Lida Winfield presents “In Search of Air: Growing Up Dyslexic”

On Wednesday, April 16th at 7:00 p.m. in the William E. Endslow Performing Arts Center at RMHS, don’t miss Lida Winfield’s moving one-hour performance based on her experience growing up with a learning disability.  In this unique presentation, dancer, choreographer, spoken word artist, and educator, Lida Winfield shares the gift and heartache that accompanied her struggle to read, which did not occur until her early twenties.  This innovative performance is a mixture of funny, sad, and ironic vignettes woven together in a creative and captivating format that explores the issues of disability, access, and the value of hands on learning.  Lida’s presence on stage clearly expresses her life experiences in order to bring us closer to our own and to those of the students in our schools.  Lida is currently touring her performance In Search of Air: Growing up Dyslexic to many universities and education conferences around the country.  Her poignant performances invariably cause her audience to laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously.

Please join us for this community presentation!

LidaWinfield Poster community performance

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Celebration of the Arts

This week, the Reading Public Schools will be showcasing student art work and performances during the 7th annual Arts Fest.  This annual event will be held on Wednesday, April 9th from 5:30-8:00 p.m. and Thursday, April 10th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Main Street and the William E. Endslow Performing Arts Center at Reading Memorial High School.  The schedule of the performances can be found here.

All performances are free to the public.  If you have any questions, please contact the Reading Public Schools Administration Offices at 781-944-5800.  We hope to see you there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Director of Student Services Update

Superintendent of Schools John Doherty is pleased to announce that he will be recommending Carolyn Wilson for the position of Director of Student Services at the School Committee Meeting on Monday Evening.  Even with a limited pool of qualified applicants, Ms. Wilson emerged as an extremely strong and well qualified candidate during multiple interviews with members of the Screening Committee and Central Office Administrators.

Ms. Wilson is currently a Team Facilitation Leader in the Newburyport Public Schools.  She has a Master’s of Education from Simmons College, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Saint Anselm College, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Suffolk University.    Ms. Wilson will be attending the School Committee meeting on Monday evening and will be interviewed by the Committee in open session.  The public is invited to attend.

The Reading Public Schools would like to thank the ten member Director of Student Services Screening Committee for all of their hard work in this process.

A copy of Ms. Wilson’s resume is below.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Reading Public Schools administration offices at 781-944-5800.

Wilson Resume

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Early Childhood Center Informational Meetings

Dear Reading Community,

In September, 2012, the Reading School Committee voted unanimously to support the transition to publicly funded full day kindergarten once adequate and permanent space could be identified.  This decision was based on the increased need for full day kindergarten in our community, the growing research that supports full day kindergarten for all students, and the fact that over 200 communities in Massachusetts now offer publicly funded full day kindergarten.  As a result of those discussions, the Reading Public Schools has been investigating different space options to address the growing programmatic needs of our preschool and kindergarten students.  As part of this process, an Early Childhood Education Center Working Group, consisting of community leaders, educators, parents, and citizens was formed last October to identify, review, and analyze over 20 different options to address these needs and the growing space needs of our school district.  A recommendation was made to the Reading School Committee at their March 10th meeting.

On March 24, the Reading School Committee, upon recommendation of the Working Group, voted to accept the option of building an early education childhood center on the Reading Memorial High School parking lot adjacent to the William E. Endslow Fine and Performing Arts Center.  This option was the most feasible for a variety of reasons including educational benefit, cost effectiveness, community value, and site availability.

At April Town Meeting, Town Meeting members will vote on a proposal to appropriate $485,000 for a design study for this option.  Between now and April Town Meeting, the Reading Public Schools will be holding community information sessions to educate the community on this proposal.  At the sessions, we will discuss why we need additional educational space, the value of Full Day Kindergarten, the current space needs at our schools, how we address the issues currently, the different options that were studied, and the long term costs of an early childhood center.

The dates and times for the sessions are listed below.  All sessions will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Coolidge Multipurpose Room, unless otherwise noted.

April 2 (6:30 p.m.)

April 8 (6:30 p.m.)

April 14 (6:30 p.m.)

April 22 (10:00 a.m.)

April 22 (6:30 p.m.)

Resource materials will be found on the Reading Public School District website (http://www.edline.net/pages/ReadingPublicSchools) after April 2nd.

We encourage you to attend one of these sessions and learn more about this important topic.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Reading Public Schools Administrative Offices at 781-944-5800.

 

Sincerely,

John F. Doherty, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Michael Fowlin Coming to Reading Next Week

The Reading Education Foundation (REF) and the Coolidge, Parker, and RMHS PTO proudly present Actor-Psychologist-Poet, Dr. Michael Fowlin on Thursday, April 3rd, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the William E. Endslow Performing Arts Center.  There is no cost to attend this unique event.

