Wood End Wildcat News

September 25, 2020

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Hello Wood End Families,


We are so excited to see our students, both in-person and in the virtual world, and start building those important connections. We have spent the past several days getting to know them, sharing a bit about the upcoming school year, and getting them back into our learning routines. We know this is going to take time, several weeks in fact, but these are the most critical first six weeks of school when we build the foundation of their learning for the year. We're all looking forward to this time together. With our kindergartners settling in, we are eager to welcome our first and second graders in person on October 13th. Follow us on Twitter @WoodEndSch or Instagram woodendschool to see what we're doing!


Some families have already reached out about concerns for their child's progress. I want to remind everyone that we are just 9 days into the school year. We all need to take a minute to breathe! Students have not been in school for more than 6 months, so every child is behind. We also need time to get to know our students and give them time to settle back into school. This does not happen overnight. I will say, that as we start moving along, if we have concerns about any child, we will certainly reach out to families. Please give us some time to work with your children and get back into our routines.


We realize families have been receiving a lot of information over the past two weeks. It is very important that you read through the emails and information teachers are sending so your child is prepared for learning. This includes making sure your child can login to SeeSaw, Pear Deck, Moby Max, RAZ Plus, or Lexia if requested, has required materials ready to go, and has a workspace free from distractions. We also want to see them working independently, so don't be afraid to step away and give them this time. This will help optimize their learning time.


We have included an updated school calendar on our school's website to help everyone keep track of which cohort week we are in so you can plan accordingly.


We are here to help, so please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Dr. King

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Picking Up Student Materials for At-Home Learning...SUCCESS!!!

Today was the first day families arrived to pick up learning materials, and 100% of our families were able to do this! Teachers have been very busy to ensure all our students have the materials they need for learning at home. Each Friday, families should make a quick pit stop at Wood End to drop off materials/work/books to be returned and pick up new materials and books for the coming week.


If your child would like to have continuous access to our library books, you can browse our library catalog HERE and fill out a book request HERE to request books from the library. Once students are attending school in person, they will have time each week to select new books while at school. Please complete a form for each individual child and submit your request no later than Tuesday evenings to allow time to put books together for pickup.


Each teacher will have two bins outside of the school. One bin will be labeled “TeacherName Drop Off.” Another bin will be labeled “TeacherName Pick Up.” Please return anything teachers have requested be sent back and pick up new materials for your child. Bins will be available from 7:30AM until 3:00PM each Friday.


Please do your best to visit the school as these materials are important for remote learning each week! If you have any questions, please contact your child's classroom teacher.

Portal Forms Will be Updated Next Week for 2020-21!

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 before October 16th, 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.


OR


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 happens if my teacher is absent today?

As you know, teachers sometimes have to be absent from work for health or personal reasons. For the past year we have had difficulty filling teacher absences with substitutes. This situation is made more complicated by remote learning which requires a skill set that most substitutes do not have. While we are in this hybrid model, if a teacher is absent during their remote week, their class will work remotely on asynchronous lessons for the day. The grade level team will make a plan for this so that students in the affected class are being kept current on lessons while their teacher is absent. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Message from Our Technology Department

Our school district IT department has worked tirelessly to set up and loan out more than 800 laptops to families. They have run out of devices for student use, and are currently setting up more for loan. If you have requested a laptop recently, you may not hear about its availability for another week.


If your technology needs have changed since you completed the family survey, please email Mrs. Finigan in the Main Office and let her know about the change. She will forward your request to our technology department.

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FREE MEALS FOR STUDENTS - IN AND OUT OF SCHOOL!

Through the extension of the Seamless Summer Meal program, started in response to COVID-19, we are able to offer all Reading Public School Children FREE meals until the end of December, or when funding expires.


What this means for your family


  • Your school-age children will receive a healthy breakfast (at Coolidge, Parker and RMHS only,) and lunch every school day, at no cost, in a safe and welcoming environment. This applies to students who are attending classes in school.
  • Our other option for FREE meals for children, ages 0-21, is meal distribution. This includes remote learners, learnings participating in a hybrid learning mode, or any other children in your home. These meals will provide breakfast and lunch for each day, including weekends.
  • Our meal distribution is provided under the bridge at Reading Memorial High School every Wednesday from 2:30 – 3:30 pm or Friday from 11:00 am – 12:00 noon.


This program allows Reading School District to provide the most nourishing and appetizing meals possible for your children. When your children eat school meals, it helps the school system by providing federal funds to the district. The more meals we serve, the more funding we receive, allowing us to focus on providing wonderful, nutritious meals for your family. If your children have never participated in school meals, consider trying the program this year!

The School Nutrition Office will be monitoring participation.


If you have any questions please contact Danielle Collins, School Nutrition Director at 781-670-2822.
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Reminders From Our School Nurse


As the colder season starts, we want to remind families and staff to check for COVID-19 symptoms periodically. This is a CRITICAL factor in keeping our schools open and students learning in-person. When in doubt, keep them home and contact your child's pediatrician, or the school nurse, Mrs. Agami for guidance.


