Wood End Wildcat News

December 6, 2020 ~ Week B In-Person

Hello Wood End Families,

I know the past couple of weeks have shown us that we are still in the midst of this pandemic that is wreaking havoc on all our lives. The number of cases both in Reading and Massachusetts are increasing, and COVID has impacted students, staff and families at Wood End. Many of us are feeling disheartened and the disruptions to our lives can at times feel unmanageable. At Wood End, we will continue to do everything we can to keep our students in school while also keeping everyone safe.

We still need your continued support as we all work together to follow all the recommended safety protocols. Wearing masks, maintaining social distance, proper hand hygiene, reporting symptoms, self-quarantining when advised, and reducing the number of people in close proximity are all key to reducing the spread of this virus.

Many of you may be traveling to see family or loved ones over the holidays. Remember, if you are traveling to a location out of state, you must either quarantine for 14 days upon return or have a COVID test. This link will take you to the Commonwealth's COVID 19 Travel Order site that includes a list of lower risk states. If you travel, please either quarantine upon return or have a PCR COVID test and send the negative results to our school nurse, Kristen Agami.

If you have questions about learning during any period of quarantine, or you are awaiting a test result, please contact me directly via email.

We truly appreciate all you are doing to support our students, remain calm, and work together to do the right thing during this most challenging time.

Enjoy this snowy weekend!

Dr. King

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Wildcat Family & Staff Holiday Traditions

Wood End continues to take over Instagram! Throughout the next few weeks, we will be highlighting ways our staff celebrate this time of year and some traditions that are special to us. If you and your family want to be highlighted on our page, share your photos! You could share a favorite dish, decoration, holiday countdown, story you read, and so much more. It’s so nice to see how we come together to keep traditions alive, even when we have to be apart.

If you are on Instagram or Twitter, you can post there and tag @woodendsch! You can also email us your photos and we will share. Send photos to Miss Norcross. We can't wait to share!

Thankful for book donations

Wood End is so grateful for the books that have been donated in efforts to help diversify our library collection. Over the last several years, we have been working to add more titles to our collection to better represent our students, community and the world around us. In light of current events starting last spring, the elementary schools in Town were contacted by several individuals who wanted to make a difference in our schools. Rachel McVie, a Reading RMHS alumni, contacted us about purchasing a few titles to support our collection. As Rachel talked to other Reading alumni friends, this donation grew. Rachel and her friends purchased more than 25 new titles for each school to add to our libraries. Rachel and her friends purchased the books from black-owned bookstores to help support these small businesses.

In addition to this kind donation, Reading Women’s League also donated several diverse titles with books geared toward different grade levels. We had another donor, Molly Craven, who helped organize a community effort. Molly was able to purchase 120 titles, allowing for an additional 25 new titles per school. We are very grateful for the generosity of all three groups! These books have been cataloged and are ready for checkout! Through their kindness, they’ve helped to not only educate our students, but to spread awareness and allow all of our students to see themselves in the books they read. We are so thankful!

Hour of Code is Coming!

Hour of Code is a celebration of computer science and computational thinking that has become a worldwide event. According to Code.org, “The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify coding, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities that have expanded to all sorts of community efforts.”

Wood End has participated the last several years, and all students in grades K-5 will participate throughout the month of December. Students will complete both plugged (coding activities using technology) and unplugged (no technology needed) activities during library time. We’ve already started to get ready! Kindergarten friends have learned about algorithms, a set of directions to be done in order. First graders learned what it means to code and practiced creating code sequences to program ourselves. Second and third graders read the story How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk. Ask them about our new vocabulary words: code, sequence, loop and if-then-else commands! We had fun trying these out on ourselves!

We are looking forward to using Hour of Code resources and games as well as IPAD apps and robots to code over the remainder of the month! Check out Code.org’s video to learn more!

What's for lunch?

As you all know, our lunch program is FREE for students this school year. All students may receive a healthy lunch at no cost. However, snacks, bottled water, and additional lunches are not free and families will be charged for those items. We have several students ordering an additional lunch or snack and we just want to be sure families are aware this is happening so you are not surprised if you are billed for these items. Please talk with your child, check your account, or contact Mrs. Finigan if you have any questions.

Mask-Up Reading

The Town of Reading asks residents to:

· Wear a mask or face covering whenever you are not at home or in your personal vehicle.

· Maintain social distancing, at least 6' from others.

· Observe the State's Stay-at-Home Advisory from 10PM – 5AM.

· Review the latest CDC Guidance.

· Get a flu shot.

· Talk about Covid precautions with household members, neighbors, friends, and colleagues.

· Stay home when you are experiencing symptoms.

· Don't hesitate to get a COVID-19 test (click here for testing sites).

If you have any questions, please contact our local Board of Health.

Special Education Office Hours

With the holidays upon us, we wanted to take a quick moment to thank all the families for their support and partnership during this most unusual school year. We hope that you all have a chance to relax, spend time with family and reenergize over the coming weeks!

As December is approaching, we wanted to share our office hours for the month of December. Jen Stys, Director of Student Services, and Allison Wright, Assistant Director of Student Services, are available for office hours on the following dates. Please sign up for an appointment through the link below.

December Office Hours:

  • Tuesday, December 8 @ 9-10 am
  • Wednesday, December 16 @ 2-3 pm
  • Monday, December 21 @ 12-1 pm

Link to the DOODLE Poll to sign up for office hours:


We are all thankful to be working in such a wonderful community. Happy Thanksgiving!


Jen Stys and Allison Wright

Updates From the PTO

We have several ways families can help with some easy "fundraisers" including...

Amazon Smile

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!

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/

If you are interested in running for Co-President, Treasurer, Enrichment Coordinator, Events & Fundraising Coordinator, or Secretary please email us as soon as possible and let us know! This would be the perfect year to "shadow" someone in that role and ease into some responsibilities.

