Early Childhood Space Needs Working Group Update

This fall, the Reading School Committee appointed a Sub-Committee to develop a long-term solution to address the classroom space shortage we have at the preschool and elementary levels.  The Sub-Committee is being co-chaired by School Committee Vice Chair Chuck Robinson and School Committee member Jeanne Borawski. This fall, the School Committee accepted applications from community members interested in serving on the Sub-Committee.  They decided to appoint every person who applied, in an attempt to have the widest range of perspectives as we continue working to solve this important challenge in our schools.  The Early Childhood Education Space Needs Sub-Committee includes:

Community Members

Eric Burkhart

Nancy Docktor

George Katsoufis

Amy Koehler

Robert Mooney

Andrea Madden Morelli

Etain O’Dea

Ashley Quinn

Michele Sanphy

Rick Williams

Finance Committee Members

Mark Dockser

Marc Moll

School Committee Members

Jeanne Borawski

Chuck Robinson

Selectmen

John Halsey

Dan Ensminger

School Department Staff

Debbie Butts

Karen Feeney

Anne Manna

John Doherty

Craig Martin

Martha Sybert
On Thursday, December 4, the Sub-Committee held its second meeting, at which the Superintendent presented answers to these questions.  The document summarizing the questions and answers can be found here:  (Early Childhood Working Group Questions).   The Sub-Committee then agreed to the following process for completing its work:In October, Superintendent of Schools John Doherty presented the following presentation of our classroom space needs to the Sub-Committee (Early Childhood Space Needs Group Presentation).  The group them generated over 40 questions about the program growth, especially in special education and kindergarten, that has led to this classroom space shortage.

  1. Sub-Committee members will tour the RISE preschool and our 5 elementary schools to see the classroom space needs first hand.
  2.  Finalize a communications plan to maximize community awareness and engagement.
  3. Finalize a Space Needs grid, articulating exactly how many additional classrooms are needed at RISE preschool and each elementary school.
  4. Develop a list of potential solutions to the classroom shortage, building off of the extensive work that was done last Spring by the first Space Needs Working Group.  The Sub-Committee has agreed to look at all previous suggestions as well as develop new ones.
  5. Develop a criteria matrix with which to judge the proposed solutions.  Again, the group will build off of the excellent work done last spring by the first Working Group.
  6. Winnow down the proposed solutions based on the criteria matrix.
  7. Present the School Committee with 1  – 3 proposed solutions.

All Sub-Committee meetings are open to the public and held in the School Committee Conference Room in the Reading Public Schools Administration Offices, located near the RISE Preschool.  You are cordially invited to attend these meeting and be part of this important conversation about the future of our schools.  The next three meetings will be:

Thursday, February 5 at 7:00 PM

Thursday, February 26 at 7:00 PM

Thursday, March 12 at 7:00 PM

If you are interested in learning more about the work of the Space Needs Sub-Committee, or have input that you’d like to share, please feel free to contact the Superintendent’s Office at 781-944-5800 or Sub-Committee Co-Chairs Chuck Robinson (Charles.Robinson@reading.k12.ma.us) and Jeanne Borawski (Jeanne.Borawski@reading.k12.ma.us).

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