Grants in Action – Spring 2017

Computing in the Arts!

By Steve Cogger, Physics Teacher, Reading Memorial High School

Computing in the arts is a new class for high school juniors and seniors that allows them to explore art and music through design and computational thinking. REF funding provided circuit boards and electronic parts for a musical instrument design project.

For the MIDI project, student created instruments include a guitar and xylophone:

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 2.36.15 PM            Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 2.36.29 PM

This project also involved teacher collaboration; the blue plastic pieces holding the speakers and the main extension board were printed on the 3-D printers that REF funded for Kent Hatton and Chuck Strout.

Proud students display their optical harp, drum kit, and guitar:

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 2.36.51 PM  Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 2.36.59 PM  Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 2.37.08 PM

Band Room Dynamic Soundfield!

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 2.45.02 PMCoolidge middle school music students can now better hear their teacher.

Using a wireless microphone transmitter and loudspeaker has transformed the band room and allows Cheryl Webster to teach without vocal strain and voice loss.

“Since obtaining the Dynamic Soundfield I can speak to the entire band classroom using a normal speaking voice and every student in the room can hear me clearly – no matter where in the room they sit,” says Cheryl Webster, Band/Music Teacher at Coolidge Middle School.  “I can’t imagine teaching large ensembles without it!”

Digitized Reading with iPads and Subtext!

The upstairs sixth grade team at Parker Middle School has been using REF funded iPads to support student learning.  Students are able to create and play Kahoot and Quizlet as test review tools, revise and edit essays in Google Docs, view functions in Plus Portals, create Google slide presentations, access the Math in Focus textbook, and research topics for various writing and content area projects.


“The use of the iPads as a technological tool has become a supportive and essential component of the learning experiences for the students on the team as the teachers continue to plan new ways of implementation in the classroom,” remarks Donna Martinson, 6th grade English Language Arts Teacher at Parker Middle School. “Thank you REF for your support!”

Green Screen Video Studio is expanding its reach!

Students at Coolidge Middle School have been creating videos using iPads, microphones and an animation and drawing application, along with Green Screen Technology (see Grants in Action, Fall 2016 to learn more). Using the app DoInk ( the students shoot scenes in front of a green screen and then add various video or image backgrounds to them.coolidge-slide-1

The application of this technology is expanding, as Christine Steinhauser, Library media specialist at Coolidge, led workshops in April for other Reading teachers, allowing them to learn how to use the the app and incorporate making videos into their teaching and projects.

Posted in Grants in Action | Leave a comment

Grants in Action – February 2017

Killam Elementary celebrates Koala mascot in “Art for the Sky”!

By Amy T. Hussey, M.Ed, Killam Visual Arts Specialist Teacher

All Fall, Killam students were preparing for the November event, when the entire school community came together to create a giant living Koala painting made of people!

In preparation, the students participated in lessons throughout the curriculum including research on threatened species.

IMG_4160 IMG_4166

IMG_4168 IMG_4170

The 3-day Art for the Sky residency program began with a kick-off assembly learning Daniel Dancer’s original “Sky Sight” song “Wings to Fly.”

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 3.44.33 PM

Visit Killam’s Facebook page to see more pictures and videos!

Then off to the fields where the Killam community creates their living portrait! Artist Daniel Dancer is hoisted up in the bucket truck to capture the bird’s eye view!

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 3.49.02 PM Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 3.49.09 PM

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 3.49.17 PM Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 3.49.24 PM

“This whole experience has been very motivating for many- old and young alike.  Daniel’s message about taking different perspectives, collaborating, caring for each other and the planet truly couldn’t have happened at a better time.”

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 3.53.28 PM

Check out the amazing video of the event!

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 4.04.04 PM

Elementary Makerspace Robot Coding Kits being used for Hour of Code and More!

by Tracy Thrasher Hybl, Library Media Specialist Birch Meadow

This video, posted on the Killam Facebook page, was taken during the Killam Elementary’s Hour of Code features the coding robots purchased with a REF grant.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 4.13.25 PM

Killam’s 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes got to program our MIP and Dash robots during their library classes.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 4.28.04 PM Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 4.28.11 PM

Access for All Elementary Library/Media Collection now in full use

by Krista Erikson and Melissa Davis

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 4.31.55 PM

Each school now has the collection available to all students including ones with language
based learning challenges. Resources, including audio book kits and readers, dyslexia friendly books and low level-high interest books.

“I … encourage all of our staff and students to check books out from this collection.  I have also circulated the audio book players and audio books to many of our classrooms for teachers to use during read aloud time.” – Kim Adamo, Media Specialist at Killam Elementary School.


