Wood End Wildcat News
March 21, 2021 ~ Cohort A In-Person This Week
Dear Wood End Families,
We have been very busy this weekend preparing our school for the April 5th return to in-person learning. Our furniture has been moved back into classrooms and appropriately placed for 3' of social distancing, everything has been cleaned and sanitized, schedules have been rewritten, and additional learning materials are being ordered. We have a lot to do to prepare, but we will be ready to welcome our students!
Teachers also need time to set up their classrooms and prepare lessons. As I mentioned in an email sent to all families last week, we are using some of our Friday time for this work. Over the next few weeks, teachers will continue to teach though some asynchronous lessons will also be provided. As a reminder, this Friday is a professional development day for all staff and there will be no school for students. The following Friday, April 2nd will consist of live teaching for students until 10:00 followed by asynchronous work for students until 11:00. Our students who are in-person on Fridays will remain in school until 11:00.
Some folks have asked about arrival and dismissal. With the warmer weather here, I would encourage any family who wants to walk their child to/from school to do so. I have no concerns with families bringing children to school and picking them up if they prefer walking over the placard line. Of course, if you use the placard line, remember to stay in your cars and we will make sure your child gets in/out safely. We simply ask that once you pick up/drop off, families leave the school grounds to prevent social crowds from gathering. We still need to maintain safe distancing.
We will continue to send updates as new information becomes available.
Enjoy this beautiful first week of spring!
Statement from Reading Public School Principals
After learning about the unspeakable tragedies in Georgia this past week, the principals wanted to reach out to our families to express our care for and support of all those of Asian descent in our community. Our hearts go out to those who are impacted by this tragic and horrific event.
Dear Family Community of the Reading Public Schools,
Over the past year, there has been a state and national increase in harassment and violence against Asian Americans. As school leaders in Reading, we feel the need to address this on behalf of our students.
In Reading, we can feel protected from these state and national trends and don't notice them until they impact our community directly. It's important to consider that Reading residents of Asian ancestry and heritage are impacted emotionally by these events regardless of whether we see hate crimes against Asian American residents in our town. President Biden made the following statement about violence against Asian Americans in his address marking Lunar New Year, "It's simply wrong. It's a stain on our national character. Every person, no matter their race, background, religion, or language they speak deserves to be treated with dignity and respect."
As we continue our work to create an anti-racist and equitable learning community at each of our schools we will address anti-Asian sentiments and actions with education around facts, civic responsibility and social justice.
If you are looking for information about Asian Americans in Massachusetts, you can follow this link to the Commonwealth's Asian American Commission. The website has a wealth of resources and information about the diversity of Asian Americans in Massachusetts, including many resources for Asian American Pacific Islander Month in May.
Meanwhile, if you have concerns or questions about the support of our Asian American students in the Reading Public Schools, please feel free to contact your building principal.
Structure was built in woods adjacent to upper playground.
Campfire was built around this now scorched tree.
Lighter, matches and aerosol cans found on ground.
Keeping Our School Safe
Girls On the Run!
Thursday, March 25th at 6:30 p.m. and Friday, March 26th at 7:30 p.m.
Parker Middle School is proud to present their live stream production of The Jungle Book!
One of literature's most enduring classics is brought vividly to the stage in this exciting adventure. Interspersed with the classic Mowgli tale is the equally intriguing story of a young Rudyard Kipling, who is sent from his home in Bombay to a British boarding school where he encounters his own "jungle," including people—both good and otherwise—who parallel many of the animal characters he created. Filled with excitement and humor, the play highlights the struggle of good versus evil, the worth of friendship, and the importance of loyalty and other values required for surviving the "law of the jungle."
Performances of The Jungle Book will be performed on Thursday, March 25th at 6:30pm and Friday, March 26th at 7:30pm.
Tickets are $10 per viewer and can be purchased at: https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/46795
Notes from the Nurse
The pooled testing for this month has been a helpful measure to identify any positive cases. Fortunately, those tested at Wood End had negative results. We will continue with this mitigation strategy to reduce COVID exposure among students and staff. Please note that if you don't hear from me on Thursdays, it means your child's test group was negative. We will only contact you if there was a positive test, or inconclusive results.
