Updated School Committee Meeting Dates and Topics

Listed below is a revised chart with upcoming School Committee meetings and topics.  All meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Reading Public Schools Administration Offices, 82 Oakland Road, unless otherwise noted.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Reading Public Schools Administration Offices at 781-944-5800.

Date Topics
10/29 (7:30 p.m.)

Senior Center

  • Financial Forum
  • FY16 Budget Discussion (Projected Revenues and Expenses)
11/3

Coolidge

  • MCAS Presentation
  • Field Trip Policy-2nd Reading
  • Bullying Policy-2nd Reading
11/12

7:00 p.m.

  • Early Childhood Space Needs Working Group
11/13

6:00 p.m.

  • Quarterly Financial Update
  • Full Day Kindergarten Discussion
  • Naming Policy Subcommittee Update
11/15 (Retreat)

8:00-11:00 a.m.

  • Presentation of Superintendent Goals
  • FY16 Budget Planning
11/24
  • Discussion on Athletic Fees
  • Discussion of User Fees
  • Barrows School Presentation
  • Naming Policy-1st Reading (if necessary)
12/1
  • Overview of Federal Grants Received
  • Overview of Health Curriculum
  • 2015-16 Calendar Discussion
  • Naming Policy-2nd Reading (if necessary)
12/15
  • Wood End School Presentation
  • Vote on 2015-16 School Calendar
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Pathways Newsletter Released for Week of 10/26/2014

The latest edition of the Pathways Newsletter is linked below.  This week’s newsletter contains an update on the Early Childhood Space Needs Working Group, photos from Camp Bournedale, the RCASA event on Opioid abuse, and RMHS students teaching teachers.

Pathways Newsletter V1N8

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Early Childhood Space Needs Working Group Update

Over the past several years, the Reading Public Schools have seen a significant crunch for classroom space in our RISE preschool and at our five elementary schools.  This need for classroom space is the result of an increased need for Special Education programs, and a rapidly increasing demand for RISE preschool and full day kindergarten.  Since 2011, the School Committee and Administration have been working to solve this challenging problem.

Over the summer, the School Committee voted to form a sub-committee co-chaired by School Committee Vice Chair Chuck Robinson and committee member Jeanne Borawski to analyze the need for additional classroom space in our schools and to identify a solution.

On Wednesday, October 22nd, the Early Childhood Space Needs Sub-Committee held it’s first meeting at the Reading Public Schools Administration Offices.  Twenty-one community members, elected and appointed officials, and educators generously volunteered their time and talent to work together toward a solution that is educationally sound and community-driven.  In the room were parents, concerned citizens, Town Meeting members, two members of our town’s Finance Committee, and two members of our Board of Selectmen.  There were teachers, parents, school administrators, and residents with backgrounds in general contracting, engineering, and design.  There is wide agreement that we have a challenging problem to solve, and it was impressive to see such a thoughtful, talented group committed to solving it.

At this first meeting, the focus was on identifying our space needs.   A power point presentation of the first meeting is attached.   At our next meeting on November 12th at 7:00 p.m. at the Reading Public Schools Administration Offices, we will discuss how to maximize community engagement in this process.  We encourage you to attend. Each meeting is a public meeting and will be posted as required by the Open Meeting law.  Updates will occur regularly on the Pathways Blog .

We look forward to providing updates on the progress of this committee.

Early Childhood Space Needs Group Presentation 1-Revised

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Latest Edition of Pathways Newsletter Now Available

The latest edition of the Pathways Newsletter is now available.  In this newsletter, there is an article from Dr. David Walsh on how to help your child with perfectionism, an article from Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post about what we do not know about teachers, and photos from the Project Lead the Way Conference last week.

Pathways NewsletterV1N7

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It is flu season! Facts and Information

The following information has been shared with school districts about the enterovirus, flu season, and Ebola virus from the United States Department of Education.  If you have any questions, please contact the your child’s school nurse or the Reading Public School’s Director of Nurses Lynn Dunn at lynn.dunn@reading.k12.ma.us.