Core Value Literature Collection now available at each elementary school

by Lisa Norcross Library Media Specialist, M.S., Assistant Principal Wood End 

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 4.33.51 PM“This is the “golden” book shelf we use to house this collection.  We painted the book shelf for this collection gold because we think that these books help teach our students how to follow “the golden rule”- to treat others the way we want to be treated.” – Kim Adamo, Media Specialist at Killam Elementary School

Posted in Grants in Action | Leave a comment

Festival of Trees 2016: An Unprecedented Success!

Festival of Trees brought in over 2000 visitors (a new record) and REF grossed over $28,000 (another new record)! All profits from this fundraising event will go towards 2017  teacher grants benefiting Reading Public Schools.

We could not have done it without all the support from this community!

A special thank you to our Crystal event sponsors: Pamplemousse, RSM International, Reading Cooperative Bank, and Northern Bank & Trust. Another thank you to Joan P LLC, The Davidson-Dee Family Foundation, the Janowski Family, Yes for Reading, Mike Foley and the Parker Music Department for their sponsorship donations.

In addition, much appreciation to Sartell Electric for lighting, Bertucci’s in Reading for the Pizza and dinner fare, the Reading Rotary Club for manning popcorn and cotton candy sales, Professors Market and Subway of Reading for the delicious desserts, Lauren Bennett for our festive posters and logos, Reading Cooperative Bank for the water, Cube Smart Self Storage for keeping our supplies, the Reading/North Reading Chamber of Commerce for their time and support, all our wonderful volunteers–students and adults alike–and of course, our beloved Silent Auction & Tree donors (see a complete listing at the end of this post).

Lastly, heartfelt thanks to Creative Arts for the popular card-making activity, and for the wonderful performances by:  Harmony Jewels A Cappella Caroling; Karen K & the Jitterbugs; Ben Rudnick and Friends; Middle School Select Chorus; RMHS Select Chorus; Drop the Base (Coolidge A Capella Pop Group);Violins by Vivienne Langlois and Graham Hardin; and Eileen Litterio.

Check out highlights below!

carolers front-desk volunteershs-volunteers rotary-food















Tree Winners

Most Spectacular & Favorite Tree: Reading Education Foundationref-tree3 ref-tree-gc-donors

Most Unusual: Tin Bucket









Most Creative: Lee Kimball & DKJ Foundation











Best Youth Sport Tree: Reading Youth Field Hockey











Best Tree Topper: Killam PTO











Best Under Tree Display: Rocket Independent Video Club



Festival Goers & Winners

tree-winners festival-goers2


tree-winners2 tree-winners5



Cool Trees & Toppers

card-tree creative-arts-tree

family-tree gatsby-tree

gingerbread-tree palm-tree

picnic-table-tree  shell-tree

another-frosty-topper owl-topper snowman-topper

The Scene

day-scene night-scene

street-light silent-auction


See you next year!

Tree Donors

The Abruzzese Family, A World of Difference & Human Relations Advisory Committee, Aines Boutique, Alive & Well, Barile-Doherty Family Funeral Home, Barrows 4th Grade,  Junior Girl Scout Troop #85450, Bertucci’s of Reading, Boy Scout Troop 702, Burbank YMCA, Maria Casarano, Calvo-Bacci Family, Connect the Tots, Coolidge 7th Grade Learning Center, Coolidge Homeroom B2, Coolidge Music Department, Coolidge’s Team Voyager, Cordell Photography, Creative Arts, Cynda Rohmer & Debbie Boschetti, Elite Freestyle Karate, EMARC, Enchanted Dance Academy, Everything But the Dog, FRC Team 4761, Friends of Reading Recreation, Girls U-14 Soccer, Jacquie Carson & Family, Joshua Eaton Elementary School, Karen K & the Jitterbugs & Jitterbugs Music Classes, Kay Lash, Lee Kimball & DJK Foundation, Lisa Vouras DMD PC, Martha Salz, Mission of Deeds, Oils with Heart, Parker Music Department, Parker Peer Leaders, Parker’s Ms. Cristi’s Homeroom 111, Reading Cooperative Bank, Reading Education Foundation, Reading Girl Scouts, Reading Montessori School, Reading Pop Warner, Reading Public Library, Reading School Committee & Central Office, Reading School Nutrition Department, Reading Youth Field Hockey, Reading Youth Hockey, Reading Youth Lacrosse, Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce, RISE Preschool, RMHS Administration, RMHS Choral Department & Voice, RMHS Class of 2017, RMHS Class of 2020, RMHS Drama Club & PSST, RMHS Interact Club, RMHS Marching Band & Color Guard, RMHS PTO, RMLD, Rocket Independent Video Club, Samantha’s Harvest, Sanborn Place, Home Care & Day Center, Sartell Electrical Services, Saturday Night Lights, Sawyer Nursery School, Social Good, The Barrows PTO, The Birch Meadow Student Council, The Deharo Family, The Dumas & Bourque Families, The Flower Shoppe at Eric’s, The Gould Family, The Hilliard Family, The J.W. Killam PTO, The Lions Club, The Nichols, Wolter, & Wall Familes, The O’Neill Family, The Parker PTO, The Peirce Family, The Pine Ridge Neighborhood, The Residence at Pearl Street: Assistant Living, The Staff at Wood End, The Wood End PTO, Timothy J. Kelley, Attorney at Law, Tin Bucket, Venture Crew 410, Young Women’s League

