A 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. D'Agostino, Mr. Gormley, Ms. Plant, Mrs. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan, Superintendent Smith
Absent: Mayor Carpenter
Also Present: Deputy Superintendent Michael P. Thomas, Chief Academic Officer June Saba Maguire, Coordinator of ELA K-8 Julianne Andrade, Director of Communications Michele Bolton, Web Content Manager Shamus Clifford, ELA Coach Jen Hunter, Director of Bilingual Education Kellie Jones, Coordinator of Title 1 Services Karen McCarthy
Mr. Minichiello called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m., followed by a salute to the flag. A moment of silence followed in memory of the tragic deaths of two boys in the Brockton community. Superintendent Smith read aloud a statement about this very sad loss, she thanked the BPS crisis management team and staff across the district who came together to support students and staff at the Angelo School in the wake of the tragedy. She extended condolences on behalf of the school district to the family.
Mr. Minichiello explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members for any requests to remove items for further discussion; he removed Item F, Approval of the Walter R. Snarsky Memorial Scholarship.
Ms. Plant moved the Superintendent's recommendation to approve the following remaining items, seconded by Mr. D’Agostino:
Voted: to adopt the recommendation, unanimous.
With respect to Item F, Mr. Minichiello reviewed this new scholarship given in memory of Walter Snarsky and acknowledged the generosity of the family. Mr. Gormley shared that Mr. Snarsky taught at Brockton High School.
Mr. Gormley moved to approve the Walter R. Snarsky Memorial Scholarship; the motion was seconded by Ms. Plant.
Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.
Student representative Shama Erase’s report included the following activities at the high school: a graduation ceremony was held for students in the nursing program; the science fair was held on Wednesday; several BHS students won awards at the Scholastic Art Awards; on Wednesday there will be gymnastics and wrestling events; the swimming and diving team wrapped up its season with a Big 3 win. Mr. Minichiello added that the BHS swim and dive team won the Big 3 championship title which Brockton has not won in over ten years. He congratulated coaches and students.
Superintendent Smith invited Karen McCarthy and Kellie Jones to present on Title IIA, III and IV funding and to explain the connection between these funds and the Brockton school system.
Karen McCarthy reported that Title IV is a new grant this year that supports safe and supportive schools, she said the US DOE has not decided if they will continue funding this grant next year. Brockton received $145,000 and uses this money to fund a coach at Brockton High and the Flocabulary software program at middle schools.
Brockton received $782,462 in Title IIA funds, $442,498 less than last year which was an unforeseen cut as a result of the federal government eliminating the “held harmless” provision. From that amount, private schools in Brockton received about $45,000. These funds can only be used for professional development or Title 1 approved activities, we use the monies to support five associate principal positions and also for professional development provided by Teachers 21 and Teaching and Learning Alliance.
Associate Principal Michelle Conners talked about the responsibilities of the associate principals who support teachers in the areas of curriculum, instruction and assessment, provide support for schoolwide initiatives, and new this year is the responsibility to provide districtwide support that includes planning and implementing local and state assessment administration.
Responding to questions at the end of the presentation about the $442,000 loss of funds and the share of money private schools receive, Ms. McCarthy explained that the district eliminated curriculum coordinators and some associate principal positions (formerly each middle school and the high school had this position) and professional development. She explained how private school funding is calculated and the recent change that now allows privates to receive monies based on the initial grant amount. Finally, Ms. McCarthy said the 2020 census will be very important as funding from these federal grants is dependent on our numbers.
Title III Kellie Jones explained that Brockton received $559,223 in funding that must be used to address three priorities with respect to improving the education for English learners—parent engagement, professional development, and effective language instruction. To be eligible for these funds districts must have at least 100 English learners to qualify. This money funds four English language acquisition coaches and one English language assessment specialist. Funding is based on the October 1st enrollment figures. Jen Hunter, one of the English language acquisition coaches, shared the duties and responsibilities of these coaches in supporting teachers, schools and families.
Dr. Julianne Andrade gave a power point presentation to update school committee on progress toward the kindergarten start age rollback and the expansion of the preschool program. The task force is comprised of staff, school committee and community members, including Head Start and the YMCA.
Mr. D’Agostino asked for the side-by-side comparison that was shared with the committee a year ago showing the state’s expectations for four-year-old children compared to those for five-year-old children; Dr. Andrade will send it along and it was suggested to put that information on the website as well.
The Superintendent provided school committee members with a copy of the goals that were discussed at the January 27th retreat. She called attention to District Goal 4, which was added at the request of school committee members to address aligning teaching and learning across the district. Mr. Minichiello asked members to review the goals in preparation for a vote to adopt or amend at the March 6th meeting.
The Superintendent said she is pleased to announce that Mr. Jeff Riley was appointed as the new Commissioner of Education, he currently holds the receiver/superintendent position in the Lawrence Public Schools.
The Superintendent reported that the parent forum on the district Code of Conduct was held on January 24th, the summary was provided to school committee last week. We will continue to do outreach to parents and community as we put together a code of conduct.
Michele Bolton and Shamus Clifford presented on DESE’s Leading the Nation initiative to promote awareness across the Commonwealth that Massachusetts public schools continue to lead the nation. The celebration will provide a statewide platform for public schools to showcase and celebrate with families and communities their students’ academic and creative successes, Ms. Bolton shared some of the ways Brockton will showcase our schools and students, while Shamus Clifford showcased the new webpage on the BPS website that is dedicated to this initiative. She said Governor Baker has planned a press tour across the state with a stop in Brockton, and students from Brockton have been invited to perform at the April 5th statehouse event.. Ms. Plant suggested one of the things that should be showcased is our annual Dr. Seuss Read Across America Day.
The Superintendent reported that an initial Equity in Education meeting was held at Stonehill College last Friday. Speaker and former Secretary of Education Paul Reville gave a historical perspective on what was happening during the time leading to the Ed Reform Act of 1993, he spoke about the state of the foundation budget today which he referred to as outdated, and what it will take to bring about a successful legal action. Chelsea Superintendent Mary Bourque spoke from her perspective as an urban superintendent and as a member of the foundation budget review commission, and Attorney Sarah Spatafore talked about going forward with legal action. Superintendents and representatives from a number of urban districts attended, along with Tom Scott from MASS and former MASC president Patrick Francomano.
Mr. Minichiello said Mayor Carpenter gave a strong opening statement and will be reaching out to his counterparts across the state, he felt both the Mayor and the Superintendent demonstrated the leadership that Brockton will take in this initiative. He said Mr. Reville was clear that a strong coalition that includes a variety of districts and businesses will be needed to be successful.
The Superintendent said reports indicate this is the worst outbreak in ten years and it may continue into the spring. Parents have been asked to send in Kleenex, hand sanitizer and soaps, and especially anti-bacterial wipes, and to keep sick children home.
The Superintendent said a curriculum subcommittee meeting will need to be scheduled to discuss changing the number of credits for graduation; Mr. Sullivan asked that the previously requested safety/security/transportation subcommittee meeting be scheduled soon to discuss the clearing of snow for opening schools. Superintendent Smith said she will invite Mr. Rowley from the city DPW department, when we have a date from him we will schedule the meeting.
Mr. Sullivan moved to adopt the 2018-19 academic calendar as presented; the motion was seconded by Ms. Sullivan and the vote was unanimous.
Mr. Gormley announced the following:
Seeing no other New Business, the meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Kathleen A. Smith, JD