Latest Edition of Pathways Newsletter

Below is the latest edition of the Pathways Newsletter.  This week, this is information regarding the grants that we recently received, as well as, photos from the Parker Project Adventure Trip.

Pathways Newsletter V1N4

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Reading Receives Three Grants Totaling 1.975 Million Dollars

The Town of Reading and the Reading Public Schools is pleased to announce that they have received three Federal grants totaling $1,975,000 to address the health, wellness, and social emotional well-being of our students.

The first grant is a Drug Free Communities Grant which is a five year grant at $125,000 per year.  This grant was awarded to the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse (RCASA).  The goals and strategies of this grant are as follows:

  • Reduce barriers for underrepresented individuals to participate in the coalition.
  • Train Leaders in the Strategic Prevention Framework and Environmental Strategies.
  • Provide opportunities for Leaders to apply skills learned at training.
  • Enhance staff and Board’s capacity to build the coalition’s financial infrastructure.
  • Increase access to culturally and therapeutically diverse pain management sites.
  • Provide an easy access point for residents to turn in unwanted medications 24/7.
  • Increase skill-building opportunities for students in grades 6-12 on prescription drug and underage drinking prevention.
  • Improve local medication safety and prescription drug based monitoring practices
  • Improve Educators, School Specialists, Clergy and Youth Workers ability to address youth that are in crisis and/or under the influence of prescription drugs
  • Reduce youth access to alcohol through enhanced Alcohol Compliance Program.
  • Enhance parental monitoring of adolescents in grades 6-12
  • Provide disincentives to use alcohol on Reading Memorial High School grounds.

The second grant is awarded to the Reading Public Schools and is a two year, $50,000 per year grant to provide mental health first aid training to staff.  This grant will allow the Reading Public Schools to train eight instructors that will certify 584 school educators, school support staff, first responders, youth workers, and faith leaders in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) in Reading, where the prevalence of untreated mental health and substance abuse is significant.   Data gathered through the 2013 Reading Youth Risk Behavior Survey (grades 6-8) indicated high rates of prevalence involving self-injury, bullying, binge drinking and prescription drug misuse. High school (grades 9-12) rates for underage drinking, illegal drug use and eating disorders were 2-6% higher than state and national averages. About 23% reported bullying at school, much higher than the state rate (18%) and U.S. rate (20%) and students were 4% more likely to experience cyber-bullying than the state average. Twenty-one percent reported self-injury higher than the state rate of 18% (U.S. rate not available). Thirteen percent reported suicide attempts, much higher than the state rate (7%) and U.S. rate (8%), of which 45 students attempted suicide two or more times.  Behavioral health community forums conducted in 2012 involved residents who expressed concern about teens dealing with “stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, drug-related violence, untreated mental illness”.  In the past two years, the district has experienced a sharp increase in students hospitalized for mood disorders, personality disorders, self-injury, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, and substance abuse.  At the high school, since September of 2012, there have been 40 psychiatric hospitalizations recorded by administrators.  The proposed YMHFA and MHFA training will greatly improve early identification of mental health needs and increase referrals to local community agencies.   A part-time paid grant coordinator will organize training, monitor certification, enhance pathways to mental health referral, and support recommended mental health assessment and/or treatment.

The third and final grant is also awarded to the Reading Public Schools and is a School Climate Transformation grant.  This grant is for $250,000 per year for five years.  The purpose of this grant is to implement a full service, high quality, multi-tiered system of supports for all PreK-12 students.  The following are the goals or projected outcomes for this project:

Goal 1: Build capacity for supporting the sustained and broad-scale implementation of a multi-tiered behavioral framework (MTSS) in each school across the district through the successful creation of district, building leadership and collaborative teams.

Goal 2: Enhance sustainability of continued data-driven decision making and communication through the successful alignment and implementation of a school wide information system, Baseline Edge, in every school district-wide.

Goal 3: Enhance each school’s ability to offer comprehensive behavioral health supports through the creation of a high-quality, full service multi-tiered system of supports, consisting of extensive offerings of supports and interventions at every level and school.

Goal 4: Build continued capacity of school-based staff through the successful integration of an aggressive professional development and coaching program focused on building teachers’ skills and competencies in the use of a multi-tiered system of supports and behavioral health topics.

Goal 5: Evaluate the effectiveness of project activities at the school and district level in meeting the needs of students and in improving outcomes for students using quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods.

Reading was only one of 72 school districts in the country, and only three in Massachusetts, to receive this grant.  In addition, we were only one of 22 school districts in the country to receive both the Mental Health First Aid and School Transformation grants.

For further information, please go to the U.S. Department of Education Link.  Congratulations to RCASA Executive Director Erica McNamara and Administrator for Student Support Services Sara Burd for their efforts in applying for these grants.

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Latest Edition of Pathways Newsletter

The latest edition of the Pathways Newsletter can be accessed at the link below.  This week’s newsletter contains articles about student motivation, photos from the Grade 5 Camp Bournedale trip, and upcoming school and district events.

Pathways NewsletterV1N3

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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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