Silent Auction Donors

A Friend of REF, Alan Gilburg, Bertucci’s of Reading, Bobbie Botticelli, Boston Bruins, Chocolate Truffle, Chris Wetmore, Cindy Canavan, Creative Spark Imagery, Davios, DiCara’s Deli, Douglass Edgerley & Bessom Funeral Home, Dynamic Sports, Emily Young, Hitching Post, Joe Fish of North Reading, Joshua Eaton PTO, Kelli Malone, Laschis, Mike Foley, Pamplemousse, Quanapowitt Players, Reading BPO, Reading Gymnastics, Sweet House of North Reading, The Downey & Schofield Families, The Downey Family, The Foley Family, The Kelley family, The Nelson & O’Neill Families



Posted in Festival of Trees | Leave a comment

Grants in Action — Fall 2016

Check out what’s going on with REF grants across the district!

Coolidge 7th Graders Drumming Away!

By Anna Wentlent-Choral Director and General Music Teacher Coolidge Middle School

The seventh graders at Coolidge Middle School have been studying the music of West Africa in general music class using the instruments purchased with an REF grant. Each day they practice echoing, improvising, and soloing on different percussion instruments, including talking drums,  djembes,  tubanos, gankogui bells, cow bells, shekeres, and rattles. Class ends with a traditional West African drum ensemble. See a video below!


Library Makerspace Robots

By Lisa Norcross, Library Media Specialist, M.S., Assistant Principal Wood End 

The Library Media Specialists are very excited to introduce robots into our curriculum thisscreen-shot-2016-10-29-at-11-42-50-am school year. The Week of Code takes place in December and many schools will be kicking of their robot use then. So far we have been working as a team to develop lessons including coding and programming as well as sharing ideas of how and when we will use the robots with the different grade levels. At Wood End, we tested the robots in after school and summer programs. Students worked in groups and independently to program the robots to do various tasks. They learned how to connect the robot to the IPADs and then how to create a program to control the robot. The robots were cruising up and down the halls of the school! We are looking forward to using them with more students as the year goes on and the kids can’t wait to get theirhands on them!

Killam prepares Art for the Sky!

By Amy T. Hussey, M.Ed, Killam Visual Arts Specialist Teacher

The J.W. Killam community is going to be the first school in Massachusetts to experience – Art for the Sky with visiting artist, Daniel Dancer on November 7th, 9th, and 10th!

Art for the Sky is a three day artist in residence program where the entire school community comes together to experience adventures in creativity and perception and to deepen our relationship to sky, earth, and one another while creating a giant living painting made of people!

To learn more about Art for the Sky, please visit and be ready to be amazed!

In honor of school tradition and to raise environmental awareness, the entire school community has chosen our gigantic living painting to be a Koala!  The school is buzzing with related lessons and learning about our beloved mascot and threatened species from habitat simulations in PE, learning Wings to Fly (Daniel Dancer’s original song about using our “Sky Sight”) in music classes, to research in the media center. Check out the photos of some of our preparations.  More to come!

First Graders practicing visualization skills while reading Koala Lou.

killam-slide-1 killam-slide-2









Above Left: Ambitious fourth graders are raising money to support Koala preservation. Above Right: Beginning of our school- wide Killam Koala bulletin board.  Students are adding information from their research about Koalas and the threats they face.

Coolidge Middle School creating videos that are out of this world!

By Christine Steinhauser, Coolidge Library Media Specialist/Teacher

Using materials provided by the REF Grant, the students are using Green Screen Technology, also known as color keying or chroma keying to produce videos. Using the app DoInk ( the students shoot scenes in front of a green screen and then add various video or image backgrounds to them, including images of places that are out of this world!  This grant has allowed the students to be in the director’s chair- to facilitate their own productions.

coolidge-slide-1 coolidge-slide-2

As the students learn to use the software and equipment, the creativity and authentic learning by the students is  showing up in almost every class in the form of presentations and projects. Skills that the students are learning include problem-solving, presentation, file management, copyright, and many others.


One class is currently working on a collaboration project. The students are “reading” a book about holidays around the world.  They are placing themselves on the page of the book, and reading about the holiday. The project will be shown to the school during the holiday assembly in December.


