JW Killam Principal's Corner

Ms. Leveque's Weekly Newsletter

From the Desk of Ms. Leveque

The Killam School was beautified this week with the generosity of time and materials from our Killam families! The front of the school and WOW center was spruced up with new flowers, mulch, and general cleanup. We are incredibly grateful to the PTO for their work keeping our school looking sharp. Below are a few pictures of our students and families helping to make the front of our building vibrant!

We have fully jumped into our learning and activities schedule this year. It's a wonderful sight to enter the classrooms and see the community of learners hard at work debating chemical reactions in Mrs. Palmieri's fifth grade and acting out a play as a form of retelling in Ms. Cannata's first grade. We want our students full of energy and well nourished as they dive into the academic tasks. Please make sure to send in a full water bottle each day so we can keep our students hydrated. This will help everyone stay cool and focused when at school.

On another note, thank you to the many responses regarding the interest in the Killam School Council. Christine Strack and Paula Smart will be the joining the Killam School Council as official members for the 2019-2021 school years. We look forward to productive conversations!


Ms. Leveque

TRRFCC Assembly Time- We Need Your Help!

As you may recall from the Back to School Curriculum Night Presentation, Ms. Leveque spoke about how the theme of this year is Choosing Joy! As a staff, we are invested in making sure our students get the best elementary education possible. We want to build a community of learners and engaged citizens who know how to work together, take risks, and see the joy in learning. At the end of last year, the staff proposed a change in our whole school assemblies and I gladly agreed to their proposal. While we will still hold a few whole school assemblies throughout the year, we will focus most of our monthly meetings on small group activities. The activities are teacher determined and will showcase a bit about our staff-- we will be leading lessons on what we LOVE to do! We'll have classes that range from square dancing to weaving. The staff have carefully planned the activities so there is a mix of grade levels all working together on building a student community that reaches beyond their classroom walls and that promotes our TRRFCC core values. We are thrilled to roll this out with the students!

If you are interested in our assembly schedule, it can be found on the PTO page of the Killam website. Wear class colors on these days!

We do need your help! We are in need of supplies for our TRRFCC classes. If you are able to donate supplies, please send them in with your child in a bag marked with the teacher's name that is noted on the Killam Homepage, "TRRFCC Time Supply Wish List" document. This will help us get the materials into the correct hands. Every little bit helps and these supplies should take us through the school year! Thank you in advance for taking care of our students and helping us promote the joy in our learning!

Important Killam Dates

Sundown Sunday, September 29th-Tuesday, October 1st: Rosh Hashanah

Monday, September 30th: First Whole School Assembly. Wear TRRFCC class colors!

Thursday, October 3rd: PTO Planning Meeting -- Halloween Bash and holidays, 7-8pm in the Killam Cafeteria. All are welcome!

Monday, October 7th: PTO Sponsored Walk/Bike to School Day

Killam School Council, 3-4 pm in the Conference Room

Wednesday, October 9th: Yom Kippur

Thursday, October 10th: PTO Sponsored Dine Out -- Fuddrucker's Family Night

PTO Corner

This week we had our annual Fall Day of Service beautifying our school - thanks to everyone who donated plants, materials, and their time, and thanks to Lee Faris and Christie Proctor for organizing a great event!

Be on the lookout for a yellow Box Tops flier in your child’s folder this week. Box Tops are going digital. If you still have actual physical clipped Box Tops, we will be having a collection this month - see flier for details. For information about the new digital program, please visit


Last week the PTO had our first public presentation-format meeting of the year. The subject was Mindfulness in our schools and we had a great turnout! The next presentation on cyber security and safety for families will be in November. Next week, on Thursday October 3 at 7pm, the PTO will have a meeting at Killam to discuss Halloween and the upcoming winter holidays. Please come and share your ideas. We are hoping to keep this meeting short, so no childcare will be provided.

Finally, the PTO has designed new Killam spirit gear for adults and children alike! Please visit our Killam Gear campaign page at

https://www.customink.com/fundraising/jwkillam and show your school spirit while also raising some money for the PTO to continue to provide enrichments, materials, and technology for our school and our kids.

Understanding Disabilities Update

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The weather is (hopefully soon) going to cool down, the leaves are changing, and once again October brings the start of Understanding Disabilities curriculum in Reading elementary schools!

In October, we begin with the very first lesson our students see from UD - Food Allergies in the first grade. For this lesson, which is one of our shortest, we introduce students to Understanding Disabilities as well as teach the first graders about Food Allergies. Although we have no volunteer parent assistants in these lessons, we still have some hands-on learning and plenty of fun. During this lesson the children learn the importance of hand-washing, how to help a friend experiencing an allergic reaction, and most important, that we are all the same inside. For additional resources and some at-home activities, please visit our website at http://www.understandingdisabilities.org/food-allergies/.

If you would like to volunteer with Understanding Disabilities, either in the classroom as a lesson leader (we provide training) or a parent assistant, or if you would like to join our board, please contact us at info@understandingdisabilities.org.

