School Committee Meeting Agenda: March 2, 2021

From the Office of the Executive Secretary to the School Committee

School Committee - Regular Meeting
March 2, 2021


1. Public Comment (3 Minutes):

2. Student School Committee Report:

3. Presentation of the Records for Approval:
October 27, 2020 Roundtable Meeting
January 12, 2021 Special Meeting
January 14, 2021 Special Budget Meeting
January 26, 2021 Special Budget Meeting
February 2, 2021 Regular Meeting
February 9, 2021 Special Meeting
4. Reconsiderations: None

5. Unfinished Business/Calendar:
#21-48 Joint Motion by Member Wilson and Member Rachel
Whereas the Cambridge Public School District is committed to rigorous, joyful, and culturally responsive learning and has committed to implementing racial equity through the strategic objective in the district’s plan focusing on equity and access; and
Whereas the Cambridge Public Schools are fortunate that American-born Blacks, immigrants from several African countries, and many children of the African diaspora constitute more than one quarter of the district population; and
Whereas a national movement of educators, families, administrators, and scholars have come together to proclaim a “Black Lives Matter at School Year of Purpose,” as well as a “Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, Affirmation, and Solidarity;” and
Whereas Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action will take place every year on a selected and consistent date to coincide with, and augment Black History Month; and
Whereas Black Lives Matter at School emphasizes that schools should be places for the practice of equity, for the building of understanding, and for the active engagement of all in creating pathways to freedom, and justice for all people; and
Whereas Black Lives Matter at School is intended to highlight, uplift, and affirm the rich history and contributions of the Black community for all students to learn, and to cultivate in Black students a sense of pride, self-worth, and self-love; and
Whereas Black Lives Matter at School is further intended to encourage ongoing critical reflection and courageous conversations concerning systemic racism and recent movements regarding police brutalities, social injustices, disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, racial and ethnic bias, and to affirm the right of Black students to be treated with respect and dignity within schools and communities; and
Whereas Black Lives Matter at School will offer a variety of educational opportunities such as workshops, teach-ins, cultural events, instructional activities, and expressions of unity; and
Whereas numerous Cambridge Public School educators have participated and endorsed Black Lives Matter at School, including the CEA Educators of Color Coalition; now therefore be it
Resolved that the Cambridge Public Schools welcome and encourage the participation of educators, staff, and students in community-based activities and events related to the Black Lives Matter at School February 1-5, 2021 and in future years; and be it further
Resolved that the Cambridge Public Schools invite educators across grade levels and content areas to use resources that are inclusive of all of our diverse learners to enrich instruction throughout the entire year; and be it further
Resolved that the educators, staff, and students who participate in Black Lives Matter at School, in alignment with all CPSD policies, will not face repercussions, punishment, reprisal, or reprimand; and be it further
Resolved that the Cambridge Public Schools intend for meaningful activities and events related to the Black Lives Matter at School to take place in all virtual school environments as well as in-school environments appropriate with COVID-19 Health and Safety protocols. (Bowman, 2-2-2021)
6. Awaiting Reports:
#20-308 Joint Motion by Member Fantini and Mayor Siddiqui
Whereas, the Cambridge Public Schools participate in the Journey into Education and Teaching Program, known as JET, to provide a pathway at little cost for paraprofessionals to get their bachelor’s degrees and Massachusetts teacher licensures; and
Whereas JET supports the goals of building local teacher pipelines and developing an educator workforce that reflects the racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity of our students; and
Whereas JET provides the program structure for recruitment and support such as: advising, guiding in application procedures for college admission and financial aid, participating in cohort groups, providing local educator mentors, and professional and career development opportunities; and
Whereas Cambridge must commit to providing and compensating mentors as part of our commitment to JET Paraprofessionals; and
Whereas JET is an education program of the Massachusetts Foundation for Teaching and Learning; and
Whereas Massachusetts is unique in providing a state education grant that funds the undergraduate education of employed eligible paraprofessionals who commit to becoming teachers; and
Whereas JET already has demonstrated a record of success; and
Whereas meeting application deadlines is critical; now therefore be it
Resolved that the Superintendent collaborate with JET and report on how the program will operate in Cambridge.