Update on RMHS Physics Lab Grant 2013

By Steve Cogger, RMHS Physics Department

We are now starting our fourth year with the lab equipment provided by Reading Cooperative Bank through REF.  Since we received the equipment over 1000 students have been able to engage in hands-on discovery learning in physics. The lab materials provide real-time feedback and provoke interesting discussion among the students as they try to make sense of what they are seeing. As teachers we are grateful for having equipment that lets us implement a proven physics curriculum.

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-11-43-11-am screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-11-43-19-am

RMHS Computing in the Arts

By Steve Cogger, RMHS Physics Department

In the Interactive Device Design class students are utilizing user-friendly microcontrollers to create visual and musical devices that respond to human inputs. Once the basics of the programming environments and hardware capabilities are understood, students will screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-11-43-30-amdesign and build actual devices in their area of interest.

To date the students have been learning the basics sensors and how to develop programs that read the sensors. Next quarter the students will be doing open-ended design projects starting with musical instruments.

These boards were built with REF provided materials from this grant and materials made in the 3-D printers provided by a previous REF grant. The blue plastic parts in the photo are brackets and holders that will let students mount the sensors and other parts designed using LEGO connectors and beams.

Elementary School Open Circle Resources

By Lisa Norcross- Library Media Specialist, M.S., Assistant Principal Wood End 

Thanks to the REF grant each elementary school library was able to add new titles to our screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-11-43-44-amcollections that support Open Circle. At Wood End, I was able to purchase twenty-five new titles that enhance the Open Circle lessons as well as support the Core Values at our school. In addition, these titles also incorporate mindfulness and strategies to help students when facing a problem. I was able to create a small area of the library to house our Open Circle Collection. Teachers can now easily access needed materials. So far, this section of the library has seen a lot of use!


Posted in Grants in Action | Leave a comment

Grants in Action Spring 2016

Here are are some great stories about some of our grants from 2015.

Numeracy is the New Literacy: Elementary Math Teacher Training with Professor Mahesh Sharma

This past fall 30 math teachers across the district took part in a 2-day workshop to develop effective strategies that will ensure students master number concepts consistently, fluently and with understanding. The workshop focused on understanding how children learn mathematics, why learning problems occur, and how to help them learn mathematics better.

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 8.54.21 AM

Teachers and administrators found it so valuable that the district has expanded its work with Professor Sharma so many more staff members at all grade levels will benefit. He has since worked in a select classrooms and gave a community presentation on “Prerequisites Skills and Mathematics Learning.” You can check out his handout here.

Below are what a few have to say about Professor Sharma’s work.

“Professor Sharma demystifies math instruction by showing how the development of numeracy parallels the development of literacy.  For example, he talks about a kindergarten student’s understanding of letters and the sounds the letters represent, and then discusses the importance of the corresponding concepts related to numbers. This information is critical for teachers to deliver quality math instruction, yet it is often absent from teacher training programs.  As a result, Professor Sharma’s ideas are essential in helping students reach high levels of academic achievement.”

“Mahesh Sharma’s workshop is one of the best professional development offerings we have experienced.  Staff feedback has been so positive, and we can already see how it will have a positive impact for our students.”

Coolidge’s Team Polaris learning about “Eating with a Social Conscience”

410417DMX0L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Students on Team Polaris at the Coolidge Middle School have been enjoying the unit “Eating with a Social Conscience”.  Students have read the book The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jimenez and have been discussing the role the migrant worker has in the production of food. Students have also started seeds in the classrooms to be planted outdoors in the courtyard.  The team is investigating ways to build greenhouses to be placed in the courtyards to grow vegetables and flowers all year.  Using recycled soda bottles seems to be the answer! The program also includes a guest speaker (a parent) coming in to talk to us about HYDROPONICS.


Reading in the 21st Century: Coolidge 7th & 8th grade Teams using Subtext App on iPADs for Online Reading

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 8.54.42 AM

REF bough several IPADs for 7th and 8th grade teams to facilitate the reading program at Coolidge Middle School.  The English department has used them extensively.  The Subtext app has allowed the team to monitor students’ reading comprehension by embedding questions in text that lets teachers see their students’ answers in real time.  Students read online text and use online tools such as highlighters to monitor their comprehension.  This practice is essential for them as they must read online for the new state assessments.

They have also been able to develop a more extensive independent reading program as a result of the grant.  Subtext also comes with Accelerated Reader.  It contains online quizzes for thousands of reading books.  Students are able to choose a quiz, take it and the teacher receives the grade.  This year, Team Polaris students alone have read close to 900 books because Accelerated Reader makes accountability for independent reading easier.

