Pathways Newsletter for Week of 1/20/2020

Good Morning, Reading Public School Community,

I hope all is well and you are having a great week.  Below, please find this week’s Pathways Newsletter.  Today’s newsletter has the following articles and items:

  • Superintendent’s Message for FY21 Budget
  • Winter Curriculum Newsletter from the Office of Teaching and Learning
  • An article from Erin Walsh, The Parenting Style That Best Fits Growing Brains
  • An article from Dr. Robert Brooks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • Superintendent Office Hours for This Week
  • RMHS High Fives
  • Parker Hosts Guest Clinician
  • Coolidge holds Annual Geography Bee
  • Stepping Stones
  • Blazing Trails

Have a great long weekend and week ahead!

Pathways Newsletter V11N13


Superintendent’s Budget Message

A copy of the FY21 Superintendent’s Recommended Budget is located here.

I respectfully present to the School Committee and the Greater Reading Community the FY21 Superintendent’s Recommended Budget of $48,419,663 representing an increase of $1,652,315 or 3.5% over the FY20 budget.  The increases are broken down by non-accommodated costs (all costs except special education out of district transportation and tuition and one community priority) which increased by 3.32% over the FY20 Budget and accommodated costs (special education out of district transportation and tuition and one community priority) which increased by 5.24% over the FY20 Budget.

This recommended budget is balanced and aligns with the budget guidance that we received from the Reading Finance Committee on October 16, 2019 and subsequent discussions with the Town Manager and Town Accountant.  The Finance Committee’s recommended guidance is based on an analysis of current and future town revenue and expense projections of the Community.

The budget message for this year continues to be positive and builds on the momentum of last year with no reductions in personnel or services.  This budget emphasizes strong fiscal practices and human resource management while strengthening our PreK-12 curriculum and instructional practices and continuing to build and develop outstanding in-district special education programs.

The Superintendent’s Recommended FY21 budget includes funding to primarily address the following financial drivers:

  • Funding of all contractual step and COLA increases for represented and non-represented employees. FY21 will be the third and final year of all collective bargaining agreements.
  • Known out of district special education tuition and transportation expenses reflecting known and anticipated increased rates, as well as changes and potential changes in types of placements.
  • The second year of a three-year funding cycle for social studies curriculum and training to align with the Massachusetts Social Studies Curriculum Frameworks.
  • Funding for curriculum materials, curriculum software, and professional development for Algebra 1 and Grade 7-12 Foreign Language. We are currently in the process of reviewing possible resources for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Funding for a dyslexia screener for early elementary students. We are in the process of piloting and researching potential tools for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Contractual increase in regular day, athletics and extra-curricular transportation per the final year of the transportation contract.
  • The net addition of 0.54 FTE Special Education Paraeducators, 1.6 FTE Special Education Teachers and related service providers, and 1.0 FTE Payroll/HR Administrative Assistant (Community Priority) due to current and anticipated in-district special education programmatic needs and overall district needs. The breakdown is as follows:
    • .43 FTE Special Education Program Paraeducator at Killam (Hired in FY20)
    • .32 FTE Special Education Occupational Therapy Assistant for the district (Increase in FTE in FY20)
    • .50 FTE Special Education Program Teacher at Killam (Increase in FTE in FY20)
    • .10 FTE Physical Therapist for District (Increase in FTE in FY20)
    • .10 FTE adjustment districtwide for special education paraeducator support (Anticipated for FY21)
    • 1.0 FTE Payroll/HR Administrative Assistant (Community Priority – To be hired in FY20)
    • .4 FTE Special Education Occupational Therapist (Anticipated for FY21)
    • .6 FTE Speech and Language Pathologist (Anticipated for FY21)

In addition, we continue to closely monitor our revolving accounts and are recommending the following adjustments to those account offsets (see Figure 1 below) in the FY21 budget totaling a net overall increase of $100,000.  Refer to Figures 34 and 35 for a more detailed description of these accounts.  An overall analysis is being conducted with the Chief Financial Officer, Director of Community and Adult Education, RISE Pre-School Director and the Director of Student Services to review the fee and expense structure of each program to determine if any additional adjustments may be needed in future years.

