Wood End Wildcat News
September 13, 2020
Hello Wood End Families,
We are so thrilled to finally start welcoming back our Wood End Wildcats! We begin school this Tuesday and we are very eager to see our students, whether in-person or remotely. It feels like forever ago that we last saw them, and I could not be more excited to see everyone this week...finally! We have created a little surprise video for our students and families as we welcome you to "be our guest"!!!
If your child is attending orientation on Tuesday, they will not have any remote/online work for this day, but will begin working online Wednesday through Friday. If your child's orientation does not take place until Wednesday or Thursday, please remember that they will start working remotely at 8:30 on Tuesday morning, so be sure they login to their class. Teachers will be taking attendance and participation is expected.
Please read through this week's newsletter for all the details about arrival & dismissal, where to drop off and pick up your students, and orientation. We look forward to our journey together as we kick off the 2020-21 school year!
As always, keep reaching out to me, or your child's classroom teacher, with any questions. We are here to support you and help make this a fabulous year at Wood End!
Enjoy the weekend,
Where do I drop my child off at school?
With students beginning to arrive this week, we are asking for everyone's help in following our new arrival and dismissal routines. Although we only have a small number of students coming in at a time, we want students & families to become familiar with these procedures which will remain in place for the school year. Once students are dropped off, they will enter the school building through their designated grade-level door and proceed directly to their classrooms. Staff will be available inside to ensure everyone gets to the right class! Parents will not be allowed to walk their children into the school at this time
Beginning on Tuesday…
- Students in Grades K-1 are arriving and will enter and be dismissed from the right side of the building (door nearest the inside octopus, along the side of the building). Teachers will walk all students outside at dismissal time to release to families. This door will be monitored by Miss Conry.
- Students in Grades 2-3 are arriving and will enter and be dismissed from the left side of the building, nearest the upper playground. This door will be monitored by Miss Rubin.
- Students in Grades 4-5 as well as students arriving by bus will enter and be dismissed from the main entrance at the front of the building. This door will be monitored by Miss Norcross.
- Dr. King will continue to monitor the front of the building along the driveway during drop-off and pick-up with additional support staff as needed.
- The doors will be monitored, and once school begins will remain locked. Anyone arriving after 8:25 must use the main entrance. No other exterior doors will be unlocked or will be accessible from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Orientation THIS Week for Students
We ask parents to be on time when dropping off students so they do not miss their scheduled orientation. Students will be dropped off along the driveway, which will be supervised by staff. Students should bring a backpack to carry supplies going home, a filled water bottle, and a mask. We will direct students to the appropriate classroom where they will meet their teacher, use hand sanitizer, take part in some welcoming and getting to know you activities, use technology to access their new Google classrooms, and have questions answered. Each session is scheduled for 2.5 hours (8:30-11:00 or 12:00-2:30). This is a wonderful opportunity to help set our students at ease and make sure they are ready to start school.
Once the orientation session has ended, students will be walked outside to meet their families for pick-up. Parents will not be allowed to stay during this time. We look forward to welcoming all our students back to school, even for a short period of time, to help them prepare for the upcoming year.
To help you plan, the orientation sessions are scheduled on the following days:
- Tuesday, September 15th: Ms. Raffa, Mrs. Gianatassio, Mrs. Tainsh, Mrs. Commito
- Wednesday, September 16th: Mrs. Foresman, Ms. Habeeb, Mrs. Hester, Mrs. Gaska, Mrs. DiNapoli, Mrs. Malone
- Thursday, September 17th: Mrs. Ockerbloom
Please Update Your Child's Information
We are asking every family to update their information in the Portal. It is important that the Wood End main office has accurate demographic and contact information for every child. Please take a few minutes between now and September 25th, to verify or correct your child’s current demographic information by choosing one of the following methods:
Click here to login to your portal account. Once you are logged in, select Forms from the menu bar and complete the 2020-2021 Reading Public Schools Pupil Information form.
If you do not have access to technology, please contact the Main Office at Wood End to request a paper copy which you can return to the school via U.S. mail or drop off at your earliest convenience.
Please take a minute to review the Student Handbook on our website as well as the Student Acceptable Use Policy. Thank you very much for helping us keep information about you and your child up-to-date.
