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Grey Matters, April 7, 2014; Volume 2, Number 29

posted Apr 6, 2014, 7:24 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jun 26, 2014, 11:09 AM by James Marcotte ]

There have been enough signs of Spring, both subtle and more pronounced, that makes me confident that we’ve turned a corner -- some warmer weather, a little more daylight, and Opening Day at Fenway.  Also, with the start of Spring sports and activities, the amount of money I just spent this weekend on new cleats for one child, another uniform for a different child, and all sorts of other miscellaneous gear, ended up being the most vivid (and expensive) sign that Spring has arrived.  Along with the snow in my backyard, my credit card melted from all the swiping it suffered in the span of just a few hours.  My sense, however, is those woes pale in comparison to that of many families (perhaps some of you) currently figuring out how to finance college tuitions.  Since it’s also the season for college acceptance letters, I’ve noticed a lot of articles in the news (like this one or this one) on the astronomical tuition costs, and the world of financial aid (try this one, too).  For the “fun” of it, I began to calculate the cost of tuition for a private 4-year institution when my oldest son (3rd grade) would be considering post-secondary options in 2023. When I tried to use the calculator on my iPhone to figure out what an annual 4% increase would lead to, I am pretty sure I heard Siri start to snicker and snort.  

A few important calendar and event reminders that I want to make sure are highlighted this week:

         (1) We have our last late start day tomorrow (Tuesday, April 8).  Students will start the school day at 10:30am instead of 7:30am.  Everything, including 

                buses, will be pushed back three hours.  So if your child’s bus usually shows up at 6:50am, it will now show up at 9:50am.  Lunch will still be served to all 

                students, and dismissal is still at 2:06pm.  In the morning, our teachers will be participating in professional development activities and meetings.  

(2) Spring Track starts today! There was a meeting last Thursday afternoon with the coaches.   When I stopped in to check out the meeting, we had about 250 students in attendance - well over a quarter of our student population.  If your child still has not submitted his/her green form, please make arrangements to complete this requirement.  Unfortunately, students can not participate until those forms are received and reviewed.  We have some wonderful coaches who make the program a great experience, and if you have any questions please contact Mary Price Maddox at  

(3) Acton Town Meeting starts this evening, and takes place in the High School auditorium.  For those interested in reviewing school budget-related materials that were developed by the District, please visit the District’s website, which is  

(4) April Vacation is almost here.  A friendly reminder that there is no school on Friday, April 18 because of Good Friday, so the last day of school before break will be Thursday, April 17.  

When we return from April Vacation, we will be busy with our efforts to begin introducing ourselves to current 6th grade families.  Our Curriculum Night will be the Wednesday following vacation, along with the tours of the school for parents and the PTSO-organized parent panel in early May.  We are changing the format of our Curriculum Night for this year.  Instead of having every department speak to the audience, a few of us will provide a (hopefully useful) overview of RJ Grey (the teaming model, registration process, etc.) and then each department will have a table in the lobby where families can pick up handouts and ask questions of our department leaders. Our hope is that this model will streamline the evening, still allow for important information to be conveyed, and then let families focus on the questions and topics most important to them.  If you have friends and neighbors who may be sending their first child to RJ Grey next year, please encourage them to attend the Curriculum Night and/or the tours.  They should have gotten a letter from me last week that introduces some of these events.  

The NCAA college basketball tournament(s) are finishing up this week, but our own RJ Grey Library book bracket competition ended last week.  We had three winners, and congratulations goes to: Caleb Trotz (8 Gold) and Ms. Carter (8 Green) for tying with 96 points, and Dhruva Rangan (7 Gold) who had the most points with 104. Now that the tournament has ended, the Library has moved on to a different Springtime activity, which is now up on display in our lobby.  Members of the staff had pictures taken of them reading a book that either means a great deal to them, or that they are currently reading, and having most of their faces covered by those books - and thus requiring some guessing to figure out the reader in the photo.  Here’s a photo of the bulletin board in the lobby, but you’d probably need to come and see it in person if you really want to guess (the answers are pasted underneath the photo to provide for instant gratification).  Kudos to our Librarian Louisa Latham for continuing to engage our community in the joys of reading.  

Finally, a staff member at RJ Grey shared with me a local activity that she thought might interest some of our students.  The Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council is inviting all Acton and Boxborough students in grades K through 8 to submit names for the new sculpture in the wetlands area at NARA Park.  If you’d like to learn more, you can visit their website by clicking here

Have a great week, everyone.