Revolving Account    Change to Offset
Full Day Kindergarten  $  65,000
Athletics      30,000
Extended Day        5,000
RISE Pre-School      20,000
Use of School Property          –
Special Education Tuition    (30,000)
Extra-Curricular     10,000
Coolidge Extra-Curricular          –
Parker Extra-Curricular         – _____ 
Total Increase in Offsets    $ 100,000

Not included in this budget are any unanticipated costs associated with increases in student enrollment, homeless students, English Language Learner students, or extraordinary special education costs related to out of district placement tuition, transportation, or other services as required by a student’s individualized education plan.  We closely track additional potential cost increases throughout the fiscal year, and we will keep the Committee informed if any unanticipated costs emerge.

In addition to the above financial drivers, the FY21 budget strives to address our District Improvement Plan and Superintendent Goals.  During FY21 (2020-21 school year), we will begin a new District Improvement Plan which will most likely focus on some, or all, of the following areas:

  • Decreasing the equity gap between high needs students and the general population of students
  • Refine and Support Data Systems
  • Evaluate and Refine Standards Based Instructional Systems
  • Monitor Student Social Emotional Growth and Refine Systems of Support
  • Improve Physical and Psychological Security of Schools
  • Develop a Multi-Year Capital Plan to Upgrade and Improve School Facilities
  • Design a Community Portrait of the Graduate

This budget also prioritizes maintaining adequate class sizes of 18 to 22 students in kindergarten through Grade 2, maintaining the middle school interdisciplinary model, and addressing the results of the RMHS NEASC Self-study and preparing for the upcoming decennial visit.

In Closing

In conclusion, we are grateful for the financial and community support that we have received and as a result, our district will be able to provide the necessary resources to stay focused on the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral well-being of our students.  The Superintendent’s Recommended FY21 budget reflects those priorities.  While we are proud of the fact that we are a district that is on the forefront in many areas, we have challenges that lie ahead, including addressing the needs of our students with disabilities, educational space needs and improving the social and emotional well-being of our students.   We are proud of the work that our teachers and administrators do every day to improve teaching and learning in our district.  In addition, we have enthusiastic and respectful students who arrive to school every day eager to learn.  This is a testament to our parents and our community who value the importance of education and the role that it needs to play in a community.   There is no question that a major indicator of the quality of life for everyone in a community can be measured by the quality of its schools and by a community’s commitment to its children.  In this way, the quality of a school district affects every single person in a community, and the Town of Reading is no exception.

We appreciate the support that we have received from the community in the past and we look forward to working with the School Committee and town officials during this budget process.

FY21 Superintendent’s Recommended Budget Process Begins This Evening

Good Afternoon,

Below are links to the following FY21 Superintendent’s Recommended Budget documents:

  • FY21 Superintendent’s Recommended Budget Book
  • FY21 Superintendent’s Recommended Budget-MUNIS Accounting Ledger
  • January 6th School Committee Presentation

The School Committee budget presentation schedule is as follows:

Monday, January 6th

  • Budget Overview
  • Financial Overview of FY21 Budget
  • Administration Cost Center
  • Districtwide (Health Services, Athletics, Extra-curricular, Technology Infrastructure) Cost Center
  • Overview of Facilities Department
  • School Facilities Cost Center
  • Town Core Facilities Budget
  • Capital Plan

Thursday, January 16th

  • Regular Day Cost Center
  • Special Education Cost Center

Thursday, January 23rd

  • Public Hearing on FY21 Budget
  • Special Revenue Funds
  • FY21 School Committee Budget Questions

Monday, January 27th

  • School Committee Vote on FY21 Budget

All meetings will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Schettini Library at Reading Memorial High School.  We encourage all members of the community to participate in this budget process and to attend the budget meetings.  This year, we have made a conscious decision not to have specific budget liaisons assigned to the budget process.  This decision is not based on the participation level of the dedicated budget liaisons that we have had over the years; rather the number of budget liaisons over the years has decreased.  We will continue to update the community on a regular basis through our newsletters and blogs what transpires during each School Committee budget meeting and subsequent meetings throughout the winter/spring.

