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SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE I am proud to serve as Superintendent of Schools. Each day, in every classroom, I see the infinite possibilities of success. Reflecting on our school year, Reading School District has great momentum, as READING SCHOOL DISTRICT
we continue to focus on our five strategic plan
800 Washington St. l Reading, PA 19601
areas: Safe Schools; Academics; Communication
(484) 258-7000 office l (610) 371-5971 fax
and Engagement; Finance and Operational Effec-
SUPERINTENDENT Dr. Khalid N. Mumin ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT
tiveness; and Partnerships. [See the complete strategic plan: www.readingsd.org/strategicplan.] More specific, deeper focus in the aforementioned will include: 1. Creating safe learning environments through equity, cultural competence, classroom management and administrative support; and
Chris Celmer, M.S.Ed. 2. The adoption of new Science curricula aligned with PDE standards, and ASSISTANT TO THE SUPERINTENDENT Jennifer Murray PROJECT MANAGER Kristin Boyd Director of Community Engagement email@example.com COVER DESIGN Artwork: Tracy Soto l Signarama Design: Ashley Tomasko l Cast & Crew http://CastandCrew.io PUBLISHER Reading School District Volume 1 - Issue 1 l © Copyright 2016
focusing on cohort graduation and dropout rates; and 3. Enhancing technology to be more interactive with students, parents and the community, by pursuing a parent identification system to streamline safe pick-ups of students from school, pursuing a customer service system for immediate feedback and support, and using more technology based communication of events, parent workshops and activities; and 4. Continued focus on obtaining alternative funding and grants to support student learning and opportunities, and updating school district policies/procedures for school district staff and students; and 5. Increasing the expansion of joint efforts focused on the arts, internship activities for students, ongoing professional development for staff at the five area universities to address the changing needs of students, and increasing partnerships with human services agencies and community partners. We hope you enjoy the stories, summaries and photos in our district newslet-
ter, which is relaunching after being dormant for several years. We thank our
TO OUR SPONSORS
valued community partners White Star Tours and Penn State Health St. Joseph
Penn State Health St. Joseph
for partially sponsoring the newsletter and helping to defray publication cost.
Also, special thanks to the Reading School Board of Directors, students, parents, staff, alumni, residents and our many community partners, as we contin-
White Star Tours
ue this journey of providing our students with quality educational experiences
to prepare them for success in an ever-changing society. Together, we will be successful. #RSDproud is more than a hashtag; it’s a movement!
FOLLOW READING SCHOOL DISTRICT
Dr. Mumin was named as a National School Public Relations Association’s Superintendents to Watch. He was among 24 superintendents nationwide
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to receive the prestigious honor for the 2015-16 school year. In October, he received the Champion of Youth Award from Mentors for Berks Youth. Follow Dr. Mumin on Twitter — @drmuminrsd 1
BOARD PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE That, in which we Believe, drives us. I Believe in the Reading School District! Paramount to the Reading School District Board of Directors, we Believe in Excellence in Education. The fourth largest school district in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with 19 school buildings, we have a remarkable student body of more than 17,000 and nearly 2,000 committed faculty and staff members. Despite facing challenges, including maneuvering the state budget impasse earlier this year, our district has moved forward in leaps and bounds.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Abraham Cepeda, Esq. Vice President CepedaA@readingsd.org Brian Buerke, Ph.D. BuerkeB@readingsd.org Bernardo Carbajal, Esq. CarbajalB@readingsd.org Manuel Guzman GuzmanM@readingsd.org
Prepared to learn, every student in our district receives breakfast and lunch. The School Performance Profile (SPP) score for Reading High School
Jean Kelleher, M.S.Ed.
is now above the state benchmark, and the graduation rate continues to
increase. In addition, our students have received recognitions in the arts, athletics and community service. [Read more about their stellar accomplishments throughout our newsletter.] I Believe: “Something good can happen all by itself, but nothing great can happen without change.” As a board, we lead as a united team with our superintendent, and the administration, each of us from our respec-
David A. MCCoy MccoyD@readingsd.org Julio “Leo” Martinez MartinezJ@readingsd.org
tive roles, with strong collaboration and mutual trust. Together, we explore, evaluate and make critical change through scrutinizing the efficacy of cur-
riculum and the delivery essential for extraordinary student achievement,
with defined clear goals toward this vision. The Board has developed strong shared beliefs and values about what is possible for students and their ability to learn, and of the system and its ability to teach ALL children at high levels.
