Brockton, Massachusetts
Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes
September 6, 2017

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: Mayor Carpenter, Chair; Mr. Minichiello, Vice-Chair; Ms. Asack,
Mr. D'Agostino, Mr. Gormley, Mrs. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan,
Superintendent Smith

Absent: Ms. Plant

Also Present: Executive Team Members, Mr. Michael Henry, George PTA President

Mayor Carpenter called the meeting to order at 7:06 p.m. followed by a salute to the flag.

Hearing of Visitors Delenn Brumberger, a BHS student, addressed the committee on the topic of teen suicide and bullying. Delenn also left handouts for committee members.

Superintendent Smith spoke to the school department’s efforts with respect to the social and emotional well-being of our students, an issue that is taken very seriously and is one of the pillars of Brockton’s Strategic Plan. She complimented school counselors, principals, teachers and staff who are on the front lines ensuring that all students feel safe and accepted in school.

Consent Agenda Mayor Carpenter explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members if there were any requests to remove items for further discussion, there were no requests.

Mr. Minichiello moved to accept the Superintendent's recommendation on the Consent Agenda in its entirety, the motion was seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.

Superintendent's Opening of Schools
Report Superintendent Smith began with a report on the opening day convocation held yesterday; almost 80 teachers and 220 support staff have been lost to budget cuts. At that meeting she announced that the district is collecting donations for the Hurricane Harvey relief effort and is looking to either adopt a school in Texas or connect with the MTA which has a relief effort taking place.

Today, 15,316 students reported for school, 1,182 children are signed up to start kindergarten on September 18th.

New plans for the beginning of the school year include a Staff Appreciation Night on Friday, October 13th at Marciano Stadium; moving forward with the equity in education lawsuit and choosing a lead plaintiff; communicating with parents about advocacy and involvement with their schools’ PTA/PTO/PAC groups; monthly meetings with a cadre of teachers at different locations across the district.

She will continue the district’s efforts toward building a strong culture and climate and developing school-business partnerships.

Transportation Report
Mr. Thomas voiced his appreciation for the extra support provided by school police and Brockton Police to assist with traffic during the opening. He also thanked Transportation Specialist Peggy Killea for working tirelessly on the busing schedules.
• There are currently 48 buses (we are down two buses) and 52 vans that transport approximately 9,000 students across the district;
• Four buses at the high school are making double runs with approximately 200 students, this seems to be working well;
• 7,000 students walk to school, he was particularly attentive to the new Gilmore School walkers to ensure enough crossing guards at the busy intersections where children will be crossing, this is new due to the school moves this year;
• No changes to the walkout distances were necessary this year at the middle and elementary levels and bus routes remained the same.

Ms. Asack reminded parents that bus information can be found on the Brockton Public Schools website. Mr. Thomas encouraged parents to call the transportation line or himself if they have any concerns.

Mr. Minichiello thanked Mayor Carpenter for committing funds to student busing and thanked committee members, First Student Transportation and Mr. Thomas for creative thinking that allowed the district to keep bus routes intact without expanding walk zones. Mr. Thomas said it was important to note that all crossing guard positions were fully funded, owing to concessions made by the custodians a few years back.

Committee members Tim Sullivan and Mark D’Agostino also commended custodians, police, Mr. Thomas and Mayor Carpenter for ensuring the safety of students.

Brockton High Opening
Dr. Murray reported that he was very pleased with the opening: 3,800 out of 4,100 students were in school today. He said there are some large classrooms but the feeling at the school was very positive. This being his first opening day in his new position as principal of the high school, he was impressed with staff, students and parents. He invited school committee members to come up and visit the school.

Superintendent Smith added that the student-parent portal is open at the high school and will open at middle schools this year, discussions about one-to-one devices for high school students have begun, and an additional JROTC instructor will be hired.

Middle and Elementary School Opening
Ms. June Saba-Maguire, Chief Academic Officer, reported the elementary and middle school openings were also very positive, there are some large class sizes at both levels. Ms. Saba-Maguire said 100% of students at Gilmore and Raymond schools were wearing uniforms, and 75% of students showed up in uniforms at the George, which has implemented a pilot uniform program this year.

Ms. Sharon Wolder, Chief of Student Support Services, reported that she visited several elementary and middle schools, the new Huntington Therapeutic Day School and Keith Center programs. She said some concerns were brought to her attention with respect to support staff at Angelo and Keith schools; at North Middle School new principal Alison Ramsay had a good start and she observed a science class with 45 students that was being held in the cafeteria due to its size.

Superintendent Smith stated these are the things that she will continue look at and start to address in the following weeks.

Mayor Carpenter said he is concerned about the loss of 220 support personnel in the schools, identifying funds to restore some of these positions, particularly with respect to special education and bilingual classrooms, should be a focus. He said he shared these concerns during a meeting with the Superintendent and Mr. Petronio earlier today.

Budget Update / Budget Barometer
Mr. Petronio handed out and reviewed the most recent budget barometer which included all hiring recommendations from the August 29 finance meeting, he said he expects to have a good handle on unemployment savings by the beginning of October and will then bring that figure to the superintendent and school committee who can decide on how to use those funds. He was asked whether all recent recommendations have been fully funded; he responded yes, through savings resulting from additional resignations.

Mr. Gormley asked the superintendent and school committee to consider the possibility of half-time teaching positions as a solution to some of the problems across the district, particularly with the large class sizes. Mr. Gormley teaches in Boston and said it is used there and in other districts and may be helpful to Brockton; some part-time teachers work in more than one school.

The Superintendent commended Dr. Kathleen Moran, Executive Director of Human Resources and her staff for excellent work getting teachers in place for the opening of schools.

Regional Concussion Workshop
The Superintendent invited Mr. Michael Henry, George School PTA President, to share information about a concussion workshop that will be held in Brockton in October.

Mr. Henry announced that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will be holding concussion workshops across the state and he was pleased to say that Brockton will host one of these regional events on Monday, October 2nd, at 6 p.m. at Brockton High School. The workshops are free and open to the public.

Mr. Henry told Superintendent Smith that the Massachusetts PTA is very aware of the budget situation here in Brockton and will do whatever they can to help.

Closing out the Superintendent’s Report, Michele Bolton, Director of Communications, gave an opening day slide show presentation.

Items to Refer to The Superintendent referred a Superintendent's Contract subcommittee meeting
Subcommittee to discuss her evaluation and goals; September 26th at 6 p.m. was agreed on.

 

New Business Mr. Minichiello said he would like to invite Delenn Brumberger to attend the next meeting of the safety/security/transportation subcommittee and talk more on the subject of bullying and teen suicide.

Announcement/Acknowledgements:
Superintendent Smith shared a letter she received from Michael Gallerani, Executive Director of Brockton 21st Century Corporation, praising student intern Thomas Von George, who he said “outshone” all of the other students. Mr. Gallerani was very pleased with the Student Intern Program and looks forward to participating again next year.

The Superintendent announced there will be a Mobile Teaching Kitchen event for BHS culinary arts students on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 12th and 13th, during the morning class period. She invited school committee to attend if they are available.

Ms. Asack said she was pleased with the openings of the Ashfield and Brookfield schools today and thanked Principal Lovell and Principal Masson for the opportunity to visit the schools.

Mr. Minichiello complimented the pool maintenance staff who kept the city pools pristine throughout the summer, including the high school pool.

Seeing no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:22 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathleen A. Smith, JD
Superintendent/ Secretary

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Handouts: 8/29/17 Budget Barometer