Wood End Wildcat News

November 22, 2020 ~ Week B In-Person

Big picture

Hello Wood End Families,


As we get ready to celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving this coming week, I want to thank all our Wood End families for your support and participation in the parent/teacher conferences. Our teachers worked tirelessly to prepare for this time with families and share information to help our students have a successful start to a very strange school year. We know the only way our students will succeed is by having a strong home-school partnership, coming to school every day ready to learn, and taking responsibility for their learning. We appreciate all your efforts! Term 1 Report Cards will be going home through the portal on December 18th. Term 2 is from December 7, 2020, until March 11, 2021, as it stands right now. Report cards will be sent home on March 26th.


We need your continued support as we all work together to follow safety protocols to keep everyone healthy and in school. Wearing masks, maintaining social distance, proper hand hygiene, reporting symptoms, self-quarantining when advised, and reducing the number of people in close proximity are all key to reducing the spread of this virus. We have been successful in returning our students to in-person learning this fall, though it did take some time and planning. We need to finish strong as we approach the upcoming holidays so we can begin the New Year in-person and healthy. Please follow all the recommended guidelines during this holiday season.


Thank you for all you are doing to support our students, remain calm, and work together to do the right thing during this most challenging time.


Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving,

Dr. King

We Need Our Community's Support!

During my many years as part of the Wood End community, I have always been inspired by the love, care and empathy our families have for one another. Whether we are cheering for our students, raising money for technology and classroom libraries, donating gifts for the holidays, visiting those who are sick or grieving with those who have lost a loved one, sending cards and well-wishes, this is truly a unique community. I am reaching out to ask you to come together once again to surround two of our families with love & care.


We have recently learned that two of our moms have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are undergoing treatment. Not only are these moms our neighbors and friends, they are part of our Wood End family. Both are juggling many roles including caring for their children, working full-time jobs, cleaning, cooking, laundry, and as always, thinking of others. It's our turn to step up and help them so they can concentrate on the next phase of their journey to health.


We have set up a meal train to provide some nourishment for these beautiful ladies and their families. It will be a huge relief to not worry about meal planning for a few nights each week as they spend time resting and healing. If you are interested in providing a meal, or gift cards to some local restaurants, please click on this link and join the meal train. We thank you for any support you can provide, as well as your thoughts & prayers.


If you or someone you know needs support, please reach out to Dr. King. We are happy to help in any way!

Wildcat Family & Staff Holiday Share

Each family at Wood End is unique. As we enter the holiday season, we would love to share family traditions with our community. What does this mean? We are looking for photos from our staff and families to highlight some of the many traditions that we have. These photos will be posted on our social media and family blog. Here's how to participate!


Take a picture of a family tradition. It could be a picture of your Thanksgiving table, a favorite recipe you make, playing games as a family, going on a walk, getting your Christmas tree, setting up your Menorah and the many other things you do. We know that the holidays may look different this year for many of us, so we want to focus on the things that make us happy and that we love to do. If you are on Instagram or Twitter, you can post there and tag @woodendsch! You can also email us your photos and we will share. Send photos to Miss Norcross. We can't wait to share!

What's for lunch?

As you all know, our lunch program is FREE for students this school year. All students may receive a healthy lunch at no cost. However, snacks, bottled water, and additional lunches are not free and families will be charged for those items. We have several students ordering an additional lunch or snack and we just want to be sure families are aware this is happening so you are not surprised if you are billed for these items. Please talk with your child, check your account, or contact Mrs. Finigan if you have any questions.

Mask-Up Reading

The Town of Reading asks residents to:

· Wear a mask or face covering whenever you are not at home or in your personal vehicle.

· Maintain social distancing, at least 6' from others.

· Observe the State's Stay-at-Home Advisory from 10PM – 5AM.

· Review the latest CDC Guidance.

· Get a flu shot.

· Talk about Covid precautions with household members, neighbors, friends, and colleagues.

