JW Killam Principal's Corner

Ms. Leveque's Weekly Newsletter

From the Desk of Ms. Leveque

The hallways were abuzz this week with conversations regarding your child's learning this fall at Killam. Parent-Teacher Conferences are a wonderful opportunity for teachers and families to connect about our most precious resources-- your children! We are proud of the academic, social, and socially-conscious learning that our students work hard at each day and we hope that you heard that during our conversations. We take great joy in the work we do here at Killam and the successes that we see as our children grow!

On a personal note, I want to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving break. Whether you will be with family or friends, I hope that this time is a joyous occasion for you and your children. I will be traveling to my family home in Maine, having a small gathering with my parents, sister, and grandmother. I cherish each moment that I get to be with them! As I will be enjoying the break, I will not be sending out a newsletter next week.


Ms. Leveque

Important Killam Dates

Wednesday, November 27th: 11am Dismissal (YMCA closed after school)

-Killam Koala Spirit Day; show your Killam pride by wearing your Killam gear or class colors!

Thursday, November 28th-29th: No School for the Thanksgiving Break

Attendance Matters

At Killam, we strongly believe in the importance of regular attendance at school. Students are expected to attend school 180 days during the school year. Overall, most of our families do a great job of ensuring children are in school 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. During the month of November, some families received 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 process, please reach out to Ms. Leveque directly so we can set up a time to meet.

Cell Phones and Smartwatches

The Killam School policy for cell phones is that students do not use them at school. We know that many families provide their children with cell phones. Students who bring cell phones to school are expected to keep them in their backpacks. If a student has a cell phone out of their backpack during the school day, that phone is either held by the teacher or sent to the office and can be picked up at the end of the school day.

In keeping with this policy, if students have watches that are also phones (for instance Apple watches), those watches must be in the child's backpack during the school day and may not be used in school. This includes watches that take pictures and produce sounds. The watches are particularly disruptive during the school day when students have them making noises while a teacher is teaching. Students cannot be taking pictures with them especially due to the number of children without permission for photos to be taken. Please remember that backpacks are stored in the hallway during the school day.

If you need to get a message regarding dismissal to your child, please call the office and we will get that information to your child. Additionally, if there is an emergency regarding your child at school we will contact you. Thank you for your cooperation on this and reach out with any questions to your child’s teacher or to me.


Killam 2018-2019 MCAS Presentation

We are pleased to share with you how our students did on the 2018-2019 MCAS. We are extremely proud of the results! The students showed perseverance and a strong knowledge-base that is a reflection of our high standard of teaching at Killam. It takes a village to show success and we are grateful for each and every member of our staff that supports our student.

To access the presentation, please click here. You can click on the screen to pause the presentation at any time. The presentation is also on the Killam website, under the Parent Tab on the top of the screen. If you have any questions regarding our overall Killam MCAS experience, please respond directly to Ms. Leveque. If you have specific questions related to your child, please reach out to your child's teacher.

News from the Health Office

Earlier this month, when we shifted the clocks to ‘fall back’ a common symptom for students in the Health Office was feeling tired. Though we gained an hour, the schedule change left many students feeling off.

Studies indicate that school-aged children need at least 9 hours of sleep daily; adequate sleep is essential for healthy brain and body function. I recently attended a workshop offered by Children’s Hospital on the topic of sleep and why it is important for children. I learned some benefits of sleep include:

  • Sleep helps your child focus
  • Memory and information retention are improved with adequate sleep; this also enhances the learning experience
  • Sleep helps the immune system fight off illness and improves school attendance
  • Sleep helps children stay engaged and involved with classwork and with classmates

Going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time every day has been shown to be the best way to achieve optimal sleep patterns. Other ways to ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep include:

  • Keeping the room dark and at a comfortable temperature
  • Always using the same bed if possible
  • Having them avoid caffeine consumption
  • Keeping all screens and other light emitting objects out of the bedroom

