JW Killam Principal's Corner

Ms. Leveque's Weekly Newsletter

From the Desk of Ms. Leveque

Killam for Koalas

As we are all aware, the devastation of the wildfires in Australia is having a major impact on wildlife, the ecosystem, and humans. A large part of our reading and writing units addresses informational text and as such, our first grade are currently working on their informational writing in writer’s workshop. Naturally curious at this age, the study of the continents, natural disasters, and animals are major topics. As part of it, the discussion of the koalas in Australia and the tie to our Killam mascot has come up in a lot of conversations. The first graders approached me asking if we could hold a fundraiser in honor of supporting the koalas and wildlife in Australia. The week of January 27th, we will hold a penny drive for the koalas. Students can donate any loose change for the cause. We will be donating the money to the World Wildlife Fund. If you care to donate directly or to learn more about the World Wildlife Fund, please go to https://www.wwf.org.au/get-involved/bushfire-emergency#gs.tx87no.


Ms. Leveque

Important Killam Dates

Week of January 27th: Killam for Koalas Penny Fundraiser (see message above)

Wednesday, February 5th: Chinese New Year

Thursday, February 6th: Understanding Disabilities Public Forum, 6:30-7:30pm in the Killam Cafeteria (see details below)

Understanding Disabilities

Understanding Disabilities is holding a public forum on Thursday February 6, 2020 from 6:30 - 7:30pm in the Killam Cafe. This event is open to all and we very much would like as many varied perspectives as possible as we look to the future of UD. The flier is posted below.

Additionally, please fill out this anonymous survey to help us better understand your perspective on UD.

Family Survey: https://forms.gle/cH75ZoqiS3HuhCM38

Big picture

PTO Corner

New in 2019-20 - Pay PTO dues with Venmo at @KillamPTO!

Please be sure to include your child/family’s name in the notes when you submit your Venmo payment so we can credit the dues to the appropriate family.

A Note from the Health Office

Flu Season

Winter in New England means cold weather, and unfortunately it is also flu season. Staff members are taking extra care to watch for signs and symptoms of illness and we are also working hard to prevent illness. I am hopeful that working as a team, we can keep our students and our staff members healthy!

Please consider the health of your child’s classmates and teachers before sending your child to school As always, if your child has a fever (100.4 or higher) keep them home until they are fever-free for 24 hours without taking any fever reducing medication like Tylenol or ibuprofen. Let the front office know if your child is ill and the nature of the illness.

The CDC website on the flu is an excellent resource for all the information you need to know including common signs and symptoms, emergency warning signs and when to seek emergency medical care. If you’re not certain whether it is a cold or the flu, the attached document may help.

CDC recommendations for avoiding flu include:

  • Have all family members vaccinated if you have not already done so.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, you should stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Please contact me at sharon.grottkau@reading.k12.ma.us with any questions or concerns.

Thank you,

Sharon Grottkau, BSN, RN

School Nurse

Big picture

Reading Public Schools Budget Process Information

To learn information about the FY21 Superintendent's Recommended Budget, please click here.

The School Committee budget presentation schedule is as follows:

Monday, January 6th

  • Budget Overview
  • Financial Overview of FY21 Budget
  • Administration Cost Center
  • Districtwide (Health Services, Athletics, Extra-curricular, Technology Infrastructure) Cost Center
  • Overview of Facilities Department
  • School Facilities Cost Center
  • Town Core Facilities Budget
  • Capital Plan

Thursday, January 16th

  • Regular Day Cost Center
  • Special Education Cost Center

Thursday, January 23rd

  • Public Hearing on FY21 Budget
  • Special Revenue Funds
  • FY21 School Committee Budget Questions

Monday, January 27th

  • School Committee Vote on FY21 Budget

All meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Schettini Library at Reading Memorial High School. We encourage all members of the community to participate in this budget process and to attend the budget meetings. This year, we have made a conscious decision not to have specific budget liaisons assigned to the budget process. This decision is not based on the participation level of the dedicated budget liaisons that we have had over the years; rather the number of budget liaisons over the years has decreased. We will continue to update the community on a regular basis through our newsletters and blogs what transpires during each School Committee budget meeting and subsequent meetings throughout the winter/spring.

If you have any questions about the budget, please do not hesitate to contact Superintendent of Schools John Doherty at john.doherty@reading.k12.ma.us .

From the Office of Student Services

As a district our goal is to create program descriptions for our substantially separate special education programs and Learning Center support. These descriptions will serve as an ongoing reference aide for families and staff. The descriptions will be a transparent and welcoming look into programming options with the understanding that any program can adjust and revise its elements to respond to the ever changing needs of our students.

We welcome feedback from our Reading families, staff and the residents on our draft Program Descriptions. Our goal is to use your feedback, along with the work that has been completed with staff, to publish updated descriptions within the next few months. The surveys will be available through February 1, 2020.

There is a section of survey links available on the Reading Office of Student Services website at https://www.reading.k12.ma.us/departments/student-services/

Reading Coalition has a New Name

In January of 2020, the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse (RCASA) will be known as the Reading Coalition for Prevention & Support. The coalition, now funded under the Town of Reading within the Reading Police Department, offers programs and services, more suited to the new name. According to Bob LeLacheur, Town Manager, “Reading Coalition for Prevention & Support captures who we are today and what we are working towards not just with respect to substance abuse prevention but also mental health promotion”.

As the coalition rebrands, all initiatives will continue uninterrupted. “Rebranding to Reading Coalition for Prevention & Support enables us to connect with a wider audience, continue expanding our programs and services, and ultimately better position us to serve the community,” said Erica McNamara, Director of the Reading Coalition.

Killam MCAS Dates

Below are the MCAS Testing Dates for 2020. Please consider these dates when making appointments or other plans that involve absence from school. These dates are also posted under the Students tab on the Killam website.
Big picture

Accessing Report Cards

This is a friendly reminder that as guardians, you can access your child's released report cards at any time! Login to your PlusPortal account and choose the eLocker tab on the top of the page. This will bring you to all official report cards that can be downloaded as a PDF and printed or saved from the luxury of your home.

2020-2021 Incoming Kindergarten Information

It was a great turnout for the Parent Information session. If you were unable to attend, the presentation can be found on the Killam website at https://www.reading.k12.ma.us/killam/. The presentation is under the "Parent" tab on the bottom of the homepage.


The SEPAC meets throughout the school year in the RMHS Library Media Center at 7:00 p.m. Please plan to attend on the following dates, or click here for additional information.

  • Tuesday, February 11th-- The next monthly meeting for SEPAC will be held on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at 7:00 p.m., in the RMHS library media center. A representative from the FCSN (Federation for Children with Special Needs) is scheduled to put on a Basic Rights Presentation on "Understanding the IEP." The presentation offers valuable information for the parents of children receiving special education, and/or parents who think their child(ren) might be in need of receiving special education.

  • Tuesday, March 10th
  • Tuesday, April 14th
  • Tuesday, May 12th
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!