JW Killam Principal's Corner

Ms. Leveque's Weekly Newsletter

From the Desk of Ms. Leveque

A lot has happened since my last communication on August 1st. On August 6th, the School Committee voted unanimously that the Reading Public Schools would begin the year in a hybrid model. Since then, the administrative team has been working around the clock to work through what this will look like for our elementary students. A big piece of the puzzle has been if our Killam families have chosen remote or hybrid for their students. Thank you to everyone who filled out the family survey, which closed yesterday.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has reduced the required number of days in school so that school districts can use additional days to prepare for their school models. This means that Reading Public Schools will not start classes until September 15th.

To provide you a reference for where we are in our thinking:

  • It is extremely likely that we have to start placement from scratch.
  • Our first priority is keeping families together.
  • We will consider family requests for learning pods to the best of our ability.
  • When placing students, we are looking at previous school experiences as part of our discussions.
  • As we are now working on the class placement process, I am not able to accept any additional requests for learning cohorts. Thank you for understanding.
  • As we are working through the data, we will do our best to get class placements and teacher information to families as quickly as possible. The earliest that I see this happening is the week of August 31st.

  • Brick and mortar school will look very different this year. It provides a chance for us to be innovative which is very exciting.
  • We are getting very creative with our schedules, how we use our spaces, and even how we are teaching content. Our structures and physical setup will be different than our traditional brick and mortar schooling.
  • We are in the process of hiring for any open positions at Killam.

As I learn more, I will continue to update our community with new information. Our school website will continue to be updated with information from the state, district and school as it becomes available. Follow this link to our webpage for more information.

As is true every summer, we have staff members who decide to say goodbye to Killam for various reasons. This year, Kate Splaine, one of our Therapeutic Support Program teachers, has been offered an exciting opportunity to teach executive functioning to students in another district and she will not be returning to Killam. We have been extremely fortunate to have Kate with us first as a paraeducator in the TSP and then transition to a teacher. She has been an incredible wealth of knowledge and support for our students, families, and teachers and she will be missed. We are currently working on hiring for her position.

Missing the Killam students and wishing a happy, healthy summer vacation!

Stay well,

Ms. Leveque

Ms. Leveque's Office Hours

To continue our conversations, I will be holding an office hour for parents this Thursday, 8/20 from 10:30-11:30 AM on Microsoft Teams. The link to access the office hours is as follows:

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

Please note that these office hours will be open to all families so you may be asking questions with others present. If you would prefer to setup an individual meeting with me, please email me at Sarah.Leveque@reading.k12.ma.us.

Incoming Kindergarten Families

K Structure

Over the last few weeks, we have been reviewing our schedules to see if we could have our full day and half day kindergarten students in both weeks of the hybrid model, similar to our RISE preschool program.

We are pleased to announce that once kindergarten screening has been completed the week of September 15th, our full day and half day students will be in person both weeks, Monday-Thursday, and Friday will be a half day of remote learning. Full day kindergarten will be in school from 8:25 a.m.-2:45 p.m. and half day kindergarten will be in school from 8:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Our full day program will be at all five elementary schools and our half day program will be at Killam and Joshua Eaton. The remote learning kindergarten option is available only as a half-day option; there is no full day remote option.

More details will be forthcoming about kindergarten screening and the schedule. Thank you for your patience and support and we look forward to seeing you soon!

K Family Information Session

We are very excited to welcome our new kindergartners to the Killam family. I will be hosting a family forum for Kindergarten parents/guardians on Tuesday, August 25th, at 8:00 p.m. This is an adult meeting for families to ask questions about the upcoming school year and Killam. I will also be providing information about kindergarten screening and class assignments. Incoming kindergarten families will receive an invitation for this event via email, so stay tuned!

Message from the Superintendent

  1. Fall Reopening Plan, Version 2.0- linked here, for your information, Version 2.0 of the Fall Reopening Plan. This is the plan that I submitted to DESE this morning, 8/14/2020. This plan has the following major additions/changes from Version 1.0.
    1. Updated Elementary and Middle School Schedules
    2. Additional Information on servicing EL students
    3. Updated phase in plan to reflect changes with kindergarten
    4. DESE metrics when determining change in phases
    5. Updated information on remote option
    6. Updated information on proper mask types

  1. Approved staff mask types- the following types of masks and face coverings will not be allowed due to its ineffectiveness. Recently, a research study was conducted from Duke University regarding the efficacy of different types of masks. What they found was that neck fleece, neck gaiters, bandanas, knitted masks, and masks with vents are not as effective as other cloth face coverings and medical face masks. Therefore, we are asking that those types of face coverings not be worn by staff. We will have a similar restriction when we open up school in a few weeks for students.

Resource from the Reading Health Office

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Lexia Over the Summer

If you would like to continue using Lexia, an online reading program, over the summer, note that the company is making a few changes. This this change only affects those who have Lexia downloaded to their desktop. The first time a family goes to the browser version, they will need to enter "teacher email" which is home@reading.k12.ma.us. After initial setup, they won't need to do that again. Student log in and passwords remain the same.

Click here to find out instructions from Lexia.

Resources for Talking with Children about Equity, Bias and Racism

Julia Hendrix and the Birch Meadow Elementary School have been at the forefront of leading the elementary charge to confront our biases, and work towards anti-racism. The Birch Meadow Staff has compiled the following resources for families on how to begin this process at home. The Killam staff thanks them for sharing this information and taking a stand. We stand together with members of the black and brown community.

Click here to access the resources.

Additionally, Sesame Street is hosting a “town hall” for kids and families this Saturday at 10am for kids and families and will discuss how to stand up to racism and embrace diversity. To learn more, go here: https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/02/us/cnn-sesame-street-standing-up-to-racism/index.html

PTO Corner

PTO Directory

Please register for the Killam School Directory (AtoZ Connect) today to get connected with your child’s future classmates, room parents, and to receive valuable PTO emails on school-wide events. When room parents send out class emails, their source of contact info is AtoZ Connect, so if your child is not registered up on there, you will be missing out on emails about in-class enrichments, celebrations, teacher gifts, Killam gear ordering, etc. You can download the AtoZ Connect App on a phone or go to AtoZConnect.com on a computer to join - it's super easy! Just click on "sign up" and search by the school zip code (01867), the select Killam from the list.

PTO Social Media

We also post info to Facebook at Killam School PTO, Reading MA, please join/like us! Please feel free to contact Jen Kane, our PTO secretary if you need help or have questions: jwksecretary@gmail.com.

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Update on Summer Food Program

The Reading Public Schools Food Services is offering Grab&Go meal kits containing a week of lunch and breakfast foods. Distribution of the meals happens every Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Meals are provided for anyone 21 years old or younger. No ID or proof of residency is required.

Additionally the Reading Public Schools is participating in the Farm to Table Fresh Program. Anyone can get a weekly, 20 pound box of fresh produce through this program. Pick up is at the same time as the Grab&Go Meals.

For information, you can email Danielle Collins at danielle.collins@reading.k12.ma.us. There is no registration required for this program, although if you send in your email you will get weekly reminders.

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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!