The Reading School Committee (SC) will be meeting on Thursday August 11, 2022 at 7pm in the Reading Memorial High School (RMHS) Library. The meeting will be broadcast on RCTV’s YouTube channel, on Xfinity Ch 99, and on Verizon Ch 32.
The major topics tonight will be the Killam Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) MSBA proposal, the RPS Capital plan (new construction/repairs/purchases for the schools), and an overview of the Mass Dept of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) review of RPS, including its teaching, academics, and programs, which was conducted this past spring. I’ll include some details/comments below on these topics and selected images from the packet, including the agenda.
The packet for this meeting is here where you can see more details on the agenda items I list below. In particular:
–Killam MSBA proposal info is at pages 10-20
–The enrollment study related to the Killam MSBA proposal (which I believe has been a topic in a past meeting) is at pages 21-49
–The RPS Capital plan is pages 51-53
–The DESE review of RPS (conducted during Spring 2022) is at pages 53-124
–The RPS presentation summarizing the DESE review of RPS is at pages 125-135
They want a significantly bigger classroom footprint for the new Killam school, with: at least four classrooms per grade, including K (so that’s 24 rooms) , plus also an ELL room, a STEM/maker space, plus 12 special ed rooms, an art room, a music room, a practice room, a gym, a media center (library), a full service commercial kitchen, kitchen office, dining room (cafeteria), 3 room nurses office, 8 rooms for administration and guidance, an auditorium, a district-wide professional development space, and 6 other rooms/spaces, for “Reading Specialists, book closet, common area, 2 swing space classrooms”. Adding that up, I get 65 unique spaces, of which 40 (the classrooms, sped rooms, and rooms for specials like art) would have to be classroom sized.
But that is not all
As the proposal shows, especially on pages 18-19 of the packet, the proposal to MSBA is to move the entire RISE preschool into Killam, as well. (“The preschool program will be consolidated within the new Killam School. This will allow expansion of the program to 12 classrooms and 8 spaces which will function as treatment rooms, offices, and meeting spaces.”).
Add it all up and we have a building with 85 separate spaces! Sounds like it would be one of the largest spaces in the district apart from the high school. It would be sized to house the projected 464 Killam students in 2030, plus approx. 100 RISE students (based on current numbers).
I have included the slides from the capital plan mainly for FYI purposes – so that you can see how inflation has impacted the projected costs of many planned project that have already been listed in the town budget. However, one item jumped out at me which was $140k for a new RISE playground, budged for FY2026. If the plan is to consolidate RISE into Killam, it does not make sense (to me) to invest in a new playground unless the playground equipment can be moved to the new school. Hopefully that will be explained at the meeting.
DESE REVIEW of RPS:
There is a LOT of information to unpack here, and the RPS presentation may provide further explanations. I included a few summary score tables from grades K-12 (found at pages 108-111) to highlight a few low scoring areas that may need work – mostly, it appears we are doing well, but there are specific areas with low scores that appear to need improvement: language modeling K-3, concept development K-3, instructional dialogue gr. 6-8; Analysis and Inquiry, Quality of Feedback, and Instructional Dialogue, gr. 9-12.