Enterovirus

Every year, millions of children in the United States get enterovirus infections that can cause coughing, sneezing, and fever. This year, children throughout the country have gotten sick with respiratory illnesses caused by enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68). EV-D68 is one of many enteroviruses that often spread in the summer and fall. It’s not a new virus, but it hasn’t been very common in the past. However, this year, EV-D68 is the most common enterovirus that’s going around.

Since you may not have heard of EV-D68 before, better understanding of how to prevent the virus and the symptoms that this virus can cause can help you protect your children.

What are the signs and symptoms of EV-D68?

Most children who get infected with EV-D68 may have cold-like symptoms, like fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and body and muscle aches. More severe symptoms include wheezing and difficulty breathing. Children with asthma are at risk for severe symptoms from EV-D68.

How can I protect my children?

You can help protect yourself and others from respiratory illnesses, including EV-D68, by following these steps:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils, with people who are sick, or when you are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick
  • Stay home when you are sick and keep sick children home from school

Could my child get EV-D68?

EV-D68 spreads when people infected with the virus cough, sneeze, or touch surfaces that are then touched by others.  In general, infants, children, and teenagers are at higher risk than adults for getting infected and sick with enteroviruses like EV-D68. That’s because they have not been exposed to these types of viruses before, and they do not yet have immunity (protection) built up to fight the disease. If your child has asthma, he or she may be at greater risk for severe respiratory illness from EV-D68.

If your child has asthma, CDC recommends you do the following to help maintain control of your child’s asthma during this time:

  • Discuss and update your child’s asthma action plan with your child’s doctor (usually pulmonologist or pediatrician).
  • Make sure your child takes prescribed asthma medications as directed, especially long term control medication(s).
  • Make sure your child knows to keep asthma reliever medication with him or her or has access to it at all times.
  • Get your child a flu vaccine, since flu can trigger an asthma attack.
  • If your child develops new or worsening asthma symptoms, follow the steps in his or her asthma action plan. If your symptoms do not go away, call your child’s doctor right away.
  • Make sure caregiver(s) and/or teacher(s) are aware of the child’s condition, and that they know how to help if the he or she experiences any symptoms related to asthma.
  • Call your child’s doctor if he or she is having difficulty breathing, if you feel you are unable to control symptoms, or if symptoms are getting worse.

Summary

There is no specific treatment for EV-D68. Talk to your child’s doctor about the best way to control his or her symptoms.

Remember, that while this has been a big year for EV-D68 infections, CDC expects the number of cases to taper off by late fall. But even after cases of EV-D68 begin to decrease, parents and children should continue to follow basic steps to stay healthy, such as frequent hand washing and avoiding touching their faces with unwashed hands. To help your family stay healthy this fall and winter, CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine.

For more information on:

EV-D68 in the U.S., visit http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/outbreaks/EV-D68-outbreaks.html

Flu Season is Upon Us

Remember too, as enterovirus season is expected to taper off, flu activity usually begins to increase in October.  While there is not a vaccine to prevent illness from enteroviruses,  the single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year.  Many resources for parents and others can be found on the CDC flu web site.  CDC recommends that ALL children 6 months old or older get a flu vaccine.

Ebola Virus

Finally, we know your communities may also have questions about what schools can do to keep students and adults safe from the Ebola virus.   The CDC is continually updating its information on Ebola, information that can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html.

The Office of Safe and Healthy Students has a number of materials available regarding Readiness and Emergency Management of Schools in crisis situations, and those materials can be found here: http://rems.ed.gov/.  One resource at this web link is steps the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) has taken to keep parents and community partners continually updated on the Ebola situation there, including establishing a web site: http://www.dallasisd.org/healthupdates.

