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Grey Matters, February 23, 2015; Volume 3, Number 23

posted Feb 22, 2015, 1:31 PM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jul 6, 2015, 6:52 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

Welcome back!  I hope everyone had an enjoyable February Vacation.  If you were traveling, I hope the storm at the start of the week didn’t cause too many issues. We know a few families whose vacations were either shortened or, sadly, completely derailed because of the snow. We had dinner last night with one couple who, knowing their flight to DC (and then to Orlando) would likely be canceled, rented a car and drove to DC in order to not miss their connection to Florida.  That’s a family that didn’t want to be stuck in the cold another minute.  Our family had no travel plans, and so we embraced the snowy weather.  Well, my kids definitely embraced it with some fun outdoor adventure and play, and I admittedly cursed it for a good amount of time (while staring at my roof).  Those who clicked on the two photos of my kids enjoying the snow may be tempted to conclude that I, Andrew Shen, have discovered the secret to raising children who always play well together, and relish each other’s company.  That’s the beauty of those photos, they capture singular moments in our week that my wife and I can share and fool everyone into thinking we’ve got it together. I won’t get into the true and gory details, but let’s just say that by mid-week I should have purchased and used a boxing bell to mark the beginning and end of each round of sibling-on-sibling combat.  At last count, we had reached Round 83.   I’m exaggerating a bit, but only by a little bit.  We definitely had a good amount of fun as a family, and it was exhausting.  Anyone else need a vacation from last week’s vacation?  

It’s good to be back in school, especially since we have had so many fractured weeks due to snow days and delays, and other scheduled interruptions.  We are nearing the month of March, and that is always a time when things get busy for everyone.  We’ll do our best to keep everyone up to date on important dates, events, and tasks - such as MCAS testing, 9th grade course registration, and Spring sports tryouts (only to name a few).

Opening night for Once on This Island is this Friday!  I’ve got my tickets in hand, how about? Despite having to navigate all manner of obstacles – snow days, snow delays, and other miscellaneous craziness – the cast and crew are ready to put on another series of entertaining performances for all of us to enjoy.  Performances are this Friday (7pm), Saturday the 28th (2-m and 7pm), Sunday the 1st (2pm), Friday the 6th (7pm) and Saturday the 7th (2pm and 7pm). Tickets are $10, and you can purchase them at the RJG Main Office, Donelan’s, and Red, White & Brew.  Those with ABSAF Passes can pick up their complimentary tickets at the RJG Main office.  If you’re curious about the benefits of an ABSAF Pass, click here to learn more.

The end of the Winter Trimester is March 9th, and we estimate that report cards will go home the week of the 17th.  Also starting the week of March 9th, our 8th grade students and families will begin the process of learning about 9th grade courses at the high school. Before the February break, the High School held an orientation meeting for families of current 8th grade students, and provided an outline of the registration process. On the Thursday of that week, a group of High School staff will be visiting every 8th grade team to explain the high school schedule and provide each of them with an orientation packet that describes the registration process.  Starting that week (through the following week), 8th grade teachers will also begin individual conversations with students to discuss their recommendations for level placement.  The actual registration process takes place via the Parent Portal (directions are included in the orientation packet) when the portal opens in late March.  In next week’s Grey Matters, I will provide more detail and information about the above process, and offer some perspective specifically on the conversation that teachers will have with students about course and level recommendations.  

I also wanted to make sure that our 8th grade students and families know that in the second half of their 8th grade year, students can record community service activities and hours that can be counted towards the High School’s “Accept the Challenge” program, which recognizes students for their commitment to, and engagement in, community service. Since the High School program asks students to log hours within a given calendar year (i.e. January 1 to December 31), current 8th grade students can begin to record participation in activities that fall under the the program’s criteria, and have it contribute to their efforts when they move to the High School next Fall.  To learn more, you can visit the High School Community Service website, and also review some of their literature by clicking here.  

In the Grey Matters that I sent before February Vacation, I made mention of our Blue & Gold Day assembly plans for that Friday, and some of the traditions that have become a part of the event, including some form of competition amongst teachers that always had me silently wondering what our school’s liability insurance would and would not cover.  I am pleased to report that no one was injured this year, though there may be whispers and talk amongst the students (and perhaps some video evidence) of the scene where Ms. Frey (our friendly and very peaceful front office receptionist) was dragging Mr. Harvey (7 Orange Social Studies) across the gym floor in an effort to break the Musical Chairs stalemate that emerged between two relentless competitors.  You can check out a shot of the action by visiting our Twitter feed.  

Have a great week, everyone.  Welcome back.