Wood End Wildcat News
September 7, 2020
Dear Wood End Families,
I hope you had a chance to enjoy this beautiful Labor Day weekend! It's been an exciting week having our teachers and support staff back in the building. It was great to feel the energy and enthusiasm as we work together to set up classrooms for both in-person and remote learning. Of course, they have all the same feelings of stress, worry, anxiety, and uncertainty as you. We are all doing our best to prepare to welcome our students on September 15th, whether at school or on Zoom, and ensure everyone has a successful year. We appreciate your continued support and patience as we navigate this new system of learning.
I understand families have been somewhat frustrated not knowing who their child's teacher will be, or what the remote schedule looks like, and I understand your frustration. This has been a tremendous undertaking for all of us. The teachers have just returned to school and have been working all week on schedules and building their virtual classrooms. You will have all the information you need as soon as we are ready. I am including the teacher assignments this week. Please know all class placements and cohort assignments are final - we are not making any more changes. We are certain every student will adapt to their classmates and teacher and will be able to take an active role in building their new classroom communities.
I am also continuing to receive requests for laptops. Two surveys were sent out over the summer and that information has already been provided to our IT department. If you still have questions or concerns about technology at this point, please reach out to Julian Carr, IT Director, for assistance. All laptops that were requested have been deployed while some are on back-order. Once they arrive, families will be notified by our IT department, not by individual schools, in order to provide consistent and streamlined communication. Remember, I am not a technology expert.
I am encouraging families to familiarize yourselves with Google Classroom. We do not have any tutorials set up for families at this time though if that changes I will be sure to update everyone. I have found several helpful tutorials on You Tube that you may want to check out - just search for Google Classroom tutorials for parents. There are many!
For those students who will be joining us in-person next week, please wear a mask and bring a refillable water bottle. If you have a younger child, please work with them on opening their own snack and lunch containers and blowing noses. We will not be able to support children with these activities as we have in the past.
Enjoy your week ahead,
2020-21 Teacher Assignments
- Sarah Bielicki/Lisa Baker
- Jane Roberts
- Grade 1: Stacey Foresman
- Grade 2: Maureen Habeeb
- Grade 3: Alison Ockerbloom
- Grade 4: Keri DiNapoli
- Grade 5: Ellen Commito
- Grade 1: Elena Raffa
- Grade 2: Danielle Gianatassio & Jessica Hester
- Grade 3: Mia Gaska
- Grade 4: Lindsey Tainsh
- Grade 5: Stephanie Malone
- Learning Center: Lynda Michel (K-3), Victoria Lydon-Ruelos (grades 4-5)
- Crossroads Program: Alison Begley (K-1), Samantha Cacciola (grades 2 & 5), Jacquelyn Pelusi (grades 3-4)
- Compass Program: Maggie Cullen
Your child's teacher will be reaching out to you this week to set up a time for orientation (during the week of September 15th) and provide information about remote learning schedules and joining their Google Classroom.
Kindergarten Presentation - NEW DATE!
We are very excited to welcome our new kindergartners to the Wood End family. I will be hosting a family forum for Kindergarten parents/guardians this Wednesday, September 9 at 7:30 p.m. This is an adult meeting for families to learn about the upcoming school year at Wood End, and ask questions. I will also be reviewing information about kindergarten screening which will begin September 15th. Kindergarten classes for all students begin on September 21st.
Incoming kindergarten families will receive all the details about our kindergarten program as well as an invitation for this event via a separate email, so be on the lookout tomorrow!
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 15th, 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.
Orientation 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. They do not need to bring anything with them other than 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) and is a wonderful opportunity to help set our students at ease and make sure they are ready to start. Students will also receive their school supply kits (if ordered) as well as other learning materials and books they will need for remote learning.
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
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.
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.
SEPAC Meeting September 8th
The SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) is gearing up for a robust year of supporting our kids and building on last year’s increased engagement. This year, you can attend a SEPAC meeting without leaving your home!
Join us for our first
VIRTUAL SEPAC MEETING
on Tuesday, September 8th at 7 PM.
Meeting link: Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
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.
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!