Wood End Wildcat News
August 30, 2020
Dear Wood End Families,
Well, we are gearing up for a very different "start" to the new school year. This is a time filled with worry, anxiety, stress, and frustration for many as we try to navigate the opening of schools. It is also an exciting time as we prepare to welcome our students back, either in-person or remotely. We likely have more questions than answers, but I will continue to provide you with as much information as possible to keep everyone updated, but not overwhelmed.
Beginning on Monday, August 31st through September 14th, the Wood End staff will begin planning and preparing for our students' return. With a very different model in place this year, everyone will be working together to build Google Classrooms and learn new technology, health & safety protocols, and new routines to keep students and staff safe. We have been very busy setting up "socially distanced" classrooms while also creating a student-friendly learning environment...not an easy balance!
We have finalized class lists and the cohort groups. Although this was not an easy challenge, we were able to keep all our siblings together and accommodate many requests for learning pods to support childcare needs. Once I have finalized the teacher assignments, I will send that information to families, hopefully by the end of next week. We are planning to set up a "teacher meet & greet" for each classroom so students have an opportunity to interact with their classroom teacher in-person during the week of September 15th. This will be a time for students to come into the building during scheduled times to see their classrooms, interact with teachers, and participate in some welcoming activities. Kindergarten screening will also begin during this week. More details will be coming soon.
I appreciate families taking the time to update the technology survey so we can plan accordingly for our students' needs. That information has been shared with our IT department who will be providing information to families about picking up laptops next week. In addition, we received clarification on the use of Chromebooks. Although the Reading Public Schools is not a Chromebook district, Chromebooks or any other laptop or tablet are very appropriate devices that can be used for remote learning. We do not recommend the use of phones as some of the features in phones are not compatible with our remote learning tools.
As we get ready for our students' return, families can help prepare children to come back to school safely by doing the following:
- Continue to work with your child on wearing a face mask properly. We know that face coverings are essential to decrease the spread of COVID. Students will have scheduled mask breaks throughout the day.
- Water fountains at Wood End have been shut down. We will have Poland Springs water dispensers located on each floor of the building. In addition, children may refill water bottles from the faucets in each classroom. Please send your child to school with a full water bottle every day that they can refill as needed.
- If you have a younger child, please work with them on opening their own snack and lunch containers, tying shoes, blowing noses, and putting on outer wear. We will not be able to support children with these activities as we have in the past.
I will continue to update you with more information as it becomes available. Feel free to reach out with any questions.
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 on 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 providing information about kindergarten screening which will begin September 15th. Incoming kindergarten families will receive an invitation for this event via email, so be on the lookout!
What Does a Remote School Day (RSD) Look Like?
All students at the ELEMENTARY LEVEL will follow a similar remote schedule. The expectations are as follows:
- Will begin at 8:15 am by logging into their RSD ZOOM or TEAMS link. During this time, teachers will take attendance and provide an opportunity for a daily announcement setting or videos that may vary from building to building.
- Each elementary teacher will post their RSD plans for the next remote week by the end of the day on Friday prior to the remote week.
- Following the morning announcements and check-in, all students K-5 will have a morning meeting with their entire RSD cohort that is led by their teacher.
- During the day, the RSD will be formed by synchronous (live) and asynchronous (pre-recorded) sessions, work assignments or other learning activities.
- The RSD schedule will somewhat mirror an in-person school day as is developmentally appropriate.
- Each day will end with a brief closing activity. The end time for full-day kindergarten remote learners and Grades 1-5 will be 2:45 and 11:30 for half-day kindergarten remote learners.
- Students are expected to attend all synchronous lesson schedules and small group sessions as assigned by their teacher. Families should reach out to teachers directly with any concerns.
- Friday will be a RSD for students in Full Day Kindergarten and grades 1-5. Half-Day Kindergarten students will not have school on Friday.
- Students will begin at 8:15 am by logging into their RSD ZOOM or TEAMS link. During this time, teachers will take attendance and provide an opportunity for a daily announcement setting or videos that may vary from building to building.
- Following the morning announcements and check-in, students will have a morning meeting with their entire RSD cohort that is led by their teacher.
- On Friday mornings from 8:15-11:00, the RSD will be formed by synchronous (live) and asynchronous (pre-recorded) sessions, work assignments or other learning activities.
- Friday’s remote learning will end at 11:00 a.m. each week and will not include a required closing activity.
*Please note this is subject to change.
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.
Are You Interested in School Council?
School Council is in need of a family member and teacher representative to join this important committee. The group meets regularly during the school year, and assists the building principal in reviewing the school budget, school improvement plan, and identifying the educational needs of the students attending our school.
If you’d like to learn more about the role you could play on School Council, please speak with one of our representatives. You can also learn more about our School Council and view our meeting minutes on our website. If you are interested in joining this group, please email email@example.com before August 31, 2020.
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!