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Grey Matters for April 14, 2014; Volume 2, Number 30

posted Apr 13, 2014, 6:38 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jun 26, 2014, 11:09 AM by James Marcotte ]

Those of you who drop your kids off to RJ Grey in the morning may have noticed that I was missing for three days from my usual post across from the bottom of the parking lot stairwell.  It’s because I had the opportunity to attend a conference at Harvard with a few other A-B colleagues called “Learning Environments for Tomorrow” (or the LEFT Conference).  This conference brought together educators and architects from around the country (and a few from Istanbul and India) to work together and explore innovative practices in education, and the design of physical (or virtual) learning spaces that support those practices.  It was an exciting opportunity to work with architects and designers and focus on issues such as technology and sustainability, and then see some provocative examples of projects and programs already taking place around us.  We learned about a small outfit in Cambridge called NuVu Studio being run by a “mad scientist” from MIT that uses studio-based pedagogy to engage with 11 to 17 year olds for 12-week periods (and currently partnering with Beaver Country Day to provide this opportunity to its students).  There’s also an elective program at Newton North High School called the “Greenginering Lab” that gives students the chance to explore hands-on efforts at developing solutions to a myriad of issues.  Then there’s the the set of schools in San Diego known as High Tech High, that utilizes principles of project-based learning to engage students in the development of 21st century skills.  It’s going to take me (and us) a bit of time to digest everything, and to think about how we might be able to apply some of what we learned to our schools here at A-B.  Nevertheless, I was grateful for the chance to suspend reality for a few days and be exposed to some real cutting-edge work at the vanguard of education and design.  

For 7th grade families, thank you for your efforts to return the 8th grade registration form that each of you received last week.  If you still happen to have the registration form, please bring it to RJ Grey as soon as possible, as the deadline was last Friday.  As a reminder, your child’s world language and recommended math level were already listed on the form, and we need(ed) you and your child to identify a Grey Block choice for next year.  For those families who wish to submit a Math Override form, please remember that it is a separate form that must be received by May 23, 2014 - forms and requests received after that date can not be honored.  The override form can be picked up at the Counseling Office, or you can download it by clicking here.  Before submitting the form, please complete the required step of communicating with your child’s math teacher to engage in a conversation about their observations and feedback.  

A friendly reminder that we have a shortened school week, as there is no school on Friday for Good Friday.  I also know that we have a number of families who observe Passover this week (starting tonight, I believe), and I hope those celebrating any of these events have a meaningful experience.  

Finally, we are coming upon April Vacation, which is always a welcome break after what is typically a long stretch of cold school days.  Along with an opportunity for many of us to take a vacation and maybe visit faraway places, April Vacation also traditionally begins with the running of the Boston Marathon.  Like every other year, we have residents of Acton and Boxborough, and members of RJ Grey, who will be running in the marathon.  For obvious reasons, this year’s running of the marathon has taken on special and profound meaning, as we reclaim a community event that means so much to so many people. We wish everyone participating in the event the best of luck, a race free of blisters, and great joy as you cross the finish line.  

Have a great week, everyone.