School Supt.

REACHING OUT TO PARENTS - Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Thomas Milaschewski is pictured above as he recorded a video message released earlier this week about happenings across the district. The first-year school leader is using the messaging format as a means of reaching out to local parents and civic leaders directly with news about school developments. In his latest recording, Milaschewski touched upon COVID-19 happenings, the recent successes of Reading’s various athletic teams, and the creation of a new literacy advisory committee that is being asked to consider modernizing Reading’s reading and language comprehension curriculum.

By PATRICK BLAIS

READING - Local parents will get two opportunities in the coming weeks to volunteer to become part of and learn more about the school department’s plans to rehash its instructional approach to literacy.

In a recent video message released to the community earlier this week, Superintendent Dr. Thomas Milaschewski explained that earlier this month, the School Committee sanctioned a plan to establish a special committee to study ways to improve the district’s reading and language comprehension curriculum.

New Assistant Superintendent Dr. Sarah Hardy, who has been designated to coordinate that effort, later explained that parents can learn more about the study group’s mission during a public forum in RMHS’s library on Dec. 7 at 4 p.m.

A second virtual forum is also scheduled for Sept. 21 at 6 p.m., which will involved a more-detailed look at the community’s current approach to literacy instruction and some of the newest research around the topic.

“We’re going to hold the initial meeting on Dec. 7…and this will be an overview session that everyone is invited to attend,” Hardy explained during the video release, which was recorded last week. “We encourage anyone to attend this meeting who might want to volunteer or is just curious about what’s happening.”

The topic of creating the so-called “Reading in Reading Advisory Committee” generated some controversy when it was first raised by early last month, as School Committee chairman Thomas Wise initially advocated for nominating board members to the group.

Opposing any School Committee involvement in the study were Shawn Brandt and Erin Gaffen, who argued that under the state’s education reform movement in the early 1990s, school superintendents were designated as the sole authority when it comes to implementing changes to school curriculum and instruction models.

Though Wise’s push to include a School Committee designee on the panel was ultimately rejected during a meeting earlier this month, the elected officials technically still hold the final say over any changes through their budgetary powers.

Milaschewski’s proposal to include a number of parents and other civic leaders on the study committee is aimed at eliminating any controversy about the effort by ensuring that a broad panel of community stakeholders has a voice at the table.

According to Hardy, parents and other residents looking to be appointed to the Reading in Reading Advisory Committee will have until at least Dec. 23 to submit an application to the district.

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