Fowlin

Dr. Michael Fowlin

Dr. Fowlin will be presenting his unique show, “You Don’t Know Me until You Know Me, A Dance with Diversity”. In this gripping, fast paced, 75-minute performance, “Mykee” slips in and out of characters, both male and female, who “share their stories.” These stories are shared in an often humorous, but at times heartbreaking, manner.

According to Marlene Lifshin, School Adjustment Counselor at Coolidge Middle School, “Dr. Folwin visited Reading almost four years ago and students still remember him.”  His dynamic one-person show deals with the issues of race, discrimination, violence prevention, personal identity, suicide, gender equity, homophobia, and the emotional challenges of special education youth.

According to Fowlin, “his programs combine both his professional acting talents and his psychological training. His mission is to create an atmosphere of worldwide inclusion, not just tolerance, towards all people.  He has worked extensively with all age groups in the United States and in other countries.  His work has included peer mediation, diversity trainings, gender equity workshops, and violence prevention seminars”

Special thanks to the Reading Education Foundation and the Coolidge, Parker, and High School PTOs, for sponsoring both the community presentation and Dr. Fowlin’s performances for students at Reading Memorial High School, Parker Middle School and Coolidge Middle School on April 3rd and April 4th. . Dr. Fowlin will also meet with small groups of students at each school.  Learn more about this unique performer at www.michaelfowlin.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RMHS Principal Finalists Announced

The Reading Public Schools is pleased to announce the four finalists for the position of Reading Memorial High School Principal.  These finalists were part of a rigorous interview process that was conducted by the 15 member RMHS Principal Screening Committee.  The four finalists are:

  1. Adam Bakr, Assistant Principal, Marlborough High School
  2. Daniel G. Bauer, Assistant Principal, Beverly High School
  3. John M. Dillon, III, Assistant Principal for Educational Services, Minuteman Regional Vocational High School
  4. Jahmal Mosley, Principal, Somerset Berkley Regional High School

A copy of each finalist’s resume is found below.  On Thursday, March 27th, the finalists will be on a site visit to Reading Memorial High School and meet with staff, students, and administrators.  On Thursday evening, March 27th, in the Patrick A. Schettini Library Media Center at Reading Memorial High School, each candidate will be interviewed by the Reading Community in an Open Microphone format.  The interview times are as follows:

6:00 p.m.             Adam Bakr

6:30 p.m.             Jahmal Mosley

7:00 p.m.             Dan Bauer

7:30 p.m.             Jack Dillon

A special thanks goes to the RMHS Principal Screening Committee for their efforts in this process.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Reading Public Schools Administrative Offices at 781-944-5800.

HS Finalists_032614

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Enhanced Lockdown Drill at RMHS on April 2nd

Dear Reading Memorial High School Community:

Over the last several months, the Reading Public Schools has been working with the Reading Police Department to implement an enhanced lockdown procedure called A.L.I.C.E., which is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.  The philosophy of A.L.I.C.E. is to use technology and information in a way that staff and students can make informed decisions in a crisis, remove as many people as possible from a dangerous situation, and provide realistic training so that those involved in a crisis have a better chance of surviving. A copy of the presentation that was given to the parent community in October and January is located at:

http://www.edline.net/files/_wVIQT_/08aa3c14f2acdbe23745a49013852ec4/ALICE_Presentation_for_Community.pdf

As part of this implementation process, we will be conducting a drill at Reading Memorial High School on Wednesday, April 2ndThese drills will be developmentally appropriate and help prepare students in a way that is similar to drills that we currently conduct in our schools for fire evacuation, lockdown, and shelter in place.  At the high school level, the drills will consist of student presentations done in assemblies in the morning followed by a school-wide simulated drill in the afternoon.  Students will then debrief the experience with staff in their homerooms.  The training and drills will include the participation of Reading Police and Fire personnel.

Please feel free to communicate directly with your principal regarding any concerns that you have around how the drill may impact your child.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Reading Public Schools Administrative Offices or Principal Kevin Higginbottom.

 

Sincerely,

John F. Doherty, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Championship Weekend in the Reading Public Schools

This weekend, the Reading Public Schools is celebrating two state championships, one in the academic world and one in the athletic world.

RMHS Hockey 4

Reading Memorial High School Boys Hockey Celebrating their Division 1 State Championship

Today, the Reading High School Boys Hockey Team won the MIAA Division 1 State Championship with a thrilling 4-1 victory over Braintree High School at TD Bank Garden. Reading has been the underdog throughout the entire tournament, beginning as a number 12 seed. However, they have played with the heart of a champion.  Congratulations to Coach Mark Doherty, the coaching staff and the entire team on this great achievement.