As we prepare to return to full in-person learning:
- Please continue to check in with a doctor or get a Covid test if your child has ANY symptoms of illness.
- Many children with Covid have shown only mild head cold symptoms, and often a test is the only way to distinguish the virus.
- Many pediatricians have recommendations for testing sites and results are now coming in faster (usually within 24 hours).
We are very excited to see our students in person and the arrival of the warmer spring weather. Thank you for your continued efforts with masks and screening your kids for illness symptoms before they arrive at school. Please contact our School Nurse, Kristen Agami, with any health questions or concerns.
Is 3 feet of social distancing really safe?
A recent study of Massachusetts schools compared infection rates of staff and students of 3 feet versus 6 feet physical distancing. The results indicated that Among 251 eligible school districts, 537,336 students, and 99,390 staff attended in-person instruction during the 16-week study period, representing 6,400,175 student learning weeks and 1,342,574 staff learning weeks. Student case rates were similar in the 242 districts with ≥3 feet versus ≥6 feet of physical distancing between students (IRR, 0.891, 95% CI, 0.594-1.335); results were similar after adjusting for community incidence (adjusted IRR, 0.904, 95% CI, 0.616-1.325). Cases among school staff in districts with ≥3 feet versus ≥6 feet of physical distancing were also similar (IRR, 1.015, 95% CI, 0.754-1.365).
The conclusion of this study indicates that lower physical distancing policies can be adopted in school settings with masking mandates without negatively impacting student or staff safety.
Are You Interested in a Big Buddy?
We are looking to start a tutoring program at local elementary schools similar to the Study Buddies club that takes place at the library, except centered more around individual elementary students. If you are interested, please fill out our survey HERE and we will provide more information.
5th Grade Celebration Planning
If you would like to offer a helping hand, please reach out the committee members below.
5th Grade Middle School Transition Night
Save the date! March 29 at 6:30 pm - Middle School Transition Night for Grade 5 Families
The Parker and Coolidge Middle School principals will host informational Zoom meetings for students and their families to hear about the transition and what middle school is like. Zoom links will be sent out prior to March 29. Stay tuned!
1st Days School Supplies for 2021-22
We have been working with 1st Days School Supplies to once again create grade-level supply kits for next year! By ordering through this vendor, families are able to do their back to school shopping risk free from the comfort and safety of their own home. Get the exact supplies our teachers are requesting without the hassle and aggravation of shopping at big box retailers.
To order supplies, click HERE and you're ready to go! This link will be open until June so order when it's convenient for you.
Emails from 1st Day School Supplies with this link were also sent directly to all families who purchased a kit in prior years.
Calareso's Fundraiser March 15 - April 5
PTO Updates & Upcoming Meetings
Ball in the House
On May 10th, the PTO is bringing this talented totally vocal group to Wood End for a virtual enrichment program that is sure to entertain all our students, K-5. Through contemporary and classic songs as well as original works, Ball in the House will help our students learn more about teamwork, harmony, rhythm and the history of acapella. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the performance date!
Boston Symphony Orchestra Field Trip
Thanks to the generous support of our PTO, students in Grades 4 & 5 will be attending (virtually) the BSO Youth Concert with Germeshausen Youth and Family Concerts Conductor, Thomas Wilkins, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra! Teachers have been provided access to the program as well as supplemental materials and lesson plans to enhance our students' experience. Be sure to ask your child about this amazing opportunity.
Upcoming Meetings for Spring
We have scheduled the last of our PTO meetings for this school year and hope you can join us. All meetings will take place on Zoom and begin at 7:30 p.m. Links to our general meetings will be sent to all families and we encourage you to come and bring a friend!
- Board Meeting: Wednesday, April 7th 8-9pm (note time change)
- May General PTO Meeting: Wednesday, May 5th at 7:30 p.m.
