Regular Meeting Meeting | Agenda

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Held in and broadcast from the Dr. Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, Cambridge Rindge, and Latin School, 459 Broadway, Cambridge. To sign up to call in using the ZOOM app on your computer or mobile device: visit www.cpsd.us/school_committee/virtual

Regular Meetings will be live-streamed at www.cpsd.us and broadcast on Cambridge Educational Access TV (CEATV) Channel 98/99, as usual. Motions shown below are updated live as they progress.

From the Office of the Executive Secretary to the School Committee

December 19, 2023 | 06:00 pm

1. Public Comment (3 Minutes):

2. Student School Committee Report:

3. Presentation of the Records for Approval:
  • November 28. 2023 Special Meeting
  • December 5, 2023 Regular Meeting

4. Reconsiderations:

5. Unfinished Business/Calendar:

6. Awaiting Reports:

7. Superintendent’s Agenda:

7a. Superintendent's Update:

Cambridge Preschool Program Update: David Murphy, Chief Operating Officer

7b. Presentations:

Budget Equity Audit: Findings & Recommendations

Victoria L. Greer, PhD, Superintendent of Schools

Ivy Washington, Interim Chief Financial Officer

Claire Spinner, Chief Financial Officer

Dr. Omolara Fatiregun, CEO, THRIVE!

7c. CPS District Plan:


7d. Consent Agenda:
#23-289 Recommendation: Day & Residential Program Services not Available from the Cambridge Public Schools
#23-290 Recommendation: Contract Award: CDW Government LLC: Computer Hardware & Accessories
#23-291 Recommendation: Contract Award: Cambridge Public Health Department: Health Aides
#23-292 Recommendation: Contract Award: EI US, LLC: Special Educatoin Services
#23-293 Recommendation: Gifts/Miscellaneous Receipts

8. Non-Consent Agenda:

9. School Committee Agenda (Policy Matters/Notifications/Requests for Information):
#23-294 Motion by Special Education & Student Supports Sub-committee
  • Report of the December 11, 2023 Special Education and Student Supports Subcomittee

#23-295 Joint Motion by Vice Chair Rachel, Member Fantini and Member Wilson

WHEREAS: Last year the School Committee decided to rename the Vassal Lane Upper School to honor Black Cantabridgian(s) rather than someone who enslaved others; and

WHEREAS: The Superintendent and Principal engaged the staff, students, and families at VLUS in a process to suggest potential names; and

WHEREAS: Students shared their thoughts about the qualities they wanted in an honoree, including someone who was a local leader, made a positive change, was a person of color, was inclusive; and

WHEREAS: Students presented numerous possibilities for school names without a specific recommendation; and

WHEREAS: Community members, particularly representatives from the Slave Legacy History Coalition and Cambridge Black History Project, reached out to the School Committee to suggest renaming the school after Darby Vassall; and

WHEREAS: After securing his liberty from enslavement with the Vassal family, Mr. Darby Vassall went on to be a civil rights and educational justice leader, petitioning the state legislature for funding to educate Black children; and

WHEREAS: Mr. Darby Vassall was outspoken about human rights his entire life, including as a six-year-old declining unpaid work for General George Washington and through his work founding the African Society and with the New England Anti-Slavery Society; and

WHEREAS: Mr. Darby Vassall’s family chose to keep the surname from their enslavers, but added an “L” to it; now therefore be it

RESOLVED: That the Vassal Lane Upper School be renamed the Darby Vassall Upper School; and be it further

RESOLVED: That students at the school will learn about Mr. Darby Vassall’s life and work; and be it further

RESOLVED: That formal copies of this resolution be prepared by the Executive Secretary to the School Committee to be presented to the Slave Legacy History Coalition and to be displayed in the new Darby Vassall Upper School building.  