BOARD SECRETARY Lisa Iezzi
We continue our collaborative relationship with the administration, faculty,
staff, parents and Greater Reading community partners. Through our established, strong communications structure, we inform and engage both internal and external stakeholders in setting and achieving district goals.
Accountability driven, we have spent less time on operational issues and
School board policies are available
more time focused on policies; professional development; monitoring and
on our Reading School District website,
use of program data; aligning and sustaining resources; to meet district
goals and to improve our students’ success, I Believe: Like a family, each of us is related to and dependent upon one another; to make the indispensable change for the success of our students, our City of Reading, our Legacy. I Believe in RSD. I hope you do, too. Robin Costenbader-Jacobson, CTACC President, Reading School District Board of Directors Costenbader-JacobsonR@readingsd.org 2
RECOGNITION RECEPTIONS In the fall, winter and spring, the School Board hosts Recognition Receptions to applaud phenomenal students for their accomplishments. In addition, selected staff members receive the Superintendent’s Award of Excellence.
NEWS AND NOTES ‘I’m officially a ‘Cane’ A short-and-sweet tweet posted in November said it all: 5-star recruit Lonnie Walker IV announced he has committed to University of Miami in Florida.
2016-17 BUDGET OUTLOOK The 2016-2017 final budget in the amount of $238.5 million was approved by the Reading School District Board of Directors in June. There were no reductions to personnel or programs. Here’s a brief budget outlook: TOTAL BUDGET — FUNDING SOURCES l $238,577,493 STATE
All-State Athlete RHS senior Edwin Navas was named All-State for Boys’ Soccer. He was also
the premiere kicker on the football team.
EXPENDITURE CATEGORIES INSTRUCTION
Top Chef SUPPORT SERVICES
Carlos Ulerio, a RHS Class of 2016 graduate, won a gold medal in the Job Interviewing category at the national FCCLA com-
DEBT SERVICE OTHER
29.8 PERCENT Instruction includes: Non-special education: 65.5 percent Special education: 27.0 percent Vocational education: 3.5 percent Pre-Kindergarten: 1.5 percent Other Instruction: 2.4 percent
includes student & community activities
petition this summer. He is now attending the Culinary Institute of America in NYC.
EXPENDITURE SUBCATEGORIES SALARIES
Miller-Keystone Blood Center honor Wynton Butler II was the first RHS student to receive the high school student donor
BENEFITS PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
coordinator scholarship from Miller-Key-
stone Blood Center. Plus: RHS students
received the prestigious Angela Hohl
29.6 PERCENT 20.2 PERCENT
7.1 PERCENT 5.7 PERCENT
includes supplies & other expenses
Memorial Award. Our students donated a total of 348 units to the blood bank — a 197 percent increase. Wynton, a RHS Class of 2016 graduate, is now attending Penn State-University Park. Fuel Up to Play Grant In December, RSD will receive a $10,000 grant from Fuel Up to Play 60, an inschool nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy
Pictured, from left: Tyson-Schoener Elementary held a Pink Out Day to recog-
Council and NFL, in collaboration with
nize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The school also donated get-well bags for
the USDA. The program, which encour-
breast cancer patients at Reading Health System; In the spring, 10th and Penn
ages youth to increase healthy eating
Elementary art teacher Doug Hatch and his students created a cardboard ar-
and physical activity, will begin at four
cade; RSD hosted a Back-to-School Sidewalk Chalk Project, in which staff, par-
pilot schools: 10th and Penn Elementary,
ents and community members joined together to write encouraging messages
13th and Union Elementary, Glenside El-
for students at all 19 school buildings on the Sunday night before the school year
ementary and Millmont Elementary.
began. RHS alumnus Tim Profit of Savage 61 donated the chalk.