- June Elections/General PTO Meeting: Wednesday, June 9th at 7:30 p.m.
If you are interested in filling any of the open vacancies, please reach out to Melissa Moran or Cristina Prior. We still need the following roles filled: President, Secretary, and 2 VP positions - Enrichment Coordinator and Events & Fundraising. Without folks taking on these roles, we cannot provide fieldtrips, school events, or support our students and school community the way we have done in the past. Please consider helping us out!
When you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to the PTO. Bookmark in your browser for every time you shop Amazon. Save this link as a shortcut on your phone desktop!
Be sure to use our school's Shutterfly & TinyPrints Storefront when ordering cards, photos, gifts, invitations, etc. Did you know that 8% of your purchase gets donated back to Wood End for our kids? Please feel free to share our storefront with family members and friends.
Stop and Shop A+ School Rewards
Once registered, Stop and Shop will donate to the school when you use your card and shop, sign up now! Go to: https://stopandshop.com/school-rewards/
Student Services Office Hours
As we move into the month of March, we wanted to share the Student Services Office Hours for the upcoming month. Please use the link to the DOODLE Poll to select a time to meet with us.
The purpose of Office Hours is to meet with the Director and Assistant Director of Student Services to ask questions, express concerns or to share personal experiences of your student. These are optional meetings and are not team meetings. We've enjoyed these opportunities and look forward to continuing connecting with families during office hours.
Prior to your scheduled time, a ZOOM link will be sent to you via email. Please be sure to include your email address when you sign up!
If you have any questions regarding Office Hours, please contact Allison Wright, Assistant Director of Student Services @ Allison.Wright@reading.k12.ma.us.
Office Hours for March 2021
- Monday 3/22 @ 10:30-11:30 am
- Wednesday 3/31 @ 9:00-10:00 am
Link to Doodle Poll to sign up for Office Hours
The SEPAC Community & Friends welcome your input and help to identify topics of high interest for future Special Education Parent Advisory Council presentations. Our goal is to build a stronger connection to not only the special education community and families, but the wider community as a whole. Learning together and building stronger relationships with all families creates a more accepting and informed community.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions for presentation topics by Friday, April 2nd. We look forward to hearing from you!
Connect with SEPAC by clicking these links:
- Join SEPAC's mailing list by emailing SEPACREADING@gmail.com
- Follow SEPAC on Facebook (please adjust settings so that you are sure to see our posts)
- Visit SEPAC’s website
The mission of the Reading Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) is to work for the understanding of, respect for, and support of, all children with special needs in the community.
If you have any technology issues with your student's laptop, please contact our IT department HELP DESK or by calling 781-670-2888.
MCAS Dates REVISED!
We have just been notified by Commissioner Riley that we are still taking MCAS this year, though the testing window has been moved to later in the spring, May 10-June 11. More information will be coming from the State, but the NEW testing schedule for Wood End (as of today!) is below:
- May 11 - English Language Arts - Grade 5
- May 12 - English Language Arts - Grade 4
- May 17 - English Language Arts - Grade 3
- May 18 - Mathematics - Grade 5
- May 19 - Mathematics - Grade 4
- May 26 - Mathematics - Grade 3
- May 27 - Science, Technology, Engineering - Grade 5
DESE is making adjustments to the number of sessions due to the shortened testing window. Please keep these testing windows in mind when scheduling appointments or other school absences for your child.
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!
Please be reminded of these amazing resources, if your family is in need:
- RPS Behavioral Health Resources linked here.
- Town of Reading: compiled resources linked here.
- RCASA and Mental Health Support linked here.
- St. Vincent de Paul linked here.
- Free & Reduced lunch access: sign up here.
- Reading Food Pantry linked here.
- Project Bread link here.
- Residential Financial Assistance (Rent/Mortgage) link here. (New resource! Check it out!)
23: School Pictures for Cohort A
26: Teacher In-Service: No school for students; Term 2 Report Cards sent to families
29: School Council Meeting via Zoom, 7:00-8:00 PM
31: School Pictures for Cohort B