#21-27 Joint Motion by Mayor Siddiqui, Member Rojas and Vice Chair Bowman
Whereas: Providing the best education and ensuring the wellbeing of our scholars are the highest priorities of the Cambridge School Committee and CPS Administration; and
Whereas: The data shows extreme negative consequences of school closures on scholars’ mental, physical, and academic wellbeing; and
Whereas: There is growing evidence that more students can and must be brought back in-person with urgency; and
Whereas: The School Committee and Administration are committed to adaptability and quickly pivoting plans as necessary amid the COVID-19 pandemic; and
Whereas: CPSD must continuously revisit conditions and plan for further expansions; and
Whereas: While the current reopening model recommendation allows families to opt into in-person learning, not all scholars in the district are eligible due to staffing and space constraints; now therefore be it
Resolved: That the Superintendent work with his team to provide a report on what is and is not working with the existing model and the possibilities for subsequent expansions by Friday, April 2, 2021; and be it further
Resolved: That the Superintendent provide an update on the impact of vaccine rollouts on further in-person expansion planning by Friday, April 2, 2021.
7. Superintendent’s Agenda:

7a. Presentations:  COVID 19 Response Update....….Dr. Kenneth N. Salim, Superintendent of Schools

7b. CPS District Plan: None

7c. Consent Agenda:
#21-51 Recommendation: Approval of the Amendment to Memorandum of Agreement between the Cambridge Education Association Units A, B, C, D and E and the Cambridge School Committee Regarding School Reopening

#21-52 Recommendation: Day & Residential Services not Available from The Cambridge School Department

#21-53 Recommendation: Contract Award: CCS Presentation Systems: Interactive Display Hardware

#21-54 Recommendation: Contract Award: Norton Staffing & Recruiting: Temporary Employment Services

#21-55 Recommendation: Contract Award: Norton Staffing & Recruiting: Temporary Medical Services

#21-56 Recommendation: Contract Award: Language Connections, Inc.: Written Translation Services

#21-57 Recommendation: Contract Award: Home Depot: Carpentry & Maintenance Supplies Supplies

#21-58 Recommendation: Contract Award: CDW Government LLC: Computer Hardware & Accessories

#21-59 Recommendation: Contract Award: Cross Cultural Communications Systems: Written Translation Services

#21-60 Recommendation: Gifts/Miscellaneous Receipts

#21-61 Recommendation: Grant Award: Coronavirus Prevention Fund Grant (SC21205)
8. Non-Consent Agenda:

9. School Committee Agenda (Policy Matters/Notifications/Requests for Information):
#21-62 Motion by Member Fantini
That given the small numbers of children in grades K-8 that for various reasons are not able to return to school in-person, the Superintendent make every effort to find solutions to provide in-person opportunities to these children.

#21-63 Motion by Vice Chair Bowman
That Lisa Richardson, Chief Talent Officer of Human Resources, be appointed as the official School Committee Executive Secretary Search Liaison Designee.

#21-64 Joint Motion by Member Weinstein, Member Fantini and Member Wilson
Whereas: The success of every student pre and post-graduation is an important goal of CPSD; and
Whereas: CPSD has not yet achieved its goal of closing racial and economic opportunity gaps; and
Whereas: The strengths, needs and goals of each student – academic and social/emotional – are individual; and
Whereas: During and post-pandemic student needs may be even more varied than prior to the pandemic; and
Whereas: The approach sometimes referred to as Individualized Student Success Plans has shown promise improving student achievement and well-being; and
Whereas: In recent years CPSD has committed itself to pursuing this approach; and
Whereas: This approach might be critical post-pandemic, as well as valuable independent of pandemic response; and
Whereas: There are many choices to be made when moving forward with an individualized student success plan model, including determining the goals of the approach, how we will know how students are doing, and what we will do about what we learn; now therefore be it
Resolved: That CPSD will establish a working group on individualized student success plans as a part of the COVID-19 Task Force, with this working group to first convene before April 16 2021 (April break); and be it further
Resolved: That this working group will include members with relative expertise and experience designing and implementing individualized student success plan models, together with community members, CPSD educators, CPSD scholars, and CPSD caregivers; and be it further
Resolved: That this working group will work in coordination with the Curriculum and Achievement Subcommittee to develop recommendations to the administration and full School Committee for implementing individualized student success plans on a pilot basis and/or districtwide in the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, and will act in an advisory capacity on an ongoing basis.

