128 students enrolled for Feb. Vacation Academy | Reading

By AL SYLVIA

READ – A pilot program, the February School Vacation Academy for Reading Public School Students has attracted 128 students, according to a report to the School Committee earlier this month by Assistant Superintendent of Schools Sarah Hardy.

The program, which is open to students in grades 3-12, runs from Tuesday, February 22 through Friday, February 25. Elementary school students study math and literacy from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and high school students study math and MCAS preparation in one of the two morning sessions in an effort to fill the gaps from last year’s COVID-disrupted learning resulting in lower MCAS scores.

The high school students will take an SAT preparation course.

In response to a question from school committee member Chuck Robinson, Hardy explained that all teachers will be Reading Public School staff, except for the SAT prep instructor who comes from a neighboring school system and specializes in the SAT prep course.

Reading public school staff will receive a $3,000 grant to encourage top staff to teach in the pilot program. A summer holiday program is planned.

Reports and meeting notes

In other reports, Hardy told the committee that the reading committee is divided into two subcommittees, one for professional development and the other for supporting our families.

Assistant Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services Jennifer Stys announced that the schools will co-host a virtual presentation to the public on eating disorders on Feb. 2 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM. The link to the presentation is available on their website. She added that their staff had attended a training session at Landmark School and that another would be held in the future. Also, the next SEPAC meeting was to be held on February 8.

Finance Committee member Maryann Manning asked where the money came from for the purchase of laptops that have just been handed over to all RMHS students. She said she couldn’t find a record of it and couldn’t find the purchase in the school budget.

Superintendent of Schools Tom Milaschewski, Hardy and Director of Finance and Operations Susan Bottan had no answer for her as it was not done under the current government whose employment began on July 1, 2021.

The school committee seemed unable to come up with an answer for Manning until some sort of response was provided by committee member Shawn Brandt, who seemed to recall discussing the purchase at a meeting in June 2021.

The schoolcom. will vote to approve their budget figure at their January 27 meeting. Commissioner Erin Gaffen expressed her thanks and appreciation to Bottan for all the work on the 2023 budget and the prompt handling of budget questions that referred Bottan as a “rock star.”

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