Ice Bucket Challenge Video

Recently, the Reading Public Schools Central Office Administration accepted the ice bucket challenge from the Joshua Eaton staff.  Superintendent of Schools John Doherty, Director of Finance and Operations Martha Sybert, Human Resources Administrator Micheala Saunders, Director of Student Service Carolyn Wilson, and Assistant Superintendent of Schools Craig Martin.  The video below shows the challenge and who we challenged!

Thanks to the students and custodians who helped us with this worthy challenge.

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New Edition of Pathways Newsletter

Attached is the next edition of the Pathways Newsletter, a newsletter that gives a more district perspective of the Reading Public Schools.  This week’s newsletter contains some photos from various school events from this past week, an article on math instruction, and an article on what motivates students.

Pathways NewsletterV1N2

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Adult and Community Education Catalog Released

The Reading Public Schools is pleased to announce the release of the Fall 2014 Adult and Community Catalog for workshops and courses.  The catalog is attached below.  If you have any questions, please contact the Adult and Community Education department at 781-944-5800 or by email at

Adult Ed Catalog FALL 2014 docx

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Members Needed for Early Childhood Education Space Needs Working Group

The Reading Public Schools is seeking parent/community members to be part of an Early Childhood Education Space Needs Working Group.  This group will be a subcommittee under the Reading School Committee and will be subject to the Open Meeting Law. 

The Working Group will consist of up to 8 members of the parent or greater Reading community to be part of the process.  The full Early Childhood Education Space Needs Working Group will consist of the following members. 

  1. Up to 2 members of the Board of Selectmen (Selected by Board of Selectmen)
  2. Up to 2 members of the School Committee (Selected by School Committee)
  3. Up to 2 members of the Finance Committee (Selected by Finance Committee)
  4. Superintendent of Schools
  5. Central Office Administrator
  6. Elementary Principal
  7. Preschool Director
  8. 2 Early Childhood Educators
  9. Up to 8 parents/community members with at least two members being Town Meeting members

The group will be chaired by a School Committee member.

The focus of the new Early Childhood Working group will be to present to Town Meeting a proposed solution to space needs endorsed by this group.  This will be done in the following manner:

  • Continue with a Geotechnical study and, if necessary, a plan for a traffic study for Oakland Rd. site
  • Identify a communication plan on how to inform, update, and get feedback from the community.
  • Review all options explored to date and reconsider.  
  • Identify a finite amount of time to brainstorm other solutions.
  • Vet all solutions, prioritize, and then make a recommendation to Town Meeting.

If you are interested in becoming a member of this group, please send a letter of interest with your name, address, contact information, and your rationale as to why you want to be a member of this group to Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent Linda Engelson at or mail to:

                                                                Reading Public Schools

                                                                Office of the Superintendent

                                                                82 Oakland Road

                                                                Reading, MA 01867


The deadline for applications is September 23, 2014.

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Pathways Newsletter-Opening Edition

We are pleased to present to you the opening edition of the Pathways Newsletter.  This newsletter will be published on a regular basis with a purpose of providing a more district perspective on the Reading Public Schools.  The newsletter letter will contain some school information, as well as, state and national perspectives on current trends in education.  This newsletter is not meant to replace the school newsletters or blogs that you receive from your child’s school.  

If you have any questions or thoughts about the newsletter, feel free to provide feedback.

Pathways NewsletterV1N1

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Secretary Malone’s Visit to Reading





Malone Visit2

Massachusetts Secretary of Education Matthew Malone visits Grade 8 Science Teacher Kim Peterson’s Classroom at Parker last Wednesday.

Last Wednesday, Massachusetts Secretary of Education Matthew Malone visited classrooms at Parker Middle School.  During his visit, Secretary Malone had the opportunity to talk to students, teachers, administrators, and School Committee members about what is working in education and the challenges that we are facing.  During his visit, Secretary Malone emphasized how it is the state’s responsibility to work with districts, remove obstacles, and make resources available for innovation in the classroom.  He was extremely impressed with the focused engagement of students and the use of technology on the 4th day of classes.

Secretary Malone also did a short video message with Parker students in the “Parker News Live” Studio which will be aired tomorrow morning on Channel 5 EyeOpener News some time between 5:10 and 6:10 a.m.

Our thanks goes out to Parker Principal Doug Lyons and the entire Parker staff and students for welcoming the Secretary and guests to the school.


Secretary Malone taping a news segment with Parker students which will be shown on Channel 5

Secretary Malone taping a news segment with Parker students which will be shown on Channel 5

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Background Check Guidelines for Volunteers

We are very fortunate in the Reading Public Schools to have numerous volunteers who offer their time in a variety of ways. Recently, state regulations were passed which introduce national criminal background checks, as well as, CORI checks for all employees and for volunteers who have direct and unsupervised contact with students. Beginning on October 15th, any volunteer who has direct and unsupervised contact with students at any after school activity or overnight field trip will be required to have both a national criminal background check (SAFIS) and a CORI check. All volunteers, regardless of their activity will continue to have a CORI check.

