JW Killam Principal's Corner

Ms. Leveque's Weekly Newsletter

From the Desk of Ms. Leveque

Winter Play Ideas to Build Skills

Below are some great ideas to keep little hands busy during the cold winter months. These are a few suggestions from our district's occupational therapists:

1. Visual motor skills: Draw snowman faces on clean white ping pong balls. Use a straw to blow the snowman from one end of the table to another. Looking down the length of the straw to the ping pong ball and tracking it to blow it again is a great way to strengthen eye-hand coordination skills. It also builds ocular-motor strength (eye muscles need work too!!). Try the same task with a turkey baster instead of a straw. Aim the baster at the ping pong ball and squeeze hard. This builds hand strength and you still get eye tracking practice by keeping your eye on the snowman!!

2. MORE Visual motor fun: Gather 10-20 plastic drinking cups (i.e., the red Solo ® cup). Stack them up like a pyramid then use a soft ball to knock them down. You can “bowl” them down or practice tossing at a target by throwing your ball at the pyramid. Stacking the cups is a great way to practice spatial concepts by leaving the right amount of space between each cup at each level of the pyramid. It is also great practice for using just the right amount of pressure to add a cup without knocking down what you already built (sensory regulation).

3. Fine motor winter fun: Peel the label off an empty bottle. Stuff white cotton balls into the bottle until it’s filled. Glue on black circles (eyes), an orange triangle (nose) and more black circles (mouth) to make a snowman. If you fill several bottles, you can use them as bowling pins – roll a soft ball along the floor to see how many you can knock down. This makes for a great indoor activity on a snowy day.

4. Postural control, mid-line crossing and bilateral motor coordination skills: Make a “snowball” out of a sheet of white scrap paper by using both hands to crinkle and squish it into a ball shape. Use these to have some indoor snowball fun – toss them in a basket or even at each other!! When you’re done, use a kid sized shovel to scoop them up and dump them into a basket or box. This is great practice for when it’s time to shovel the real thing!

Stay well,

Ms. Leveque

Killam Upcoming Dates

Week of January 24th: Cohort B week

Monday, January 25th: PTO Sponsored Cafe Capri Dine-Out (see below)

Hybrid In-person Weeks Staggered Dismissal:

-Grades One and Two: 2:35pm

-Grades Three and Four: 2:40pm
-Kindergarten and Grade Five: 2:45pm

-All students taking the bus or attending Extended Day will be monitored by Killam staff until picked up.

-Remote learning weeks end at 2:45, Grades K-5

Grades 3-5 MCAS Testing 2021

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is preparing for MCAS administration this spring and therefore we are starting the preparation process at the Killam School. The testing windows for this spring are:

  • April 5 to May 7 English Language Arts - Grades 3, 4, and 5
  • April 26 to May 28 Math - Grades 3, 4, and 5
  • Science, Technology Engineering April 27 to May 28 - Grade 5

DESE is making adjustments to the number of sessions due to the shortened testing window. We do not have information yet on how tests will be administered for fully remote students. Please keep these testing windows in mind when scheduling appointments or other school absences for your child.

FY22 Budget Process Begins

To learn information about the FY22 Superintendent's Recommended Budget, please join the upcoming School Committee meetings. The schedule is as follows:

Thursday, January 7th

  • Administrative
  • District Wide
  • Facilities Cost Centers
  • FY22 Capital

Thursday, January 14th

  • Regular Day Cost Center
  • Special Education Cost Center

Thursday, January 21st

  • Public Hearing on FY22 Budget (via Zoom)
  • School Committee Budget Questions

Monday, January 25th

  • School Committee Vote on FY22 Budget

All meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. on Microsoft Teams and will be broadcast on RCTV. We encourage all members of the community to participate in this budget process and to view the budget meetings. 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 .

Message from the Health Office

We continue our focus on the goal of limiting the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions are tiresome. None of us are in this alone, but we need everyone’s cooperation to ensure we can all stay healthy.

  • Please do your part to keep Killam safe for everyone. If you or your child is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, call me to discuss before sending your child to school. As a reminder, the common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath

  • Fever (100.0 degrees or higher)

  • Chills

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Muscle aches

  • Abdominal discomfort – nausea/vomiting/diarrhea

  • Cough (a change from any baseline cough related to allergies or asthma)

  • Headache

  • Be mindful of hand hygiene

  • Wear your mask when you are outside your home, even with non-household relatives.

