School Committee Meeting Agenda: December 15, 2020

From the Office of the Executive Secretary to the School Committee

School Committee - Regular Meeting December 15, 2020


1. Public Comment (3 Minutes):

2. Student School Committee Report:

3. Presentation of the Records for Approval:

November 12, 2020 Special Meeting
December 1, 2020 Regular Meeting

4. Reconsiderations: None

5. Unfinished Business/Calendar:
#20-280 Motion by Vice Chair Bowman
Whereas the goal of having metrics for school opening/closing are to minimize the risk of a person infected by COVID-19 with an asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic case bringing it into CPSD and spreading it to others; and
Whereas these metrics should reflect the risk across the entire school population, which includes a diversity of people; and
Whereas identifying school opening/closing metrics based on race/ethnicity could create a high risk of discrimination to racial and ethnic children and families disproportionally impacted by COVID-19 that are a part of the CPSD community; and
Whereas people of color have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and Black Latinx, and Indigenous (LBI) communities have been hit particularly hard as a result of being more likely to have jobs that cannot be done from home and have higher rates of underlying health conditions that increase the risk of severe illness; and
Whereas BLI communities are more likely to live in multi-generational households, and due to systemic racism, BLI communities are less likely to get state of the art care when they encounter the healthcare system; and
Whereas these are critical issues to address and are best managed by a partnership between DPH and the Mayor's office within Cambridge as well as at the state and national levels;
Therefore be it resolved that the Mayor initiates discussion through DPH with communities of color to review the City of Cambridge COVID dashboard to ensure data being reported and collected can best support communities of color with outreach, increased access to testing, and support when infected; and
Be it further resolved that DPH will continue to provide updates and guidance to CPSD on the most effective ways to support CPSD students and families disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
(MB 11-17-2020).
6. Awaiting Reports: None

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:
#20-304 Recommendation: Approval of CRLS Winter Sports Season for Swimming, Diving & Basketball SY2020-2021

#20-305 Recommendation: Day & Residential Program Services not available from the Cambridge School Department

#20-306 Recommendation: Gifts/Miscellaneous Receipts
8. Non-Consent Agenda:

9. School Committee Agenda (Policy Matters/Notifications/Requests for Information):
#20-307 Motion by the School Climate Sub-Committee:
Whereas the Cambridge Public Schools are committed to the academic success and general wellbeing of all scholars, and;
Whereas CPS aspires to work as a team with families to support scholars, and;
Whereas the School Committee approved a policy to provide weekly check-ins between scholars, families and school staff in this school year, and to report the numbers of students unreached, and;
Whereas educators and administrators are stretched beyond capacity in this school year, and;
Whereas elementary educators spend the vast majority of their time with one cohort of students they know well and are in frequent contact with families, now therefore be it;
Resolved that elementary school teams will identify students who might benefit from stronger relationships between their schools and families through this approach and will reach out at least bi-weekly to them, and be it further;
Resolved that, with regards to check-ins, educators only will use Aspen to record notes that may be of help to educators supporting scholars in the future, and be it further;
Resolved that the School Climate Subcommittee will assess this practice through a conversation with educators at the end of this school year.

#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.

#20-309 Joint Motion by Mayor Siddiqui, Member Fantini and Member Wilson,
Whereas equity and access are of highest priority for the Cambridge Public Schools and Cambridge School Committee, including postsecondary success for all of our scholars; and
Whereas extensive research nationally found that Early College is a promising model that narrows educational opportunity gaps, and that existing programs were a powerful foundation from which to build a broader statewide Early College Initiative; and
Whereas the Massachusetts boards of Elementary and Secondary Education and Higher Education jointly launched an initiative in 2018 to establish an Early College designation for districts specifically attempting to recruit underrepresented students, to allow cohort-based models that provide high-need and low-income students with the opportunity to complete college level academic coursework on a clearly articulated pathway while simultaneously gaining exposure to a variety of career opportunities; and
Whereas 37 different high schools and 19 colleges and universities have partnered to offer Early College programs to thousands of students across the commonwealth, with enrollment projected to hit 4,200 students in FY21 and students earning an estimated 25,000 college credits, securing tuition and fee savings at an estimated $5.4 million; and
Whereas the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School offers a Dual Enrollment program in partnership with Bunker Hill Community College but has not received the state’s Early College Designation, which requires very specific advising metrics and a scope and sequence demonstrating that a school can offer at least 12 fully transferable college credits; and
Whereas Dual Enrollment, while often conflated with Early College, serves any students who self-select and therefore are already high-performing; now therefore be it
Resolved that the Superintendent work with the Principal of CRLS to provide a report on the current participation of the Dual Enrollment program by demographic, courses, and number of credits by year since its inception before the next Regular Meeting of the School Committee on Tuesday, January 5th, 2021.

#20-310 Joint Motion by Member Weinstein, Mayor Siddiqui and Vice Chair Bowman,
Whereas CPSD is facing unique health and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the science indicates that outdoor settings have a lower risk of transmission of COVID-19 than indoor settings, and
Whereas in-person educational experiences are highly beneficial for scholars, and in some cases of critical importance, and
Whereas pre-pandemic CPSD has had a commitment to and has offered various outdoor and nature-based experiences, and outdoor and nature-based experiences have value independent of pandemic response, and
Whereas during the pandemic CPSD has been using the outdoors in new ways, and
Whereas the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s guidance from July 22nd 2020 urges districts to consider outdoor and off-campus options for classes; and
Whereas during the 2019-2020 school year CPSD has been using the outdoors in new ways, has inventoried outdoor spaces accessible to our schools, and has acquired through purchase or rental agreements infrastructure such as tents that can support some types of outdoor education programming, and
Whereas there are educational, logistical, and health and safety considerations that are unique to outdoor education, and there is local, regional and national experience and expertise on these considerations, and
Whereas members of the CPSD community with relevant expertise and experience have offered to support CPSD’s work in this area, therefore
Be it resolved that CPSD will establish a working group on outdoor education as a part of the COVID-19 Task Force, with this working group to first convene in January 2021, and be it further
Resolved that this working group will include outdoor education experts with local, regional, and or national experience implementing outdoor education programming, 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 outdoor education in CPSD for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, summer 2021, and the 2021-2022 school year, and will act in an advisory capacity on an ongoing basis.
10. Resolutions (letters of congratulations, letters of condolence):

11. Announcements:

12. Late Orders:

13. Communications and Reports from City Officers: None

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