NEWS AND NOTES U-Knighted Campaign
We saw a lot of great Spirit Week photos, but this
This year, RHS Student Council joined us
one from Superhero Day just melted our heart.
in raising money for our U-Knighted Cam-
A’Latese from 13th and Green Elementary came
paign. In total, district staff members and
dressed in her mother’s work uniform because
students raised more than $28,000 for the
she said her mother is her favorite superhero! To
United Way of Berks County.
see all of our Spirit Week photos, visit our district Facebook page and view the “Spirit Week 2016”
RHS Class of 2017 Officers
The RHS Class of 2017 Officers are: President Giovanni Negron-Garcia; Vice President Jayzon Jones; Secretary Pamela Perez;
BY THE NUMBERS
and Treasurer Hector A. Vega-Ayala. Gio, a student at Reading-Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center, was also recently named the SkillsUSA Pennsylvania Central Region Student of the Year. All Hail the King and Queen Natividad Bueno, representing RHS Dance Team, and Jahmier Williams, representing RHS football, were crowned Class of 2017 Homecoming Queen and King. New contracts, agreements reached RSD has settled four expired contracts and agreements with RESPA (para-professionals), REA (teachers), RSSSA (administrators/professional support staff) and RSAA (principals/assistant principals). The district is currently in negotiations with the remain-
ing four unions and associations: Teamsters; SEIU (food service); AFSCME (secretaries/ clerks), and SPFPA (safe schools). Head of the Class What makes us #RSDproud? The phenomenal RHS Class of 2016, of course! Valedic-
of graduates are pursuing
colleges, technical schools
in the Class
and trade schools, or the
post-secondary education, including 2-year and 4-year
torian Vu Nguyen [pictured, top] is studying biochemistry at Lehigh University, and Salutatorian Thomas Mease [pictured, bottom] is studying computer science at Ursinus College. Vu also won Reading Eagle’s Berks’ Best in the Science category. Read our Graduation Spotlight at rdgschoolsgradspotlight2016.weebly.com. 4
percent of graduates attained fulltime jobs with Berks County
The number of graduates from the Red Knight Learning Academy-Evening Program, which is designed to curb the drop-out rate. It provides non-traditional, over-age or under-credited students a way to earn their diploma.
NEWS AND NOTES The RHS Percussion Team won first
Designed for success
place at the annual Wildwood
Congratulations to RHS student Bethsaida
Competition in the spring and
Torres, whose artwork was selected for
was named as the Scholastic
the program cover at the annual NAACP
Stationary A Percussion champs.
banquet in the fall.
To view their award-winning performance, visit our Red Knight TV
Caron recognizes students
Datnilza Metz and Vilma Dominguez, co-
PHRC AGREEMENT UPDATED The district and Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) have ap-
presidents of the RHS Project Peace Club, were honored with the “Unsung Heroes” Award at Caron Treatment Centers annual breakfast last spring.
proved a new joint stipulation. “The updated agreement is a rich partnership between RSD and PHRC, focusing on equity, access, achievement and Eng-
‘Dream House’ earns
lish Language Learners,” says Waldo Alvarado, the district’s Equity Director.
top spot in Berks County
In total, only eight of the 96 terms from the original conciliation agreement,
Jenny Mejia, a RHS Class
enacted in 2012, now require a full response to demonstrate compliance/
of 2016 graduate, repre-
continued compliance. Nineteen terms were eliminated, requiring no further
sented Berks County at the
evidence; 14 terms now only require annual monitoring data reports; and 35
PA State Computer Fair at
terms now only require a certification statement by the district’s Equity Director
Dickinson College in the spring after earn-
as evidence of compliance/continued compliance. In addition, PHRC is with-
ing first place in the Computer Animation
drawing the Pending Petition to Enforce Action and stipulates the district has
Category at the BCIU Computer Fair. Her
demonstrated compliance with the original agreement for 2014-15. The com-
project was a 3D Model and Rendered
mission is also not extending the length of the agreement and has reduced
Video of her “Dream House.”
the district’s reporting obligation to one time per year. The district stipulated it has been unable to satisfactorily demonstrate compliance with the original
Key Clubber of the Year
agreement for the first two academic years 2012-13 and 2013-14. However,
Congrats to RHS senior Ro-
there are no penalties for this admission, and the commission will not seek to
saura Orozco, who was
compel the district to produce evidence that it complied with the terms of the
named Berks County Key
original agreement for 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15.
