JW Killam Principal's Corner

Ms. Leveque's Weekly Newsletter

From the Desk of Ms. Leveque

We continue to adhere to the guidelines and recommendations set by the State in keeping our schools closed. These past few weeks, our custodians thoroughly scrubbed and sanitized every room at Killam. They have been working tirelessly to help clean other schools in town as well, so please be sure to thank Mr. Ken the next time you see him. Our IT department has been working closely with all the building principals to identify students who do not have the technology needed to access the online activities we are posting. We will ensure every family that needs access will have access in the coming days. With 4,400 students in the district, we are working as quickly as possible to get everyone set up. Our facilities and technology specialists are much appreciated for their behind the scenes work during this closure!

As we move into this new phase of our elementary remote learning, you can expect to hear from your classroom teachers regarding what this looks like for your child. Our goal in moving to a platform, such as Google classrooms, is to provide a shared learning experience that is flexible and does not rely on emails, as you are all receiving many of those each day from many sources. For some of your students, this learning phase will not look much different. For others, this will be new. Additionally, we have heard from many that the amount of information about home learning and enrichment is overwhelming. Your teachers do not want to add to the stress in your world. If circumstances with your child and family do not allow for working on these school activities, please do not try to do them. We understand that your own routines and lives are disrupted now and may be disrupted in the future. For others, the amount of work feels like not enough. You're looking for more of a school experience in your child's day. This distance learning experience is new for every teacher at Killam School. Teachers are meeting frequently to plan enrichment and learning tasks. Furthermore, teachers and administrators at Killam School diligently are working to maintain and adapt our systems and protocols as this situation changes. We are doing this while we, too, are navigating an unexpected world in which our own lives have been upended. In the midst of this, they are working to provide Killam students with care, learning, and connection and we appreciate the support we are receiving in this task! We do know that we cannot replicate the school learning experience in this distance learning model, yet we are adjusting weekly as we move through this period of closure.

Thank you to our Killam PTO who is working behind the scenes to create a month of virtual Koala Spirit for our kids. We do not want to lose our powerful community connections during this challenging time. Each week, they will have a theme and some suggested activities for you to participate in. Choose one, two, five, whatever works for you and your family. Anyone who shares a photo, video, or post on the PTO Facebook page about what they've done, or shares via an email with jwkpresidents@gmail.com, will be entered into a weekly raffle for a $25 gift card to a local business here in Reading (for friends who live in Boston, if you win the PTO will happily purchase a gift card for your neighborhood!). Even if you don't win, next time you order food or something else, we encourage you when possible to shop local! They welcome suggestions for businesses you'd like us to contact for gift cards (email if you have ideas or suggestions - please stick to businesses in Reading).

Missing the Killam students,

Ms. Leveque

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Killam Remote Learning Communication Schedule

We want to be mindful of how overwhelming it can be to receive multiple emails a day. We hear you and are attempting to streamline the information for you. If information changes, we will update you.

Classroom teachers: Classroom teachers will communicate enrichment opportunities either on a daily basis or weekly basis, depending on the grade level team decision. In addition, you will receive check-ins to see if you need any clarification or support multiple times a week.

Special Education teachers: If your child receives special education services, an email with enrichment opportunities for your child will be sent on Tuesday. In addition, you will receive check-ins to see if you need any clarification or support multiple times a week.

Specialists (Library Media, Art, Music, and Gym): An email with enrichment opportunities for your child will be sent on Wednesday.

Principal's Weekly Newsletter: An email will be sent out on Friday and previous newsletters will continue to be posted on the Killam website.

Closure Information: Access to links and information will be posted on the Killam and RPS District websites.

Current K-4 Parent Placement Input Forms

To access the forms, click here.

Spring is the time of year when we begin planning for next year. Based on current events, we don’t know all the plans moving forward. We realize this year, the placement process will most likely look different. However, we still want to give the opportunity for families to provide input if they choose to do so. Student placement is a complex, collaborative process that the staff and administration take very seriously. We spend a great deal of time carefully thinking about the whole child while we create our classes for the next school year, and this will continue

In order to facilitate our placement process, we ask that you return your written comments on the form provided to your school’s office by Monday, April 27th. You have two options for returning this form:

● Print out the form and send it to your building principal at your child’s school address.