#23-296 Joint Motion by Vice Chair Rachel, Member Hunter and Member Rojas
10. Resolutions:
#23-297 Joint Motion by Vice Chair Weinstein, Mayor Siddiqui and Member Hunter

WHEREAS: Alfred “Fred” B. Fantini is a lifelong resident of Cambridge, born at Otis General Hospital and the proud son of George and Mary “Marie” Fantini and the loving sibling of George, Irene, Donald and twin brother, Allen. A member of St. Hedwig Parish, which served a largely Polish community, he was supported by a large extended family in Cambridge including his maternal grandparents, aunts, and uncles; and

WHEREAS: Fred Fantini is enormously proud of his early roots in East Cambridge, where he enjoyed living in several homes throughout the city on Otis Street, Leonard Ave, Porter Road, Lakeview Ave, Plymouth Street, and Canal Park; and 

WHEREAS: Fred Fantini is a proud graduate of the Cambridge schools including Saint Hedwig, the Longfellow School, and Cambridge High and Latin High School. He received his undergraduate degree in Finance and Accounting from Bentley College and a master’s degree in management from Cambridge College earning a specialized graduate certificate in diversity; and

WHEREAS: Fred Fantini embraced a wide array of activities and experiences that Cambridge neighborhoods had to offer. In his youth, he could be found at Cambridge Common ice skating in the winter and playing stickball in the warmer months; jumping from his second-floor porch into massive snow banks with his twin brother, Allen; playing touch football in parking lots, bowling at Bowl Haven, enjoying a movie at Inman Square Theater, or biking to Friendly’s at Fresh Pond to enjoy an “Alful Alful”; and

WHEREAS: Fred Fantini has been diligent and industrious since his early childhood undertaking jobs such as helping at his father’s shop J&F Motors, snow shoveling neighborhood sidewalks, managing carriages at Lechmere Sales, as a laborer and proud “Bull Gang” member at the Boston Garden, and working political campaigns for family and friends; and

WHEREAS: He had a distinguished 35-year career for the Town of Arlington where he served as Deputy Treasurer, as well as President and Treasurer for SEIU Local 888. The skills that he homed in these roles served him well as a Cambridge School Committee Member who took the lead at the collective bargaining table from the management side; and 

WHEREAS: Fred Fantini is the longest-tenured elected School Committee member in Cambridge history. First elected in 1981, Fred Fantini served in several roles over the years, including as the Committee’s Vice Chair from 2012 to 2017 and as Budget Subcommittee Co-Chair, and partnered with fifteen Mayors and seven Superintendents. Since 2012, Member Fantini has created and passed 377 School Committee Orders. Given his 40 years on the Committee, he has been instrumental in leading efforts in passing likely over one thousand Orders; and

WHEREAS: Fred Fantini has been resolute in his commitment that CPSD teachers and staff are paid well and have some of the best benefits of Massachusetts school systems. He was instrumental in helping to create unions for family liaisons, substitute teachers, and security personnel; and

WHEREAS: Member Fantini has been a steadfast advocate for high-quality career technical education, working with our Rindge School of Technical Arts as well as community partners to ensure students have access to both apprentice experiences and career opportunities upon graduation from high school; and

WHEREAS: Member Fantini was a founder of the Media Arts Studio which allows students to create media and utilize new technologies. Thanks to Member Fantini’s innovative spirit, CPSD students have access to courses such as Digital film, Music and Sound Design, Media Journalism; and

WHEREAS: Fred Fantini is one of the founders of the City of Cambridge scholarship program. Established in 1993, the program provides financial assistance to high school seniors and residents who wish to pursue post-secondary education. Since its inception, over $3.2 million in scholarships have been awarded; and 

WHEREAS: Fred Fantini has been an unwavering proponent of CPSD’s visual performing arts program ensuring that the department is well-funded and adequately staffed. From its early beginnings of providing free musical instruments to CPSD students to CRLS’ award-winning musical productions, Fred Fantini can often be found among the enthusiastic audience members enjoying these performances; and

WHEREAS: Since his early tenure on the Committee, Fred Fantini has committed to creating a long-range plan for the CPSD sports program. His determination to provide Cambridge students with top-tier athletic opportunities resulted in its current CRLS offerings of 38 competitive athletic teams or club sports activities with no fees to participate. His commitment to Cambridge sports continues as a sponsor for the city’s girls’ softball teams, its Little League and Major League baseball teams; and

WHEREAS: Embracing that one of Cambridge’s strengths is the diversity of its community, Fred Fantini was committed to the district’s Spanish, Chinese, and Portuguese immersion programs and implementing the dual-language immersion model at the Amigos School; and 