“The Coolidge ELA department is so grateful for your help and for improving the reading culture at our school.” – Laura Warren

Posted in Grants in Action | Leave a comment

Grants in Action

Take a look at some of the 2015 grants in action at Reading Public Schools!

Parker Middle School Balcony Stage Screens

Ms. Quackenbush and the “Google Geek Squad” received a $4000 grant from REF as partial payment for two auditorium TV screens that give balcony seats visual access to the stage. With additional donations from the Young Women’s League of Reading, the Drama Club, and many other contributors, Parker was able to complete the project.

The Google Geek Squad includes Julian Wise, Luke Hollenbeck, Shaina Fusco, Sarah Bacci, Mathew Newman, Hailey Wadell, Aidan Hereoux, Shaun McKee, William Xia, Paddy Atwell, Kenneth Froment, Charlotte Lee, Luke Kilduff, Cam Breslin and Tess Rhodes.  

Grant Applicant: Connie Quackenbush, Physical Science Teacher, Grade 6, Parker Middle School
Reading Help Desk is Back!

The new school year has brought many new things to Reading Help Desk (RHD), including new people, new technology , a new teacher, and now a new class! The REF grant provided RHD with new MacBooks, iPads, and much more for development and class use.

RHD Team From right to left:  Lauren Fiore: Senior, Mrs. Dee: Teacher, Kyle Mungenast: Junior, Anson Huang: Junior, Sabrina Caruso: Junior, Julia Donohue: Senior, Megan Catalano: Junior, Moriah Greeno: Junior, Ilyas Saheb: Senior, Kathleen Walsh: Sophmore



Some RHD projects include:

  • The Common Sense Media Teen Panel, Connecting Families — RHD is putting together a panel of high school students to share their digital life experiences with elementary and middle school parents
  • Implementing Digital Bytes from Common Sense Media  in 9th grade Advisory classes — RHD will be facilitating the lessons with technology advisory teachers about how to make smart decisions later this semester.

To connect with RHD more you can follow them on our social media websites, or contact us via email.

Twitter: @RocketsHelpDesk

Instagram: @rocketshelpdesk
YouTube Vlog Channel: RMHS Rockets Help Desk

Reading’s First Science Expo Day a Huge Success!

REF co-sponsored this first-time event with the high school robotics team, The Robockets, and the Reading Public Schools to celebrate enthusiasm for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math study.  The day-long event consisted of hands-on experiments for kids, robot demonstrations by The Robockets and other local teams, and a science fair poster exhibit by any child who wanted to participate.  Hundreds of kids and their families attended the fun-filled day! Check out some of the great poster experiments presented!




Parker’s Go Pro Cameras allow Students to Capture and Share School Events

A REF grant awarded two Go Pro cameras and cool wearable accessories that have been a huge success and have become extremely popular at Parker Middle School.

Currently, an 8th grade group is working on a long-range project to analyze footage during lunch and recess over several days and weeks to create a mini-documentary.   They are acting as anthropologists, studying human patterns and non-verbal communication.  This group has also successfully used an app on their phones through the school’s wi-fi to connect the camera, so they could watch the filming in real time.

Check out a video for Parker Open House!

Here are links to other fun footage they have created!

Science Expo, May 2015 

Morning Routines

6th Grade Project Adventure, October 20155

Band Day 2015

Open House 2015

Grant Applicant: Robyn Ferrazzani, Library Media Teacher, Parker Middle School


Posted in Grants in Action | Leave a comment

Festival of Trees 2015

This year’s Festival of Trees was a glorious event!

Breaking our record with over 100 donated trees, and over 40 silent auction items, and the outstanding help of our fabulous sponsors, donors, volunteers, visitors and supporters, we raised $25,000 towards grants for Reading district teachers.

Thank you all for your wonderful contributions and support – we look forward to sharing more about the teacher grants this will fund!

A special thank you to our event sponsor, RSM International, as well as our Silver Sponsor, NorthernBank and Trust and our Snowflake Sponsors: Stonebridge of Burlington, South Street Custom Builders, J & B Crosby and Co., and Faulkner Legal Consulting. In addition, much appreciation to Sartell Electric for lighting, Bertucci’s in Reading for the Pizza and dinner fare, the Reading Rotary Club for manning popcorn and cotton candy sales, Jordan’s IMAX for the popcorn, Reading Cooperative Bank for the water, Cube Smart Self Storage for keeping our supplies, all our wonderful volunteers, students and adults alike, and of course, our beloved Silent Auction & Tree donors (see a complete listing at the end of this post).



Lastly, heartfelt thanks to Creative Arts for face painting, and for the wonderfulperformances by Middle School Select Chorus; RMHS Select Chorus; Coolidge A Capella Pop Group; the 5th Grade Ukulele Players; RMHS Brass Trio, Wind Quartet, Sax Trio, Woodwind Quartet, Percussion Quartet and Wind Trio; Karen K & the Jitterbugs, Ben Rudnick and Friends, Taylor Hilliard, and Eileen Litterio.


