The Coolidge Family Newsletter

Weekly Update: January 17, 2022

Brought to you by Sarah Marchant, Principal

@coolidgemiddle (Twitter)

A Message from Principal Marchant

It has been a poignant week as we celebrate the life and legacy of MLK Jr. at Coolidge. He was a leader of the rights of all people. His actions, peaceful. His words, poetic. To capture his legacy in a small blurb in a newsletter seems nearly impossible, as the scope of his impact and lasting legacy stretch far and deep.

It was so nice to see students connecting to his messages and his activism this week. And it is powerful to feel his impact in the world we live in today. The poem "One Today" by Richard Blanco is one that, in my interpretation, is one of appreciation at the beauty of the nation, earth, and life that we share. It resonated with me as I reflected on the lasting legacy of MLK, Jr., as I found appreciation in the grounding nature of us all sharing in the same earth, air, and sunlight, and as I think with hope of our present and future world. If you like poetry, I hope you enjoy!

Upcoming Dates of Note

  • January 17: No school/ Martin Luther King Jr. Day/ Day of Service
  • January 18 (Day 1) during homeroom: Team Pegasus will have an assembly to learn about Nature's Classroom (Prindle Pond)
  • January 19 (Day 2) during homeroom: Team Gemini will have an assembly to learn about Nature's Classroom (Prindle Pond)
  • January 19 @ 6:30: Informational meeting for 7th grade parents & students: Nature's Classroom (Prindle Pond) Field Trip (Scheduled for May 2 - 4). This will be via Zoom.
  • January 19 @ 7:00: Arts Orientation at RMHS for current 8th graders & families. To learn more, click here.
  • January 20 (Day 3)
  • January 21 (Day 4): End of Term 2/ Semester 1
  • January 24 (Day 5): Start of Term 3/ Semester 2
  • January 25 (Day 6): Team Gemini 8th grade field trip: Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate.
  • January 28: Early Release (12:30 PM)
  • February 2 (groups 83 & 84) & 15 (groups 85 & 86): Team Polaris field trip: Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate.

To access the District Calendar, click here. Please make note of the middle level early release dates, which are marked in blue.

For a full list of ALL important Coolidge dates at Coolidge (printable for your fridge), click here.


Coolidge Celebrates the Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Over this week, Coolidge has celebrated the life and legacy of MLK, Jr. through various means:
  • Principal's morning announcement
  • Student announcements (students pick a quote by MLK that resonate - the quotes are read on the announcements)
  • Team activities.
  • Advisory activities.

Mr. Kurtis Martin asked if I'd make a quick video about MLK Day at Coolidge and beyond, to be incorporated into the district weekly announcements. I am linking it here for you to check out if interested!

Enjoy the photos below, which reflect some of the thoughtful work of this week completed by students at Coolidge!

Quotes & Art From Ms. Mandell's Students

Messages That are Ever-Present at Coolidge

"High School Musical" a HUGE Hit - And There's Still Time to See It!

It was SO MUCH FUN to see High School Musical last night. The quality of the production is excellent, the number of students involved is impressive, and the amount of enthusiasm of the cast & crew is off the charts! The production is running two more times - tonight at 7:30 PM as well as tomorrow at 2:00 PM. You can purchase tickets here, or stop by the box office for tickets prior to the show! Streaming tickets are also available through the website.

Congratulations to all of the students of our talented cast and crew! Special thanks to Director Stephen MacDonald and Musical Director Lisa Wistrom.

Covid Cases at Coolidge/ COVID FAQ Sheet

As of this week (January 9 - January 14), 12 students were reported as positive for COVID (4 6th graders; 5 7th graders; 2 8th graders).

The district is keeping a FAQ sheet to help answer your COVID-related questions. If you have a COVID-related question, please check out this resource before reaching out - thank you! The resource can be found here.

Pooled Testing - Please Join!

In order to help prevent the spread of COVID in our school, the more we can get students and staff participating in pooled testing, the better. This coming week, pooled testing will be on Friday. To sign up, you must complete the following (even if you think you did so in August - the RPS form is new as of January 2022!)

If your child has tested positive in the last 90 days, they are not eligible for pooled testing, so please hold off for now.

Mask Design & Build Matters

As you may have heard in the news this week, new information was released emphasizing the difference in quality of masks matters when it comes to not getting, and not transferring, COVID. While the district hasn't mandated a specific type of mask, and all masks fulfill the mandate, I wanted to share data from the Wall Street Journal. For those looking for the greatest protection, KN95 or KF94masks are an excellent choice. Surgical masks are a solid choice. Cloth masks provide the least protection of all available masks. In all of these cases, a proper fitting mask makes a huge difference.
Big picture

Advisory Update

This past week, many Advisory groups took pause from "The Power Book" and took time to complete activities with a focus on MLK, Jr.

