The Reading School Committee (SC) of Reading Public Schools (RPS) is meeting on Thursday December 14, 2023. The meeting is being held at 7pm at the Reading Memorial High School (RMHS) library and will be broadcast by RCTV and will be accessible via zoom.
Links to the agenda, packet, and ways to watch the meeting are posted below.
The packet is 119 pages long with the bulk being two presentations, one on the Northshore Consortium budget/facilities issue (p. 30-77) and the Early Literacy Screening presentation (p. 95-116).
Votes to be Taken
The meeting will open for votes to approve the collective bargaining agreements (covering 2024-2027) for the custodian union and the administrative secretary union. There will also be the usual votes to approve minutes, acceptance of donations, and field trips.
Northshore Education Consortium
(NEC) FACILITIES/BUDGET ISSUE (P. 30-77 of packet, including Annual Report beginning at p. 50)
The SC will hear about a facilities issue involving the NEC. As indicated on the memo at p. 30 of the packet, the NEC school needs an $11.5 million dollar HVAC renovation, to be funded via tuition increases to member communities (of which Reading is one), as well as a one-time assessment (which assessment would amount to about $32k for Reading).
Human Resources Update
This is the quarterly update on hiring and retention for Reading Public Schools, for the first 3 months of the 2023-2024 school year. The slides show the typical data provided in this update, including headcounts for hiring, terminations, resignations, leaves of absence, and the like., including some comparative data over the past 4 years. The slide on p. 85 may be of interest to parents, as it shows data, for teachers and paras, the average daily absences, average daily subs, and average fill rate, since the September start of the school year. This data is compared with the past two years, as well. For example, the average daily absences for 21-22 for teachers and paras was 24 in September of 21, with an average fill rate of 33%. In comparison, in September of 2023, the average daily absences were 34 but the average fill rate was 45%. This pattern is true for each of the months in the third quarter as compared to 2021-22 – the number if absences is higher, but so is the fill rate.
This is the quarterly update on the state of each of the 5 RPS cost center budgets (Administration, General Education, Special Education, Districtwide Programs, and School Facilities) for the first quarter of the 2023-2024 school year (running from July-September). In addition, this report covers the status and amount of grants that RPS receives, as well as the balances in the school-based revolving accounts. Typically, this report can show if any cost centers are trending high or low compared to expected budget values, to allow the SC to vote for transfers between cost centers, if needed. Based on the report in the packet, at the end of Q1, there are no recommended budget transfers needed to reallocate funds to cover expenditures
Early Literacy Screening
PRESENTATION AND UPDATE (p. 95-116 of the packet)
This presentation is the 2nd in a series of three presentations being given to the SC on early literacy. October’s presentation had covered an overview of the start of the year K-2 implementation as well as the implementation plan for the ARC Core curriculum. Tonight’s presentation is slated to cover the early literacy screening process and the associated literacy intervention plan. The presentation will explain how the screening works, how results are communicated, and what is included in the initial interventions that might result, if a need is shown based on the screening. Students in grades 1-3 are screened in the fall (September or October), winter (January) and Spring (May). Kindergartners are screened in November and May.
Based on the screening, results as shown in the slide on p. 111, RPS takes one of three actions:
- For students deemed At or Above Benchmark –Classroom teachers provide core instruction which includes differentiated and targeted skill instruction at student’s level.
- For students deemed Below Benchmark — Tutors (and literacy specialists, as schedule permits) provide targeted support within the classroom matched to skills gaps. Students scoring at this risk level are progress monitored monthly.
- For students deemed Well Below Benchmark — Literacy Specialists provide targeted pull-out support matched to skills gaps. Pull-out groups are formed based on student need according to subtest data. These students are progress monitored every two weeks.
The presentation also discusses what actions are taken if students are not making progress towards a benchmark.
HOW TO WATCH THIS MEETING
The RCTV YouTube live stream link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoFDZ5AwLWA
You can also watch via Xfinity channel 6 (“local 3”) or Verizon channel 32.