Stay tuned to our website for upcoming events, like our inaugural fall family portrait fundraiser coming up soon!

MCAS Results

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has released district and school level accountability and performance results for the MCAS 2019. Click here to download the Assistant Superintendent's report on Reading Public Schools. I am reviewing these results and planning Killam's next steps related to this information. I will share a report on this with the school community in the coming weeks.

2020-2021 Kindergarten Registration

Attention Reading Families: If you have a child born between September 1, 2014 and August 31, 2015, we are looking for you. The registration process for the 2020-21 school year will begin soon.

Please contact Linda Engelson by phone (781 944-5800) or email (linda.engelson@reading.k12.ma.us) if you have any questions or would like to be sure your child is on our preliminary list. If emailing, please provide your child’s name, date of birth and address.

Killam Lunch Update

Our new cafeteria staff have done an outstanding job getting our cafeteria fully up and running! This week, we are transitioning to a full lunch menu. The daily lunch options for this year are as follows:
Students: hot lunch special, pretzel, bagel, sun butter and fluff sandwich, and sun butter and jelly sandwich.

Reading Public Schools Religious Holiday Accommodations -- from Dr. Doherty

Over the next week, there will be teachers, students, and their families who will be celebrating and observing two major religious Jewish holidays where they will be missing school. During this time, families will be attending temple services and gathering with families during the evening hours. The full School Committee Policy, IMDA and the implementation regulations, IMDA-R are found here.

For planning purposes, the following upcoming holidays are recognized by the Reading Public Schools as major religious holidays:

Rosh Hashanah: Begins at sundown on Sunday, September 29th and ends at sundown on Tuesday, October 1st.

Yom Kippur: Begins at sundown on Tuesday, October 8th and ends at sundown on Wednesday, October 9th.

State and federal laws require schools to make reasonable accommodation to the religious needs of students in observance of holy days. With respect to students, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 151C, section 2B reads in relevant part as follows:

“Any student in an educational or vocational training institution...who is unable, because of his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study or work requirement which he may have missed because of such absence on any particular day….No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his availing himself of the provisions of this section.”

As a result, the following accommodations will be in place for ALL students on the following dates:
No assignments will be due for any student the day of or the day after the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur holidays. Therefore, there will be no assignments due in any classroom in the Reading Public Schools on September 30, October 1, October 2, 9 and 10.

No tests or quizzes will be scheduled on the days of Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. Therefore, there will be no tests or quizzes scheduled on September 30, October 1, and October 9.

No one-time events such as field trips, music performances, theatre plays and productions, auditions, and back to school functions will be scheduled on the days or eves of Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. Therefore, there will be no one-time events scheduled on September 29th (evening), September 30, October 1st, October 8th, and October 9th.

Absences on Religious Holidays

Parents and students (if age appropriate) are encouraged to notify the school in advance when their child will be not be attending school because of religious or ethnic observance.
Discrimination against any student, because of such individual’s religious/ethnic belief or practice, or any absence based on said belief or practice is prohibited.

1. Any pupil absent from school because of a religious holiday may not be deprived of any award or eligibility or opportunity to compete for any award because of such absence;

2. Students whose conscientious observance of a religious or ethnic holiday conflicts with participating in a school-scheduled event such as tryouts, athletic contests, theatricals, or concerts, will not be required to participate nor penalized for their non-participation;

3. Any absence because of religious or ethnic holiday must be recorded as an excused absence for religious observance in the school register or in any group or class attendance record.

4. Parents should follow the normal procedures when their child is going to be absent to observe the religious holiday and call the parent verification system at the school on the day of the absence or notify the school in advance by email, written note, or phone. If a child is to receive an excused absence for religious observance, the parent must indicate that information in the correspondence with the school.

Emergency Contact Forms are ONLINE

The RPS Pupil Information Card is located within your PlusPortal account. To review and update the form, login and locate the Forms Tab. As guardians fill these out, they update in both our PlusPortals and our Admin. Plus databases. This will be our database for the year. These are our emergency cards and how you will receive notices all year. Please fill these forms out and keep them up-to-date throughout the year. Paper emergency contact forms will NOT be going home.

CORI Forms

In order to volunteer for school activities (for example: chaperoning field trips, volunteering in school events like Halloween Bash or Field Day, volunteering in the library, classroom helper) you must have a current CORI (Criminal Offender Record Check) on file. CORIs are valid for three years and cannot travel between districts or locations. (For instance, if you have been CORI'd for your work it cannot transfer to Killam, you have to do a new CORI at Killam). They can travel between schools in the Reading Public Schools; if you have submitted a CORI form at Parker and are approved we can honor that at Killam. If you are new to the Reading Public Schools or had your last CORI completed three years ago, please come by the office and complete a CORI. You must have a valid government issued ID with you. The office is open for CORI checks from 7:30 to 3:30 each day.
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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!