Wood End Wildcat News

August 9, 2020

Dear Wood End Families,

I wanted to give you a couple of days to absorb all the information coming from Dr. Doherty before sending you more. As you know, the School Committee voted unanimously to approve the hybrid plan that was proposed for reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year. The full comprehensive plan can be found HERE. Dr. Doherty also sent a survey to all families so we could better identify the needs of our students before returning to school. We are asking all families to complete the survey, one for each child, no later than this Thursday, August 13th. We will be using the information provided by you to create cohorts, schedule special education services, identify transportation and technology needs, and assess meal planning.

We anticipate that students will be informed of their cohort assignments by late August. We appreciate your patience as we develop these groups. The student groups are defined as follows:

  • Full In-person: Students in the State recognized categories for students who may be at risk (high needs). Reading has also considered all students on an individual basis for placement in this category.
  • Cohort A or Cohort B: Students will be arranged into groups that they will stay with throughout the day for their in-school days. The results of the District survey will support these placements.

As you are also aware, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has reduced the required number of days in school from 180 to 170 days. Our current start date is now scheduled for Tuesday, September 15th. Some students will be starting on this day in person while others will be working remotely. Once the cohorts are created, I will reach out to every family so you know in which group your child has been placed.

I am also setting up some virtual WE community meetings this week to provide information and answer questions about the hybrid model that may be more specific to Wood End. I know many families are worried about the start of school, particularly as it relates to class assignments, staffing, student cohorts, and remote learning structures to name a few. I will try to provide as much information as possible to keep everyone updated. It's also helpful for me to hear your questions to be sure we have addressed concerns and considered our options as we finalize plans to reopen Wood End in the safest way possible. There are two ZOOM sessions available for Wood End families to attend this week. The link to each session will be emailed directly to families when the newsletter is sent, so if you choose to attend, just click on the link that works best for you.

  • Monday, August 10th at 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday, August 12th at 8:00 PM

With these ever-changing times during this pandemic, please reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

Stay safe & healthy,

Joanne King

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 (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, all students full-day K-5 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 (recorded sessions, work assignments or other learning activities)
  • Friday’s remote learning will end at 11:00 am 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 are being installed in all classrooms and high traffic areas throughout the district.

Neighborhood Learning Groups

I mentioned in last week's newsletter that some families in Reading are creating smaller learning groups for remote weeks when their children are not physically in school. Within these small groups, families are planning to share childcare and educational needs with friends and neighbors. This is a great way to support one another though certainly not an expectation, but if you are thinking of developing a learning group, please email me the names of students who would be participating together during the weeks of distance learning. I will do my best to accommodate the scheduling of cohorts. For logistical purposes, please keep your groups to 3 or 4 students, as I am not sure I can accommodate groups larger than that.
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Keep Kids Active at Home with BOKS!

The BOKS team has compiled some favorite activities that can be used at-home, with just one or a few kids, and minimal equipment. These resources are completely FREE and are available to families. Click HERE for the activities and lots of additional resources to keep your kids active during the summer including summer bootcamp, mindfulness, yoga, and a physical fitness calendar to help you plan out your activities. Have fun!

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 joanne.king@reading.k12.ma.us before August 31, 2020.

Welcome to Kindergarten!

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 Tuesday, August 25th, at 8:00 p.m. This is an adult meeting for families to ask questions about the upcoming school year and Wood End. 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!

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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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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