulated the Brockton High School boys’ varsity soccer team on winning the state title on Saturday against Longmeadow High at Worcester State University and asked Principal Murray to say a few words about the team.
Dr. Murray said that it was evident early on that this is a special group of players with respect to both their ability and their sportsmanship. He spoke about hearing from the Longmeadow Superintendent, principal, and parents commending the boys for their kindness and sportsmanship, and said the boys have represented the Brockton community in a superior way. Also of note, USA Today ranked the team 7th in the nation. The boys will also be honored in the November 25th holiday parade. The Superintendent thanked councilors Rodrigues and Cruise and Mayor Carpenter for putting together a pep rally at City Hall Friday before the game.
Keith Center Principal Cynthia Burns introduced Jessica Emmons, a student in the Bridgewater State University ICEI program, a fully-inclusive postsecondary program for young adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Jessica talked about how the program has helped her and said she would like to become a preschool teacher’s assistant. A video of Jessica speaking at BSU was shown. Ms. Burns said that she has been very pleased to have this program in her building, there are currently three teachers with three classrooms and it is a great program for the Brockton Public Schools.
Shama Erase began by congratulating the boys’ soccer team and inductees into the National Honor Society. She announced the following upcoming events: The annual Thanksgiving football game will be at Bridgewater-Raynham on Thursday morning, the Holiday Parade on November 25th, the John and Abigail Adams scholarship awards ceremony on November 28, the December drama production on December 8 – 10, and the concerts on December 12 and 13.
The Superintendent reported that Brockton is now in the beginning stage of choosing a plaintiff for the lawsuit. She said she has spoken with other urban districts and we are in the process of bringing them together for a forum in early January. She invited Attorney Sarah Spatafore to speak further about the lawsuit.
Attorney Spatafore said the lawsuit will be a big undertaking but manageable and will be filed at the Superior Court level. She outlined the following steps:
A brief question and answer period followed; Mr. Sullivan asked whether she felt the chance of winning the lawsuit was favorable; Ms. Spatafore responded that the standards are very high to determine that the state has abdicated its responsibility to fund the schools properly. She felt the chances go up with the amount of buy-in across the state; legislative actions have clearly indicated that making this noise has already had an effect.
Director of Bilingual Education Kellie Jones talked about how the recently passed LOOK Bill will affect our bilingual education. She said the bill is designed to give schools flexibility to include programs that fit their populations and includes a requirement for a bilingual PAC which Brockton already has, and establishes a state Seal of Biliteracy. Brockton is already piloting the Seal of Biliteracy program and has over 100 students in the pipeline for this certification. Mr. Minichiello asked Ms. Jones what will change in Brockton; Ms. Jones responded we will receive instructions and regulations from DESE; many of the requirements are already offered here in Brockton, we are ahead of the game.
Dr. Ethan Cancell reported that the parent portal is now open at the middle school level; parents were given the opportunity to sign up during conferences held last week. Parents will have access to student attendance, discipline, and grades; there is no limit to what parents will be able to see about their own children, the biggest challenge is getting the data entered. Dr. Cancell said looking to the future, we are working on the elementary rollout and looking at access via phones.
Superintendent Smith said that with respect to inputting information, teachers may already be using several different platforms, this is something she will discuss with the union.
Ms. Plant said she encountered an issue with only one parent being allowed to sign up, Dr. Cancell explained that is not the intent, for security purposes each parent will have their own sign-on, which may have caused some confusion. Ms. Plant also asked whether the information was available in other languages, Dr. Cancell responded not at this time.
Superintendent Smith reported that she addressed City Council last night with respect to how the budget has affected the schools; she provided them with information showing areas of elimination and current needs of the district, she is looking for support going forward. She felt she has the support of the councilors and stated she has put forward requests for both net and non-net additional funding.
The Superintendent referred an FY19 budget projection to a finance meeting which she will schedule on Tuesday, November 28th; on December 5th she will discuss with school committee a decision on whether to employ Interest Based Bargaining for upcoming negotiations with the BEA.
Mr. Minichiello, chair of the Superintendent’s Contract Subcommittee, gave the following report of the November 14th, 2017 Superintendent’s Contract subcommittee meeting held at the Arnone School at 6:00 p.m. at which the Superintendent was evaluated; all members were present at that meeting.
The 2017 End-of-Cycle Summative Evaluation Report, a compilation of school committee members’ ratings and feedback, was reviewed with the Superintendent. Feedback was given with respect to strengths and some areas where members would like to see attention given going forward. Based on the ratings score and pursuant to the contract, a 3.27% salary adjustment was calculated and recommended by the committee. Also discussed were the areas in the contract pertaining to insurance and vacation days.
Mr. Minichiello said he said he considered this a very favorable evaluation.
Mr. D’Agostino moved to approve the report of the November 14, 2017 Superintendent’s Contract Subcommittee meeting as reviewed by Mr. Minichiello; the motion was seconded by Mr. Gormley.
Voted: to accept the report, unanimous.
Ms. Plant moved to ratify the 3.27% salary adjustment in relation to the contract, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.
Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
Kathleen A. Smith, JD
Superintendent / Secretary