Message: August 2017
The 2017-2018 school year is an exciting opportunity, as this will begin year three of the Reading School District Strategic Plan (2015-2020). The plan focuses on the following five areas: (1) safe schools, (2) academics, (3) communications/engagement, (4) finance/operational effectiveness, and (5) partnerships, thus providing high quality educational experiences to prepare our 18,000 students for graduation, workforce development, access to post graduate career training, as well as admission to two year and four year colleges/universities.
With the support of the Reading School Board of Directors, the school district will embark upon many new and sustainable initiatives focusing on safe schools, achievement, equity and access, such as implementing a key phase in the reorganization of the Reading Intermediate High School (RIHS). This will include establishing academic teams to create more cohesive, high quality learning environments; focusing on student safety by staggering bell schedules to create smooth transition times of students in-between classes; piloting a school-wide mentoring program to establish strong relationships between the students, staff and community; and the opening of the Red Knight Success Academy, which will include a smaller learning environment for students requiring intense academic support.
The successful Red Knight Learning Academy at Reading High School will undergo an expansion to provide more dropout prevention for non-traditional, credit recovery students through the Red Knight Accelerated Academy, which is an opportunity for the students to earn high school credits and job related experiences. Moreover, the addition of Reading School District’s Virtual Academy will open to address the needs of students (grades 6-12) who require blended learning experiences including cyber and face-to-face instruction in preparation for graduation.
At the elementary levels, the focus will remain on safe learning environments, quality instruction and the alignment of rigorous curriculum district-wide to promote high expectations, access and achievement for all students. This includes the expansion of programs for students requiring English Language Learning services and the reorganization of Special Education services, by increasing professional development for the staff and streamlining the efficiency and effectiveness of the process of supporting parents requesting services and students requiring services in the district K-12. Also, the curriculum areas of focus will be the implementation of a new Science Curriculum, while sustaining the curriculum work from previous years in the areas of Mathematics and English Language Arts instruction.
The district’s communication and engagement platforms have been recognized at the state and national levels by obtaining 25 awards last school year. The goal this school year is to continually expand our reach with the students, parents and community by providing easily accessible information on the district’s websites and social media outlets, community engagement activities, alumni outreach activities, and implementing year two of our Red Knight branding/marketing activities aligning with our motto “One Vision, All Students, One Reading.”
Finance and operational effectiveness remains as a paramount focal point, as the school district continues to present balanced budgets to address the complex needs of our facilities and the diversity of learning styles for our students. The district has invested finances in supporting greater coverage and effectiveness of technology throughout the school district so we can become a complete wireless environment to expand curriculum offerings for all students. This includes continually updating technology in the classroom and undergoing an expansive project throughout the City of Reading, including installing technology fibers underground to expedite the connection speeds in the classroom and access for instruction materials in the classroom to support high quality instruction.
As the “R” continues to forge forward with the aforementioned activities, the goal will remain to energize our school district partners to further support the students, parents, staff and community. This includes further strengthening relationships with our area colleges and universities (Reading Area Community College, Alvernia University, Albright College, Penn State Berks, Kutztown University), to provide scholarship opportunities for students, access to information for parents and enhanced professional development opportunities for the staff (professional, support, administrative). Moreover, greater attention and activities will revolve around remaining steadfast on our business community to continually align academic activities to the needs of the local workforce and obtaining internship activities and promoting the needs of the local partners to work ready graduates of the Reading School District.
As the 2017-2018 school years commences, there are infinite possibilities of success and continual improvement. Hence, our work as a district (K-12) will continue to develop with great urgency, as we work together to achieve the overarching goal of providing all children with quality educational experiences.
One Vision. All Students. One Reading.