Additional materials developed by the DISD Communications Team included there are:

Parent Letter — English

Parent Letter — Spanish

Ebola FAQ

Talking with Children about Ebola

Recognizing and Reducing Signs of Anxiety in Times of Crisis

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Upcoming School Committee Meeting Agenda Items

Good Afternoon,

The following is a list of tentative agenda items that the School Committee will be discussing over the next few months at their School Committee and Subcommittee meetings.  Please note that these agenda items are tentative and may change based on need and circumstances.  A complete agenda is posted at least 48 hours in advance (minus weekends) before a School Committee meeting on the Town of Reading and the Reading Public School website and the full School Committee packet is available on the Friday before a Monday School Committee meeting on our Reading Public Schools website.

All meetings start at 7:00 p.m. at the Reading Public Schools Administration Offices unless otherwise noted.

Date

Topics

10/13 (6:30 p.m.)

  • Naming Subcommittee Meeting

10/22 (6:30 p.m.)

  • Early Childhood Space Needs Working Group

10/20

  • Coordinated Program Review Presentation
  • School Presentation
  • Full Day Kindergarten Discussion
  • Field Trip Policy-2nd Reading
  • Bullying Policy-2nd Reading

10/29 (7:30 p.m.)

Senior Center

  • Financial Forum
  • FY16 Budget Discussion (Projected Revenues and Expenses)

11/1 (Retreat)

8:00-11:00 a.m.

  • FY16 Budget Planning and Goal Setting

11/3

  • MCAS Presentation
  • Naming Policy Subcommittee Update

11/24

  • Overview of Federal Grants Received
  • Overview of Health Curriculum
  • School Presentation
  • Naming Policy-1st Reading (if necessary)

12/1

  • Discussion on Fees
  • 2015-16 Calendar Discussion
  • Naming Policy-2nd Reading (if necessary)

12/15

  • School Presentation
  • Vote on 2015-16 School Calendar
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Level 3 Sex Offender Notification from North Reading Police Department

The North Reading Police Department has released information under M.G.L. c. 6, §§ 178C-178Q, that a Level 3 Sex Offender has recently moved into their Town.    We have attached the notification flier for your information.  Please note that this person is not living in Reading, but lives in proximity to the Reading/North Reading town line.

The individual who appears on this notification has been designated as a Level 3 Sex Offender by the Sex Offender Registry Board. The Board has determined that this individual is at a high risk to reoffend and that the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is such that a substantial public safety interest is served by active community notification.  The individual is currently not wanted by the police.

If you have any concerns about this individual, please contact the Reading Police Department immediately at 781-944-1212.  Do not contact this person directly.

This is a good opportunity to have conversations with your child about what to do when confronted by a stranger.  Here are some suggestions for discussion:

  • Encourage your children to travel with other trustworthy children. Make a point to get to know who your children are with. Write down their names, addresses and phone numbers, and familiarize yourself with their parents whenever possible. If you allow your children to visit a friend’s home, meet the family first to make sure you are comfortable with the supervision and the environment.
  • Make sure your children know what to do if they are confronted by a stranger. Children should keep their distance from strangers and not allow strangers to get close enough to grab them. Generally speaking, children should be taught to say no to a stranger’s request or advance. Children should quickly get away from the stranger, and should tell a responsible adult what happened.
  • Take an interest in your children’s daily travels and activities. Map out safe, well-traveled routes for your children to follow. Don’t allow children to take short cuts or make unnecessary stops along the way.
  • Teach children how to anticipate and avoid potential hazards and dangers. Prevention is always the first and most important element of personal safety and self-defense. This is especially true for children because most children are too small to physically overpower an adult or older teenager.
  • Teach your children to obey all traffic safety rules and regulations. Make sure you set a good example for them.
  • Teach your children the tricks that strangers may use to get them into cars or follow them to other areas. These tricks may include offers of candy or money, asking for help in finding a lost pet, asking for directions and then pulling them into a car, or saying they were sent by a parent to pick them up. Parents and children should agree on a secret password in case parents have to send someone else to pick them up.