What do the remote learning weeks look like?
There will be whole class meetings and instruction as well as small groups and individual sessions. Of course students will have some built-in breaks for snack, lunch and play. They will also have a 40-minute specialist lesson each day (Monday - Thursday) and some of those lessons will be synchronous (live) while others are asynchronous (pre-recorded or independent). These are not "optional" lessons or activities and attendance will be taken a minimum of twice daily. Your child needs to participate all day. If your child is going to be out sick, either in person or remote, please call our absentee line.
As you can see, students will be busy, and we are ready to support them!
News From Our School Nurse
Dear Wood End Families,
It is with much excitement and extensive preparation that I welcome you to a new school year!
As your new nurse, I have worked hard this summer alongside the RPS nursing team to bring you the safest plans possible. We took classes through Northeastern and Children’s Hospital. We discussed timely topics around school nurse Covid-19 preparation and equity in health care. If you want to read some of the most up-to-date resources that guide our decisions, please take a look at the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Public Health. These sites have extensive information about the guidelines we are following this year.
I hope you were able to have some fun outside this summer! Truthfully, we have all experienced some grief in this challenging year. We all had to take some time to find outdoor stress relief. I recommend telling the school nurses or teachers if your child has been struggling emotionally this summer. We are here to help and we have lists of resources too.
As the first day of school approaches, we should all re-commit to practicing good hand-washing and mask wearing. It will help kids return to these new indoor classroom routines safely. We all want to protect each other and do the best we can to keep kids and their teachers healthy….. and in school! Please review our COVID-19 protocols HERE. This information is also available on our school's website.
What paperwork is required? How do I reach the nurse?
1. Please send updated physical forms with immunizations to school.
2. Documentation of flu shots is needed by December 2020.
3. For kids with medical concerns, I would like to check-in before school starts.
4. Email me and let me know the best way to contact you.
5. I hope to set up a table outside each day, 8-8:30 a.m. and 2:30-3 p.m. during the first few days once our students begin in-person so we can talk outside. This is an excellent time to drop off important medications & forms, or ask questions.
6. OR, call the health office (781) 942-5420 (extension 2) and I could arrange a time to meet outside.
7. If your child is getting any medications administered at school, we require a medication order form – it needs a parent AND doctor’s signature. You can access the form HERE.
8. Please keep sick kids home. When in doubt, stay home to be sure.
Thank you for all your efforts towards good health and safety this year!
I look forward to seeing you soon,
Kristen Agami, RN, B.S.N
Wood End Elementary School Nurse
Check out these resources as well as our new virtual health office on our district health services website
Health & Safety Expectations in School
It is the expectation that all students and staff, PreK-12, will be practicing all health and safety guidelines as outlined by the CDC and DPH. At the elementary level, we will use social stories and guided practice to help teach our students the proper ways to utilize these safety measures. This includes the following:
- Mask/Face Coverings-It is the expectation that all students and staff will be wearing mask/face covering properly throughout the school day, except during lunch, mask breaks, and when it is safe to take the mask off (i.e. outside with appropriate social distancing). The only exception to this requirement is for those for whom it is not possible due to medical conditions.
- Physical Distancing-With the hybrid model, we will be able to maintain the CDC required 6-foot social distancing between individuals.
- Capacity-We will use the square footage of the space, combined with the 6-foot physical distancing to determine the student/staff group size of each area/classroom.
- Screening-It is important that both staff and families check for COVID-19 symptoms prior to entering school each morning. We will not be performing temperature screening upon entry into school due to the high likelihood of false-positive and false-negative results.
- Hand hygiene-Students and staff will be required to exercise hand hygiene (hand washing or sanitizing) upon arrival to school, before eating, before putting on/taking off masks, and before dismissal. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in all classrooms and high traffic areas throughout the school building.
Grab & Go Meals Continue Through December
Dear Reading Public School Families,
While the return to school this fall is not what any of us envisioned, I want to assure you the Reading Schools Food Services is working hard to create a welcoming and safe environment to provide healthy meals for all Reading Public Schools students. We are so excited to provide our students with nourishing and nutritious meals that will support them, both in school and at home.
