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. Gormley, Ms. Plant, Mrs. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan, Superintendent Smith
Absent: Mayor Carpenter, Mr. D’Agostino
Mr. Minichiello called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m., followed by a salute to the flag. Mr. Minichiello asked for a moment of silence in memory of former Brockton educator Denise O’Malley, who was dedicated to working with youth in the city.
Mr. Minichiello explained the procedure of the Hearing of Visitors and asked speakers to keep their comments within three minutes.
Mr. Mike Sullivan, North Middle School teacher, addressed the committee with respect to the proposed plan to gradually close the school for renovations; he felt it would be detrimental to the entire district and asked for the opportunity to discuss ways to renovate the school without closing.
Ms. Jennie Miller, Raymond School PTA President, spoke against moving the UNIDOS program to the George School, citing poor communication to parents.
Mayor Carpenter explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members for 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 Ms. Sullivan.
Voted: to adopt the recommendation, unanimous.
The Superintendent began her report with four recognitions:
Five members of the Brockton High Chorus were selected through a blind audition process to perform with an honors chorus at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh: MarCawley Bercy, John Pyrdol, Jade Etienne, Mynthia Gonpala and Roalandah Theodore.
Mr. Robert Boen, teacher at the George Elementary School and Varsity boys basketball coach, for being name MIAA 2017-2018 Boys Basketball Coach of the Year. Mr. Boen was presented with a certificate of recognition.
Brockton High School senior Cole Wyman, for winning the Wrestling State Championship three consecutive years. Cole is headed to West Point Academy in the summer and is graduating third in his class. Wrestling coach DeShawn Fentress talked about his time with Cole and said he embodies all that they teach in the program.
The Brockton High School Apprenticeship Challenge Program was highlighted, 24 students graduated earlier this evening and will receive paid internships over the summer. Science Department Head Jonathan Shapiro and instructor Dr. Jackson-Grusby worked with the Massachusetts Life Science Center to bring the program to the high school, students Anne Celestin and Aaliyah Gomes gave a brief presentation.
At the request of Ms. Plant, Mr. Eval Silvera gave a presentation about KodeConnect, an organization he started to bridge the tech gap and bring computer coding and robotics to Brockton children. He has worked with several Brockton elementary schools already and is looking for a permanent location in the heart of Brockton where he will instruct children and adults.
The Superintendent and Mr. Minichiello expressed their appreciation for the uplifting presentation and his work with students. Ms. Plant said Mr. Silvera is also a soccer coach who not only instruct the children in soccer, but teaches teamwork and positive attitudes.
Alternate Nathaniel Malcolm-Williams reported that at the high school IB and AP testing have been going on for the past two weeks; this week clubs are ending and is the last week for seniors; he was part of the student group who went to the State House last Thursday and said it was a good experience and he was happy to have the opportunity to represent Brockton High School.
Principal Natalie Pohl reported that their first year was a transition year with uniforms; they surveyed parents and received well over 50% responses and will be going forward with an expansion to mandatory uniforms in grades K-1 and remaining in transition in grades 2 – 5 for next year, she said this will give the school more time to communicate with families.
Ms. Plant inquired about the survey, Ms. Pohl responded it is the same survey from last year; at least two to three hundred families agreed or strongly agreed with mandatory uniforms. Ms. Plant asked about incoming students, Ms. Pohl said the Parent Information Center was notified and all families are aware of the uniform policy. Mr. Sullivan asked whether there was a program that would assist families; Ms. Pohl responded. She said that many parents would like mandatory uniforms at all levels.
Principal Marcia Andrade Serpa reported that she has received another $10,000 donation from the same anonymous donor from last year. Last year the money was used to complement the Engineering is Elementary science program; she said she wants to ensure that students are exposed to and have opportunities learning computer sciences, robotics, and other STEM areas.
Superintendent Smith gave an update on the state of the budget deficit, which stands at a little over $5 million, she is optimistic about an increase in state funding. She said 100 reduction in force (RIF) notices were given out today, along with 37 involuntary transfers in order to meeting the contractual deadline, but she is very hopeful that number will be greatly reduced.
Mr. Minichiello proceeded to give a report on the School Choice Public Hearing held earlier this evening at which the public has the opportunity to speak to the issue of school choice. Mr. Minichiello reported that the hearing convened at 6:45 p.m. in the Little Theatre, no one from the community chose to speak; the hearing closed at 6:52. The Superintendent said she feels continuing in the program will not have a negative effect; Mr. Minichiello also felt school choice is good for the Brockton schools.
Ms. Plant moved to approve the report given by Mr. Minichiello; the motion was seconded by Mr. Sullivan and the vote was unanimous.
Mr. Sullivan moved to continue to participate in School Choice in its current form for the 2018-2019 school year; the motion was seconded by Ms. Sullivan.
Ms. Plant asked whether numbers have remained the same; the Superintendent responded that number have remained reasonably stable.
Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.
Superintendent Smith said she would like to schedule finance meetings for May 24th and May 29th, there were no objections.
At the May 24th meeting, the Superintendent said a point of discussion will be the creation of a global studies school at the George School. She reminded school committee that this began in 2012 with the District Capacity Project, and the district has been working on it for six years. The George school now houses the JUNTOS Spanish two-way program, and she would like to bring the UNIDOS Portuguese two-way program from the Raymond and open the new French AMITAE program at the George, this will be an important discussion. At the May 29th meeting, Project Grads and middle school options will be on the agenda.
Seeing no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:43 p.m.
Kathleen A. Smith, JD