Clubber of the Year for 2016 by Kiwanis International. This is the 5th consecutive year a student from RHS has earned the honor. A message from the White House This summer, Elise Jackson, our RHS Class of 2016 President, received a special letter and picture from First Lady Michelle Obama for outstanding achievements
Heading into the new school year, the district completed several facility up-
as a student leader. Elise is now studying
grades, including the Weight Room at Reading High School; uninvent replace-
English at West Chester University, and
ment at Northeast Middle School; the band shed and athletic shed at George
she plans to become a teacher.
Field; new playground equipment at 13th and Green Elementary School [pictured above]; fence replacement at Northwest Middle School; and renovations to George Field and moveable bleachers throughout the district. 5
It’s more than a hashtag. It’s a movement.
The slam-dunk surprise for longtime super fan Bobby
a math equation, a senior posting a selfie with her college
Weitzel. JROTC being named best Regulation Drill Team
acceptance letter, a huddle of kids shuffling with excite-
in the country. Hector Echevarria’s move-you-to-tears
ment as chicks hatch inside their classroom incubator.
performance of “You Raise Me Up” at this year’s gradua-
“The big things like Bobby, of course, make me so proud,
tion ceremony. Our district Communications Department
but all the tiny, not-in-your-face moments are the ones
winning 23 state and national awards, Reading High’s SPP
that matter,” Dower says. “The ones that happen in our
score (School Performance Profile) surpassing the state’s
classrooms every single day. The moments with the real
70 percent benchmark and the German-American Ex-
smiles, the real laughs and the real light bulb moments.
change Program traveling across the globe, putting an-
Those are the moments that make me #RSDproud.”
other layer of Red Knight pride on the map. Whew!
For some, particularly those who reduce our district to
The list of recent #RSDproud accomplishments could
nothing more than stereotypes and statistics, it might be
stretch the length of North 13th Street — twice. But, as 13th
difficult to understand just why so many of our students,
and Union Elementary teacher and RHS alumnus Brooke
staff, parents and alumni are #RSDproud. But instead of
Dower explains, often the most memorable #RSDproud
thinking our students are all trouble makers or assuming
moments are everyday occasions that nestle in your heart
the worst, instead of calling them failures or judging them
and never let go — a teacher remixing the “Whip and
by their surroundings, take a moment to talk to them,
Nae Nae” song to teach sight words, a student mastering
to learn about them, to hear their stories. If you did, you
CONNECT WITH US l STAY INFORMED l SHARE YOUR #RSDPROUD MOMENTS
would see who they really “R” — diverse, role models, intelligent and hardworking, creative, involved in their community, passionate, talented and, above all, a family. “I often tell people we’re not perfect, but we’re far better than the perception many have of us,” says Kristin Boyd Edwards, a RHS alumnus and RSD Director of Community Engagement. “#RSDproud has become our Red Knight
Lonnie Walker IV, RHS Class of 2017
rallying cry, and it’s a way to show the world the amazing
The teachers and students are all in this together.
moments that pop up in every corner of our district.”
And I play on the best basketball team ever.
That’s what makes #RSDproud more than a hashtag, says Shareetha Perry, a RHS alumnus who’s now a Glen-
Wanda Gonzalez-Crespo, RHS alumnus and ESL Director
side Elementary Pre-K teacher. “I am #RSDproud because
RSD empowers our students with the skills and knowledge
it’s in my blood,” she says. “My mother taught in RSD, the
needed to overcome what others would perceive as in-
same district where I received my education. I loved my
surmountable challenges. RSD helped me achieve a col-
teachers throughout school, and they left an imprint on
lege education, and the staff here continues to do this
my life. Now I’m following in my mother’s footsteps, and
work for other students every single day.
