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Grey Matters, September 23, 2013; Volume 2, Number 4

posted Sep 22, 2013, 11:56 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jun 26, 2014, 11:18 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

We hope those of you who were able to join us last Wednesday at Back to School Night found it to be a worthwhile experience.  Thank you again to the four 7th grade parents who offered to serve on this year’s School Council, and thanks to all of you who took a moment to vote during Back to School Night.  I am pleased to share that Lauren Gilman and Lesley Ochlis will be filling those positions.  

We had Picture Day last Friday, and things seemed to have gone smoothly.  If your child forgot his/her order form, or your family has now decided that you’d like to order photos, you can still fill out and/or drop off an order form to the main office and we will pass it along to the vendor.  For any additional questions, please contact Jim Marcotte at

At the start of school last Friday, we had this year’s first installment of Poetry Fridays.  For those new to RJ Grey, Poetry Fridays is an activity that we started last year where every other Friday, a staff member or a student recites a poem during morning announcements that he/she has selected.  This activity is led by Tim Malloy, English teacher on 8 Green, and he was our first reader of the year.  His selection was “Happiness” by poet Raymond Carver.  If you’d like to read the poem yourself, you can view it by clicking here.

By the time you receive this, we will have had our first Second Step lesson.  As I mentioned last week, the Second Step curriculum is part of our efforts to address bullying and teasing specifically, and also part of our larger efforts to help students with their ability to better understand various interpersonal situations.  Since it’s the first lesson, teachers will be spending time developing group expectations and agreements about how to discuss difficult topics productively.  In both grades, groups will be talking about perspective-taking and respectful disagreement.  For those of you with 7th graders, you might want to also ask them about the concept of “empathy” and their understanding of its value and use in certain situations.  For those with 8th graders, your students were also asked to identify two goals for this year (they could have been social, academic, extracurricular), and you may want to have a conversation with them about those goals.  

At Back to School Night, you may have seen a number of tables in the lobby hosting a few different school-related organizations, including an ABSAF table and a PTSO table.  I wanted to make quick mention of both organizations, the great ways they support us, and to offer a brief reminder that they are indeed separate entities!  The PTSO is the parent organization that works with both RJ Grey and the high school to facilitate communication between the schools and the parent community, provides families with opportunities to stay involved, and supports the schools through various volunteer activities and forums.  The PTSO has also provided funding to each school for a number of projects and equipment needs over the years.  At Back to School Night, they were also the organization that provided the student directory if you donated the annual $35 sponsorship that is asked of each family.  To learn more about the PTSO, you can visit their site here:

ABSAF is a separate community-based organization that has also had a long-standing partnership with the schools, and they have made efforts every year to raise funds that support extracurricular activities (athletics, performing arts, clubs and activities) at both RJ Grey and the high school, and help each school with its ability to provide a wide-range of rich and meaningful programs.  One of the main ways that families can and do support ABSAF is by purchasing an annual ABSAF Pass ($150) which entitles you and your immediate family with admission to many extracurricular events that involve an entry fee.  Some examples of events where an ABSAF Pass gives you free admission are home athletic events (except postseason games), and the annual musical/theatrical productions at both RJ Grey and the high school.  To learn more about ABSAF, you can visit their site here:

Finally, a note to 8th grade families - Minuteman Technical High School will be making their annual visit to RJ Grey on October 2nd and 3rd to deliver a short presentation about their curriculum, and answering questions from any students who might have an interest in visiting and applying to the school.  If you’d like to learn more about their program, you can visit their website at, and view their admissions and application material by clicking here.  

Have a great week, everyone.