● Email the form directly to your building principal. (preferred method)

Important Killam Dates

-Monday, April 20th: Patriot's Day, No School

-Tuesday, April 21st - Wednesday, April 22nd: The Reading Public Schools will be virtually open for remote learning.

-Thursday, April 23rd-Friday, April 24th: The Reading Public Schools will be closed for April Break.

-Monday, April 27th: Current K-4 Parent Placement Input forms due

Out of abundance of caution for the COVID-19 virus, the Reading Public Schools to closed until May 4th. Buildings will be closed and teachers will not be working during this period of closure. We thank our custodial, facilities, and technology staff for their tireless work in our buildings during this period. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Doherty will communicate additional information. Take care and stay healthy.

Ergonomics and Visual Strain

During these school closures, you and our children are now spending even more time looking at screens: informational videos, e-books, and electronic resources being shared with our students, as well as TV, movies and video games. It is important to remember body positioning and ergonomics for optimal learning and attention to task, and to minimize body injury or fatigue. Click here for information from our Occupational Therapists.

Family Resources from the Reading Coalition

The Reading Coalition for Prevention & Support (formerly RCASA) has complied a resource guide with information that may be useful to parents and families in the district. The guide includes supports like tips on talking to children about the COVID-19 outbreak, tools for managing stress and anxiety during a crisis, guidance on how to access mental health and substance use disorder treatment, information on virtual AA/NA meetings and family support groups, and much more! The guide is being updated as the resources available change, so please check the document regularly. The resource guide can be found on the Reading Coalition website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. Please contact Samantha Salkin, Outreach Coordinator, Reading Coalition for Prevention & Support at ssalkin@ci.reading.ma.us with any questions.

Also, Operation Parent is hosting a webinar this Thursday April 2nd at 2PM on tools to help teenagers cope with anxiety during COVID-19. The webinar is free, but registration is required. The webinar description is below and you can register for the event here.

Food Resources in the Greater Boston Area and Reading

Free & Reduced Lunch Options

RPS will be offering grab & go meals for those Reading Public School students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. The meals will be available at the Reading Memorial High School Cafeteria from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, beginning on Monday, March 16th. If students would like to participate, they must sign up ahead of time by completing information on this link: https://forms.gle/pzyL2aQgUmfQ1RHs8

Project Bread

Project Bread has resources for families and individuals who need food assistance, including a directory of where to get food help. Click here to visit their website.

St. Vincent de Paul Society: They are available to support any families in need with food or other services. Please call 781-258-8767 to leave a message and you will receive a call back.

Reading Food Pantry: Schedule for the month of April shown below.

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Attention 5th Grade Families-- Middle School Transition Information

It is hard to believe that we are already preparing for transition to middle school! Although we are not ready to have the fifth graders leave us quite yet, they are sure to be ready for the big move come summer! Please click on the link below to access transition documents for both Coolidge and Parker including:

  • Welcome letters from each middle school principal

  • Parent input form due April 3 (please note these are different than the elementary input form)

    -If your child is attending Parker Middle School, please email the placement form to assistant principal Brendan Norton at Brendan.norton@reading.k12.ma.us.

    -If your child is attending Coolidge Middle School, please email the placement form to assistant principal Brie Karow at Brienne.karow@reading.k12.ma.us.

  • Important Transition Dates

  • Registration forms for "Welcome to Parker" and "Welcome to Coolidge" (in August)

  • Please note that the middle school transition meetings will be postponed until tentatively April 27th at 7:00 pm. Middle School Principals will be in touch as that date approaches to re-evaluate if necessary.

  • The Coolidge "Family Math and Science Night" on March 25th is also postponed for now.

Gr 5 to 6 Transition Information

Project Adventure: With sadness, we've had to cancel the 5th grade Project Adventure trips for May 4th and 5th. Due to the virus, Project Adventure has had to terminate almost their entire staff and close down their campus. We are working with them for refunds or potential later dates should they re-open, and I will keep you informed about that process.

PTO Corner

New in 2019-20 - 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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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!