I’m able to leave an imprint on other children’s lives like teachers did for me. I love my job. Where else can you go
Amanda Wilson, RHS alumnus
and have 40 smiling little faces embrace you?”
Its grit. This is something we discussed recently with friends. Reading kids grow up with grit. You know the world isn’t
A FEW PEOPLE TOLD US WHAT MAKES THEM
perfect and you are so much better off for it. Grit is what
TO SEE MORE RESPONSES FROM STUDENTS, STAFF, PARENTS
makes you brush yourself off and get back up in life. Tol-
AND ALUMNI, PLEASE VISIT OUR DISTRICT FACEBOOK PAGE
erance is a part of who you are, and diversity is all you
know. These are not universals and cannot be taught. 7
MOVEMENT: 8 EASY WAYS TO SUPPORT OUR STUDENTS AND STAFF
RHS Basketball Squires’ Club
models are encouraged to volunteer
Founded in 2011, the Squires’ Club is a
for at least one full day each school
Donate to Donors Choose, an online
community organization that supports
year. “Watch D.O.G.S. have been a
crowdfunding tool for teachers who
the Reading High basketball programs
fantastic addition to our school envi-
want to raise money for special class-
through donations, fundraising, and
ronment,” says Traci Webb, principal
room projects. Funded RSD projects
personal interaction. To join the organi-
at 16th and Haak Elementary.
have included bean bag chairs for
zation or be added to its email list, visit
flexible seating, chair pockets to orgaRSD Book Day
nize classroom materials and acoustic
RHS Class of 1992 alums Sara Cosentino
guitars for an innovative guitar lab. Visit
and Amy Kline started RSD Book Day.
donorchoose.org and search “Read-
Reading Musical Foundation’s Opera-
Each year, their project raises money to
ing, PA” to find a list of current projects.
tion Replay, sponsored by Zeswitz Music
buy books like Charlotte’s Web, Cider
Company, provides used instruments
House Rules and Where the Sidewalk
Alumni Association of Reading High
to financially disadvantaged students
Ends for students who may not other-
Lifetime membership for the Alumni
who would like to participate in a
wise own or read a book. “We know
Association of Reading High School is
community or school music program.
that the right book at the right time in
only $36 and helps to support scholar-
Instrument donations are tax deduct-
the right hands can shape the life of
ships for top graduating RHS students.
ible and a wonderful way to provide a
a person,” Sara says. Donate: https://
The association also recognizes out-
deserving child with an opportunity to
standing RHS graduates annually. For
the Squires’ Facebook page.
make great music. To date, more than
more information or to download a
500 instruments have been collected,
membership form, visit the Alumni As-
refurbished and placed with students
Ready.Set.READ! is a community-wide
sociation of RHS Facebook page or
in Berks County schools. All string, brass,
initiative that brings together schools,
the alumni tab on the district website,
woodwind and percussion instruments
businesses, organizations and individu-
are welcome. Keyboards are also wel-
als to improve early grade reading
come, but the program is unable to
success throughout Berks County. Vol-
Red Knight Music Association
accept pianos or organs. Contact RMF
unteers are needed to tutor 2nd grade
The Red Knight Music Association is
at (610) 376-3395 to make a donation.
students who are struggling with read-
committed to serving and assisting the
ing. Tutors volunteer weekly for one
RHS and RIHS music programs through
hour during the school year. Current
fundraising and promotion. The asso-
The majority of our schools participate
background clearances are required
ciation sponsors events and supports
in the Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great
prior to assignment, and no previous
students. To learn more, contact asso-
Students) program, thanks to a grant
teaching experience is required. In-
ciation President Ruth Errazuri Moran at
from the Penn State Health St. Joseph’s
terested? Contact Darby Wiekrykas at
Ruthie2boys@yahoo.com or Secretary
Reading Youth Violence Prevention
United Way of Berks County at 610-685-
Carmen Torres at Torres1210@Verizon.
project. Fathers and other male role
4574 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dawn Conrad School Librarian
Lauer’s Park Elementary
My favorite word is …
I love reading because …
Exuberant. It’s a fun word to say, and
I lose track of time when I get absorbed in a new
I love to be an exuberant person!
book. It’s so great to learn and experience the world through others.