· Stay home when you are experiencing symptoms.

· Don't hesitate to get a COVID-19 test (click here for testing sites).


If you have any questions, please contact our local Board of Health.

District Guidelines - Switching from Hybrid to Remote or Remote to Hybrid

Families may request to switch from hybrid to remote at the end of a marking period. If there are extenuating circumstances during a marking period where a family is requesting to shift to remote, they may do so if there are openings in the remote classrooms. Once a family shifts to remote, they need to remain in remote until the end of the marking period.


Families may request to shift from remote to hybrid at the end of a marking period. Requests will be honored if there is enough space in a classroom.


Please note that if a student is high needs and is receiving in-person instruction daily, we do not recommend that student shift to remote instruction.


Remote Guidelines for In-Person Students Who Are Absent From School

Below are the remote criteria that will be used when students who are in person during a particular week are absent from school.


Students will have live remote access under the following conditions:

  • He/she is quarantined due to testing positive for COVID-19.
  • He/she is quarantined due to being in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
  • He/she is being quarantined for being out of state and is waiting for a negative COVID test per DPH guidelines.
  • He/she is showing symptoms of COVID-19 and is awaiting test results.
  • He/she has another medical condition that prevents them from coming to school.


Students will not have live remote access under the following situations:

  • He/she is absent for any reason other than described above.
  • He/she is quarantining for 10-14 days because of out of state travel as defined by the MDPH Travel Order and is not getting a COVID-test.
  • He/she is going on a family vacation or other non-school activity during school days.


Please note that there may be extenuating circumstances in a school that would require a different action than above. These decisions are at the discretion of the building principal.

Special Education Office Hours

With the holidays upon us, we wanted to take a quick moment to thank all the families for their support and partnership during this most unusual school year. We hope that you all have a chance to relax, spend time with family and reenergize over the coming weeks!

As December is approaching, we wanted to share our office hours for the month of December. Jen Stys, Director of Student Services, and Allison Wright, Assistant Director of Student Services, are available for office hours on the following dates. Please sign up for an appointment through the link below.

December Office Hours:

  • Thursday, December 3 @ 10-11 am
  • Tuesday, December 8 @ 9-10 am
  • Wednesday, December 16 @ 2-3 pm
  • Monday, December 21 @ 12-1 pm


Link to the DOODLE Poll to sign up for office hours:

https://doodle.com/poll/megik5eq9tmh8tvf?utm_source=poll&utm_medium=link

We are all thankful to be working in such a wonderful community. Happy Thanksgiving!

Best,

Jen Stys and Allison Wright

Updates From the PTO

Book Fair Was Another Success

Thank you to everyone who took part in our online Book Fair with Follett. Although it started off slowly, online orders picked up this week and we have sold more than $1,600 in books. A portion of these proceeds will be used to add to our non-fiction collection.


We have several ways families can help with some easy "fundraisers" including...

Amazon Smile

When you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to the PTO. Bookmark in your browser for every time you shop Amazon. Save this link as a shortcut on your phone desktop!


Stop and Shop A+ School Rewards

Once registered, Stop and Shop will donate to the school when you use your card and shop, sign up now! Go to: https://stopandshop.com/school-rewards/


If you are interested in running for Co-President, Treasurer, Enrichment Coordinator, Events & Fundraising Coordinator, or Secretary please email us as soon as possible and let us know! This would be the perfect year to "shadow" someone in that role and ease into some responsibilities.

Order your holiday cards and give back to Wood End

Be sure to use our school's Shutterfly & TinyPrints Storefront when ordering holiday cards, photos, gifts, invitations, etc this year. Did you know that 8% of your purchase gets donated back to Wood End for our kids? Please feel free to share our storefront with family members and friends.
Big picture

Attendance matters, especially now

At Wood End, we strongly believe in the importance of regular attendance at school, now more than ever. Students are expected to attend school 170 days during this school year. Overall, most of our families do a great job of ensuring children are "in school", whether remote or hybrid, and ready to learn each day by 8:15 a.m. If a child has been absent for more than 5 days since the beginning of this school year, we are required to notify those families and build an action plan to improve attendance. Next week, some families will receive a letter providing information about the importance of attending school, especially at the elementary level. By building those habits early, students are more successful in middle and high school.