As a side note, Reading Memorial High School has now won a state championship each year for the last three years:  Girls Basketball (2012), Football (2013), and Boys Hockey (2014).

RMHS Hockey 1

Well over 400 students came to TD Bank Garden to watch the Rockets win the Division 1 Championship

 The other state championship was earned on Saturday when the Coolidge Middle School Science Olympiad Team won the Massachusetts State Science Olympiad Championship at Assumption College.  Coolidge won 8 gold medals, 6 silver medals, and 3 bronze medals to clinch their 23 state championship in 24 years.  Coolidge will now compete in the National Science Olympiad at Florida Central University in May.  Congratulations to Coach Karawan Meade, the coaching staff, and the students on such a worthy accomplishment.

Coolidge Science Olympiad State Champions

Coolidge Science Olympiad Team-Massachusetts State Science Olympiad Champions

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Secretary Duncan’s Visit to Reading

Duncan Visit 15

Secretary Arne Duncan visiting students in a math classroom

Last Wednesday, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited the Reading Public Schools and, along with DESE Commissioner Mitchell Chester, MTA President Paul Toner, and others, engaged in conversation with Reading teachers, administrators, and students about the state of education in Reading, our state, and the country.

This focused conversation on educational policy and issues began prior to Secretary Duncan’s arrival on Wednesday morning with a roundtable discussion between Reading teachers and administrators, USDOE Principal Ambassador Fellow Joshua Klaris, and Teaching Ambassador Fellow Emily Davis.  The purpose of the the Teacher and Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program is to enable outstanding teachers and principals to bring their expertise to and expand their knowledge of the national dialogue about education. In turn, they facilitate the learning and input of other educators and community members.  Roundtable discussions are one of the means that the USDOE gather feedback on what is working and not working in education.

Duncan Visit 13

Parker Principal Doug Lyons and Parker Teacher Julie Merrill participate in roundtable discussion

The topic of the morning roundtable discussion with the Fellows focused on Envisioning a Teaching Profession for the 21st Century or RESPECTeaching.  This DESE project has seven critical components including shared responsibility and leadership for teachers, attracting and retaining top teaching talent, providing continuous growth and professional development, having high standards of professional practice for teachers and principals, providing a professional career continuum with competitive compensation, creating conditions for successful teaching and learning, and engaging the community so that every child is safe, healthy, well-nourished, and ready to learn.  Some simple questions that were asked to our teachers and administrators included, “What areas are we doing well in?”  and “What areas do we need to improve in?”  The metaphor that was used to initiate the discussion was the remodeling of a home.  If the district represents your home, do you need to make just cosmetic changes, minor renovations, or major reconstruction?

Reading teachers and administrators engaged in some thoughtful and meaningful conversation with the ambassadors.  They discussed how they found visiting each other’s classrooms and learning about best practices critical to professionally growing.  They enjoyed the challenge of being a teacher leader and working with others to implement new standards and curriculum; however, more training is required for teacher leaders to facilitate conversation among colleagues.  Everyone agreed that finding more time for collaboration is critical to continue to move forward as a school district.  They also expressed concern about the social and emotional needs of students and how teachers are struggling to address those needs.  The ambassadors, who have facilitated these roundtable discussions throughout the country, commented that this was one of the most meaningful conversations that they had about educational issues during their year as USDOE ambassadors.

Duncan Visit 2

Secretary Duncan, DESE Commissioner Mitchell Chester, and Parker Math Teacher Kathy Favazza discuss educational issues on Wednesday

When the Secretary arrived around noon, he was greeted by student ambassadors and district and community leaders, including School Committee members, Town Manager Robert LeLacheur, Jr., Board of Selectmen Chair James Bonazoli, and Reading Education Foundation President Christine Kelley.  After the meet and greet, Secretary Duncan, along with DESE Commissioner Mitchell Chester, and Board of Education Chair Maura Banta, visited Coolidge Math teacher Chris Friberg’s Grade 8 math classroom where students were working collaboratively to solve a complex problem.  They walked around the classroom and had engaging conversations with students.  The Secretary then proceeded to the Coolidge Library Media Center where he was greeted by teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community leaders.

Duncan Visit 19

Superintendent of Schools John Doherty makes opening remarks at the Roundtable discussion

The roundtable discussion with Secretary Duncan, Commissioner of Elementary and Secretary Education Mitchell Chester, Commissioner of Early Education and Care (and Reading resident) Tom Weber, MTA President Paul Toner, Parker student Kathleen Walsh, RMHS student Parker Webb, Superintendent of Schools John Doherty, Assistant Superintendent Mary DeLai,  Assistant Superintendent and Facilitator Craig Martin, Killam Principal Kathy Giles, Parker Principal Doug Lyons, Birch Meadow Principal Eric Sprung, Coolidge Teacher Laura Warren, Parker Teacher Julie Merrill, Wood End Teacher Ellen Commito, RMHS Math Department Chair Trey Skehan, and RMHS Director of Guidance Lynna Williams focused on college and career readiness, how our district is addressing these standards, and the challenges we are facing in implementing those initiatives.  Topics that were discussed included the implementation of the new math and literacy curriculum frameworks, the teacher evaluation system, district determined measures, how we need to teach students perseverance and “grit” and the collaboration between labor and management to make the implementation sustainable and embedded.  Students Kathleen Walsh and Parker Webb talked about how it is more fun and engaging to learn from each other.  They commented that teachers are empowering students more “to do the work and learn.”