Order your holiday cards and give back to Wood End

Be sure to use our school's Shutterfly & TinyPrints Storefront when ordering holiday cards, photos, gifts, invitations, etc this year. 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.

Winter is coming...dress for the weather!

This is a reminder that we have outdoor arrival and recess any day when the temperature is above 25 degrees and there is no precipitation (hail, sleet, freezing rain). Please be sure to send your child to school prepared for the outdoor weather wearing warm clothes including jackets, gloves/mittens, hats and boots. All children will go outside for recess throughout the winter months. If students want to play in the snow, they must be dressed appropriately with snow pants, jackets, boots and gloves/mittens. Welcome winter fun!

Laptops and Technology Help

As we have more cohorts coming back into school, it will be an expectation that any child who was provided with a loaner laptop will be bringing that laptop to school during in-person learning weeks, if the classroom teacher requests this. This will ensure we have enough devices for every student in the building. If you are asked to do this, please be sure laptops are transported securely in your child's backpack, away from any liquids that could spill.

If you have any technology issues with your student's laptop, please contact our IT department HELP DESK or by calling 781-670-2888.

Thank You for Your Donations!

We've been getting some wonderful donations for our little libraries! With the help of community members and our PTO, Wood End will be adding two libraries to our lovely outdoor space- one for students and one for adults. The hope is to inspire readers and develop our community. Research shows that being around adult readers and in spaces filled with texts, creates lifelong reading habits in younger students! For more information, please see the Little Free Library Website: https://littlefreelibrary.org/

The Wood End PTO is still running a book donation drive. We will have bins outside of Wood End each Friday during material pick up days. Please feel free to donate books, in good condition, that you are no longer interested in.

These books can include:

  • Fiction or nonfiction children’s books

  • Children’s chapter books

  • Adult fiction and nonfiction novels

Please refrain from donating:

  • Textbooks

  • Torn, dirty or worn down books

  • Guides (cooking, traveling, etc.)

  • Annotated books

Thank you for your support!

Join Our Next Meeting

Please join the SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) at our next business meeting on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 7:00 PM! New business to be discussed includes an update from the Director of Student Services, Dr. Jennifer Stys, regarding the special education program descriptions; a report from the SEPAC reading/literacy subcommittee; and a request for a SEPAC budget liaison volunteer regarding the Reading Public Schools FY 2021 Budget.

This meeting will be held virtually, via Microsoft Teams.

Join us for our next


on Tuesday, December 8th at 7 PM.

Meeting link: Click here to join the meeting

All are welcome and ENCOURAGED to attend!

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.

FAQs About COVID-19

What happens if my child is sent home sick from school?

Any child who is ill will be sent home and asked to follow up with their pediatrician. Children with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 will be tested at the doctor's recommendation.

If a student has COVID-19-like symptoms, they may return to school after they have tested negative for COVID-19, have improvement in symptoms, and have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications. If a provider makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may return to school based on recommendations for that alternative diagnosis (e.g., influenza or strep pharyngitis).

If a student presents with COVID-19-like symptoms and chooses not to be tested, they may return to school 10 days from the start of symptoms, as long as their symptoms have improved and they have been without fever for at least 24 hours prior to their return to school without the use of fever reducing medication.

If your child has been to the doctor, please provide a note when they return to school.

Where can I get myself/my child tested?

Here are local testing sites and information COVID-19 Testing

How can I prepare my child for testing?

Here is updated information about the COVID test?

Will schools be testing staff and students?

Not at this time. Anyone who is a close contact or is symptomatic should consult with their physician about testing. In the event of a cluster (or outbreak of cases) in the schools, in consultation with the Reading Board of Health, there may be surveillance testing for asymptomatic staff and students.

If a student in my child’s class tests positive will the class need to quarantine?

If a student tests positive, any close contacts of the child should also be tested and quarantined for 14 days. The rest of the class and teacher would only have to quarantine if the child tests positive, and if they had close contact with the student within 2 days prior to the positive test.

What is a close contact?

A close contact is anyone who has been within 6 feet of another individual for a period of at least 10-15 minutes. By wearing masks, we are hoping to decrease the transmission of the virus, however it is still considered an exposure.

If my child is a close contact of someone with COVID but they test negative, may they return to school?

All close contacts should be tested but must self-quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure to the person, regardless of test result.

What happens if I or my child test positive?

It is important to note that testing, combined with contact tracing and isolation, helps control the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. All test results, both positive and negative, are reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). When a person has a positive COVID-19 test, it is the local board of health or the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative that will reach out to provide support so that these individuals can remain safely in medical isolation. They will also ask for help to identify close contacts. These organizations will then reach out to the individual’s close contacts to provide important information that is aimed to stop the spread of the virus, including how to safely isolate/quarantine. While these organizations will provide support to further assist with contact tracing, the student/family and staff are asked to reach out to their personal contacts and notify the school.

What if my family member tests positive?

If you are a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you must also be tested and quarantine for 14 days after the last close contact.

Does Reading have a lot of cases?

Check here to get more information about our community

What if my family travels outside of Massachusetts?

Anyone traveling to a higher risk area must complete a travel form and quarantine for 14 days unless they have a negative test within 72 hours of return/entry.

See COVID-19 Travel Order for details.

Where can I get more health information?

Click here to access the Reading School Nurses Virtual Health Office

Massachusetts Deptartment of Public Health website

CDC website

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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!

Family Resources

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!)

Upcoming Events:


7: Term 2 begins

10: Hanukkah begins at sundown

18: Term 1 report cards released for students in grades 1-5

24-31: Holiday Recess

25: Christmas

26: Kwanzaa

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