You can also refer to the CDC website for a COVID symptom checker, as well as these "frequently asked questions" for more information.


Students and staff have access throughout the day to hand sanitizer to keep themselves and others healthy. Hand washing is the preferred method for removing germs, however, soap and water may not always be readily available. When hand washing is not possible, students will be asked to use hand sanitizer at school. If you do not want your child to use hand sanitizer at school, please complete this form and return it to school by October 2nd.


We appreciate your support in keeping our community healthy!

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 date/time of office hours this week:

  • Tuesday 9/29 2-3 pm


Link to DOODLE Poll for Student Services Office Hours for the month of September


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.

News from SEPAC

Dear SEPAC Community & Friends:


We have heard from SEPAC members frequently that opportunities for social connection and support among caregivers are a priority. In an effort to try and meet that need, SEPAC is hosting its first virtual social connection/support chats via Zoom next week, Tuesday, Sept. 29th at 10 AM and 8 PM. We are offering daytime and evening chats to meet the needs of more families. The one hour chat will be casual and friendly and loosely facilitated by two SEPAC board members with assistance from "Friends of SEPAC" volunteers. The purpose of the chat will be to offer a listening ear and positive support to your fellow caregivers.


The plan is for the chats to start off with a discussion about the "Back to School" experience - whether it be in person or remote - including the joys, challenges, and strategies, and home routines to help foster a sense of normalcy during these challenging times. Please note that no SEPAC related business will be deliberated and the chat will not be recorded.




Another priority that was proposed as a SEPAC goal for the 2020-2021 school year was caregiver education on reading and literacy, particularly early signs of reading challenges. While the SEPAC, in collaboration with the District, works towards this goal, in the meantime, Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents (NESCA) is offering a webinar on this specific topic on Oct. 15th. Details and link to register are below.


"Early Signs of Reading Challenges", a webinar featuring NESCA Pediatric Neuropsychologist Alissa Talamo, Ph.D.

October 15 from 2:00-3:00 PM ET

Register in advance for this webinar:

https://nesca-newton.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4XOoaw4IS-e8xEkHt6ev_A


The Reading Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) is hosting a Basic Rights Presentation "Evaluation and Eligibility", presented by a representative for the Federation for Children with Special Needs. The Basic Rights Presentation will be held, virtually, on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 7:00 PM, via ZOOM.


All attendees must register via the link provided on the flyer below.


Thank you,

SEPAC Board

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Providing Accommodation for Students on Religious Holidays

This weekend, there will be teachers, students, and their families who will be celebrating and observing one of the major religious Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur, which begins at sundown on Sunday, September 27th. They may be missing school. During this time, families will be attending temple services and gathering with families, either in person or remotely, during the evening hours. The full School Committee Policy, IMDA and the implementation regulations, IMDA-R are found here.


State and federal laws require schools to make reasonable accommodations to the religious needs of students in observance of holy days. With respect to students, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 151C, section 2B reads in relevant part as follows:


“Any student in an educational or vocational training institution...who is unable, because of his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study or work requirement which he may have missed because of such absence on any particular day….No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his availing himself of the provisions of this section.”


As a result, the following accommodations will be in place for ALL students on the following dates:


I. No assignments will be due for any student the day of or the day after the Yom Kippur holiday. Therefore, there will be no assignments due in any classroom in the Reading Public Schools on September 28th and 29th.


II. No tests or quizzes will be scheduled on the days of Yom Kippur. Therefore, there will be no tests or quizzes scheduled on September 28th.


III. No one-time events such as field trips, music performances, theatre plays and productions, auditions, and back to school functions will be scheduled on the days or eve of Yom Kippur. Therefore, there will be no one-time events scheduled on September 27th and September 28th.


Absences on Religious Holidays

Parents and students (if age appropriate) are encouraged to notify the school in advance when their child will be not be attending school because of religious or ethnic observance.

Discrimination against any student, because of such individual’s religious/ethnic belief or practice, or any absence based on said belief or practice is prohibited.


1. Any pupil absent from school because of a religious holiday may not be deprived of any award or eligibility or opportunity to compete for any award because of such absence;

2. Students whose conscientious observance of a religious or ethnic holiday conflicts with participating in a school-scheduled event such as tryouts, athletic contests, theatricals, or concerts, will not be required to participate nor penalized for their non-participation;

3. Any absence because of religious or ethnic holiday must be recorded as an excused absence for religious observance in the school register or in any group or class attendance record.


Parents should follow the normal procedures when their child is going to be absent to observe the religious holiday and call the absentee line at the school on the day of the absence or notify the school in advance by email, written note, or phone. If a child is to receive an excused absence for religious observance, the parent must indicate that information in the correspondence with the school.

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.

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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!

Upcoming Events:

September

27: Yom Kippur begins


October

9: Teacher In-Service; no school for students

12: Columbus Day; no school for students

13: Grade 1 & 2 students begin in-person (Cohort B)

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