If you have any questions about the budget, please do not hesitate to contact Superintendent of Schools John Doherty at .

FY21 Superintendent’s Recommended Budget-Final

FY21 MUNIS Superintendent’s Recommended Budget

FY21 Superintendendent’s Recommended Budget Presentation to School Committee-January 6



Reading Public School Happenings for This Week

Below are the Reading Public School Happenings for this week.  This is emailed to all families on Thursdays.


2020-2021 School Year Calendar

Click on link for the most up to date school year calendar.

2019-20 School Year Calendar

Click on the link for the most up to date school year calendar.

Superintendent’s Office Half Hours

1.03.20      Central Office                         8:00 a.m.

1.06.20      Coolidge                                  7:45 a.m.

1.07.20       Birch Meadow                        8:30 a.m.



1.02.20      Gymnastics vs. Winchester                       8:00 p.m.

1.03.20      Girls Basketball vs. Belmont                     7:00 p.m.

1.04.20      Wrestling vs. Multiple Opponents           9:00 a.m.

1.07.20       Girls & Boys Track vs. Lexington

                   @ Bostin University                                  4:30 p.m.

                   Girls Basketball vs. Wilmington               6:00 p.m.

                   Gymnastics vs. Melrose                            8:00 p.m.

1.08.20      Girls Hockey vs. Woburn                          6:00 p.m.

                   Boys Hockey vs. Woburn                          7:45 p.m.


Coolidge Middle School presents Thoroughly Modern Mille JR.

January 17 at 7:30

January 18 at 7:30

January 19 at 2:00

Reading Memorial High School Performing Arts Center

Based on the Tony Award-winning musical and Academy Award-winning film, a small town girl searches for a new life under the bright lights of 1920s New York City.

Filled with fun flappers, dashing leading men and a villainess audiences will love to hate, Thoroughly Modern Millie JR. is a clever adaptation of the six-time-Tony-Award-winning Best Musical and the Academy Award-winning film. Thoroughly Modern Millie JR., is the high-spirited musical romp that has all of New York dancing the Charleston!

It’s 1922 in New York City, and a young Millie Dillmount has just moved to the Big Apple in search of a new life.  Her grand plan is to find a job as a secretary for a wealthy man and then marry him. However, her plan goes completely awry. Millie’s wealthy boss is slow in proposing marriage, and the man she actually falls in love with doesn’t have a dime to his name — or so he tells her.  What’s a small town girl to do?

The Reading Memorial High School Band Program is happy to announce the return of The Princess Tea Party.  January 26th

Enjoy “tea” and treats, live music, games & crafts with your favorite Princess.

First Congregational Church – 25 Woburn St, Reading (enter on Sanborn St)

2 seating times – 2:00pm & 3:30pm

$15 per person

Make reservation/payment go to:

Questions? Contact us at

Benefits the RMHS Band Program


Reading SEPAC Meeting

The next SEPAC business meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 14th, at 7:00 p.m., in the RMHS library media center. A representative from the FCSN (Federation for Children with Special Needs) is scheduled to present on the “Role of the SEPAC.”

Also, to let you know well in advance, the following monthly meeting for SEPAC will be held on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at 7:00 p.m., in the RMHS library media center.   A representative from the FCSN (Federation for Children with Special Needs) is scheduled to put on a Basic Rights Presentation on “Understanding the IEP.”  We are trying to get the word out early and often about this Basic Rights presentation, since it is such valuable information for the parents of children receiving special education, and/or parents who think their child(ren) might be in need of receiving special education.

Click on the link for more information:

Reading United Soccer Registration

Registration is open for the 2020 season.  Click on link for more information:


More information on these events and others can be found in the Community Flyer section:

Town of Reading Updates

Reading Public Library

Nov./Dec. Edition of Your Community Connection

Click on link to access events below:

Massachusetts Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Programs

Supporting Single Parents International – All Parents Welcome

Holiday Donation Drive.  Click on link for more information:

Various Fundraisers/Events

If you have a community or school event you would like included in this communication, please email in pdf format to:

The e-mail blast is sent on Thursday afternoon.  Information would need to be received by Wednesday.