Remainder of January: Continue "The Power Book" Themes. Most groups are working on the following themes:

  • "Adults Rule"
  • "Peer to Peer Power"

iDECIDE Substance Use Diversion & Education Program

Dear Parent or Guardian:

Reading Memorial High School, Parker Middle School and Coolidge Middle School are working closely with the Reading Coalition for Prevention & Support to implement a new program called iDECIDE in the next year to support students in need of substance use diversion and education.

A team of clinicians and scientists from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School are partnering with schools across Massachusetts to evaluate the effectiveness of a new substance use diversion and education program called iDECIDE (Drug Education Curriculum: Intervention, Diversion, and Empowerment) that will be implemented at as well as nearly 100 schools across the entire state of Massachusetts.

In recent years, substance use at school has increased due to the widespread availability of devices that make it easy to conceal substances from peers, parents, and school staff. Students who use substances at school or school sanctioned events are both violating school substance use policies and at a heightened risk for negative health effects.

RMHS, Parker, Coolidge and the Reading Coalition have committed to iDECIDE that was developed in collaboration between MGH, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Institute for Health and Recovery. iDECIDE aims to provide students experimenting with substances and/or who got caught using substances at school the knowledge, skills and motivation necessary to make healthier decisions. Before and after staff at implement the program, the MGH team will be working to evaluate changes in school and student outcomes as well as the effectiveness of iDECIDE itself.

To get started, we are will be sending staff to training as our slot becomes available. Students that receive infractions will continue to receive the current education and support program sponsored by the Reading Coalition until the new program is ready. While we get ready for implementation, students that receive an infraction are referred to MGH and parents will receive information on the optional research component of the study. We look forward to sharing more about this program. See attached link for additional information on the opt out referral process.


Kevin Tracey, Principal of RMHS

Richelle Shankland, Principal of Parker

Sarah Marchant, Principal of Coolidge


7th Graders: Save the Date: Prindle Pond (aka Nature's Classroom)

I am excited to share that we have reserved a date for "Prindle Pond" (aka: Nature's Classroom) for our 7th grade students. The trip will run on May 2 - 4, 2022. In the new year, we will organize an informational session for students and caregivers and will send home paperwork, including information about permission, packing lists, and costs. For now, please save the date on your calendars! And if you want to learn more about the program, click here, and explore the "School Program" tab on the left . We will be staying at the Pondside site. (Please note that while we hope for all students to attend, if there are personal circumstances and you choose for your child not to attend, there will be an alternate experience at Coolidge.)

We know that field trips that cost money are a financial challenge for many families. Our hope is to work with families to support all students to attend, no matter financial status. A huge help towards this goal is for families to fill out the "Free/Reduced Lunch" application, including the "Share" form (all linked below), as qualification for the program automatically opens a door of support that the school can provide. Any other situations will be managed on a case by case basis!

Free & Reduced Lunch Application & *SHARE FORM

In a typical year, the cost of meals are free or reduced for those who qualify using the "Free & Reduced Lunch" application. The application actually has more benefits than just breakfast/ lunch. If families fill out the form (p. 11), as well as the "Share" form on page 10, then those who qualify can also qualify for assistance for things like after school activities and field trips.

If you are someone who thinks you may qualify, please consider filling it out so that we can help you in various areas over the course of the year! We can't actually help without this form! Click here to access the form.

Support the Coolidge PTO!

A heartfelt thanks to the families who have already donated towards the Coolidge PTO! Donations of any amount are very much appreciated. If you haven't already sent your Direct Donation, you can do so via Pay Pal (see QR code) or by check to the Coolidge PTO (and given to the main office). THANK YOU!

SEPAC Updates

The Reading in Reading Subcommittee created a resource list of books and podcasts that provide recommended information regarding reading. SEPAC_RinR_Subcommittee_Recommended_Book_List_v2 with cover April 7th.docx

Connect with SEPAC by clicking these links:

The mission of the Reading Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) is to work for the understanding of, respect for, and support of, all children with special needs in the community.

SEPAC webpage

Join SEPAC's mailing list

Follow SEPAC on Facebook

Family/ Caregiver Resources

Order your Coolidge Gear Today!

Show your Coolidge pride by donning gear with the Coolidge logo! There is something for everyone at our Coolidge Spirit Wear store. Check it out! Proceeds (approximately $5 per item) will go to the Coolidge PTO. Copy and paste this link to start shopping:

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Contact Us

Sarah Marchant, Principal (x12301)

Brienne Karow, Assistant Principal (x12302)

Marianna Zanni, Administrative Assistant (x12303)

Karen Mungenast, School Secretary (x12304)

Cindy Ventura, School Nurse (x12305)

For a full staff directory, click here.