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Grey Matters, January 12, 2015; Volume 3, Number 18

posted Jan 11, 2015, 5:13 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jul 6, 2015, 6:54 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

I have quite a few calendar-related updates to share with all of you (please make sure you definitely read the piece about January 16th’s professional day).  However, let’s focus first on my discovery this past week that many of you share my son’s obsession with bacon and/or live with someone who does.  After my twentieth conversation about the bacon bowl that Parker got over Winter Break, I actually realized that I didn’t really conduct that much research on whether there was such thing as a bacon box, assuming it was a product of our son’s overactive imagination.  Of course, on my very first Google search with the term, “bacon box”, I discover this and a whole host of other gift boxes filled with greasy madness.  I shouldn’t have doubted the power of the online retail industry.  

We appreciate everyone’s patience and flexibility regarding the postponement of the last round of parent-teacher conferences from last Thursday to this upcoming Thursday.  As you know, we have re-scheduled those conferences to this Thursday, January 15 from 11:30am to 2:30pm.  This means that all students have an early release that day, and will be dismissed at 10:40am (so please plan accordingly).  If you can no longer attend your scheduled conference times, please contact Katy Frey ( so we can amend the schedule.  If you are still hoping for feedback from some of your child’s teachers, you might want to explore scheduling a team meeting, or emailing those teachers and asking for a quick email update.  

I have no doubt that our students (your kids), have already figured out that the half day on Thursday leads into an already extended long weekend, since there is no school for all students this Friday, January 16.  There is a professional development workshop planned for teachers, and from a scheduling perspective, we also want families to know that things could potentially change (again) if there are weather-related issues on Friday.  Please note: if inclement weather does not allow the District to hold the professional day on Friday, it will be moved to Tuesday, January 20th.  In that scenario, students would not come to school on that Tuesday, resulting in what is essentially, to use New England terms, a “wicked long weekend” from Friday thru Tuesday.  We will do everything we can to avoid postponing this day, and if this scenario did become a reality, we would certainly communicate it to families as soon as possible.  

The Junior High’s Winter Band concert is this Wednesday evening. For families whose children are part of this program, please be sure to check in with them about the scheduling for that event.  Same goes for our Winter Chorus concert, which is scheduled for next Wednesday the 21st.  

The Michelle Gielan event is this Thursday evening!  7pm in the High School auditorium.  There’s no school on Friday, so it provides ideal conditions for you to bring your Junior High and High School students to attend this event as a family, and not have to worry about having school the following day.  Michelle is a nationally renowned expert on the science of positive communication and the founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research, as well as a former news anchor for CBS News. During this interactive presentation, Michelle will explore how each of us can broadcast happiness to inoculate our brain against stress and negativity, along with a host of other wellness-related topics. Here’s the event flyer for more information.  

An important Save The Date message to 8th grade families regarding the transition to the high school: On Wednesday February 11th at 7pm the high school will be hosting an evening for the parents of 8th graders. The goal of the evening is for parents to get an overall feel for the high school - including the class offerings available to ninth grade students. The night will begin in the high school auditorium with a welcome by principal Dr. JoAnn Campbell followed by a brief presentation by each department leader focusing on the classes available to ninth grade students. Immediately following the presentation parents may join department leaders in the East Commons where they will be available to answer questions.

On the subject of next year, the District has finalized the calendar for the 2015-2016 school year, including any early release dates at each of the schools.  You can download the calendar by clicking here, and here’s a sheet that lists the opening dates and school day start/end times for each school.  These documents will also be posted permanently on the District’s website.  

Sales for this year’s RJ Grey Yearbook has closed, but our work on making it a great product continues.  Last week, Ms. Weeks (the Yearbook advisor) sent an email to all students (through their AB Schools accounts) asking them to consider sending in a baby picture (and a short narrative) to include in a section of the Yearbook.  I share this with parents with the important reminder that you should not send in a baby picture of your child, especially without their knowledge (unless you really like to live dangerously).  Instead, we’d welcome your help in giving them a nudge or some technical assistance with finding a picture that they could use, and send in on their own.  We’re also hoping to include some “turn back time” photos of staff, so I already sent Ms. Weeks a baby photo, along with a photo of me from 7th grade, where I was proudly wearing my “I Attended Greg’s Bar Mitzvah” t-shirt that I got the weekend before (I do remember that it was the first Bar/Bat Mitzvah to which I was invited, and apparently I was pretty excited).  If you want to see that less-than-flattering middle school photo, you’ll have to wait patiently for the yearbook to be distributed in June.  

Finally, we ended last week with an edition of Poetry Friday that provided a timely nod to the cold weather that has been a storyline for the past few days (and may continue for a bit).  Mr. Malloy offered a reading of An Early Start in Midwinter, by Robyn Sarah, which aptly begins with the phrase, “The freeze is on.”  

Have a great (shortened) week, everyone.