Event Highlights

Tree Winners

Most Unusual Tree: “Up-cycle Tree” by Tin Bucket                                           

Favorite Tree: “Pass, Shoot, Score and Be Merry!” by Girls U-12 Soccer

Most Creative Tree: “Nothing Trivial About Recycling” by Wood End PTO  

Best Under Tree Display: “Sassy Christmas Tree” by Sassy Paws Pet Styles

Best Tree Topper: “The Two Seasons of New England” by Social Good

 Most Spectacular:“Candy Cane Lane” by Reading Education Foundation

Star Wars anyone?


Other Favorites


Silent Auction 


Tree Donors
Reading Education Foundation
The Hilliard Family
Reading Cooperative Bank
Creative Sparks Imagery
Sassy Paws Pet Styles
Burbank YMCA
Joshua Eaton Student Council
Birch Meadow School Council & PTO
RMHS ILP 2 Students
Elite Freestyle Karate
Coolidge Gay-Straight Alliance
Mission of Deeds
Social Good
Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce
RMHS Choral Department & VOICE
Everything But the Dog
Sanborn Place
Timothy Kelley, Attorney-at-Law
Alive & Well
Olde Redding Butcher Shoppe
Lisa Vouras, DMD, PC
The Dumas Family
RMHS Marching Band & Color Guard
Aine’s Boutique
Reading School Nutrition Department
Parker PTO
Cordele Photography
RISE Preschool
Reading Lacrosse Association
Parents Support Student Theater (PSST)
RMHS Drama Club
Creative Arts
RMHS Administration
RMHS Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA)
RMHS Class of 2017
Lumen Wealth Management
RMHS Girl Rising Club
RMHS Art Club
RMHS Right Club
The Davidson & Dee Families
RMHS Class of 2019
Young Women’s League of Reading
The Dolan Family
Sawyer Nursery School
Reading School Committee & Central Office
Coolidge Room F5
Coolidge Homeroom B2
Coolidge Library & Technology Groups
Coolidge Music Department
Coolidge Team Polaris
Coolidge Compass Program
Parker Music Department
The Staff at Joshua Eaton
Connect the Tots
Joyful Drops – Young Living
The Staff at Wood End
Barrows PTO
Reading Public Library
The Skinner Family
Latitude Sports Club of Peabody
J.W. Killam PTO
Brownie Troop 75305
The Peirce Family
Girls U-12 Soccer
Tin Cup
Bertuccis of Reading
Boy Scout Troop 702
Elite Fitness Center
The Rinklin Family
Barile Family Funeral Homes
Rodan & Fields
Parker Leadership & Service Group
Lee Kimball & DJK Foundation
Killam School Community
Dave’s Home Services, Inc.
Selectmen of Reading
Reading Bulldogs
Sartell Electrical Services
Oyes of Reading
Wood End PTO
Katie Gilblair, Whitney Goodhue, & Phoebe Johnson
The Janowski Family
The Lee Family
Human Relations Advisory Committee
The Gould Family
Parker’s Ms. Cristi’s Homeroom 111
The Girl Scouts
EMARC Family Support & Recreation
Girl Scout Troop 65036
FRC Team 4761
The Flower Shoppe of Eric’s
RMHS Interact Club
Friends of Reading Recreation (FORR) &
Reading Recreational Department
Silent Auction Donors
Olde Redding Butcher Shoppe
Sense of Wonder
Green Tomato
Portland Pie
Boston Bruins
Band Parents Organiza-tion
Northern Bank & Trust
Joe Fish
Mallone Family
Parker Middle School
Edgerley & Bessom Fu-neral Home
Quannapowitt Players
Health Touch
The Downey Family
Renewal Landscaping
The Nelson Family
The Bull Radio Station
The Gallow’s Restaurant
Sanborn Place
The Foley Family
Deborah Capuano Holistic Therapies
John McLeod, LTD
Simp Oz
Hair by Danielle
The Last Days of Doo-Wop
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Kids Fun Stop
Elite Freestyle Karate
El Designs
Alan Gilburg
The Gilburg Family
Glitter Baby Designs
Bobbie Botticelli
Mike Foley
Yuri Jhon
Posted in Festival of Trees | Leave a comment

Grants in Action

Check out what’s happening with some of the REF Grants!

Expanding the Reach of The Rockets Help Desk

The Rockets Help Desk (RHD) is a student-driven technology integration team that solves real world problems in a high school setting and creates media that teaches students, faculty and the public. REF is funding additional hardware, software and accessories to enable them to meet their overwhelming demand. Rockets Help Desk is a truly authentic learning experience.