Sex Offender Registry Board

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Pathways Newsletter for Week of 10/12/2014

Below is the latest edition of the Pathways Newsletter.  This week’s edition has a post on the October 14 Inservice Day, two articles on testing and assessment, and photos from Coolidge, Barrows, and RMHS.

Pathways Newsletter V1N6

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So, What is Really Happening on October 14th?

On many occasions we are asked questions about the value of professional development days when the students are not in school.  Some of the questions that we are asked include:  What are staff doing on those days? Why are these so valuable?  Can’t we eliminate the day so that we can have a shorter school year?

As we continue to transition to the higher expectations of the new Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, providing professional learning time for staff is critical to the success of our school district.  Staff will need opportunities to work together by team, department, and grade level to fully understand the frameworks, how to best teach those frameworks, how to assess how students are doing, and how to address students who are struggling with the concepts and expectations of the learning standards.  Throughout our district, our teachers are focused on four critical questions:

  1. What is it we want our students to learn? What knowledge, skills, and dispositions do we expect them to acquire as a result of this course, this grade level, and this unit of instruction?
  2. How will we know if each student is learning each of the skills, concepts, and dispositions we have deemed most essential?
  3. How will we respond when some of our students do not learn? What process will we put in place to ensure students receive additional time and support for learning in a way that is timely, precise, diagnostic, directive, and systemic?
  4. How will we enrich and extend the learning for students who are already proficient?

The opportunities to answer these questions are provided in a variety of ways including after school meetings, early release days, and full inservice days.  This Tuesday, October 14th, the Reading Public Schools will be using their full inservice day professional development time to continue working on answering the above questions.

At the Elementary level, teachers will be reviewing the new first quarter report card reporting and conference format, identifying the key data that will be reported on the new conference report form, and developing a process where all subject areas have the opportunity to give feedback on student progress.  Some elementary staff will be visiting other schools to observe math lessons from the new Math in Focus program.  In addition, each school will be working on building specific initiatives, such as MCAS data analysis, that are focused on school and team goals to improve student learning and success.

At the middle school level, our math teachers will be attending a day-long training with the new Pearson curriculum material that we received through a grant this year.  Other grade level departments from both Parker and Coolidge will be meeting together in professional learning communities to answer the important questions above on student learning.

At the High School, staff will also be working in a professional learning community format on creating and reviewing common assessments (also known as District Determined Measures) which will be administered across a grade level subject area to all students.  These assessments will help teachers assess how students are learning and what areas need to be reinforced and strengthened.  In addition, Math teachers will be receiving training on the new Pearson curriculum material that was received through a grant.

Special education teachers, specialists, school psychologists/behavioral staff, and therapists will be meeting in their PreK-12 groups in order to improve transitions between levels, coordinate curriculum, and share ideas.

In addition, art, music, health-wellness, library media, and technology will be meeting with their colleagues at the elementary and high school level to discuss how to better align their curriculum standards and skills to promote student success.

Our paraeducators and secretaries will also be involved in training opportunities with our paraeducators attending sessions on topics such as de-escalation techniques, behavioral intervention tools, anti-bullying, CPR, and strategies to address substance abuse and our secretaries learning receiving training on our financial management software system called MUNIS.

We appreciate the support that we receive from our community to give staff the time during the school year to work together as professional colleagues in doing what is best for the children of Reading.  It is these opportunities that will continue to make our district stronger and more prepared to address the educational challenges that our students face today and help prepare them for their futures.

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Latest Edition Of Pathways Newsletter

Below is a link to the latest edition of the Pathways Newsletter.  This week’s edition features a story on bullying prevention from the eyes of students, Ted Talk videos from Harvard Professors on education, and pictures from the Barrows 50th Anniversary Tree Dedication Ceremony.

Pathways NewsletterV1N5

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