Reading Public School Newsletter for Week of 1/6/2020

Happy New Year!

I hope that you had a great holiday season and winter break.  Attached is this week’s Pathways Newsletter.  This week’s newsletter has the following articles and information.

  • Coolidge students participate in Memory Project
  • Trauma and Learning Cohort being formed
  • Birch Meadow PTO Presents How to Look at Children’s Books with an Eye Toward Equity and Anti-Bias
  • An article by STEM Coordinator Heather Leonard on Professional Learning with a side of Wonder
  • An article from the Marshall Memo on Troubling Data on Teen Suicide
  • An article from Edutopia on 2019 Education Research Highlights
  • Superintendent Office Hours Continue This Week
  • RMHS High Five For the Week
  • Eaton Students Participate in the Hour of Code
  • RMHS Band Performs at Holiday Concert
  • Stepping Stones
  • Blazing Trails

Have a great rest of the week and weekend!

Pathways Newsletter V7N12 Revised

Superintendent Office Hours

Happy New Year!

Superintendent of Schools John Doherty will resume office hours at the different schools this week.  Superintendent Office Hours will be scheduled for 30 minutes and are open to all members of the community and staff.  The purpose of office hours is for staff and community members to discuss any topics related to the Reading Public Schools with the Superintendent.  We will try to schedule two office hours per week.

The next few week’s office hours are as follows:

·        1/3         8:00 a.m.   Central Office

·        1/6        7:45 a.m.    Coolidge

·        1/7        8:30 a.m.    Birch Meadow

No appointment is necessary.  If you are attending an office hour, please go to the Main Office of the school that is holding the office hour.

If you cannot make one of the advertised office hour times and you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Doherty, feel free to call the Reading Public Schools Administration Offices at 781-944-5800 or contact Linda Engelson at

Tiered Focus Monitoring Site Visit During Week of January 6th

Dear Reading Public School Community,

During the week of January 6, 2020, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of the Public School Monitoring (PSM) will conduct a Tiered Focused Monitoring Review of the Reading Public Schools. The Office of Public School Monitoring visits each district and charter school every three years to monitor compliance with federal and state special education and civil rights regulations.  During this cycle, the Reading Public Schools will be reviewed under the Group A Universal Standards category, which includes

  • Student identification
  • IEP development
  • Programming and support services
  • Equal opportunity

In addition, because of the work that we have done in this area, the Reading Public Schools has been identified as a Tier 1 school district (out of 4 tiers), which is a designation by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to be determined to have no or low risk for compliance and performance outcomes.  As a result, our process focuses on self-directed improvement because there are no concerns on compliance and performance outcomes.

Areas of review related to special education include student assessments, determination of eligibility, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team process, and IEP development and implementation. Areas of review related to civil rights include bullying, student discipline, physical restraint, and equal access to school programs for all students.

In addition to the onsite visit, parent outreach is an important part of the review process. The review chairperson from the Office of Public School Monitoring has sent to all parents of students with disabilities an online survey that focuses on key areas of their child’s special education program.  If you are parent of a student with disabilities and you have not received your survey, please contact Andrew Mackenzie at the DESE Office of Public School Monitoring at  Survey results will contribute to the development of a report. During the onsite review, the Office of Public School Monitoring will interview the two members of the Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) Board. Other onsite activities will include interviews of district staff and administrators, reviews of student records, and onsite observations.

Parents and other individuals who have questions or would like a hard copy of the survey may call Andrew Mackenzie, Public School Monitoring Chairperson, at (781) 338-3761.

Within approximately 60 Business days after the onsite visit, the review chairperson will provide the district with a report with information about areas in which the district meets or exceeds regulatory requirements and areas in which the district requires assistance to correct or improve practices. The public will be able to access the report at


John Doherty, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

Jennifer Stys, Ed.D., Director of Student Services