#21-65 Joint Motion by Mayor Siddiqui and Vice Chair Bowman (in collaboration with Student Member Killian and Student Member Vera-DeGraff)
Whereas: Many scholars rely on CPS schools for their menstrual and sanitary hygiene, and many scholars have not been in schools for learning; and
Whereas: CPS established a motion for menstrual equity almost four years ago, for the district to install dispensers providing free menstrual products in all gender-neutral and female-designated school bathrooms; and
Whereas: Many of these free products are not accessible to CPS scholars who are learning remotely, and these products could be given to those in need; and
Whereas: CPS has been having meal pickups at various locations for scholars and families to take home food meals; now therefore be it
Resolved: That CPS works with school nurses, administrators, and family liaisons to identify the need for access to these free products, create care-package bundles of sanitary products for scholars and families, and have them available for pick up at every school during meal distribution or other designated locations convenient for CPS students; and be it further
Resolved: That the Superintendent work with the Chief Operating Officer to explore delivery options for scholars in need, who are unable to pick up care-package bundles.

#21-66 Joint Motion by Member Weinstein, Mayor Siddiqui and Member Rachel (in collaboration with Student Member Killian and Student Member Vera-DeGraff)
Whereas: Effective communication with families and scholars is a priority of the Cambridge Public Schools and the School Committee, especially in the constantly evolving context of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
Whereas: While students receive many CPS communications via email, there is currently no framework for CPS to use text messaging as a way to regularly contact and update its student body; and
Whereas: Many scholars in 2021 are most efficiently reached and notified by text message, much more so than via email; and
Whereas: The Remind app is a simple and effective tool already being used by some CPS educators to send out text message updates and reminders to scholars; and
Whereas: In the absence of a centralized communication system that reaches the majority of the CPS student body, many scholars report that they receive conflicting information by word-of-mouth, and are not sure what information is accurate (such as changes to schedules and information about the expansion of in-person learning); and
Whereas: Not all caregivers are able to consistently communicate updates from CPS in a timely manner to their children, especially if they work long hours, are rarely at home, or cannot regularly check their emails, and some caregivers rely on their children for school-related information; and
Whereas: The enhanced use of a district-wide student text messaging system, such as the Remind app, would align with and support the Superintendent’s goal to elevate student voices, through “quarterly feedback opportunities, strengthened roles in decision-making, and asking how they want to be communicated with;” now therefore be it
Resolved: That the CRLS administration leverage student communication tools by providing scholars with the option to receive relevant school and district-wide updates through enhanced CPS use of a text messaging tool such as the Remind app; and be it further
Resolved: That the Superintendent work with upper school principals to explore the feasibility of implementing a similar system for upper school students; and be it further
Resolved: That the Superintendent and his cabinet explore the use of text messaging as an important way to collect further student data and receive student feedback.

#21-67 Report of the July 17, 2020 Special Education and Student Supports Sub-Committee

#21-68 Report of the August 5, 2020 Special Education and Student Supports Sub-Committee

#21-69 Report of the September 30, 2020 Special Education and Student Supports Sub-Committee

#21-70 Report of the October 28, 2020 Special Education and Student Supports Sub-Committee

#21-71 Report of the November 18, 2020 Special Education and Student Supports Sub-Committee

#21-72 Report of the February 10, 2021 Budget Sub-Committee Community Meeting #2

#21-73 Report of the February 11, 2021 Budget Sub-Committee Community Meeting #3
10. Resolutions: None

11. Announcements:

12. Late Orders:

13. Communications and Reports from City Officers: None

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