Book character I would love to meet … Hermione Granger from the “Harry
My favorite book ...
Potter” series. I’m sure we could have
“Pete the Cat I Love my White Shoes” by Eric
a fun conversation about how much
Litwin. I love how Pete the Cat never worries or
we love the library!
frets when things don’t go his way. He just keeps on singing his song! If you like my favorite book,
If I started a book club, I would name it …
you might also like the Pigeon books by Mo Wil-
lems. He makes me laugh!
“Hello” introduces you to our amazing Reading School District students + staff. To be featured, e-mail email@example.com. 9
TEACHING AND LEARNING l THE ARTS l ATHLETICS Getting connected Our IT Dept. is continuing major technology upgrades throughout the district. RSD’s Internet Capacity has doubled to 2Gb. Also, a Wi-Fi upgrade project approved in February 2016 and covering 12 schools ran several months ahead of schedule and was complete for the opening of the 2016-17 school year. The brand-new highspeed Enterprise system provides wireless network access in every classroom and office area, adding over 650 Wireless access points installed this summer. Installation for the remaining seven schools will start in April 2017 and end in August 2017. As a positive behavior incentive, Tyson-Schoener Elementary hosted a PokéSAT Boot Camps at RHS
mon Go Scavenger Hunt. The kids were all smiles as they found clues, an-
The new SAT Boot Camps at RHS are an
swered questions and collected Pikachu and other Pokémon.
academic training ground for students who want to practice for the exam and improve their scores, according to Aaron Price, a 10th grade Honors English teacher who oversees the program with Algebra 1 teacher Emily Kardoley. The eightweek boot camps are held prior to each SAT testing date, and students attend after school on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Participants practice SAT questions and utilize Khan Academy lessons on YouTube, Price says, adding he and Kardoley are also available to answer questions and work one-on-one with students. In addition to the boot camps, participants are able to access the SAT lessons and testing tools on their cell phones or personal computers, allowing them to study at their convenience. “The kids find it helpful,” Price says. “They can learn their weaknesses and strengths. They get more practice so they feel more comfortable with the test questions.” Reading is reading As a way to inspire the love of reading, our district librarians created a RSD Book Club. Each month, they share book recommendations on a selected theme and display the books in their school libraries. 10
Professional Development Council
work, and a capstone internship in
To better utilize teacher feedback,
local schools. As a result of this part-
RSD recently re-established its Pro-
nership, Alvernia offers our teachers
a reduced tuition rate and waives
which has allowed staff members
application and technology fees.
to survey their peers, review profes-
Our first RSD-Alvernia cohort, which
sional development proposals, pro-
began in January and includes 16
vide valuable input and plan useful
teachers, is completing the col-
training sessions for employees. Juli-
laborative program. When finished,
Anne Kline, Director of Instructional
those teachers will have the skills
Services and Professional Develop-
necessary to instruct and support
ment, oversees the council, which is
our students from culturally and lin-
comprised of administrators, teach-
guistically diverse populations. In
ers and professional staff members,
addition, the ESL Dept. added three
such as school counselors and
facilitators to its staff, and their pri-
nurses. Professional development
mary function will be to provide
largely consists of state mandated
school-based training and support
training, district initiatives and peer-
for teachers. This summer, the de-
partment also held an ELL Profes-
sional Development Series for School ESL Professional Development
Leadership Teams, where staff col-
RSD teamed with Alvernia University
laborated to develop building-level
to offer the English as a Second Lan-
ELL Program Plans. The plans outline
guage Program Specialist (Grades
goals and action steps targeted at
K-12) certification, which includes
improving academic outcomes for
a combination of coursework, field-
English Language Learners.
