The Coolidge Family Newsletter

Weekly Update: November 8, 2021

Brought to you by Sarah Marchant, Principal

@coolidgemiddle (Twitter)

A Message from Principal Marchant

This morning, I have the special opportunity to join other Reading Public School members and local officials in a local Remembrance Tour of Reading with a focus on memorializing the lives of Black and Enslaved Residents of Colonial Reading. This tour has been organized by, and will be led by, CATO: The Coalition of Us (more specifically, by its president and former METCO student here in Reading, Philmore Phillip II). This is the second of its kind. The tour is based on the in-depth research of former RMHS teacher, Kara Gleason, and current RMHS teacher, Megan Howie.

I am always working as an administrator to make Coolidge the most inclusive place it can be. To me, this means we are working to create an environment where all students (and all members of our community!) feel a sense of belonging; see themselves reflected in our culture and community; feel accepted and celebrated for all of who they are; and where all feel as if they are able to meet their full potential. Opportunities such as this one allow me to learn more about our community, and better help me to support all members to be feel seen and respected!

The Vision Statement of CATO:

The Coalition of Us (CATO) is dedicated to creating social awareness, opportunities, and support for people of color by nurturing collaboration with multiple organizations and engaging diverse people in planning and participating in events, programs and educational curriculum.

CATO’s vision is to see a more diverse atmosphere through means of equity in Reading, Massachusetts in order to set an example for the rest of the country. That despite a town whose demographics comprise 92.4% White, 0.8% Black/African American, 0.1% Native American, 4.2% Asian, that minorities and people of color are equally represented in every aspect of the town.

Upcoming Dates of Note

November 9: Visit from Essex Tech to overview the program (8th graders during Advisory).

November 11: No School (Veterans Day)

November 19: No School for Students/ Middle Level PD

November 20: Essex Tech Open House.

November 24: Turkey Toss finals @ Coolidge. 11:00 Release.

December 3: Early Release (12:30)

December 3: Vaccination clinic (1:00 - 5:00) at Coolidge. To sign up yourself or your child, please click here. These can be for the first, second, or booster shots of Pfizer. (including 5-11 age range.)

December 4: SAVE THE DATE! Make-it-easy SATURDAY at the Mandarin, Reading! 20% of proceeds will go to the Coolidge PTO!

December 6: The 6th grade is walking up to RMHS periods 1-3

December 7: The 7/8 grade is going up to RMHS period 1-3

December 7: Coolidge Winter Concert

To access the District Calendar, click here. Please make note of the middle level early release dates, which are marked in blue.

For a full list of ALL important Coolidge dates at Coolidge (printable for your fridge), click here.


Covid Cases at Coolidge: Week of 10/25 Recap

We had one new cases of Covid this past week for a student who had already been home; so there were no in-school close contacts determined.

Spirit Friday: Halloween Winners!

Thank goodness we don't always have "winners" of Spirit Days, as it can be stressful to pick winners amidst all of the fantastic entries! Yet this was one of those days. Congratulations to the following homerooms:

  • Ms. Pelletier's homeroom, who won the Homeroom Crown of Spirt,
  • Ms. Jacobsmeier's homeroom, who won the Homeroom Belt of Pride.
  • Honorable mention to the Spagnolo twins and the "Fake News" team for their creative group costumes!

Veterans Day: Share Your Experience!

Calling all Coolidge-connected Veterans and members of the military, or family members who want to celebrate your family veterans/ military service members! I would love to create a special "Coolidge Celebrates our Veterans" video that combines stories and perspectives of any veterans or members of the military who are connected to our Coolidge community. This means parents/ caregivers, grandparents, aunts & uncles, and staff members! I invite you to create a video (two minutes or less) that describes who you are in relation to Coolidge, your title, and a bit about your role in the service (past or present). I will compile these into a special video for our school community to watch near the actual Veterans Day.

Who can make a video?

  • Someone related to a Coolidge student or Coolidge staff member who is actively or formerly in the military.
  • Someone in the Coolidge community who wants to talk about a family member who is in the military (student, parent/caregiver, staff member, etc).

To participate, please follow these guidelines:

  • Video record in LANDSCAPE mode.
  • Talk loudly and clearly.
  • Tell us who you are related to, and how; if you are a Coolidge student or parent talking about a family member, tell your name and tell us who you are speaking about.
  • What is the military title of the person/self?
  • Tell us a bit about what your/their role is, a memory you/they have, or something that is important to you/them as it relates to your/their role.
  • Try to hold to two minutes max.
  • Email Mrs. Marchant (, who will invite you to upload your video to a Google folder.
  • Deadline: Monday, November 8

Advisory Update

This past week, our staff gathered to prepare for a shift in Advisory. Up to this point this year, we have focused our Advisory activities on making connections, building relationships, creating safe spaces for conversations, and sharing personal identities. We are now ready to build on this strong foundation and to move forward with our next unit, which is to support students to build their understanding of "power". The goal of this unit is multifaceted: to have meaningful conversations in a safe manner; to allow all voices to be heard (as long as they are not hurting others); to build understanding of each other and of history; and to support the development of students as thoughtful members of society. The goal is not to impart adult opinions on students or to create a right/wrong binary around topics, but instead to provide the space to develop their own thinking and opinions.

We have chosen to start this work by utilizing "The Power Book: What is It, Who Has It, and Why" (Songhurst et al.). It is built simply; two pages per topic, it examines how power dynamics have been impacted by different factions: adults and kids; peer to peer; gender; voting; government; race; money; different bodies; invisible; and more!

