School Committee Meeting Agenda: April 6, 2021

From the Office of the Executive Secretary to the School Committee

School Committee - Regular Meeting April 6, 2021

A G E N D A


Public Comment (3 Minutes):

Student School Committee Report:

Presentation of the Records for Approval:

  • July 21, 2020 Special Meeting
  • March 16, 2021 Regular Meeting
  • March 25, 2021 Public Hearing on FY22 Budget
  • March 25, 2021 Special Meeting

Reconsiderations: None

Unfinished Business/Calendar: None

Awaiting Reports:

#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.

Superintendent’s Agenda:

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

7b. CPS District Plan: None

7c. Consent Agenda:

#21-88 Recommendation: Approval SY2021-2022 Cambridge Public Schools District Calendar

#21-89 Recommendation: Contract Award: Institution Recycling Network IRN-The Reuse Network: Furniture Removal & Recycling Services

#21-90 Recommendation: Contract Award: Lesley University: Professional Development

#21-91 Recommendation: Gifts/Miscellaneous Receipts

#21-92 Recommendation: Grant Award: FY21 Massachusetts Cultural Council-STARS (SC21894)

#21-93 Recommendation: Grant Award: FY21 IDEA Targeted (SC21165)

#21-94 Recommendation: Grant Award: FY21 GLEAM: Growing Literacy Equity Across MA (SC21169)

#21-95 Recommendation: Grant Award: FY21 Title IIA Educator Quality (SC21731) Increase

Non-Consent Agenda:

School Committee Agenda (Policy Matters/Notifications/Requests for Information):
#21-96 Joint Motion by Member Fantini, Mayor Siddiqui and Member Rachel
Whereas: The SOLVED collaborative (Shore Occupational Learning and Vocational Educational Division) consisting of the following communities: Cambridge, Medford, Somerville, Waltham, and Boston were formed to offer opportunities to engage students in Chapter 74 Career and Technical programs not offered in their home community; and
Whereas: The SOLVED collaborative began as a recommendation from the Superintendent of Schools in 2003 with the goal of providing more opportunities at no cost to member communities, providing out of district cost savings by allowing students to only attend SOLVED collaboration schools; and
Whereas: Our RSTA program has 12 approved Chapter 74 programs and an exploratory program while there are approximately 47 available Chapter 74 programs, broken down by 11 cluster groupings, offered for students to attend, many of which are in high demand and offer a family wage; and
Whereas: Acceptance to a Chapter 74 program in our collaborative is contingent upon their being available space in the receiving community; and
Whereas: Cambridge promoted the collaborative program in all our middle schools trying to recruit students; and
Whereas: In most situations, availability was slim, resulting in only eight students participating in programs in other SOLVED communities during the 16 years since inception(seven of our students attended the Cosmetology Program in Medford, and one attended the Metal Fabrication Program in Somerville), while 37 students from other schools attended our programs; and
Whereas: Because of this lack of success, our students are being denied the opportunities that would lead to a meaningful career and living wage, and taking advantage of the city’s economic expansion, denying the opportunity for a student to pursue the subject area of their choice; now therefore be it
Resolved: That the Superintendent be directed to notify the Superintendents in the other SOLVED districts of Cambridge’s withdrawal from the SOLVED collaborative by April 30, 2021; and be it further
Resolved: That the Superintendent begin an assessment of CPSD program offerings to ensure high demand programs, meaningful internships, apprenticeship programs, offering teachers externships in key industries, early college opportunities, and further creating opportunities for our students to attend high demand, high wage Chapter 74 programs, beginning as ninth graders; and be it further
Resolved: That the Superintendent shall explore opportunities for students to participate in regional technical vocational high school programs until the Cambridge Public Schools are able to graduate a greater number of students with industry recognized credentials.