For inclement weather updates, download our FREE RSD mobile app, visit www.ReadingSD.org or follow our district Facebook page.
TEACHING AND LEARNING l THE ARTS l ATHLETICS
When the staff at Riverside Elementary wanted to connect with students beyond the classroom, they developed a mentoring program to ensure students have another positive adult in their school Thanks to the Reading Symphony Orchestra, our students had two opportunities to experience beautiful music this fall. First, the world-renowned Sweet Plantain Quartet visited our four middle schools, Reading Intermediate High School and Reading High School as part of a residency with the RSO. The quartet fuses Latin-soul and hip hop with classical string music. For one song, they fused classical music with A Tribe Called Quest. Our high school orchestra students worked with the quartet members and then performed with them at the DoubleTree By Hilton in downtown Reading. They received rave reviews and an attendee wrote a nice Letter to the Editor in Reading Eagle about the group. Second, the RSO performed Peter and the Wolf [pictured above] for more than 2,500 RSD students, who had an amazing time learning about music and instruments. Dr. Mumin served as the narrator for the performances, which were made possible through the Peter Brye Music Education Fund.
life. This school year, 22 students are participating, and they are paired with a teacher other than their own. Teachers volunteer to work with mentees on their behavior, classwork and homework, as well other needs identified by staff or family members. The program includes after-school activities, such as making gingerbread houses and playing games; however, mentors are always available to provide extra guidance, positivity and motivation for their
Four art teachers receive honors
Berks County and PMEA Chorus winners
Four RSD art teachers recently received
Congratulations to the following RHS stu-
awards from the Kutztown University De-
dents for auditioning and winning a spot
partment of Art Education & Crafts. They
in the Berks County Chorus. They will be
include: Marcie Blatt, Outstanding Stu-
performing in a concert at Fleetwood
dent Teacher Mentor; Doug Hatch, Out-
High School in January with 200 singers
standing Early Field Mentor; Janna Car-
from across the county: Alexandra Var-
rozza, Outstanding Artist/Teacher; and
gas, alto; Naithan Szerszen, tenor; Miguel
Zoe Dehart, Outstanding Leadership in
Rivera, tenor; Kevin Villegas, tenor; and
Luis Ildefonso, bass. Alexandra Mercedes and Carmen Popovici placed as
mentees. They check in with the students often, popping into their classrooms to say “hello,” eating lunch with them or attending their extracurricular activities. “Building relationships is an essential component to student success, not only in school but in life. So we are hoping this program will continue to add positive relationships to their lives,” says Principal Kimberly Birts.
RHS steals the show at 2016 YNOT Awards
first alternates in the alto 1 and 2 sections
For the second consecutive year, RHS
respectively. Also, special recognition to
students won the most YNOT awards,
Alexandra Vargas and Luis Ildefonso for
RHS Outstanding Young Woman
nine in all, for its staging of the musical
going on to make PMEA District Chorus.
Corrine Perez represented RHS
“Aida.” Among its awards was the cov-
Alex placed 10th in Alto and Luis placed
in the Berks Outstanding Young
eted “most memorable overall produc-
21st in Bass. They will participate in a
Woman competition. She plays
tion.” Each spring, the YNOT Awards cel-
three-day choral festival at Bangor High
volleyball and is the head man-
ebrate area high school shows/musicals.
School in January.
ager for RHS Boys’ Basketball. 11
TEACHING AND LEARNING l THE ARTS l ATHLETICS RHS earns bronze ranking from U.S. News and World Report The Olympians aren’t the only people who earned medals this summer. Reading High School received a bronze medal ranking from U.S. News and World Report. The school was listed in the publication’s 2016 National Rankings report. In addition, seven RHS students and recent graduates earned AP Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievement on AP Exams. RHS senior Dalton Boyle qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award. RHS senior Taj Morales and RHS Class of 2016 graduates Jasmine Argueta, Emanuel Luna, Vu Nguyen, Arianne Cabral and Thomas Mease qualified for the AP Scholar Award. This school year, RHS added four AP courses — AP Studio Art, AP Government and Politics, AP Computer Science and AP Biology. This brings the total number of AP courses available to 14. The high school is also Kimmy Goodhart, Coach of RHS Girls’
implementing the rigorous Collins Writing Series to help students prepare for
Water Polo and a 2008 RHS graduate
post-secondary education and AP exams. “These accomplishments are due
[pictured, left], was voted the PA Water
to the hard work and dedication of our students and staff,” Principal Eric Tur-
Polo League Girls Coach of the Year.