There will be some significant changes to the Food Service program this fall. The primary one is related to the payment system. In March, when our schools closed because of COVID-19, the USDA (the federal agency that oversees the nation’s school lunch and school breakfast program) allowed all schools in the US to provide meals at no cost to all students and then they extended that provision through the summer. A second extension was announced on August 31st and is set to expire on December 31st or when funds run out. What this means is ALL students will eat for free through this USDA extension period. All students, regardless of eligibility are able to receive one free breakfast and one free lunch every academic day until December 31st. We understand the vital importance of providing meals at no cost for all students across our community during this unprecedented time. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has requested that the USDA extend free meals for all students for the entire school year. However, no decision has been made by the USDA.
Families should still submit a household application to determine eligibility for free and reduced price school meals in order to qualify for any additional benefits as well as have a seamless transition when school meals transition to a paid school meal program. Therefore, we strongly encourage families to complete an application for free and reduced priced meals as soon as possible. The application is available to download at Reading.k12.ma.us under Food Services.
In addition, we also encourage families to apply for SNAP benefits. SNAP provides monthly cash benefits (on an EBT card) to purchase groceries for eligible families. To apply for SNAP, visit DTA Connect at https://dtaconnect.eohhs.mass.gov/ or call the Project Bread FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333. Families approved for SNAP are directly eligible to receive free meals at school.
Meal Distribution will be provided each Wednesday from 2:30 – 3:30 pm and Friday from 11 am – 12 noon at the bridge of Reading Memorial High School. Please reach out with any questions you might have. Your children are the reason we love our jobs and we are here to make sure that they are fueled with good food and ready to learn!
Food Service Director
Special Education Office Hours Are Here!
During the extended closure in the Spring of 2020, office hours were offered to families and we would like to continue to offer these virtual office hours with Jennifer Stys, Director of Student Services and Allison Wright, Assistant Director of Student Services. This is a time for individual families to discuss questions and concerns regarding the implementation of their student’s IEP, their progress, or to share positive feedback. If you are interested in attending office hours, please sign up for a 15-minute block via the link below. The dates/times of office hours are as follows:
- Friday 9/18, 10-11 am
- Wednesday 9/23 9-10 am
- Tuesday 9/29 2-3 pm
Special Education Support
If you have any questions about your student’s IEP, or services please reach out to our building Team Chairperson, Kelly DiCato.
SEPAC and Parent Resources
The SEPAC will be offering a basic special education rights training on October 13th at 7:00 PM. More information will be coming about this important event.
Extended Day Program Update
Extended Day will be offered for Pre K – 5 cohorts while they are in session beginning September 15th with before and after school options. Enrollment will be limited based on available space at each elementary school. Extended Day will follow all the State and District guidelines with social distancing, masks, hand washing/sanitizing, traffic flow, etc. The Extended Day staff will follow the Reading Public School policies and procedures regarding cleaning of equipment, tables, chairs, etc. Staff and students will provide their own masks.
Extended Day RISE will be offered from Monday through Friday when school is in session. RISE hours Monday – Thursday will be 7:00 AM – start of school and 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM; Friday hours will be 7:00 AM – start of school and school dismissal (12:00 High School and 2:30 at Wood End) – 5:30 PM. Extended Day RISE will begin on September 15, 2020.
Extended Day for Grades K-5 will be in session from Monday through Thursday at each Elementary School. Grades K – 5 will be offered 7:00-8:15 AM and 2:45–6:00 PM. Kindergarten will begin on September 15, 2020. Grades 1 – 5 will follow the phased in Hybrid schedule of the Reading Public Schools. Grades 1 – 5 will be in session only when their cohorts are in school.
Students will be dropped off at a designated door for the Before School Program. Extended Day staff will sign the child into the program. No parent will be allowed to enter the building. One staff member will escort the student to our designated area for the Before School Program. At 8:15, the students will line up in a socially distanced line and be escorted to their classroom. One staff member will clean the Before School area with soap and water before the start of the school day. Extended Day will follow the Reading Public School safety procedures.