Duncan Visit 18

Parker student Kathleen Walsh answers a question from Secretary Duncan

As the conversations continued, it was evident that what these education leaders were hearing was unique and special and not replicated in many other school districts.  Secretary Arne Duncan and Commissioner Mitchell Chester called the Reading Public Schools “Pioneers” for their willingness to take risks, try new things, and not be afraid of failing.  MTA President Paul Toner talked about Reading’s “secret sauce” and how the district’s culture of collaboration and teamwork is unique and not common in other school districts. They realized that they had come upon a special place; a place where collaboration and teamwork is the norm; a place where teachers are trusted to do the difficult work of teaching; and a place where students are supported in their learning.

After leaving yesterday, Secretary Duncan tweeted out two comments specific to Reading:

Arne Duncan ‏@arneduncan  Mar 12

Administration, union, principals & teachers in Reading, MA have built a culture of trust and collaboration other districts can learn from.

Arne Duncan ‏@arneduncan  Mar 12

MS student in Reading MA on transition to higher stndrds,”I’m learning more frm peers than frm teacher & I’ve never understood math so well”

In his speech on Friday at the National Board on Professional Teaching Standards Teaching and Learning Conference, Secretary Duncan made the following remarks about his visit to Reading:

“But the only way that higher standards, and new systems of support and evaluation, will work, is if teachers lead this change in partnership and collaboration with principals, parents and communities. That’s what I saw in Reading, Massachusetts — teacher leadership in action, middle and high school teachers all working together, owning this transition.”

The visit and conversations with state and national education leaders provided a reaffirmation that we are on the right path.  The only way that we can accomplish this challenging work is to work together as a team.  We are proud of the fact that Reading is a community where critical discourse on education issues is accepted and teachers, administrators, parents, and the community work together to provide the best possible learning environment and opportunities for our students.  We need to keep the positive momentum continuing and have the types of productive conversations like the roundtable discussions on Wednesday.  Because of the collaborative effort that exists in our community, days like Wednesday are possible and should be celebrated.  Not many school districts and communities have these types of opportunities and it is because of that “secret sauce” and culture of collaboration that make it possible.

Thank you for your continued support of the Reading Public Schools.

For more pictures on the visit, go the United States Department of Education Flickr Site.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan To Visit Reading Public Schools on Wednesday

Arne Duncan

We are proud to announce that United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will be visiting the Reading Public Schools this week.  Secretary Duncan will be visiting the Arthur W. Coolidge Middle School on Wednesday, March 12th to visit a Grade 8 math classroom and to hold a roundtable discussion with Reading Public Schools teachers, administrators, and students about our progress on current educational initiatives, the benefits we are working to achieve for our students, and challenges we face in implementation.  Each school in the district will be represented in this critical discussion.

In addition to Secretary Duncan’s visit, a group of Reading educators will also be participating in a discussion facilitated by members of the US DOE’s Principal Ambassador Fellowship and Teacher Ambassador Fellowship programs. The mission of the Teaching Ambassador Fellowship is to improve education for students by involving teachers in the development and implementation of national education policy.  The Fellowship also seeks to involve teachers in developing policies that affect the classroom, to improve education programs and policies by strengthening the connection to practical knowledge about school realities, and to expand teachers’ leadership in policy at the national, state, and local levels.

As part of his two day visit to Massachusetts, Secretary Duncan will also be visiting the Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School in Roxbury, Worcester Technical High School in Worcester, and the Match Charter Public High School in Boston.

Secretary Duncan has chosen Reading as one of the places he is visiting while in Massachusetts because of Reading’s leadership with several state initiatives and its commitment to prepare students for college and career readiness.  These initiatives include our emphasis on the literacy and mathematics curriculum frameworks, educator collaboration in the development of district determined measures, the educator evaluation process, elementary standards-based report cards, technology integration, and a focus on 21st century skills.  The strength of these initiatives is due to the enormous dedication and collaboration among teachers, administrators, and the community.  We look forward to engaging in a meaningful dialogue that will benefit all educators and students, and we are honored to be hosting such an important opportunity for our district, our state, and our nation.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment