Reading Public Schools Spring Update 9

Good Morning, Reading Public School Staff and Community,

I hope that you are enjoying this beautiful weekend.  Here is Spring Update #9.  Have a great day!

  • All Mitigation Strategies Are Still in Effect-Even though the CDC has relaxed the mitigation steps for fully vaccinated individuals, all Reading Public School mitigation strategies are still in effect.  The population that we work with have not been vaccinated and we have had two instances in the last few weeks where a fully vaccinated staff member has tested positive for COVID.  Please continue to be diligent in following all of our mask, hand hygiene, and physical distancing protocols.  We appreciate your support!
  • Health Updates-The following positive cases were reported this week in our schools:
    • 1 Parker Middle School Student, in person,  5 students quarantined
    • 7 RMHS students through pool testing and contact tracing (Reported as a State Epidemic Event). Six of the student were from the Girls Track Team and 45 students were quarantined.
    • 1 Joshua Eaton Student, in person, 20 students quarantined
    • 1 positive pool at Wood End, reflex testing identified positive, 22 students, 0 staff quarantined.
    • 1 positive student at Parker, 6 students quarantined, 0 staff.
    • 1 positive student at Eaton, 13 students quarantined 0 staff.
    • 1 positive student at Coolidge, 1 student quarantined, 0 staff.
    • 1 positive staff member at Joshua Eaton, 1 staff member and 17 students quarantined.
  • Other Health Information-In addition to the above, we would like to report additional information on pool testing and vaccines.
    • We have conducted 2006 pool tests thus far, each pool with 5-10 individuals.  In those 2006 pools, 22 have tested positive.
    • Over 520 RMHS students have had at least one dose of the vaccine.
  • Assistant Superintendent Appointment Announced-We are pleased to announce that Dr. Sarah Hardy has been appointed as the next Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Teaching in the Reading Public Schools.  Dr. Hardy is currently a Central Office administrator in the Stoneham Public Schools where she has done extensive work with staff in literacy and equity/social justice professional development.  She was previously an elementary principal in Stoneham.  Her education background includes a Doctorate of Education from Boston College, a CAGS and MEd from UMass Lowell, and a BA from Rivier College.  Dr. Hardy will begin on July 1st.  Please welcome Dr. Sarah Hardy to the Reading Public Schools!
  • Lynn Lyons Presentation on Tuesday-Reading Public Schools is presenting a free mental health training for Staff and Community Members.  Lynn Lyons Lynn Lyons is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in Concord, NH. She has been in private practice for 28 years specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders in adults and children. Lynn travels internationally as a speaker and trainer on the subject of anxiety, its role in families, and the need for a preventative approach at home and in schools. She is a sought after expert, appearing in the New York Times, Time, NPR and Psychology Today.  To register for this workshop please click on the link below.

Lynn Lyons – Supporting Children (and Ourselves) with Anxiety, May 20 at 6:00-7:30 pm 

Registration Link for Workshop

  • Kindergarten Screening Update-Kindergarten Screening for next year’s Kindergarten students will be held on Wednesday, September 1 and Thursday, September 2ndThere will be no kindergarten classes held on those two days.  Because of the Rosh Hashanah holiday on September 7 and 8, the first day of Kindergarten classes will be held on Thursday, September 9thThis change in the first day of school for kindergarten students is consistent with School Committee Policy IMDA on Religious Holiday Accommodations.
  • Student Services Office Hours for the Remainder of the Year-The Student Services Office has posted their office hours for the remainder of the school year.  If you would like to meet with Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Dr. Jennifer Stys and Director of Special Education Allison Wright, the dates and link to sign up are below.

School Committee Meeting This Evening

Good Evening,

There will be a meeting of the Reading School Committee this evening at 7:00 p.m. on Microsoft Teams.  For public comment, please use the live chat feature on the

Microsoft Teams link which will be posted on the Superintendent’s Blog and send out via Connect Ed prior to the meeting. In lieu of the live chat, you may send an email

in advance of the meeting to schoolcommittee@reading.k12.ma.us. This email will be included in the next packet.

The Teams link is below and the packet can be found here.

Reading Public Schools Spring Update #8

Good Afternoon, Reading Public School Staff and Community,

Happy Mother’s Day!  I hope that you enjoy this beautiful day.  Here is Spring Update #8.

  • Happy Nurse Appreciation Week!-May 6-13th is Nurse Appreciation Week.  Our school nurse always go above and beyond the call of duty, but this year they have even been more amazing keeping our students and staff healthy with mask distributions, contact tracing, pool testing, and the day to day work that they have always done.  Please take a moment this week to thank our nurses for the work that they have done to keep us safe and healthy.
  • Health Information-Our health information for this week are as follows:
    • 2 positive pools this week. out of total of 267. 
      • 1 RMHS athletics pool tested positive, positive individual identified who was a remote student.
      • 1 Barrows pool tested positive, all reflex tests were negative.
    • 1 RMHS 11th grade student tested positive who was remote.
    • 1 RMHS 9th grader who was remote tested positive, 2 students quarantined.
    • 1 NRT bus staff member tested positive.  As a result, 5 Coolidge/Birch students were quarantined.
    • 1 Parker 8th grader tested positive, no students were quarantined.
    • 473 RMHS Students have had at least one dose of the vaccine.
  • FY22 Budget Passed by Town Meeting-At Thursday night’s Town Meeting, the FY22 Budget was passed.  I want to thank the support of School Committee and Town Meeting for their efforts in a very unpredictable year.  I also want to thank CFO Gail Dowd for leading the development of this budget.

This is also my last budget as Superintendent of the Reading Public Schools.  My final remarks to Town Meeting are located here.

  • Food Distribution Continues-This is a reminder that we are continuing the food distribution program from the USDA.  Our two distribution times are Wednesdays from 2:30-3:30 p.m. and Fridays from 11:00 a.m.-12 noon under the bridge at RMHS, near the Hawkes Field House.  No signup is necessary ahead of time and it is open to all families with children ages 0-22.  When you come to the food distribution, you will receive some delicious breakfast and lunch options for 7 days per child.  In addition, we provide an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Birch Meadow Finalists Announced-We are pleased to announce the following finalists for the next Principal of Birch Meadow Elementary School.  They are as follows:
    • Jessica Ekhomu-Assistant Principal, Tobin K-8 School, Roxbury Crossing MA
    • Scarlett Grandt-Assistant Principal, Horace Mann Laboratory School (K-5), Salem Public Schools, Salem, MA
    • Caitlin Shelburne-Senior Director of Academic Instruction, Making Waves Academy, Richmond, CA

There will be an open microphone session for the Community on Tuesday, May 11th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  The link and schedule are below:

https://readingpsma.zoom.us/j/84347845125

  • 5:30-6:00 p.m.   Jessica Ekhomu
  • 6:00-6:30 p.m.   Scarlett Grandt
  • 6:30-7:00 p.m.   Caitlin Shelburne
  • May is Mental Health Month- May is Mental Health Month!  Please CLICK HERE for district and community trainings in the upcoming weeks.

John Doherty

Superintendent

Reading Public Schools

82 Oakland Road

Reading, Massachusetts 01867

781-944-5800

John.doherty@reading.k12.ma.us

Birch Meadow Principal Finalists Announced

Good Afternoon, Reading Public School Community

I hope that you are doing well and you are having a great weekend.  First and foremost, I want to thank the Birch Meadow Screening Committee for the amazing job that they did with the Screening Process for the next Principal of Birch Meadow.  Because of their hard work, I am pleased to announce that we have 3 finalists for the position.  They are as follows:

Jessica Ekhomu-Assistant Principal, Tobin K-8 School, Roxbury Crossing MA

Scarlett Grandt-Assistant Principal, Horace Mann Laboratory School (K-5), Salem Public Schools, Salem, MA

Caitlin Shelburne-Senior Director of Academic Instruction, Making Waves Academy, Richmond, CA

I have attached redacted copies of their resumes for your review. 

There will be an open microphone session for the Community on Tuesday, May 11th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  The link and schedule are below:

https://readingpsma.zoom.us/j/84347845125

5:30-6:00 p.m.   Jessica Ekhomu

6:00-6:30 p.m.   Scarlett Grandt

6:30-7:00 p.m.   Caitlin Shelburne

Please contact me if you have any questions.

John Doherty

Superintendent

Reading Public Schools

82 Oakland Road

Reading, Massachusetts 01867

781-944-5800

John.doherty@reading.k12.ma.us


Superintendent’s Final Comments for Town Meeting

Last evening, the SC presented the FY22 budget to Town Meeting. At the end of the budget presentation Superintendent of Schools John Doherty gave his final remarks to Town Meeting. Those remarks are below.

I want to close my presentation with a final set of comments.  This is my final budget presentation to Town Meeting as Superintendent of the Reading Public Schools.  Since this will be my last opportunity at Town Meeting to publicly make a comment, I want to thank Town Meeting for all of their support of our schools and our students and staff over the last 12 years.  During that time, Town Meeting and the Community has always had the best interest of our children in mind, even during some of the lean budget years.  To digress, I started my Superintendency during the great recession and H1N1 of 2009 and 2010 and I am ending with the pandemic of 2021.  During that time, Town Meeting has been supportive of many projects including, but not limited to a Proposition 2 1/2 override, curriculum initiatives for science, 9 modular classrooms to alleviate space constraints, a security project to protect our staff and students, numerous capital projects including Turf 2, multiple roofs and window replacements, new boilers, technology hardware, phone systems and performance contracting.  You have been extremely supportive during this pandemic, approving resources for us to use to keep our schools running strong.  You have supported the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse, now know as the coalition, and School Resource Officers, valuable pieces of our school culture.  You have always valued public education and I am appreciative of that.  That commitment is the investment in our future.

I have always said that what makes Reading unique is the collaboration between town departments and schools.  It has been so evident during this pandemic with our weekly Command meetings of Bob Lelacheur, Chief Clarke, Board of Health, Greg Burns, Jean Delios, Mark Dockser, Paul Jackson, and Gail Dowd.  It is that secret sauce over the years that has allowed us to maximize our resources in the best interest of the Community.  To that end, I want to thank the town officials that I started with, Peter Hechenbleikner and Chief Cormier who welcomed me and mentored me when I became Superintendent and Bob Lelacheur and Chief Clarke who are supporting me on my way out.  I also want to thank Chief Burns who has been the constant steady leader throughout my 12 years.  Your collaboration, support, and guidance has been invaluable throughout the years.

I also want to thank the School Committee, Finance Committee and the Select Board who have been very supportive of our schools and the Town Department Heads and Town staff for their collaborative approach in solving problems.  Finally, I want to thank the Finance and Operations team of Joe Huggins, Kevin Cabuzzi, Gail Lapointe, Sharon Angstrom, and Gail Dowd who have made me look good over the last several years.  I will miss working with all of you.

Finally, I want to thank you, Town Meeting members and the Reading Community for all of your support.  I have had many of you as parents, some of you even as students either at Coolidge or in the district.  I have had great memories that I will never ever forget.

As I begin to pass the torch over to Dr. Milaschewski, who will be an outstanding addition for this community and our school district, I wish the Town of Reading and the Reading Public Schools a positive future ahead.  Thank you for your support and the opportunity to be a member of this community for 34 years.

PreK-12 Portrait of the Graduate for Reading Public Schools

In March, 2021, the Reading School Committee approved the PreK-12 Portrait of Graduate for the Reading Public Schools. This portrait was designed by a Portrait of Graduate Team consisting of Parents, Community Members, Teachers, Administrators, and Students. This portrait will become the compass for determining the skills and dispositions that we want our students to have when they leave Reading Memorial High School and other key exit grades.

