Wood End Wildcat News

July 21, 2020

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Dear Wood End Families,

I hope you are enjoying a more peaceful and relaxing time now with friends and family. While this certainly is not a "normal summer" with family trips, celebrations, and destination vacations, I hope you are finding time for other summer fun that brings you joy. My family has spent time at the drive-in movies, playing board games, toasting s'mores, reading, and kayaking. If nothing else, this time has helped us slow down and enjoy the simpler things in life.

At Wood End, we are also planning and preparing for the start of the new school year. While we are not sure what that will look like for students, staff and families, we do know this year will be very different from anything we've done in the past. This does bring some stress for many with so many unanswered questions. I will try to provide new information as it becomes available and am happy to give you updates as things will inevitably change.

Over the past two weeks, a group of administrators and outside consultants toured Wood End to determine how many students and staff can be in each classroom while also following State guidelines. The information collected will help us figure out what furniture and equipment can also remain in the classrooms. Following all the guidelines for social distancing also means that we need to provide alternative spaces for eating lunch. We will not be able to have all students in a grade level eat in the cafe, so we will be using other spaces within the school. We will also follow any allergy restrictions related to lunches. We are exploring every option possible to allow for the safe return of students and staff, and will continue to provide details as they become available. Dr. Doherty recently sent a survey link to families asking for feedback about our return to school. Be sure to provide your feedback as it will help us in our planning. To access the family survey, click HERE.

Our custodial and facilities departments have been busy scrubbing and cleaning the inside of the school, while Mrs. Finigan has kept very busy ordering new supplies and curriculum materials. The DPW has done quite a bit of work on both the upper and lower playgrounds, installing all new mulch and repairing broken equipment. Our IT department has been imaging new laptops and updating our existing technology for both staff and students to ensure everyone has what is needed for any remote learning. It's been a busy summer so far!

With the current health crisis due to COVID-19 and so many unknowns about the fall, I met with the PTO Board in June and we have decided to cancel any school-wide events for the fall. As we move through the next few months and learn more from state and local officials about what will be allowed for larger gatherings, we will make decisions about community events taking place during the winter and spring. Events cancelled for the summer and fall include:

  • Summer visits for kindergartners and new students
  • Popsicles on the Playground for new families & kindergartners
  • PTO First Day of School Coffee Hour
  • Family Pizza & Field Night
  • Back-to-School Curriculum Night (we will provide a virtual option)
  • Halloween Monster Bash
  • Holiday Cookie Walk
  • Field trips

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.

As always, please reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

Wishing you a safe & happy summer,

Joanne King

Welcome Aboard to Our New Staff!

We are very excited to welcome some new colleagues to the Wood End team. They will be joining our very talented and dedicated teaching staff this fall. Please join me in welcoming Kristen Agami, Alison Begley, and Samantha Cacciola to our Wood End family.

Mrs. Agami, our new school nurse, completed her studies in nursing at the University of Pennsylvania before beginning her career at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. She has spent the past 21 years as a registered nurse at Children's Hospital in Boston and comes to us with a wide range of skills from her medical and surgical experiences. In addition, she has worked as a substitute school nurse in Reading for the past five years, so Mrs. Agami is familiar with some of our students and families. We are well-prepared for the upcoming health needs of our school community this fall. For a brief introduction from Mrs. Agami, click HERE.

Alison Begley is joining our Crossroads team as a special education teacher. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in communication sciences and disorders at Springfield College, and her Master of Arts degree in special education at St. Joseph's College in Connecticut. Miss Begley has been a special educator at ACCEPT Education Collaborative in Natick as well as an ABA therapist at the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) Autism Program in Connecticut. She currently holds her licenses in both special education Moderate Disabilities, PreK-8, and Speech-Language Pathology.

Samantha Cacciola is another wonderful addition to our Crossroads team. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and education at the University of Massachusetts and her Master of Arts degree in elementary education and special education at Lesley University. She currently holds her licenses in both Elementary Education, 1-6 and special education Moderate Disabilities, PreK-8. She has worked for the past four years as an instructional assistant in Burlington Public Schools, and prior to that, in Arlington Public Schools.

Update on Summer Food Programs

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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Google Classrooms Available Until July 31st

Just a reminder that our Google Classroom activities and lessons will remain available until July 31, 2020. Teachers are not available during the summer months, so if families continue to participate, you should not expect teacher feedback, check-ins, or technical support. After July 31st, all current Google Classrooms will be archived to allow teachers to begin preparing for the upcoming school year.

Additionally, we have some optional learning activities by grade level which may be found HERE. There are no expectations that families utilize these resources, but we are providing this information in response to several inquiries.

Resources for Addressing Race & Equity

As we all try to navigate this difficult time racial injustice, we hope to provide resources to help begin more open communication and dialogue. It is important to educate ourselves and our families on the meaning of these calls to action, and to take steps to make our communities better. Please find links to resources for families HERE that may help you shift your thinking, create dialogues with your children, and take steps to building a more supportive, equitable, and inclusive community for everyone.

Library Catalog Resources, Summer Reading and Specialists' Enrichment

The library catalog page has been updated to include some great resources for summer! From the Wood End homepage scroll to the bottom. You will see a tab for “Students.” The library catalog link is also there. We have added summer reading program links from both Barnes & Noble and Scholastic. There are also resource booklists for Black Lives Matter, Diversity and People of Color recommended titles.

We've also included links to all the teacher interviews hosted by Student Council and to the videos Wood End shared this fall for various all school events. Lastly, we know this has been a school year with a lot to manage and you may not have completed everything, so we included a link on the catalog to enrichment folders full of activities from your school specialists - Art, Music, Library and PE. These will be accessible all summer long, so feel free to check them out!

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RPL Summer Reading Program

Reading is… Reading Together! June 19 – August 22

We’re inviting the entire community to read together this summer! When we join together, we can make a big difference. Register online starting June 19 to be part of the fun! You will work as a team with other participants and log how much you’re reading. Then, thanks to the generous support of the Friends of the Reading Public Library, your reading time will turn into dollars that will be donated to a local charity. You can give back by reading! There is no age limit on this year’s program. We are all working together!

Every person, of all ages and abilities, can help make a difference by reading, listening, and completing special challenges. And…Reado is back. As you travel around Reading, keep your eyes open for Reado, the Reading Public Library children’s room parrot. He’s in on the fun this summer too! Find our more at www.readingpl.org or check out this video.

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Summer Reading for 5th Graders

The middle school librarians have created two resources for Middle School Summer Reading that may be helpful for our 5th grade students. The first is a website with all of the information about summer reading, how to access the titles electronic copies from the Reading Public Library, and some other reading resources. The second is a short video tutorial explaining how to use the website and it's resources. Check it out and get started on your summer reading!

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.

Options to Help Put Food on the Table

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and DESE have waived restrictions, so all children and teens in need of food during the COVID-19 health crisis are eligible to receive support.

Reading Food Pantry

The Reading Food Pantry is open and ready to help families in need. If you need food, please contact St. Vincent de Paul at 781-258-8767 and leave a voice mail message. They will return your call to set up services.

Project Bread

If you or someone you know is struggling to provide nutritious meals for the family, Project Bread can help. This is the only comprehensive statewide information and referral service in Massachusetts for people facing hunger. They can connect you to SNAP benefits and food resources in your local community, and help you navigate the application process. They also provide referrals to other programs such as WIC, school meals, housing, and utility assistance. For more information, call 1-800-645-8333 Monday through Friday, 8AM-7PM, and Saturday, 10AM-2PM.

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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!

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