Extended Day will be based in approved areas of the schools (i.e. cafe, library, gymnasium). Students will come to these locations at the end of the school day following the school safety procedures for social distancing. Each child will be assigned a seat or area in their designated location. These areas will follow the 6-foot acceptable distance spacing allowed by the guidelines. Masks must be worn throughout the time of the program. We will allow time for mask breaks while adhering to the social distancing guidelines. Extended Day will follow all of the Reading Public School safety procedures. Staff and children must provide their own masks. Limited PPE will be available.
Extended Day’s goal is to spend as much time as possible outside, weather depending. While outside, staff will continue to wear masks and create and implement games and activities for students. During inclement weather, staff will organize arts & crafts projects and games in our designated indoor locations. Each child will receive an individualized kit with the appropriate supplies for projects. Games will be based on safety and location and follow school safety procedures and guidelines.
Parents will be greeted at the appropriate door at pick up by an Extended Day staff member. The staff member will contact the appropriate group to inform the teacher that the child is being dismissed. A staff member will escort the child to the exit and dismiss the child to parents. Parents will not be allowed to enter the school.
Due to limited space availability enrollment will be first come, first serve.
Hybrid Extended Day (when school is in session)
- Children brought to the designated location
- Parent remains outside of the building
- Staff will bring child to room location (arrival) or child to door (dismissal)
- Children will spend most of their time outside when weather permits
- Staff will continue to remind children of social distancing
- Masks will be worn with time allowed for mask breaks
- Staff and students will provide their own mask following the Reading Public Schools policy on acceptable masks
- Time for organized and free play
- Location will be used for small groups and follow all COVID guidelines
- Staff will create and implement activities and games, assist with homework
- Each location will have up to 20 students (or recommended number of students) within the COVID guidelines
- Students will be provided individual activities - students will have their own materials - if it is not possible for students to have their own materials, staff will sanitize materials before the next child’s turn
- Extended Day will follow all guidelines implemented by the state, town & district.
- Social distancing will be practiced at all times and the policy of 6 feet apart while inside will be followed.
- Breakfast/snack will take place in two groups. Breakfast/snacks will be provided.
- Staff will wash areas with soap and water following the Reading Public Schools safety procedures.
Get to Know Your School Council Members
School Council consists of teachers and parents who volunteer their time to help develop the School Improvement Plan and review budget needs to support the students at Wood End. During this school year, the School Council will also be involved in refining our plan with a particular focus on anti-bias and equity education, planning and carrying out action steps related to these goals. In addition, members will review academic and behavioral data for Wood End School. School Council meetings this school year will occur remotely through Zoom, and meetings will be scheduled in the evenings. If you have questions or concerns, please contact any of the following School Council representatives:
- Lori Abelson (Term ends June 2021)
- Lindsay Baker (Term ends June 2022)
- Nicole Cella (Term ends June 2021)
- Jessica Hester (Term ends June 2021)
- Kevin Sexton (Term ends June 2021)
- Christine St. Hilaire (Term ends June 2022)
- Joanne King, Principal
I would like to thank Andrea Freeman and Michelle Mini for their support as they have recently completed their terms as School Council members.
Shop Amazon Smile & Support Our School
Right now, many of us are relying on Amazon to get groceries, everyday household items, and everything in between! Did you know that by shopping through Amazon Smile you can earn money for our school while doing your shopping? Amazon donates 0.5% of eligible purchases to our school. With our registered families and friends, we have earned over $250 this year. It's so easy to sign up and start shopping!
Ongoing Support for Students & Families
Social, Emotional and Behavioral Resources: In an effort to streamline locations that you can access for support, we've included all the information in one centralized location. On the Behavioral Health page of the Reading Public School's District website, you will now find all Covid-19 related resources, broken down by categories (upper right hand corner of the page). We are fortunate to have access to an incredible array of resources and we hope this helps you navigate this unprecedented time. Each page is set up in the same format, and hyperlinks are included to help get you quickly to the information you need.
About These Services...
The Town of Reading contracts with William James College to offer a special service for our residents. The William James INTERFACE Referral Service maintains a mental health and wellness referral help line Monday through Friday, 9 am-5 pm, at 888-244-6843 (toll free). This is a free, confidential referral service for individuals across the lifespan living in Reading. Callers are matched with licensed mental health providers from our extensive database. Each referral meets the location, insurance, and specialty needs of the caller. Click here to learn more!