Check out the informative tutorials and happenings on the RHD website.

RHD recently had an article published in EdSurge describing the evolution of the team from a pilot program to a credited class that makes video tutorials for edtech tools, learns from edtech professionals, and consults with teachers who want suggestions for ways they can incorporate tech into their classes.

Coolidge and Parker Students create Breathtaking Digital Art 

Art Teacher Sarah Doane showcases artwork created on iPads from REF 2014 grant. Numerous different art techniques have been explored and enjoyed by students.

Click on image below to view or go to:

 3D Printing Initiative is up and running at RMHS

This year teachers and students are getting familiar with the capabilities of theMakerBotReplicator 3D printer. Teacher Kent Hatton has developed several projects for next year’s curriculum where students will design, construct, evaluate, and then redesign their devices following an engineering design workflow.








Check out the 3D printed backyard concrete castle that the castle model was based on!

The printer has already  had a much broader impact on all students than expected, even with the limited use in the Introduction to Engineering curriculum.


  • Printing models of student work really keeps them involved and excited in the design process
  • 3D printed models of tutorial parts help students to visualize more complex geometry used for teaching the Autodesk Inventor CAD software tools.
  • Students get really interested and inquisitive about the design possibilities with 3D printing. This leads to  discussions about the limitations of manufacturing processes and how to account for them in their designs.


Party-goers at REF’s Imagination Celebration had a chance to view this printer for themselves!


Challenge Day at Coolidge Middle School

Earlier in the school year, the Coolidge Middle School community participated in the Challenge Day, an experiential workshop for students and adults. The program was designed to empower participants and create the change in thinking necessary for a more positive school community.

Sarah Marchant, Coolidge Principal, told REF about the event.

“The impact this experience has had on our building community is amazing! The event increased our empathy towards each other.  It was evident that everyone has some sort of challenge in their life, be they big or small, and that we can appreciate that these challenges shape who we are. 

And it’s important to get to know each other for who we are, be proud of who we are, and to be empathetic that even if we don’t know all there is to know about each other, that everyone is special, everyone deserves respect, and to be empathetic. 

Students have been kinder and more understanding with each other.  The teachers who participated really appreciated that many more challenges face our students today than they realized, and we have to consider each child as an individual, and to meet them where they are at, not just academically but emotionally.”

Elementary School Ukulele Program

Reading now has a Ukulele strings program in all five elementary schools! After piloting the program successfully at Wood End and  Birch Meadow, REF funding a grant to bring the program to the other three schools.

Pictured here are 4th and 5th graders at Joshua Eaton, Barrows and Killam playing their Ukuleles!















RMHS Robockets

RHMS hosts FIRST Robotics Competition in Hawkes Field House, bringing “Varsity Sport for the Mind” to Reading

40 Teams from the New England District and hundreds of spectators enjoyed wonderful day of robotics. The event, sponsored by the FRIST robotics organization,  is free to spectators to encourage and promote student interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math.

It was a very successful event for the Robockets. They ranked 9th overall making it to the Semi-Finals as well as winning the Entrepreneurship Award. Teacher Chuck Strout was named finalist for the Woodie Flowers Mentor of the Year Award and Reading community member Sanat Patel was awarded Volunteer of the Year award. There was also a surprise  appearance of Woodie Flowers and Dean Kamen, founding members of the FIRST organization.

Watch the video to see the Robotics robot in action. To learn more about the Robockets, visit their website.

Community Outreach at  Library Teen Tech Week

The high school Robotics team members gave an interactive demo and ran a free 2 hour workshop for students in grades 6-12. They assisted younger robotics enthusiasts in building robots with the  OWI 4 Mode  EM4 Motorized Robot Kit.

Posted in Grants in Action | Leave a comment

Imagination Celebration 2015

Thank you to all who supported this year’s Imagination Celebration Gala and Online Auction! We had a great turn out and raised over $21,000 on both events towards teacher grants for the 2016 Grant Cycle.

A special thanks to our sponsors: 

     Event Sponsor: Reading Orthodontics

     Elite Sponsors: Northern Bank & Trust, Sanborn Home & Day Care

     Platinum Sponsors: Cubesmart, Dr. Mickey and Associates, Reading Rotary, Schwartz and Schwartz, Woburn Pediatrics

A good time was had by all…





Posted in Imagination Celebration | Leave a comment

Festival of Trees 2014

This year’s Festival of Trees was bigger and brighter than ever!

With nearly 100 donated trees, and over 50 silent auction items, REF is thrilled to announce that with the help of our fabulous sponsors, donors, volunteers, visitors and supporters, we raised over $24,000 towards grants for Reading district teachers.

Thank you all for your wonderful contributions and support – we look forward to sharing more about the teacher grants this will fund!

