Welcome and welcome back to RJ Grey. From our vantage point, the school year has started off very well, and we're glad that the building is again filled with students. For those new to RJ Grey, please know that we dedicate the first few days to helping every student get acclimated to his/her surroundings, and we'll continue to repeat things more than once. We had opening assemblies for both grades, and the 7th grade assembly included a short welcome video that we hope gave students a snapshot of what will be part of their school year. Beyond all of the logistical information that we've shared, our hope is that each student ended last week knowing how excited we are to be working with them and eager for what lies ahead for each of us this year.
There are some members of the administrative team that we should introduce to you. This year, Ms. Warren will be the Assistant Principal working with our 7th grade teams; Mr. Marcotte will be the Assistant Principal working with 8th grade teams. This year, the counselors are assigned to teams as follows:
Getting back briefly to some of the nuts and bolts that we covered last week, last Thursday we had our first fire/evacuation drill of the year and it went extremely well. We will have three more fire drills this year, and later this month we will practice our emergency lockdown procedure for when there might be an unsafe situation in or around the school campus. Many of you may recall that last Spring our District committed to installing video monitoring systems throughout the exterior of every school, along with additional features for our external doors that allow us to instantly lock all doors. We expect those systems to be fully operational in the next few weeks. For those of you who might be visiting RJ Grey during the day, please remember that visitors can only enter through the front door, and must sign in at the main office window.
Hopefully most of you have visited our new school website. If not, the address is: rjgrey.abschools.org. We re-designed our website with the goal of providing a more easily navigable site for families, and to include information that is immediately useful for all of you (including a Google calendar that you can add to your own personal calendar). In addition to our website, we have created an RJ Grey Twitter account. This account will only repeat information that will always be included in our Daily Announcements, and is simply another medium for sharing updates with members of our community who happen to prefer Twitter (you can sign up through our website).
This year, our Library will be available to students after school from 2:15pm until 4:30pm, and directly supervised by a staff member. We now have 26 brand new shiny Apple desktops that will be available for student use, along with some new and different seating spaces throughout the Library. Our hope is to create the feel of a "learning commons" where different types of independent and group work can take place, and students can access resources in a variety of ways. With this in mind, the Library should not be viewed as a space for socializing after school. We aren't requiring absolute silence, though we want an environment where chaos is kept at a minimum. If your child is not interested in the Library but needs to wait for bit of time for a ride, we have expanded the number of couches and tables found in our Lobby, and students are welcome to congregate there. A reminder to families that they should work directly with their children on communicating their whereabouts after school has ended.
Also new at RJ Grey this year is that our food services program will be selling breakfast items in the cafeteria each morning from 6:50am to 7:20am. For now, the items will mostly be "grab and go" items such as breakfast bars, cereal and milk, fruit, and yogurt. Students can use their prepaid lunch accounts (or cash) to purchase these items; families eligible for Free/Reduced lunch prices will also have breakfast items available as part of that program.
From time to time, we have families who encounter financial difficulties. We are committed to never letting financial situations interfere with a student's ability to access opportunities at school (be it a field trip, acquiring classroom materials, or participating in an athletic program). If your family is experiencing difficulty, you or your child can make a request for assistance to a counselor, teacher, administrator, or any other member of the staff with whom you are most comfortable.
Finally, Back to School Night will be on Wednesday, September 18th. On that evening, we ask parents to vote for two 7th grade parent/guardian representatives who will serve on this year's School Council. The School Council is comprised of 4 parents, two RJ Grey staff members, and yours truly. The role of the School Council is to review and discuss various aspects of the school's activities and goals, and offer advice and guidance about different topics that may emerge during the year. The Council meets once a month, usually on the first Tuesday of the month at 7pm. If you are a 7th grade parent interested in serving on the Council, please submit a short paragraph about yourself by noon on Friday, September 13th for the ballot. Write-ups can be sent to PTSO co-chair Tammy Sarnelli at firstname.lastname@example.org or to me at email@example.com.
With the first week behind us, I hope all of you had an opportunity to enjoy the extended Labor Day weekend.
Have a great week.