If you have any questions or concerns about this information, please reach out to Dr. King directly so we can set up a time to meet.

Resources for Families

Reading Coalition’s Mental Health Resource List, Substance Misuse Resource List, and information on the Interface Referral Service has been updated and is available for all our families. The most updated version of our COVID-19 Resource is available on our website along with some additional resources. Please take a look if you need support for you or your family.

Book Borrowing - Returns & Renewals

Book Requests:

Students can continue to request up to 3 books each week from our school library HERE and we will have them ready for pick up. All requests need to be made by Tuesday evening in order to get the book by Friday of the same week. Any requests after this time will not be filled until the following week.


Renewals & Returns:

If you have any books that your child would like to renew, you can email Miss Norcross. Please provide the child's name, teacher, and what books you want renewed, or you can ask to renew them all. Books can be returned on Friday when you pick up new materials, or if your child is in school, they can return them any day to their classroom teacher.

winter is coming...dress for the weather

This is a reminder that we have outdoor arrival and recess any day when the temperature is above 25 degrees and there is no precipitation (hail, sleet, freezing rain). Please be sure to send your child to school prepared for the outdoor weather wearing warm clothes including jackets, gloves/mittens, hats and boots. All children will go outside for recess throughout the winter months. If students want to play in the snow, they must be dressed appropriately with snow pants, jackets, boots and gloves/mittens. Welcome winter fun!

Spirit Days Are Back!

We are excited to start up our spirit days again to help our Wildcats enjoy some fun! Whether you are remote or in-person, we'd love to have everyone join in! Get ready to show your school spirit on these "fun Fridays" coming up. Our next spirit day is December 4th (NEW DATE) - Patriots' Day, wear your favorite football team's colors!

Laptops and Technology Help

As we have more cohorts coming back into school, it will be an expectation that any child who was provided with a loaner laptop will be bringing that laptop to school during in-person learning weeks, if the classroom teacher requests this. This will ensure we have enough devices for every student in the building. If you are asked to do this, please be sure laptops are transported securely in your child's backpack, away from any liquids that could spill.


If you have any technology issues with your student's laptop, please contact our IT department HELP DESK or by calling 781-670-2888.

Thank You for Your Donations!

We've been getting some wonderful donations for our little libraries! With the help of community members and our PTO, Wood End will be adding two libraries to our lovely outdoor space- one for students and one for adults. The hope is to inspire readers and develop our community. Research shows that being around adult readers and in spaces filled with texts, creates lifelong reading habits in younger students! For more information, please see the Little Free Library Website: https://littlefreelibrary.org/


The Wood End PTO is still running a book donation drive. We will have bins outside of Wood End each Friday during material pick up days. Please feel free to donate books, in good condition, that you are no longer interested in.


These books can include:

  • Fiction or nonfiction children’s books

  • Children’s chapter books

  • Adult fiction and nonfiction novels


Please refrain from donating:

  • Textbooks

  • Torn, dirty or worn down books

  • Guides (cooking, traveling, etc.)

  • Annotated books


Thank you for your support!

Join Our Next Meeting

The SEPAC's (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) Reading/Literacy Subcommittee is having its first meeting Tuesday, November 24th at 6:30PM to discuss goals and action items. Please join us via Zoom: https://readingpsma.zoom.us/j/84617190360

All are welcome and ENCOURAGED to attend!


Connect with SEPAC by clicking these links:

· Join SEPAC's mailing list by emailing SEPACREADING@gmail.com

· Follow SEPAC on Facebook (please adjust settings so that you are sure to see our posts)

· Visit SEPAC’s website


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.