While it will take us some time to know our pacing through the various topics, a goal of mine is to be transparent with families about the topics we are discussing and the questions therein, with the hope that some families extend these conversations at home (or even to give parents the tools to ask their children about the topics).

In the week ahead, we are starting with the question "What is Power?".

The following week, we will explore the questions:

  • Who has power in your world? Why do they have it?

  • Who doesn’t seem to have power in your world? Why don’t they?

Students have all been given journals that they can utilize for reflection activities that will support the discussions.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out!

Staff & School Priorities in the Year Ahead

As I mentioned in earlier posts, our staff have worked to create meaningful goals, both professional and student-centered, for the year ahead. Many are working to integrate student voice/ choice in some way (how students want to share knowledge; how students feel; what's going well and what's getting in the way; etc). Others are working on student engagement; Others are working to diversify curricular materials. Others are working to reduce anxiety for students. Others are working to create classrooms that are trauma-sensitive. Others are working to create culturally-responsive classroom environments where all students feel reflected and accepted. Others are utilizing UDL methods so that all students are able to access curriculum. And others are working to scaffold learning. There is much that is connected in all of these focus areas - and all with the intent of helping students to feel heard, to feel a sense of belonging, and to feel as if their needs are being met as they become the most successful students they can be.

To support their own professional development, we have teachers: diving into the DESE Acceleration Roadmap; reading articles and texts; joining a Learning Series by Pegasus Springs (a series of speakers who are famous in the field of educational equity); participating in school and district and local PD; collaborating with colleagues within Coolidge and beyond; and so much more!

The Administrators have the same goals - to support teachers in this work, to continue to build a school environment in which students feel a strong sense of belonging, and to build a school environment in which ALL students are able to succeed.

The overall vibe is that teachers want to hear from students - what is working, what is not, what is getting in the way, and how can we work together to make our classrooms and the school the best place it can be! We hope students feel the positive impact of this work throughout the year ahead, and feel like the integral members we want them to be in our community.

Prindle Pond Update for 7th Graders!

Dear 7th Graders and Parents/ Caregivers,

Historically, the Coolidge "Prindle Pond" experience (the counterpart to what Parker calls "Nature's Classroom") has occurred during April vacation for three nights and four days for any interested 7th graders. This timing has allowed for a long, immersive experience. That being said, there are factors that have made the vacation timing more complicated over the years. Therefore, just before the pandemic hit, we began to explore options outside of April vacation. Back then, there were no other dates but for Halloween (which was not ideal). Yet now, we are working to secure dates in May of 2022! The exact dates are still being ironed out, but I wanted to keep parents in the loop about what is happening, and why!

While the trip has always been available to all 7th grade students, we hope that this new model increases the ability for all interested students to participate. While the experience will be shorter than it was during a vacation (2 nights, 3 days), we hope that the befits outweigh the length of time.

More to come regarding dates, cost, and all of that great stuff, once they are determined!


Adopt-A-Family: Recipient Information

Is your family in need of food this Thanksgiving or the Christmas holiday? Would you benefit from support getting your kids "Wish List" items for the holidays? If so, please click here to learn more about the Reading Rotary's "Adopt a Family" program, as well as to sign up for assistance!

Northeast Metro Tech Open House: November 3 from 6:00 - 8:00 PM

For more information, click here.

Essex North Shore Agricultural Technical School: Applications and Open House

November 9: They will visit Coolidge for a presentation during Advisory.

SY22-23 Applications Due January 10, 2022

Click on this link to apply:

Annual Open House: Saturday, November 20, 2021

To learn more about the open house options and to register, click here.

To watch videos about the school:

Please Contact Us: Students and Families

We continue to encourage families and students to use our admissions contact information to reach us through or (978) 304-4705.

Support the Coolidge PTO!

A heartfelt thanks to the families who have already donated towards the Coolidge PTO! Donations of any amount are very much appreciated. If you haven't already sent your Direct Donation, you can do so via Pay Pal (see QR code) or by check to the Coolidge PTO (and given to the main office). THANK YOU!

Free & Reduced Lunch Application & *SHARE FORM

In a typical year, the cost of meals are free or reduced for those who qualify using the "Free & Reduced Lunch" application. The application actually has more benefits than just breakfast/ lunch. If families fill out the form (p. 11), as well as the "Share" form on page 10, then those who qualify can also qualify for assistance for things like after school activities and field trips.

If you are someone who thinks you may qualify, please consider filling it out so that we can help you in various areas over the course of the year! We can't actually help without this form! Click here to access the form.

SEPAC Updates

The Reading in Reading Subcommittee created a resource list of books and podcasts that provide recommended information regarding reading. SEPAC_RinR_Subcommittee_Recommended_Book_List_v2 with cover April 7th.docx

Connect with SEPAC by clicking these links:

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.

SEPAC webpage

Join SEPAC's mailing list

Follow SEPAC on Facebook

Family/ Caregiver Resources

Help Wanted!

The following positions are open in the district; we welcome applicants!

Order your Coolidge Gear Today!

Show your Coolidge pride by donning gear with the Coolidge logo! There is something for everyone at our Coolidge Spirit Wear store. Check it out! Proceeds (approximately $5 per item) will go to the Coolidge PTO. Copy and paste this link to start shopping:

How to Translate This Newsletter

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Contact Us

Sarah Marchant, Principal (x12301)

Brienne Karow, Assistant Principal (x12302)

Marianna Zanni, Administrative Assistant (x12303)

Karen Mungenast, School Secretary (x12304)

Cindy Ventura, School Nurse (x12305)

For a full staff directory, click here.