~Sharon Grottkau

PTO Corner

Gift Card Fundraising - $ for Killam while Shopping: Please consider supporting our school by purchasing gift cards through the Shop With Scrip Program. The retailers sell the gift cards at a discount, you pay face value and Killam receives the difference as revenue. Physical gift cards and ecards are available along with reloading options. This is a great way to support Killam with your everyday and holiday shopping. Physical cards are ordered in bulk and shipped in bulk to minimize shipping fees and maximize rebates. A full list of retailers and the rebate percentage can be found on the website, https://shop.shopwithscrip.com/Login. You can skip the login and click on SHOP to just browse. Killam’s enrollment code is D55318B4173L8

December order deadline for physical cards is Tuesday, December 10th

Please contact Kate DePalma at kate.w.depalma@gmail.com if you have any questions.Killam PTO thanks you for your support!

PTO Sponsored Scholastic Book Fair: We are so pleased to announce that we had a successful fall book fair. We want to thank our countless parent volunteers who helped make the fair such a success, particularly Kate McLeod and Christine Schneeberg who chaired the fair!

New in 2019 - 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.

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Killam Koalas Outdoors

As we appear to be entering winter chills, we want students to have a consistent outdoor experience between grades and classrooms. To support this, we have set guidelines for temperature/weather type when deciding morning drop-off and outdoor vs. indoor recess for all classrooms. Below are guidelines for morning drop-off and outdoor recess for ‘19-20 school year.

·Students will be outdoors if the temperature (including wind chill) is 20 degrees or warmer and it’s not raining, sleeting, hailing, or blizzarding. We use the WeatherBug app to check in throughout the day so feel free to check it from home!

-For indoor morning drop-offs: The timeframe remains the same as outdoor days. Supervision and doors open at 8:10am. Students in grades K-2 head to the gymnasium. Students in grades 3-5 head to the cafeteria. Students in half-day K always go directly to their classroom (same 8:05 arrival as outdoor days). At 8:15, students head to their classrooms.

· On questionable, cold days the office will make an announcement before the first recess announcing outdoor or indoor recess. If no announcement is made then it is outdoor recess. Again, please send your child with appropriate outdoor clothing because if the temperature rises to 20 or above during the day, we will head outside.

· If students want to play in snow they must be wearing snow pants, boots, jackets, and gloves/mittens. If students do not wish to play in the snow, they will remain on the blacktop.

· With a large amount of students out on the playground at each recess, we need to be extra vigilant about safety. There is no throwing of snowballs or ice. A reflection form will be used to re-teach and discuss the safety concerns if a student does not follow this rule.

· Label each article of clothing so that if something is misplaced, it can be returned to you as quickly as possible.

Please be aware that all students go outside when the weather meets these conditions. Additionally, please send your child to school wearing appropriate outdoor clothing for the weather. We highly encourage you to practice getting dressed in the snow gear as quickly as possible- make a game of it and time it! The expectation is, if you child is well enough to come to school, they are well enough to go outdoors.

Thanks for taking the time to remind students of the winter expectations. Snow play is beloved by many and we want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to safely enjoy their recess time during these months.

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.
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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, December 10th: A representative from the DESE (Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) is scheduled to present about the new Tiered Focused Monitoring (TFM) parent information plan.
  • Tuesday, January 14th
  • Tuesday, February 11th
  • Tuesday, March 10th
  • Tuesday, April 14th
  • Tuesday, May 12th

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. To that end, they will work to:

  1. Promote a network of parents of children with special needs, and provide a forum to share information;
  2. Advise the Director of Student Services, School Committee, and Superintendent on special education programs and policies, and parent and teacher training needs;
  3. Promote communication and sharing of information between SEPAC members, local, state and national organizations, councils and groups, as well as within the community to encourage understanding, acceptance and inclusion of students with special needs;
  4. Provide informational workshops to parents, educators, students and professionals.
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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!