School Committee Recognizes Teacher and Staff Milestones

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Reading, MA — Superintendent Thomas Milaschewski led the School Committee in recognizing various teacher and staff milestones on Thursday, including those retiring at the school year’s end. “One of the hallmarks of our school district are our incredible teachers,” Milachewski stated. Teachers from across the district were recognized for reaching professional status. Twenty-nine were recognized for ten years of service, along with twelve recognized for twenty years of service in the Reading Public Schools. In addition, fourteen retirements were celebrated as well.

Milestones 10 YEARSMilestones 20 YEARS
Raymond Albright, RMHSLisa Baker, Wood End School
Meghan Antell, Killam SchoolSarah Doane, Coolidge Middle School
Jessica Bailey, RMHSLisa Finigan, Wood End School
Erica Boran, KillamSchoolSarah Lentz, Barrows School
Kelley Bostwick, Joshua Eaton SchoolMarlene Lifshin, Coolidge Middle School
Sarah Cestrone, RMHSMichael Maday, Coolidge Middle School
Kristine Chuha, Killam SchoolPaul Morrissey, RMHS
Jennifer Delaney, Birch Meadow SchoolAnne Nelson, RMHS
Jill Dimare, Barrows SchoolKarin Rando, Birch Meadow School
Keri Dinapoli, Wood End SchoolLisa Treacy, Killam School
Kathy Drummey, RMHSLaura Warren, Coolidge Middle School
Jessica Duffy, Birch Meadow SchoolMarianna Zanni, Coolidge Middle School
Sandra Emery, Joshua Eaton School
Deborah Forestell, Barrows School
Kevin Gerstner, School FacilitiesRetirements
Lauren Gramolini, Killam SchoolMary Anne Cuscuna, Coolidge Middle School
Kylie Kane, RMHSJeanne Duran, Parker Middle School
Heather Leonard, DistrictMaurice Hillis, RMHS
Ken Mahoney, School FacilitiesLucille Kaloyanides, Killam School
Katherine Mahoney, Wood End SchoolBarbara King, Killam School
Dino Masotta, School FacilitiesMarlene Lifshin, Coolidge Middle School
Tanya McSorley, RMHSShelley Lynch, RMHS
Karen Mungenast, Coolidge Middle SchoolWilliam Macindewar, Parker Middle School
Alice Gomez Salemi, Killam SchoolRobert Mooney, RMHS
Andrew Strutt, TechnologyBrigid Rodin, Parker Middle School
Tracey Tomkins, RISE PreschoolChristine Rose, Barrows School
Benjamin Trites, School FacilitiesAmy Swenbeck-Fedele, RMHS
Eileen Wilkes, RISE PreschoolSelma Walsh, Coolidge Middle School
Lynna Williams, RMHSLaura Warren, Coolidge Middle School

Milaschewski reported having received over 100 nominations for Distinguished Teacher Awards. He credited the number of teachers nominated to the overall impact teachers in the district are making in students’ lives. The teachers receiving the reward are:

Distinguished Teaching Awards:

Joyce Camemker, RISE Preschool
Jerald Coyne, Coolidge Middle School
Leah Cristy, Parker Middle School
Jaclyn Gargano, Barrows Elementary School
Tara Herlihy, Coolidge Middle School
Steven Kennedy, RMHS
Miriam Lewis, Joshua Eaton Elementary School
Arielle Mucha, Birch Meadow Elementary School
Helen Palmieri, Killam Elementary School
Charles Strout Reading Memorial High School
Elmy Trevejo Joshua Eaton Elementary School 
Dianne Tzovaras Wood End Elementary School

Distinguished Staff Awards:

Diane Feely, Parker Middle School
Lisa Finigan, Wood End Elementary School
Denise Iozzo, Killam Elementary School
Shayla Leary
 Barrows Elementary School
Benjamin Trites, Coolidge Middle School

The School Committee also received an update from the Reading Robockets robotics team. In addition to planning, developing, and building a robot for competition, the team is responsible for raising $30,000 in costs each year. It does so through a combination of grants and fundraisers. Over eighty percent of those who participate in the program their senior year go on to study STEM fields in college and go on to employment at places like NASA and SpaceX.

Director of Academic Achievement Jessica Callanan reported on the work and accomplishments of the Instructional Leadership Team at Reading Memorial High School in the past year. These include feedback systems, student internships, math pathways work, and dual-enrollment classes. Each department listed highlights from the past year, such as student-published articles in the online newspaper, reinstatement of the art show, enhanced history department offerings, participation in a unified basketball team, and the Seal of Biliteracy program.

STEM Coordinator Heather Leonard and RMHS teacher Allyson Williams reported on the work being done in the Math Pathways project. After detailing the process for collecting data, Leonard reported that there are areas that need examination, including the impact of middle school course placement on advanced coursework availability in high school, advanced coursework enrollment not reflecting school demographics, and limited advanced options at the high school.

School Committee member Erin Gaffen asked if this work would soon lead to significant changes in certain procedures. While Williams expressed hesitancy towards the term “significant,” Leonard responded that staged shifts in the processes could be expected in the future. Member Thomas Wise added that some of these issues had been noted as far back as ten years, and he hoped that they could be addressed soon. 

“These are . . . things that are not working right now,” Milaschewski agreed. “There is an urgency to doing these things.” Chair Shawn Brandt concluded the discussion, reinforcing the urgency with those present.

Having completed a thorough review of the RISE preschool program, Director of Student Services Jennifer Stys and Special Education Coordinator Allison Wright presented their recommendations to the committee, some of which have already been enacted. These recommendations include hiring a team chair to work alongside the program director, improving the application and screening process, better communication both internally and with parents, alignment with kindergarten curriculum, and configuration of the program to meet family needs better. “No one wants an afternoon class two days a week,” Stys offered.

Director of Finance Susan Bottan shared that she projects that the budget will have a $285,000 balance at the end of the fiscal year. This is in alignment with what she has reported all year in her reports. The committee will have to vote on whether or not to include any of that balance into a newly adopted special needs revolving fund. Bottan also shared that the committee will vote at its next meeting on how to use $740,000 from the special education cost center, which will not be needed due to three unallocated out-of-district tuitions. 

The committee voted 6-0 to enter into contracts with outside vendors for enrichment programs in the extended day program for next year. This will allow the district to enroll all 200 of the students currently on the waiting list into the program. The additional revenue will cover most of the cost of the vendors. The remainder of the cost will be funded through the extended day revolving fund. Bottan noted that this would be sustainable for two years. Both Wise and Brandt encouraged the team to consider how this enhancement will be funded beyond the two years, possibly including looking into raising rates for the program.

The committee tabled planned discussions on multiple policy amendments to its June 22 meeting and adjourned at 10:50 pm.

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