The guidelines for conducting the national fingerprinting criminal background check is attached. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s building principal or the Reading Public Schools administration offices.

Thank you and have a great day.


SAFIS Memo for volunteers

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Opening Remarks to Staff

On Monday, August 25, Reading Public School staff returned in preparation for the 2014-15 school year.  These two days prior to students returning focused on meetings with teachers, administrators, and staff, as well as, time to prepare classrooms and schools.  This time without students is critical to ensure a smooth transition for students when they arrived on Wednesday.

As part of these two days, the entire staff gathered on Monday morning for fellowship and to hear opening remarks from RMHS Senior John Hand, School Committee Chair Chris Caruso, Reading Teachers Association President Christine Copeland, and Superintendent of Schools John Doherty.  The remarks focused on the transformation that is currently occurring in public education and the need to change the structures and the use of professional learning time to address those changes and to focus the professional learning on improving student achievement.  Staff left inspired and eager to begin the 2014-15 school year.

To conclude his remarks, Superintendent of Schools John Doherty played a slide show of memories from the 2013-14 school year.  We share this slide show with you as a celebration of last year and our goal of creating even more positive memories for the 2014-15 school year.  Have a great start to the 2014-15 school year!


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School Safety Letter

Dear Reading Public School Families:

I hope that you and your family have had a great start to the 2014-15 school year.  Recently, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick released the Massachusetts Task Force Report on School Safety and Security.  During the summer, Superintendent of Schools John Doherty, Police Chief James Cormier, Fire Chief Greg Burns, and Town Manager Robert LeLacheur met to discuss the contents of the report and to assess where the Reading Public Schools were in relation to the recommendations by the Task Force.  Our community is fortunate in that there is a tremendous working relationship between the School Department, Town Government, and the Reading Police and Fire Departments.  In addition, members of the District Wide Safety Committee met to implement specific recommendations of the report.

Overall, we are pleased to announce that we are following a significant percentage of the recommendations outlined in the report.  There are always areas that we can improve upon and we have already begun working on those areas.  During this past school year, we have updated and revised our safety and emergency plans, including the implementation of a new enhanced lockdown process called ALICE.  As part of those plans, we would like to inform you of some specific guidelines that will affect you and your child. Attending to your child’s safety in school is of greatest importance to our school district. Our response procedures are reviewed regularly so that we can make prompt and responsible decisions in the event of an emergency. The purpose of this letter is to review some of our routine procedures. Please read this information so that you will be aware of our safety efforts, and know what you should do in case of emergency.

Please help us in the following ways:

  • Keep medical information on file for your child up-to-date. It is very important that you notify the school nurse of any health or medication changes.
  • Keep all emergency contact information current, and inform the school secretary if there are changes in your cell, office or home phone numbers.
  • Register for your family District Edline account so that you may access this site for information if needed, and make sure that your email address is up-to-date.
  • During an emergency, please do not call the school. Telephone lines need to be kept open for emergency calls. We will keep you notified through our Blackboard Connect and Edline notification systems.
  • Cooperate with visitor sign-in and identification procedures at all times. When you enter any of our schools, please go to the Main Office.  A member of our staff will be there to assist you.
  • In an emergency situation, do not immediately drive to the school. Access routes may not be open, and additional traffic will interfere with safety procedures and put students at risk. Refer to the listed radio and television stations and our Connect Ed message system for instructions and emergency information.
  • Please have your family review and practice responses to emergency situations at home, including instructions that your child should following the event of an early dismissal if you are not at home.

Off-Site Evacuation/Dismissal Policy:

In an extreme emergency when a school has been evacuated and it is not possible to return, an off-site meeting place may be needed. Parents will be directed (through BLACKBOARD CONNECT and Edline) to go to a designated reunification center in the community. The Superintendent, with public safety personnel, will determine the location that best meets the needs of the specific emergency, and staff will be on site to assist with dismissal procedures using the following guidelines:

  • No student will be dismissed from a primary or secondary evacuation site unless a parent (or individual designated by a parent on the Pupil Information Card) comes for him/her and is able to present photo ID upon request.
  • All parents or designated persons who come for students will be required to sign out at the front office (or from a designated alternate release location in certain emergencies).
  • In addition to the above notification sources, signs will be posted if an alternate location is needed.

Throughout the school year your child will be trained in emergency procedures.  Each school will have at least four fire drills, 2 enhanced lockdown drills (A.L.I.C.E), and 1 shelter in place drill.  Schools may have a full school evacuation drills this year to an offsite location.  Our secondary schools may have a canine search of lockers, public areas, some classrooms, and the parking lot as part of the School Committee Search Policy.  She/he will learn how to react, where to assemble, and what to expect in an emergency situation. While it can be unsettling to think about situations that require emergency response, frequent review and practice will reduce hazards and help everyone to be prepared in an actual event.