man says. “While we still have more work to do, this is impressive news, par-
Also, congratulations to player Elizabeth
ticularly as we strive for continuous improvement and academic growth.”
Gaspari, who was voted 1st Team All State and was selected as Miss Water Polo, given to the top water polo player in the state. Plus: Elizabeth and Charley Stricker were named All Conference 1st team, and Raeann Ringler and Ari Cammarano-McKenna were named All Conference 3rd team. The district has a cooperative athletic agreement with Berks Catholic, which allows their students to participate on the Red Knight swim and water polo teams.
2016 Athletic Hall of Fame The Reading High School Athletic Hall of Fame welcomed its fifth class of inductees in September. The newest class of inductees includes: Christine Johnston;
Our #WhyITeach project was featured nationally on the Teacher2Teacher Facebook page and blog. The project was a valuable way to highlight our fantastic teachers, show why they chose their profession, why they love their students and why they are #RSDproud. View all of their responses: http://rdgschoolswhyiteachproject.weebly.com
Christian Robertson; John Keith; Lamar Stewart; Craig Bell; Roxann Evans; Kevin
2016 Athletes of the Year
Maier; Charles Griffin; Hoby Geesaman;
In June, RHS basketball and football player Khary Mauras was
and the 1983 RHS PIAA State Baseball
named as Reading Eagle’s Athlete of the Year. He is the first
Red Knight to win the award. Khary, who is attending Old Dominion University, was also named as Reading High School’s
New Athletic Website From sports schedules to final scores, our RSD athletic website is the go-to source. Visit http://readingredknights.org/. 12
2016 Male Athlete of the Year. RHS basketball player Nina Rojas, who is attending West Chester University, was named as Reading High School’s 2016 Female Athlete of the Year.
ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT CLASS REUNIONS Let us know if you’re planning a RHS class reunion. We’ll post “We are products of a fantastic education offered by
the information on our district website, www.readingsd.org/
the Reading School District. I just think back to when
classreunions, as well as share it on our social media sites.
we first started at 10th and Green Elementary School.
Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My sister and I were in bilingual classes. We all had the same kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Garl. I know my fam-
VINTAGE YEARBOOKS AVAILABLE
ily will always be proud to be a Red Knight family,” says
The Alumni Association of RHS maintains a large collection
Juan Zabala, pictured second from top.
of vintage yearbooks. E-mail Mr. Tom Fox at email@example.com for current price and availability. In addition, you
MARIA ZABALA l CLASS OF 2005
can contact Mr. Fox if you or your family members have RHS
B.A., Criminal Justice + Sociology, Lock Haven University
yearbooks you would like to donate to the alumni collection.
M.A., Public Administration, Kutztown University Employed at PA Department of Human Services
DID YOU KNOW? The Alumni Association of Reading High School is the oldest
JUAN ZABALA l CLASS OF 2006
alumni association of its kind in the state. The organization will
B.S., Economics, Shippensburg University
celebrate its 150th year in 2017.
Licensed Realtor with Berks Realty Group SUBMIT ALUMNI NEWS JOHN ZABALA l CLASS OF 2012
Know a Red Knight alumnus who should be featured in Class
Studying Business Marketing, Kutztown University
Notes or Alumni Spotlight? Have alumni news you want to
Plans to graduate in December 2016
share about a recent accomplishment? Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible inclusion in our next RSD
JONATHAN ZABALA l CLASS OF 2015 Studying International Politics + Economics Sophomore, Penn State-University Park