A special thank you to our event sponsor, Reading Cooperative Bank, as well as our additional sponsors, Northern Bank and Trust, McGladrey Consulting, and Faulkner Legal Consulting. In addition, much appreciation to Sartell Electric for lighting, Bertucci’s in Reading for the Pizza and dinner fare, the Reading Rotary Club for manning popcorn and cotton candy sales, and all of our beloved Silent Auction & Tree donors (see a complete listing below).

Lastly, heartfelt thanks to Creative Arts for face painting, and for the wonderful performances by Middle School SelectChorus, RMHS Select Chorus, RMHS Brass Quartet, Taylor Hilliard, and Ben Rudnick and Friends, not to mention the impromptu violin performances by Vivienne Langlois and Graham Hardin.

Event Highlights

Kindle Fire HD Raffle Winner:

Suzanne Carlson – Congratulations!






Winning Trees:

Big winner, taking home three categories:
“Christmas Carol” by the Young Women’s League of Reading.
Most Creative, Most Unusual, Best Tree Topper










DK Foundation and Lee Kimball
“Holiday Sparkle” donated by REF
Most Spectacular
“Wise  & Whimsical Wonderland” donated by Wood End PTO 
Best Under Tree Display
 Awesome Tree Toppers…













Inspirational Designs…
































Tree Donors
Aines Boutique
Alive & Well Chiropractic
Barrows PTO
Bertucci’s in Reading
Birch Meadow Brownie Troop 75305
Birch Meadow Student Council & PTO
Boy Scout Troop 702
Breland Family
Burbank YMCA
Connect the Tots
Coolidge 7th Grade Learning Center
Coolidge Compass Program
Coolidge Digital Story Telling Class
Coolidge Student Support Program
Coolidge Team Polaris
Coolidge Team Voyager
Creative Arts
Doherty-Barile Funeral Home
Dumas Family
Eastern Bank
Elite Fitness Center
Elite Freestyle Karate
Everything But the Dog
Flower Shop at Eric’s
Foley Family
Girl Scout Troop 65036
Girl Scout Troop 73701
Grumpy’s Ale House
H&R Block, Stoneham
Hennessey & Dolan Families
Hilliard Family
Janet & Elizabeth Dee
Janowski Family
J&B Crosby & Co.
Joshua Eaton Families
Killam PTO
Lee Kimball & DJK Foundation
Lego Masters: Luca, Portia, Bobby, Colin & Tobias
Lisa Vouras, DMD PC
Liz & Pat Shields
Lori Grayson & Celeste Colvin
Lumen Wealth Management
Mahoney’s Garden Center
Mary Gould
Olde Redding Butcher Shoppe
Parents Supporting Student Theater
Parker & Coolidge Art Departments
Parker 7th Grade Homeroom 111
Parker Custodian Yori John Casellano & Jennifer Castellano
Parker Leadership & Service Group
Parker Music Department
Parker PTO
Parker Eco Club
Peirce Family
Pure Fit Reading
Reading/North Reading Chamber of Commerce
Reading Cooperative Bank
Reading Food Service Department
Reading Interact Club
Reading School Committee/School Administration
Residence at Pearl Street
Rinklin Family
RMHS Administration
RMHS Art Club
RMHS BAnd Parent Organization
RMHS Business & Technology Department
RMHS Choral Department
RMHS Class of 2015 & 2018
RMHS Class of 2017
RMHS Drama Club
RMHS Gay Straight Alliance
RMHS ILP 2 Students
RMHS Robotics Team
RMHS World of Difference
Sanborn Place
Sartell Electric
Sawyer Nursery School
Shop the Block – Reading Businesses
South Street Custom Builders
Stonebridge at Burlington
Timothy Kelley, Attorney at Law
Wood End Faculty & Staff
Wood End PTO
Young Women’s League of Reading
Auction Donors
Alan Gilburg
Bobbie Botticelli
Bull Radio Station
Chris Wetmore
Deborah Capuano
Downey Family
Holistic Therapies
Edgerley & Bessom Funeral Home
EL Designs
Elite Freestyle Karate
Foley Family
Gilburg Family
Glitter Baby Designs
Green Tomato
Hair by Danielle
Health Touch
Joe Fish
John McLeod, Ltd
Kids Fun Stop
Mallone Family
McGladrey Consulting
Mike Foley
Nelson Family
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Northern Bank & Trust
O’Neill Family
Olde Redding Butcher Shoppe
Parker Middle School
Portland Pie Co.
Quannapowitt Players
Renewal Landscaping
Richie Willis/Last Days of Doo-Wop
Rite-aid Pharmacy
RMHS Band Parents Organization
Sanborn Place
Sense of Wonder


Posted in Festival of Trees | Leave a comment