In an emergency, we will make every effort to keep you informed so that you will understand the situation, what is being done in response, and any instructions for families. Information will be disseminated in many ways, including:

When providing phone numbers for emergency contact, please provide us with phone numbers without extensions If possible, list only lines and cell phones that will be answered by you or a person that you have authorized to pick up your child in an emergency. Be sure to inform your co-workers if you have listed your place of employment as an emergency contact number, and inform the school(s) if any of your contact information changes throughout the year.


The need to evacuate students from a building before the regularly scheduled dismissal time could arise from a relatively minor incident such as a power failure, or from a major event such as fire or bomb threat. During evacuation, students are guided to the nearest exit and assemble at an established location. Communication into the school, dismissal times and transportation may be temporarily disrupted. Families will receive information and instructions from the listed communication sources.


Enhanced Lockdown (A.L.I.C.E.) or shelter-in-place is implemented when it has been determined that conditions outside of the classroom or building are potentially unsafe. Situations that may activate an enhanced lockdown/sheltering response include a hazardous materials situation near the school, police activity close by, or potential intruder alerts. While enhanced lockdowns are extremely rare, enhanced lockdown drills are conducted periodically to ensure that staff members and students are prepared to respond confidently and calmly. During an enhanced lockdown drill, as with an actual event, students and staff remain quietly in a designated location within the room or are guided to a secure location either inside or outside of the school to wait for the “All Clear” signal.  It is possible, based on the situation, that students will evacuate the school the school to a predetermined location. It is not possible for anyone to enter or exit the building until an “All Clear” signal is given by the principal or public safety official. Information concerning the lockdown is given to families through the listed communication sources.


In severe weather or similar emergencies when travel conditions are expected to deteriorate, it may be necessary to take the precaution of an early dismissal, or to delay dismissal until conditions improve. You will be informed of modified dismissal times through the communication sources listed above.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your building principal or the Reading Public Schools Administrative Offices.

Have a healthy, safe, and productive school year.

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Welcome to the 2014-15 School Year!

Dear Reading Public School Families:

I hope that you had an enjoyable summer.  Welcome to the 2014-15 School Year!  We hope that your child’s transition back to school was a smooth one.  If it was not, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher(s) or building principal with any questions on concerns that you may have.    

Each year, we are required by Federal, State, and local laws to distribute certain informational flyers which are meant to inform you about your rights and your child’s rights in a public school setting.   In addition, we distribute pupil information cards and other forms which you are required to complete and update.  These forms are important because they provide us with contact and medical information in case of an emergency, as well as, permissions that allow your child to fully participate in educational activities.  

In order to conserve paper, we are only distributing to you in paper format the information that you either need to complete and return, or is required by law or school committee policy for us to distribute by paper.  Those forms are located on the Edline site if you did not receive them from your child last week.  Please complete the required attached forms and return them to your child’s school no later than Friday, September 5th.  

In addition, some informational flyers will not be distributed by paper and will also be posted on the link above. The folder is called “First Day Fliers” and is located under the District Info tab on the top of our newly designed district Edline page.  If you would prefer to have a paper copy of these flyers, please contact Linda Engelson, the Administrative Assistant for the Superintendent, at 781-944-5800 or by email at

Please take a few moments to read these important fliers:

  1. School Committee Policy ACAB/ACAC on Harassment, Discrimination, Bullying and Hazing (On Edline site)-This policy has been updated to reflect the new Massachusetts Anti-Bullying and Gender Equity Laws. 
  2. Notification of Rights under FERPA-This letter describes the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)     which affords parents and students over 18 years of age certain rights with respect to the student’s education needs. This has been updated since last year.
  3. Directory Information-FERPA requires that the Reading Public Schools, with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your child’s education records.  However, the Reading Public Schools may disclose appropriately designated “directory information” without written consent unless you have advised the District to the contrary.  This letter describes the directory information and the process and has been updated since last year.
  4. Notification of Rights Under the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)-This letter explains the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), which affords parents certain rights regarding our conducting of surveys, collection and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams. 
  5. Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) and Children Families and Protection Act-This letter outlines procedures to notify parents and faculty under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) and the Children Families and Protection Act (Use of Pesticides).
  6. Acceptable Use Policy and Internet Safety Agreement for Students-This document explains in detail the Reading Public Schools Acceptable Use Policy and Internet Safety Agreement for Students.  Parents should read this policy carefully with their child and sign on the Pupil Emergency Card.  This document has been updated to reflect the changes that have occurred in the cyberbullying aspect of the Massachusetts Anti-bullying law.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Superintendent’s Office (781-944-5800) or your child’s school.  We look forward to working with you and educating your child during this upcoming school year.

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