Welcome to Reading School District
Our District Profile
Reading, Pennsylvania is a mid-sized city known for its history and its diversity. The city was laid out by Thomas and Richard Penn, the sons of William Penn. Reading grew to become known for the growth of its iron industry and as a railroad and transportation hub.
According to the latest American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the US Census Bureau in 2020, the city's population of 95,097 residents comprises 20.4% White (not Hispanic), 13.3% African-American, 1.2% American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.1% Asian, and 16.6% from two or more races. More than two thirds (67%) of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino (of any race), with 33.5% specifically identifying as Puerto Rican, marking one of the highest percentages of Puerto Rican residents among Pennsylvania municipalities.
As with many urban areas, Reading faces significant challenges that affect the daily lives of its students. One of the most pressing issues is poverty, with the 2020 U.S. Census ACS 5-year poverty rate reported at 40.71%. Additionally, educational attainment levels among city residents fall below state and national averages, with only 70.1% of residents over the age of 25 possessing a high school diploma or higher, compared to 91% in Pennsylvania and 88.5% nationwide.
In addition, a considerable portion of Reading's population comprises immigrant families. According to the ACS report, 45.8% of residents are not U.S. citizens. Approximately 27% of the Reading School District’s students are enrolled in the district's English as a Second Language program, with 99% of them speaking Spanish as their primary home language. In recent years, there has been a notable increase in students facing challenges with higher education and employment due to citizenship documentation issues.
Despite these challenges, Berks County and the City of Reading boast a strong network of nonprofit and community organizations that partner with the Reading School District (RSD) to address poverty and other challenges faced by students and families. These groups offer essential services such as GED/ESL classes, mentoring, academic assistance, Head Start, and youth development programs, empowering both students and families to reach their full potential.
There are 19 schools within RSD, including 13 elementary schools (Pre-K-4th grade), five middle schools (grades 5-8), and Reading High School (grades 9-12), currently operating in one main high school and three satellite campuses.
As of the 2022-23 school year, the district's enrollment stands at 17,402 students. Elementary school enrollments range from 277 to 746, while middle school enrollments vary from 678 to 1,942. Reading High School enrolls 5,537 students. Additionally, the district operates the Reading Virtual Academy, serving 470 students in grades 1-12.
All RSD schools are Title I buildings with Community Eligibility Programs providing universal free lunches due to the high number of students designated as low income (currently 95.28%). The English Language Learner population stands at 27%, and the Special Education population at 25%. According to the 2022-23 Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS) report, the district employs 1,259 professional staff, including 991 classroom teachers and 669 support staff.
Our Mission: Transforming Student Potential Into Reality
In Reading School District, we remain committed to our core purpose of educating ALL students. Located between Harrisburg and Philadelphia in southeastern Pennsylvania, we are the fourth largest school district in Pennsylvania and the sixth largest employer in Berks County.
Reading School District includes more than 17,800 students and approximately 2,000 staff members. We are a Title 1, urban school district located in a high-poverty community, where 93 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and 25 percent of students are English-Language Learners.
We see the impact of poverty and inner-city life in our classrooms every day, yet in spite of that, we have the most dedicated, talented, intelligent and ambitious students you’ll find anywhere in the world. #RSDproud
Our Leadership Team
Dr. Jennifer Murray began her career as a classroom teacher in Reading School District in 1998. She has served as Superintendent of Schools since November 2021. Previously, she served as a district principal, the Interim Superintendent and as Assistant Superintendent, Teaching and Learning.
LEARN ABOUT DR. MURRAY FOLLOW DR. MURRAY ON TWITTER
Dr. Yamil Sanchez-Rivera, Assistant Superintendent for Operations
Wanda Gonzalez-Crespo, Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement
JuliAnne Kline, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning
Wayne Gehris, Chief Financial Officer
Jesse C. Leisawitz, Esq., Chief Legal Officer
With approximately 17,000 students, our student body continues to grow more diverse — 80.7 percent identify as Latino, 9.3 percent as Black, 6.9 percent as White, 2.5 percent as Multiracial and .5 percent as Asian. Our Red Knights represent 28 countries, and we've identified nearly 30 languages spoken by our families, including Spanish and French Creole.
In addition, approximately 93.3 percent of our students are designated as economically disadvantaged based on their family's income; approximately 25 percent are designated as English Language Learners, meaning they are fluent in their native language and learning English as a second or sometimes third language; and approximately 18 percent are designated as special education learners, which includes students with special needs and students who have tested as academically gifted.
DISTRICT COLORS: RED AND BLACK
DISTRICT MASCOT: RED KNIGHT
Reading School District has 19 schools, including 13 elementary schools, five middle schools and one senior high school.
The district also has its own virtual academy (online learning) and shares a career and technology center with a neighboring district.