Portrait of a Graduate Reading Public Schools

RPS Graduates are leaders of their own learning journey who demonstrate kindness and empathy towards others and a commitment to wellness.  They persevere through challenges, embrace multiple perspectives, and aspire to be their best selves in the service of others to better our community and our world.

Learn – Grow – Teach

RPS Graduates are critical thinkers and creative problem solvers.  They take ownership of their learning journey and are open to struggle to foster personal growth.  They are confident in their beliefs and consider the thoughts and ideas of others.  They embrace collaboration to help teach others and remain curious life-long learners.

Empathize – Consider Perspectives – Practice Communal Care

RPS Graduates show kindness and empathy towards others and a commitment to personal wellness and communal care.  They are able to persevere through challenges and demonstrate resilience. They authentically reflect through hearing and understanding the experiences, perspectives, and needs of people around them. To navigate relationships with generosity and patience, they listen actively and compassionately.

Engage – Serve – Thrive

RPS Graduates responsibly shape our world through collaboration with their community.  They engage with and communicate multiple perspectives, aspire to be their best selves in the service of others in order to thrive, and bring their skills and knowledge to action for the benefit of each other and our world.

Reminder: Assistant Superintendent Open Microphone Session for Community Today

Good Morning, Reading Public School Community,

I hope you are well.  This is a reminder that we will be having the open microphone sessions for Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Teaching today, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Zoom.  The links and schedules are as follows:

Please provide feedback for each candidate at the google form below.  The deadline is Wednesday at 12:00 p.m.

https://forms.gle/BQqK2ipP6AJP4Amv8

The open microphone for the Community will be on Tuesday, May 4th, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Zoom at

https://readingpsma.zoom.us/j/82494285124

The order is as follows:

5:30-6:00 p.m.   Dr. Sarah Hardy

6:00-6:30 p.m.   Elizabeth Murray

6:30-7:00 p.m.   Dr. Cathy O’Connell

7:00-7:30 p.m.   Cari Perchase

Please contact me if you have any questions.

John Doherty

Superintendent

Reading Public Schools

82 Oakland Road

Reading, Massachusetts 01867

781-944-5800

John.doherty@reading.k12.ma.us

Swastika Found at Coolidge

Good Afternoon, Reading Public School Community,

I am saddened to report to you that a swastika was found in one of the boy’s bathrooms at Coolidge Middle School by a School Custodian on Friday evening, April 30th.  Police have been notified, the swastika has been recorded and removed, and the incident is under both school and police investigation.

On behalf of the Reading Public Schools, I want to apologize to the Jewish Community for this senseless and insensitive act of graffiti.  The swastika symbolizes hate and anti-Semitism and there is no place for these types of hateful actions or behaviors in our schools or in the greater Reading Community.   The Reading Public Schools has now had two acts of hate in the last few weeks and this incident indicates that we need to continue to be vigilant in our education.  Throughout the last few years, our school district has prioritized an education focused on equity and social justice through focused professional development, open circle activities at the elementary, advisory and curriculum lessons at our middle schools, and current event discussions on these topics in high school.  We have done tremendous work in this area, but as we know, this work is ongoing and will never be finished.

We will continue to use situations like these as teachable moments for our students and our community and help them understand the impact of these types of hateful actions and poor decisions.  Finally, we will continue to work closely with the Reading Police Department and the Town of Reading to address these and any future issues.

If you have any questions or information regarding this incident, please contact the Reading Police Department at 781-944-1212 or Coolidge Middle School at 781-942-9156.

Sincerely,

John F. Doherty

Superintendent of Schools

Reading Public Schools Spring Update 7

Good Morning, Reading Public School Community,

We hope you are enjoying this amazing weekend.  Here is Spring Update #7. Have a great week and week ahead!

1.  Staff Appreciation Month-May is Staff Appreciation Month.  This year, more than ever, we want to take this opportunity thank all of our staff for everything that they have done this year to support and educate our students.  Our staff have endured three different openings this year.  Most of them started the school year remote, then  they to hybrid, and now finally we are full in person.  Although it has taken a while for us to get to this point, they have always put your best effort forward…and more.  I also want to thank our staff who have been in person the entire year:  our preschool, kindergarten, and high needs staff, custodians, paraeducators, secretaries, and administrators.  Each of them have done an amazing job and have gone above and beyond.  Please take an opportunity this month to thank our Reading Public School staff!