Big picture

FAQs About COVID-19

What happens if my child is sent home sick from school?

Any child who is ill will be sent home and asked to follow up with their pediatrician. Children with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 will be tested at the doctor's recommendation.

If a student has COVID-19-like symptoms, they may return to school after they have tested negative for COVID-19, have improvement in symptoms, and have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications. If a provider makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may return to school based on recommendations for that alternative diagnosis (e.g., influenza or strep pharyngitis).


If a student presents with COVID-19-like symptoms and chooses not to be tested, they may return to school 10 days from the start of symptoms, as long as their symptoms have improved and they have been without fever for at least 24 hours prior to their return to school without the use of fever reducing medication.


If your child has been to the doctor, please provide a note when they return to school.


Where can I get myself/my child tested?

Here are local testing sites and information COVID-19 Testing


How can I prepare my child for testing?

Here is updated information about the COVID test?


Will schools be testing staff and students?

Not at this time. Anyone who is a close contact or is symptomatic should consult with their physician about testing. In the event of a cluster (or outbreak of cases) in the schools, in consultation with the Reading Board of Health, there may be surveillance testing for asymptomatic staff and students.


If a student in my child’s class tests positive will the class need to quarantine?

If a student tests positive, any close contacts of the child should also be tested and quarantined for 14 days. The rest of the class and teacher would only have to quarantine if the child tests positive, and if they had close contact with the student within 2 days prior to the positive test.


What is a close contact?

A close contact is anyone who has been within 6 feet of another individual for a period of at least 10-15 minutes. By wearing masks, we are hoping to decrease the transmission of the virus, however it is still considered an exposure.


If my child is a close contact of someone with COVID but they test negative, may they return to school?

All close contacts should be tested but must self-quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure to the person, regardless of test result.


What happens if I or my child test positive?

It is important to note that testing, combined with contact tracing and isolation, helps control the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. All test results, both positive and negative, are reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). When a person has a positive COVID-19 test, it is the local board of health or the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative that will reach out to provide support so that these individuals can remain safely in medical isolation. They will also ask for help to identify close contacts. These organizations will then reach out to the individual’s close contacts to provide important information that is aimed to stop the spread of the virus, including how to safely isolate/quarantine. While these organizations will provide support to further assist with contact tracing, the student/family and staff are asked to reach out to their personal contacts and notify the school.


What if my family member tests positive?

If you are a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you must also be tested and quarantine for 14 days after the last close contact.


Does Reading have a lot of cases?

Check here to get more information about our community


What if my family travels outside of Massachusetts?

Anyone traveling to a higher risk area must complete a travel form and quarantine for 14 days unless they have a negative test within 72 hours of return/entry.

See COVID-19 Travel Order for details.


Where can I get more health information?

Click here to access the Reading School Nurses Virtual Health Office


Massachusetts Deptartment of Public Health website

CDC website

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 for the entire 2020-2021 school year.


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.

Big picture

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!

Big picture

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!

Family Resources

Please be reminded of these amazing resources, if your family is in need:

  • RPS Behavioral Health Resources linked here.
  • Town of Reading: compiled resources linked here.
  • RCASA and Mental Health Support linked here.
  • St. Vincent de Paul linked here.
  • Free & Reduced lunch access: sign up here.
  • Reading Food Pantry linked here.
  • Project Bread link here.
  • Residential Financial Assistance (Rent/Mortgage) link here. (New resource! Check it out!)

Upcoming Events:

November

25: Early Release PreK-12; 11:00 dismissal

26: Happy Thanksgiving!

27: No School - Thanksgiving Recess


December

3: Term 1 ends

7: Term 2 begins

10: Hanukkah begins at sundown

18: Term 1 report cards released

24-31: Holiday Recess

25: Christmas

26: Kwanzaa

Big picture