WHEREAS: Fred Fantini was instrumental in creating the Cambridge Public Schools Pathways for Paraprofessionals program, which was launched in the Fall of 2020. In partnership with Lesley University, the program serves as a critical pipeline for paraprofessionals to attend college programs which are often otherwise out of reach due to costs and time, and to diversify the district’s teacher workforce with professionals already rooted in our community; and 

WHEREAS: Member Fantini worked with Lesley University to set up an Early College program that allows Cambridge Rindge and Latin students the opportunity to fulfill certain high school credits at Lesley University and earn college credits; and

WHEREAS: In 2012, Fred Fantini was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) after being nominated by fellow committee members for “advocacy and courage during times of great change” over what were then 30 years of public service. In 2023, he was recognized again by the MASC and was the recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Award; and

WHEREAS: Member Fantini has supported the budgeting of district funds for international travel for CRLS students, and has also personally provided his own funds to support the international travel for many students; and

WHEREAS: Member Fantini has supported the consistent budgeting of positions for certified teacher school librarians such that CPSD is one of the few districts which have certified teacher school librarians in every CPSD school; and 

WHEREAS: Member Fantini’s most notable impact can be attributed to his unwavering commitment and natural inclination to build partnerships and personal relationships with colleagues, teachers, principals, and staff. Fred can be seen visiting schools across the district daily and attending countless events to lend his support and mentorship to principals and staff and more importantly, listening to their feedback on the critical issues facing Cambridge’s school children; and

WHEREAS: Over the course of dozens of campaigns, Fred Fantini relished in knocking on the door of virtually every home in Cambridge, building connections with residents as well as developing a deep understanding about the richness of our community; now therefore, be it

RESOLVED: That the School Committee go on record thanking Fred Fantini for his forty years of service to the Cambridge Public Schools and lifelong dedication to the City of Cambridge, and be it further

RESOLVED: That the School Committee thank Fred Fantini for his immeasurable contribution within the School Committee’s conference room and the ones far beyond its walls; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the School Committee will sorely miss his good humor, level-headed sensibility, strategic thinking, and the countless positive relationships he forged during his service to Cambridge Public Schools; and be it further

RESOLVED: That Fred Fantini receive the title of Emeritus School Committee Member, granting him lifetime admission to all CPSD athletic and arts events, and that the appropriate identification be created for this titled position; and be it further

RESOLVED: That a formal copy of this Resolution be prepared by the Executive Secretary to the School Committee be presented to Fred Fantini.

11. Announcements:

12. Late Orders:
#Late Order from December 19, 2023 Meeting Joint Motion by Mayor Siddiqui, Member Hunter and Member Wilson

WHEREAS: The School Committee was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Roderick L. Jackson on December 6, 2023; and 

WHEREAS: Roderick L. Jackson, affectionately known as "Kito," was born on October 8, 1987, and raised in Cambridge; and 

WHEREAS: Roderick Jackson had exceptional athletic talent, especially as a football player for Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, and later on as a basketball player at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology and at Framingham State College; and 

WHEREAS: Roderick Jackson received a bachelor’s degree in business administration; and 

WHEREAS: He joined National Grid in 2021, where he served with diligence and commitment as a utility worker, contributing significantly to the community's well-being; and 

WHEREAS: When not indulging his love of sports and spending time with family and friends, Roderick spoiled his beloved dog, Channel, and his love of dogs was one of his many wonderful qualities; and 

WHEREAS: The love and commitment that Roderick Jackson felt and demonstrated toward his family and his native city, Cambridge, is being reflected back to his Cambridge community by his family with the establishment of the Roderick Jackson Scholarship for graduating students who exemplify his life and his value; and 

WHEREAS: Roderick L. Jackson leaves behind his mother, Norma Asprilla, his brother Manuel Asprilla, his sister Yanthia Jesus, his grandmother Arua Edwards, and a host of friends who shall forever cherish his memory; now therefore be it 

RESOLVED: That the School Committee go on record expressing its profound sorrow and extend its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Roderick L. Jackson for their tremendous loss; and be it further 

RESOLVED: That the Secretary be and hereby is requested to forward a suitably engrossed copy of this resolution to the family of Roderick L. Jackson on behalf of the entire School Committee. 

13. Communications and Reports from City Officers:


Updated on 12/14/2023