2.   Please follow all health and safety precautions on school grounds.  As we enter the final 7 weeks of the school year, I ask that you remain diligent in your health and safety with both yourself and your children.  We are almost there and we are finishing our journey through the tunnel where the light and the end is very bright and visible.  As part of this, we want to remind staff and families that we will continue to require masks on school grounds.  This is for the protection of our staff, students, and families who have not been vaccinated.  In addition, the MIAA has not changed any of their policies on masks at sporting events for both spectators and athletes.  We thank you in advance for your cooperation.

3.  Health Data-Here is this week’s health data:

  • There were 9 RMHS students who tested positive this past week.  Three were football related, 4 were close contacts to friends, and 1 was associated with travel.  None were in person this week.  However, because of the close contacts outside of school, 50 RMHS students were quarantined.
  • 1 Wood End student tested positive this week.  No close contacts.
  • 1 Killam Staff member tested positive, 2 staff were quarantined.
  • 1 Killam Student in person, 19 students quarantined.
  • 1 Barrows student in person, 21 students quarantined.
  • 2 Coolidge students tested positive, both were remote.  No close contacts.
  • 370 students have now received at least one vaccine dose at RMHS.  This is significant because students that are fully vaccinated will be exempt from pooled testing and quarantine, unless they are symptomatic.

4.    Parent Mindfulness Workshop this Week-As part of our program to support staff social and emotional well being, there will be a workshop on Staff Mindfulness from 3:00-4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 4th.  The flier is below and the here is the Zoom link to the program.  Join ZOOM Meeting Here.

5.    RMHS Fundraiser for Senior Class of 2021-Please see the information below for a fundraiser, called Project Senior, for the Class of 2021.

6.   Updated Graduation Guidelines for Health and Safety-Attached, please find the updated graduation guidelines below from the Department of Public Health for Health and Safety for all graduation, move up, and promotion ceremonies.

7.   Updated Reopening Guidance-Below is updated reopening guidance from DESE.

8.   Kindergarten Screening-Due to the time crunch of this spring, the ongoing impact of the pandemic on current schedules and school activities, and the ability to get more timely information on our students, Kindergarten Screening for next year’s incoming kindergarten will be moved to September 1 and 2.  All Kindergarten classes will begin on Tuesday, September 7th.

Assistant Superintendent Finalists Announced for Reading Public Schools

Good Afternoon, Reading Public School Community,

I hope all is well and you are enjoying this weekend.  I am pleased to announce the finalists for the position of Assistant Superintendent of the Reading Public Schools.  Forty-three applicants applied for the position and the Screening Committee interviewed nine very strong candidates. 

The finalists are as follows, in alphabetical order:

  1. Dr. Sarah Hardy, Central Office Administrator, Stoneham Public Schools, Stoneham, MA
  2. Elizabeth Murray, Director of Innovation and Blended Learning, Prospect Hill Academy Charter School, Cambridge, MA
  3. Dr. Cathy O’Connell, Principal, North Reading Middle School, North Reading, MA
  4. Cari Perchase, Principal, Marshall Simonds Middle School, Burlington, MA

The redacted resumes are attached.  We will be having a virtual open microphone session for the Community on Tuesday, May 4th, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Zoom at https://readingpsma.zoom.us/j/82494285124

The order is as follows:

5:30-6:00 p.m.   Dr. Sarah Hardy

6:00-6:30 p.m.   Elizabeth Murray

6:30-7:00 p.m.   Dr. Cathy O’Connell

7:00-7:30 p.m.   Cari Perchase

We would like to thank the Screening Committee of parents, teachers, and administrators for all of their hard work in screening the candidates.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

John Doherty

Superintendent

Reading Public Schools

82 Oakland Road

Reading, Massachusetts 01867

781-944-5800