#21-97 Joint Motion by Member Weinstein, Member Rojas, and Member Rachel
Whereas: The Cambridge School Committee and Superintendent urged the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to suspend MCAS for school year 2020-21; and
Whereas: That the Cambridge School Committee passed a motion (#20-204) on September 15, 2020 resolving, in part, that, “if DESE does not suspend MCAS this year, the Cambridge School Committee and Superintendent will discuss how to enable educators to have the capacity to focus on developing pedagogy adapted to this new context and to focus on teaching, assessing student progress, and other scholar support”; and
Whereas: Many Massachusetts school committees have joined the Cambridge School Committee in publicly opposing administering MCAS in the 2020-21 academic year; and
Whereas: The Urban Superintendents’ Network of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, including Superintendent Salim, has sent a letter to the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education requesting that Commissioner Riley and Secretary Peyser petition the US Secretary of Education to waive the federal requirement for state testing this year; and
Whereas: DESE has expressed the intention to administer MCAS in the 2020-21 academic year; and
Whereas: CPSD families and caregivers may not be aware that MCAS will be administered in-person for all students this year, including those attending school remotely, and on what timeline that will be; and
Whereas: CPSD families and caregivers may not know that DESE has decided that in 2020-21 academic year students in grades three through eight who do not take this year’s MCAS will not face consequences for their grades or graduation and this year their school and school district will also not face consequences related to student MCAS participation rates; and
Whereas: CPSD is committed to “rigorous, joyful, and culturally responsive learning for all students,” and assessments are part of a strategy for ensuring rigor; and
Whereas: There are district-wide assessments that can give educators and families the information needed for supporting students during the 2020-21 school year; therefore be it
Resolved: That prior to April 15, 2021, if DESE does not suspend MCAS this year, per motion #20- 204, the Superintendent will update the School Committee how the district is enabling educators to focus on teaching, assessing student progress, and other scholar support; and be it further
Resolved: That prior to April 15, 2021, the Superintendent will update the School Committee on plans to administer the MCAS in the least disruptive way possible while supporting the needs of all students taking MCAS; and be it further
Resolved: That prior to April 15, 2021, the Superintendent will provide updated information to CPSD families and caregivers about MCAS administration and timeline, including information about what any consequences will and will not be for students who do not take MCAS this year, with timely updates in the event of changes to DESE plans; and be it further
Resolved: That the Superintendent will ensure that any scholars who do not take MCAS this year will be provided with an appropriate alternate learning experience and environment while MCAS is being administered; and be it further
Resolved: That prior to June 1, 2021, the Superintendent will provide CPSD families and caregivers with information about assessments the district is using to assess student learning during the 2020-21 school year and how to determine whether their children are performing at grade level expectations.

#21-98 Report of the June 30, 2020 Curriculum & Achievement Sub-Committee

#21-99 Report of the July 8, 2020 Building and Grounds Sub-Committee

#21-100 Report of the July 13, 2020 Curriculum & Achievement Sub-Committee

#21-101 Report of the August 21, 2020 Building and Grounds Sub-Committee

#21-102 Report of the September 18, 2020 Buildings and Grounds Sub-Committee

#21-103 Report of the October 30, 2020 Buildings and Grounds Sub-Committee

Resolutions:

#21-104 Joint Motion by Member Wilson and Mayor Siddiqui
Whereas: The Cambridge Public Schools Community was deeply saddened to learn of the recent, tragic passing of 19-year-old Cambridge resident, Xavier Louis-Jacques, alum of the Peabody School, Rindge Ave Upper Campus, and Cambridge Rindge and Latin Class of 2020, on Saturday, March 27, 2021; and
Whereas: Xavier Louis-Jacques was a Learning Community C scholar who was well-known and strongly connected to scholars and staff in our community and many in our community watched him mature over the years; and
Whereas: Xavier Louis-Jacques participated in the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School Football program in both his junior and senior year, had an interest in computers—he started building his own computers at age 11— and was an overall gifted and talented young man honing his love of the arts, even having one of his pieces featured in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; and
Whereas: Xavier Louis-Jacques was recently accepted to Xavier University, a private and historically Black Roman Catholic University in New Orleans, and he hoped to one day become an engineer; and
Whereas: The loss of Xavier Louis-Jacques will be forever felt by his community, and his memory shall be forever cherished by all those who were fortunate enough to know him; now therefore be it
Resolved: That the Cambridge School Committee, Superintendent, and Cambridge Public Schools Community formally go on record in expressing its deepest condolences to the family of Xavier Louis-Jacques for their tremendous loss; and be it further
Resolved: That the Executive Secretary to the School Committee be and hereby is requested to forward a suitably engrossed copy of this resolution to Rayschell McCants, mother of Xavier Louis-Jacques, on behalf of the entire Cambridge School Committee.

Announcements:

Late Orders:


Communications and Reports from City Officers:
Communication from Mayor Siddiqui on the Family Policy Council’s work on language access

At the conclusion of the Regular Meeting, The School Committee may entertain a motion to convene in Executive Session immediately following the Regular Meeting on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in the Dr. Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway, Cambridge, for the purposes of discussing strategy for collective bargaining (CEA Units A&B, C, D and E; AFSCME Council 93, Local 1611; Family Liaisons; Safety Specialists and Food Service) as an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on bargaining strategy of the School Committee.

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