  • Travel guidelines are linked here. Travel outside of Massachusetts to any other red state obligates travelers to test or quarantine. Please check the website below for the latest information and check with me if you have any questions.

Massachusetts Travel during Covid-19 Pandemic

  • Seek testing if you believe your child has been exposed. While awaiting results, do not send your student to school to limit potential exposure of classmates and staff. Testing site information in available here:

Stop the Spread

Remote Access 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. This was shared by Dr. Doherty in a newsletter.

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.

Student Services Office Hours

We have enjoyed meeting with families during this time and encourage you to sign up if you have any questions or concerns for us. Please use the link below to select a time to meet with us. Prior to your scheduled time, a ZOOM link will be sent to you via email. Please be sure to include your email address when you sign up.

Office Hours for January

Monday 1/25 @ 10-11 am

Link to the Doodle Poll to sign up for Office Hours:


Thank you,
Jennifer Stys and Allison Wright

Lunch Reminders

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 and check your account to see about snacks.

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.

Rolling Car Drop-off

We appreciate everyone following the Do's and Don'ts of our rolling car drop-off. We need everyone's help to keep our morning arrival safe and our line moving smoothly.

This year, we are not having bad weather flag days, meaning regardless of weather, students are entering from their external classroom doors. Again, we are not using the front entrance, cafeteria, or gym for bad weather days. The only exception to this is if it's after 8:25 in which we will have students enter the front door at socially distanced timings. As overall reminders:


-drive like your own children go to school here! Safety is key!

-drive slowly, being mindful of the crosswalks in the driveway. We have a LOT of children and families using our driveway crosswalks so eyes need to be on the surroundings at all times.

-pull all the way forward in the driveway. This helps us get our students unloaded quickly and safely.

-have your child exit the car closest to the sidewalk and front face of the building. This helps us keep students out of the path of cars.

-only take a right hand turn out of the driveway. This helps us avoid a bottleneck traffic jam.


-drop-off prior to 8:10 AM.

-stop directly in front of the school. Pull forward to the end of the driveway.

-get out of your car. If your child needs extra help to unload or to say goodbye, park and walk your child to their external classroom door.

-pass any buses or vans. It's against the law to pass a school bus/van that is unloading.

-pass cars in front of you once you drop-off. Stay in a single line.

-park in the staff parking lot.

-use the rolling car line to drop off materials to your child or class. Please park and bring the materials to the door.

Reading Public School Laptops

A friendly reminder that if you were loaned a laptop from RPS, it is expected that your child is bringing that device to school whenever they are in person. Thank you!

PTO Corner

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SEPAC Information

Please join the SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) at our next business meeting on

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 7:00 PM!

New business for this meeting includes an update from our

reading/literacy subcommittee and a brief presentation by Alice Gomez, School Psychologist, on community resources, followed by a parent discussion regarding

the same.

Please join us for this presentation and discussion and feel free

to share any additional resources that you think other parents may find helpful.

All are welcome!

This meeting will be held virtually, via Zoom.

Join us for our next


on Tuesday, February 9th at 7 PM.

Meeting link: Join Zoom Meeting

Please also join us for our next VIRTUAL Reading and Literacy Subcommittee Meeting

on Tuesday, February 2nd at 7PM.

Meeting link: https://readingpsma.zoom.us/j/87835232197

All are welcome and ENCOURAGED to attend!

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.

A Note from Food Services

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 Danielle.Collins@Reading.k12.ma.us or 781-670-2822

Resources to Setup Your Child for Remote Learning

Your child's teacher will communicate today the daily schedule for remote learning. They will also be sharing their own resources and tutorials. Below are a few of the main instructional platforms that all students will be using. These documents walk you through how to setup for success for the first day of school.

All information is listed under the Distance Learning Resources tab on the Killam Homepage.

Google Classroom
-How to Sign-in to Google Classroom

-How to Post Assignments in Google Classrooms

-How to View and Respond to Comments in Google Classroom
-Supporting your Child in Google Classroom

-Google – Teach from Anywhere: Google has established a website to help families and teachers (individual links) use Google and troubleshoot common problems, but all provide helpful hints. This is something teachers may want to share with families at some point. Click HERE to check it out!

-How to Login to Zoom

Microsoft Teams

-How to Login to Microsoft Teams

-How to Access SeeSaw through Google Classroom

Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Support 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.

School Presentations:
Building (Hybrid) Safety Procedures, October 2020 (Passcode: 2*7M=v9S)

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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!